The Malaysian Bar's International Malaysia Law Conference ("IMLC") 2018 is taking place from 14 to 17 Aug 2018 at The Royale Chulan Kuala Lumpur.
Yang Arif–Yang Arif Judges of the Federal Court, Court of Appeal, High Court and Judicial Commissioners;
President of the Sabah Law Society;
Immediate Past President of the Advocates Association of Sarawak;
Leaders of Bars and Law Societies of other jurisdictions;
Co–Chairpersons of IMLC 2018 Organising Committee;
Members of the Bar;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
A very good morning to all of you. On behalf of the Malaysian Bar, it is my great pleasure to welcome all of you to Day 3 of the International Malaysia Law Conference (“IMLC”) 2018 and the first day for the international section, our flagship biennial event.
I see many familiar faces in the crowd. We have reached the mid–point of our four–day conference. What an exciting two days of challenging ideas, scintillating insights and provocative thoughts, we have enjoyed so far, and what a pleasure it is to know that the best is yet to come!
Keynote Address by HRH Sultan Nazrin Shah
The IMLC 2018 took off on Tuesday, 14 August 2018. We were deeply honoured and privileged to have His Royal Highness Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah, the Sultan of Perak Darul Ridzwan, as our keynote speaker.
In His Royal Highness’s speech, entitled “Raising the Bar by Preserving and Furthering the Rule of Law”, His Royal Highness said that the rule of law should ensure that all persons, including governments are held accountable to the law, no matter how powerful or wealthy they may be.
His Royal Highness encouraged all of us to be brave and principled in our commitment to the rule of law, to uphold it and protect it, and to remain strong in the face of those who would rather subvert or ignore it.
Opening Address by the Attorney General
We also had Yang Bahagia Tuan Tommy Thomas (“Thomas”), the Attorney General of Malaysia who delivered the Opening Address of IMLC 2018.
Describing the Malaysian Bar as the “one voice (that) remained defiant throughout the dark days whenever the rule of law, the separation of powers or the independence of the judiciary were threatened by state action,” Mr Thomas, on behalf of the Government of Malaysia, paid tribute to the role that has been played by the Malaysian Bar in fulfilling its statutory duty in upholding the cause of justice.
Mr Thomas also listed the various amendments that have been made on numerous occasions to the Legal Profession Act 1976 — which governs the Malaysian Bar — to weaken the Bar’s autonomy and independence, so as to punish the Bar for the public positions it has taken. He then informed all present that soon after he took office, he invited the Bar Council to present the Government with a draft bill to amend the Legal Profession Act 1976 (“LPA”).
I’m pleased to share that the Bar Council has begun our work on revamping the LPA in a holistic and comprehensive manner with the goal of submitting our proposal to the Attorney General’s Chambers later this year. The Bar Council Committee to Reform the Legal Sector has been set up for this purpose, and is in the midst of reviewing the entire LPA. We have established 14 working groups to deal with the various Parts of the LPA, including developing the new areas that are not currently covered in the LPA. We have also invited Members of the Bar to provide their feedback regarding provisions that, in their view, should be amended, or added to, the proposed revamped LPA.
Prof Shad Saleem Faruqi
For our 5th Raja Aziz Addruse Memorial Lecture, we were delighted to have Emeritus Professor Datuk Dr Haji Shad Saleem Faruqi deliver a lecture entitled, “30th Anniversary of the 1988 Judicial crisis: Lessons about the Importance of Judicial Independence and Impartiality.” Prof Shad, as he is commonly referred to with affection and respect, spoke on the role of the judiciary and the importance of judicial independence.
He listed the safeguards that exist in the Federal Constitution for preserving judicial independence, as well as unsatisfactory features that weaken judicial independence. His lecture concluded on a hopeful note, noting that there are many activist, liberal and dynamic judges who give life to the law by reading it in the light of constitutional ideals, and that all in all, there is enough in Malaysian constitutional jurisprudence to provide a renaissance in public law.
May Prof Shad’s inspiring words fuel the dedication and determination of the members of the Judiciary to uphold and strengthen their independence. To this end, the Malaysian Bar affirms our commitment to at all times uphold the independence of the Judiciary and the doctrine of separation of powers.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Over the next two days, there will be four more plenary sessions and six more working group sessions that will feature eminent speakers originating from jurisdictions from around the world. All of these sessions are certain to challenge, stimulate and inspire us with the breadth of knowledge and experience on display. The topics that will be discussed range from expectations of legal education to capturing belt and road opportunities, from establishing a South East Asian sports law framework to mediation in the Commonwealth.
Not forgetting, tonight, we will have the Gala Dinner to enjoy at the Rama V Thai Cuisine restaurant a short distance from here. I look forward to the festivities and merry–making with all of you.
On behalf of the Malaysian Bar and the Bar Council, I wish to once again acknowledge the generous contributions of all our sponsors and supporters. A special mention goes to the Asian International Arbitration Centre, our Gold Sponsor for the fourth consecutive IMLC!
Finally, but in no way least, to all who are a part of IMLC 2018, I thank you for your support and involvement, and wish you all a productive and memorable conference!
Thank you very much.
16 August 2018