The Bar Council elections are taking place throughout November — check out the candidates here. Lord Bobo mind-controlled Marcus to make a public request for some of the candidates to publish a post on the blawg explaining why they are running for Bar Council. Edmund Bon and Andrew Khoo have published their reasons, and now Shamsul Bahrin Bin Abdul Manaf shares his. None of the other candidates have submitted their posts — all are welcome to do so to [email protected].

I am writing in response to your call for candidates in the Bar Council Election to explain the reason why I am running in the election.

Firstly, I am not going to make any election promise here as we all know what happened to election promises soon after the elections are over. Suffice to say the I would work for the Bar for the betterment of the legal profession.

Whilst some members have been critical of the Bar Council’s vocal approach towards some unpopular moves by the Executive, I have to state that I agree with the Bar Council’s stand on these issues as it is the main object of the Malaysian Bar to “uphold the cause of justice without regard to its own interest or that of its members, uninfluenced by fear or favour“. I feel that the Bar Council has been doing great job on this front. It is hard to please all members as the Bar consists of people of diverse background (racially and politically). However, the Council has to do what it has to do in the course on upholding the cause of justice uninfluenced by fear or favour.

Apart from the above, the Bar Council has also been doing great job in advocating constitutional awareness for the public, which is again well within the object of the Malaysian Bar.

However, I can also understand the grouses of some members of the Malaysian Bar who feels (rightly of erroneously) that the Bar Council has been focusing on the above at the expense of the members’ interest. There are pertinent issues regarding the day to day lives of the members which remain unresolved until today. One of them is the applicability of the LLP Act to the legal profession despite the steps taken by the Bar Council to make necessary amendment to the LPA.

Whilst I acknowledge that the Bar Council has taken steps to look into the amendment of the LPA, it has been too long since the introduction of the LLP Act, and we are still waiting for the amendment of the LPA to enable us to operate as LLP.

Another issue that is close to my heart is the prohibition of Peninsular Malaysian lawyers from appearing in the Courts of Sabah and Sarawak. This issue is a very unpopular issue (at least to Sabah and Sarawak Lawyers) but is relevant to be addressed as a bigger picture. While the whole world is talking about globalisation and cross border practice, we have a constitutional provision preventing non residents of Sabah and Sarawak (i.e. peninsular lawyers) from appearing in the Courts of Sabah and Sarawak. I believe that steps have to be taken for unification of the Legal Profession in Malaysia.

I fully understand that there would not be an overnight change (especially with regard to the unification of the Legal Profession), but I believe steps must be taken towards that direction, no matter how small the step is.

With regard to the first issue, I believe it is just a matter of time before it becomes a reality, but the Bar Council should make a more aggressive move to push for the amendment of the LPA.

Finally, I must state that I am appalled by the circulation of messages on social networking apps calling for members to vote for candidates of a certain race in the election. I reiterate that this is an election for the policy makers of our beloved profession and the candidates should be voted for based on their respective capabilities, and there is no place for racism in the Malaysian Bar.

Thank you. I wish best of luck for all the candidates, and may the best candidate be elected to the Council for the best interest of the profession.


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