The Ad Hoc Committee on National Legal Aid Foundation (“NLAF Committee”) was set up in early 2010 with the objectives to:
(1) lobby the government for the setting up of a government-funded National Legal Aid Foundation (Yayasan Bantuan Guaman Kebangsaan, “YBGK”); and
(2) assist the government in developing the framework and standard operating procedures for YBGK.
The NLAF Committee is chaired by Ragunath Kesavan and has 15 members.
The NLAF Committee saw its efforts came to fruition when the Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Mohd Najib b Tun Abdul Razak launched YBGK on 25 Feb 2011. YBGK was set up as an incorporated company with its main focus to provide representation in respect of criminal proceedings from the point of arrest to court hearings. Lawyers who render their services to YBGK will get paid.
YBGK’s objectives are, amongst others, to fund the provision of legal aid, enhance services for lawyers to represent those needing legal representation, determine the guidelines for the administration of the national legal aid scheme, and initiate and carry out educational programmes designed to promote understanding amongst members of the public of their rights and duties under the laws of Malaysia.
YBGK is administered by a Board of Directors chaired by the Attorney General, with the President of the Malaysian Bar serving as the Vice-Chairperson. Other members of the Board include the Chief Secretary (Finance), Director General of Legal Affairs Department, Director General of Welfare Department, Director General of the Legal Aid Department (Jabatan Bantuan Guaman, “JBG”), President of Advocates’ Association of Sarawak, President of Sabah Law Association, and a dean from a law faculty of a public university.
The YBGK’s administrative office is temporary located in the Institut Latihan Kehakiman dan Perundangan Building in Bangi, Selangor, while YBGK services are to be rendered through the Bar Council Legal Aid Centres (“BCLACs”) and also JBG
With the setting up of YBGK, the NLAF Committee is tasked to assist in drafting the standard operating procedures for YBGK services and the training of lawyers to be accredited as YBGK lawyers, liaise with the BCLACs in terms of preparation for YBGK services and manage the service delivery.
About 300 lawyers have attended YBGK training programmes organised by the NLAF Committee in Johore, Kelantan, Kuala Lumpur, Malacca (combined with Negeri Sembilan lawyers), Penang, Perak, Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor and Terengganu. Upcoming training programmes will take place in Kedah and Pahang.
At the point of writing, YBGK services are expected to roll out in October 2011. YBGK services will be offered in stages with the first stage being the provision of duty solicitors at police stations for all arrested persons if they need a lawyer.
Ad Hoc Committee on National Legal Aid Foundation
Dated 26 Sept 2011
(1) Ragunath Kesavan (Chairperson)
(2) Ravi Nekoo (Deputy Chairperson)
(3) Abd Shukor Tokachil
(4) Ahmad Shahrizal b Abdul Aziz
(5) Aw Kam Mei
(6) Harleen Kaur
(7) Jason Kong Teng Mun
(8) Joel Lim Phan Hong
(9) Komathi Arunasalam
(10) Maggie Kee Huey Sin
(11) Rajesweri Paramasevam
(12) Ramesh Lachmanan
(13) Ravinder Singh Dhalliwal
(14) Roger Chan Weng Keng
(15) Shairahtul Adora Yusof
(16) Stephanie Bastian
The Executive Officer for NLAF Committee, Adilah Ariffin, can be contacted by telephone at 03-2050 2091, or by email at email@example.com.