The Malaysian Bar refers to the recent media reports1 on the appointment of members to the Asian International Arbitration Centre (“AIAC”) Advisory Board (“Board’) issued by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform), Dato’ Sri Azalina Othman Said, through the Legal Affairs Division of the Prime Minister’s Department (Bahagian Hal Ehwal Undang-Undang, “BHEUU”), on 23 August 2023, wherein the appointment includes the President of the Malaysian Bar to the Board.
The Malaysian Bar took objection to the requirements to be undertaken as a Board member, as imposed by the Board as a condition pursuant to a letter issued by the Chairman of the AIAC Advisory Board dated 9 September 2023. In response to the requirements imposed, the President tendered her letter of resignation on 11 September 2023. The resignation takes effect immediately.
The resignation was made following the unanimous support of the Bar Council in upholding the principle of conflict of interest — which can arise in the course of carrying out the statutory duties of the Malaysian Bar — so as to safeguard the independence of the Malaysian Bar vis-à-vis section 42 of the Legal Profession Act 1976 (“LPA”), and to ensure that the interests of the Malaysian Bar must prevail, “uninfluenced by fear or favour”.2
It is the continued stand of the Malaysian Bar that the rule of law mandate under the LPA supersedes all other organisational interests. Given its statutory duties to its Members and the general public, the independence of the Malaysian Bar cannot be compromised.
The Malaysian Bar further states that it remains steadfast in protecting the interests of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) community and ecosystem. The potential capabilities of ADR in impacting Malaysia cannot be understated. To that effect, we look forward to promoting ADR domestically and internationally. Joint efforts and collaborations with all organisations are welcomed in the interest of our ADR community.
Karen Cheah Yee Lynn
12 September 2023
1 “11 dilantik anggotai Lembaga Penasihat AIAC”, Berita Harian, 23 August 2023; “Kerajaan tubuh Lembaga Penasihat AIAC”, Legal Affairs Division of the Prime Minister’s Department (“BHEUU”) quoting Berita Harian, 24 August 2023; “11 Dilantik Anggotai Lembaga Penasihat AIAC”, BERNAMA, 23 August 2023.
2 Section 42(1)(a), Legal Profession Act 1976.