This is an edited version of an email I sent to the Lawyers Talk e-group. I had also recommended a few people to be elected, and but didn’t feel it quite right to put that bit in this post. Happy Voting.

Dear friends at the Bar,

Bar Council election time is here again, and soon you will no doubt be receiving your ballot paper.

We all know that year after year, less than a quarter of the Bar do not return their ballot papers.

Many of the lawyers I speak to either

a) don’t know they received the ballot paper

b) receive it, take a quick glance at it and then throw it straight into the dustbin or

c) quickly tick the names they know and just send the the ballot in, without reading much else.

This year, I would urge you to get to know your candidates, by reading the half A4 page statement that accompanies the ballot paper.

In my view, 2013 will prove to be a very interesting and pivotal year for Malaysia, and for the Bar:

  • We know that there are proposals for a wholesale reform of the LPA based on the recommendations of the Peter Mooney committee.
  • We know the Bar Council is entrusted to allow the entry of about 5 foreign law firms into Malaysia.
  • Come March 2013, when the new Bar Council takes office, the new Rules of Court 2012 would have been in force for more than 7 months and the problems, if any, with the Rules will then become more clear.
  • New rules for Group Legal Practices, which has the capacity to fundamentally change the nature of how small law firms operate, will also come into play.
  • The new Limited Liability Partnership Act 2012 may well have been brought into force.
  • Most importantly of all, general elections must be held in 2013, and from what we know, it will be another close election.

The legal world is changing radically, and we need a group of Bar Council members that will have both people to anchor us with their experience, but also with people who will look forward and look differently at the world as it will be in the future.

There are a quite a number of familiar faces in the list of 23, and there is no risk at all that the Bar Council will not have experienced lawyers at its helm. There are 11 incumbent Bar Council members standing for (re) election.

At most, I am told, there are only 1 – 3 places available for non incumbents to break in because of the fact that most people do not know the candidates personally, but vote on the basis of name recognition.

But we now have the means to get to know all the candidates better. I write to you today to please pay close attention to the list of names that are published, to go to the Bar website and see the photographs and write ups of those standing for election, and consider some of the new faces and names as well to see if they are worthy of a chance. (And of course ask your colleagues and lawyer friends to do the same.)

Thank you.

Warm regards,

K. Shanmuga

Oh what the heck. Make sure you vote for Dato’ Jahaberdeen, Raphael Tay, Ravi Nekoo, Roger Chan Weng Keng, Syahredzan Johan and naturally the oh so #ohsem Seira Sacha Abu Bakar ;) #SSAB4BC yo!

It's here! In black and only for women! Or if you are female identified or if you just like it snug - we don't judge.


Shanmuga K sometimes sees a purple banana emerging in his sub-conscious. An article seems to then be magically written. He is @shanmuga_k on Twitter. When he does not see those purple bananas, he practices...

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