By Ariff Erzanie b Ramli, Executive Officer, Continuing Professional Development Department; and photos by Jul Indra Tofan, Administrative Assistant, Bar Council Secretariat
On 23 Jan 2020, Bar Council Malaysia (“BC”) welcomed delegates from the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs of Bangladesh (“MoLJPA”). Roger Chan Weng Keng and Salim Bashir Bhaskaran, the then Vice-President and Secretary of the Malaysian Bar, respectively, received the delegation with open arms. The delegation was led by Dr Mohammad Mohiuddin, Project Director and Joint Secretary (Drafting), Legislative Research and Reform Project, Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs Division, MoLJPA.
The visiting delegates from MoLJPA included the following:
(1) Md Wadud Hossain, Deputy Project Director and Joint Secretary, Legislative Research and Reform Project, Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs Division;
(2) Rabindra Nath Barman, Joint Chief, Planning Commission;
(3) Md Shahinur Islam, Joint Secretary (Drafting), Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs Division;
(4) Jannatul Ferdoush, Deputy Secretary (Drafting), Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs Division;
(5) Md Ariful Kaiser, Deputy Secretary (Drafting), Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs Division;
(6) Shahana Sultana, Senior Assistant Chief, Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs Division; and
(7) Nasrin Akhter, Senior Assistant Secretary, Finance Division, Ministry of Finance.
After a round of introductions, Roger Chan gave an overview of BC and the Legal Profession Act 1976 (“LPA”), the membership of the Malaysian Bar, and the Sijil Annual and Practising Certificate required of all practising Members.
The delegates from MoLJPA came with the intention to gain knowledge on anti-discrimination laws and policies in Malaysia. Dr Mohammad Mohiuddin started by explaining that MoLJPA is currently researching existing laws to identify relevant legislation for translation. He also added that they are interested to exchange experiences regarding law-making processes.
The topics raised at the meeting revolved mainly around current anti-discrimination laws and associated issues. Salim Bashir explained that Article 8(1) of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia, which provides that “All persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law”, is the backbone of anti-discrimination law in Malaysia. The discussion was kept lively with the delegates posing queries on Malaysia’s legal system that is comprised of both civil law and Syariah law. Salim Bashir provided a detailed comparison of the application of these laws.
The delegates expressed a keen interest in how BC deals with professional misconduct. Roger Chan clarified that all lawyers have to comply with the LPA. The Advocates and Solicitors Disciplinary Board is set up under the LPA to adjudicate on complaints of professional misconduct and to take disciplinary action where appropriate.
Following that, Dr Mohammad Mohiuddin explained the law-making process in Bangladesh; subsequently, Roger Chan and Salim Bashir explained the system in Malaysia. The delegates were intrigued to learn that the Attorney General is also the Public Prosecutor in Malaysia.
The delegates shared their thoughts, and many of their queries were responded to in detail. The meeting concluded with both sides expressing the hope of furthering the discussion in the future.
The courtesy visit ended with an exchange of gifts. BC extended an invitation to the delegates to attend the upcoming International Malaysia Law Conference 2020, which will be held from 12 to 14 Aug 2020 in Kuala Lumpur.