Contributed by Tan Chuan Yi, Special Projects Officer, Bar Council Secretariat; photo by Roslan Mahamud, Senior Administrative Assistant, Bar Council Secretariat
The Malaysian Bar entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (“MoU”) with the Board of Counsellors on 8 Jan 2021 to provide counselling services to Members of the Bar through registered counsellors appointed by the Board of Counsellors.
The MoU was signed by Salim Bashir, President of the Malaysian Bar and Associate Professor Dr Wan Marzuki Wan Jaafar (“Dr Wan”), President of the Board of Counsellors, at the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, Putrajaya. The signing of the MoU was witnessed by Rajen Devaraj, Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) of the Bar Council and Juhari Jani, CEO of the Board of Counsellors, and attended by representatives from the Bar Council Secretariat and officers from the Board of Counsellors.
In his speech, Dr Wan thanked the Malaysian Bar for the opportunity to collaborate on this programme. He remarked that this is an initiative that will benefit the members of both parties.
Salim Bashir applauded this collaboration as a historic moment for both the Malaysian Bar and the Board of Counsellors. He pointed out that this collaboration is one of the Malaysian Bar’s initiatives to assist Members dealing with the mental stress and anxiety as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic and economic downturn. He stated that the Malaysian Bar will pay for a maximum of five counselling sessions for Members seeking counselling services under this programme.
While there might be some reservations from Members of the Bar to seek counselling services due to stigmatisation of the society and the legal profession, Salim Bashir gave his assurance that under this programme, the personal details of Members will be kept strictly confidential by the Board of Counsellors and its registered counsellors, without being divulged to the Malaysian Bar. He thus encouraged Members of the Bar to participate in this programme once it is officially launched.
The signing ceremony ended with an exchange of souvenirs between the Malaysian Bar and the Board of Counsellors, followed by a luncheon session.