The Malaysian Bar is a creature of statute established under the Advocates and Solicitors' Ordinance 1947 which ordinance was subsequently repealed by the Legal Profession Act 1976. It is an independent Bar whose aim is to uphold the rule of law and the cause of justice and protect the interest of the legal profession as well as that of the public.
The legal profession in Malaysia is a fused one with a membership of approximately 16,000 members. Each advocate and solicitor is automatically a member of the Malaysian Bar so long as he/she holds a valid Practising Certificate.
The Bar Council comprises thirty eight (38) members who are elected annually to manage the affairs and execute the functions of the Malaysian Bar. The Council consists of the immediate past President and Vice-President of the Malaysian Bar, the Chairman of each of the twelve (12) State Bar Committees, one (1) member elected by each of the twelve (12) State Bar Committees to be its representative to the Bar Council, and twelve (12) members elected from throughout Peninsular Malaysia by way of postal ballot.
The Office Bearers, namely President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer are elected annually by the Bar Council at its first meeting which is traditionally held immediately after the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Malaysian Bar. They are full time practitioners and their honorary appointments are subject to re-election every year. In any event save for the post of the Treasurer which is not provided for in the Act, the Office Bearers cannot hold office for more than two (2) consecutive years.
The Bar Council takes office at the conclusion of the Annual General Meeting and concludes at the AGM of the following year. The members serve on a part-time voluntary basis as the Legal Profession Act prohibits payment of fees or remuneration.
To ensure the effective and efficient management of the affairs of the Malaysian Bar, the Bar Council from time to time delegates its power and functions to Committees in the various States throughout Malaysia or to Committees appointed within the Council itself. The State Bar Committees and Committees of the Council are however not independent and have no power under the Act to air any views on behalf of the Bar.
(a) to uphold the cause of justice without regard to its own interests or that of its members, uninfluenced by fear or favour;
(b) to maintain and improve the standards of conduct and learning of the legal profession in Malaysia;
(c) to facilitate the acquisition of legal knowledge by members of the legal profession and others;
(d) where requested so to do, to express its view on matters affecting legislation and the administration and practice of the law in Malaysia;
(e) to represent, protect and assist members or of the legal profession in Malaysia and to promote in any proper manner the interests of the legal profession in Malaysia;
(f) to establish libraries and to acquire or rent premises to house the libraries and offices of the Malaysian Bar or amenities for the use of members either alone or in conjunction with any other body or society;
(g) to protect and assist the public in all matters touching ancillary or incidental to the law;
(h) to make provision for or assist in the promotion of a scheme whereby impecunious persons may be represented by advocates and solicitors;
(i) to award prizes and scholarships and to establish and subsidise lecturership in educational institutions in subjects of study relating to law;
(j) to grant pecuniary or other assistance to any association, institute, board or society in Malaysia in the interest of the legal profession or of the law students;
(k) to afford pecuniary and other assistance to members or former members of the Malaysian Bar and to the wives, widows, children and other dependants, whether of members, former members or deceased members who are in need of any such assistance;
(l) to promote good relations and social intercourse amongst members and between members and other persons concerned in the administration of law and justice in Malaysia;
(m) to encourage, establish and maintain good relations with professional bodies of the legal profession in other countries and to participate in the activities of any local or international association and become a member thereof; and
(n) to establish a Compensation Fund.
(a) if he is a member of either House of Parliament, or of a State Legislative Assembly, or of any local authority; or
(b) if he holds any office in-
(i) any trade union; or
(ii) any political party; or
(iii) any other organisation, body or group of persons whatsoever, whether or not it is established under any law, whether it is in Malaysia or outside Malaysia, which has objectives or carries on activities which can be construed as being political in nature, character or effect, or which is declared by the Attorney General by order published in the Gazette, to be an organization, body or group of persons which has such objectives or carries on such activities.
Where a member of the Bar Council or a Bar Committee, or of any committee of the Bar Council or a Bar Committee, becomes so disqualified, he is immediately deemed to have vacated his membership in the Bar Council any office that he may hold therein.
(a) he is struck off the Roll or is suspended from practising as an advocate and solicitor; or
(b) he becomes bankrupt or insolvent or enters into composition with any creditor or takes or attempts to take the benefit of any written law to liquidate his assets or affairs; or
(c) he becomes of unsound mind; or
(d) he resigns his seat on the Bar Council; or
(e) he is absent from three consecutive meetings of the Bar Council without reasonable cause and the Bar Council resolves that he be removed from office.