Bar Council President Steven Thiru today said its duties cannot be limited to bread and butter issues.
He was commenting on a statement by de-facto Law Minister Azalina Othman Said that she hoped the proposed amendments to the Legal Profession Act 1976 (LPA) would address “bread and butter issues” like legal examinations and the ability of all lawyers to speak and read English.
Star Online reported that during a briefing today on the proposed amendments, Thiru said the Bar had other objectives like giving views on laws, law reform and legal aid issues.
“If you balance our 14 objectives, there are practices and professional issues as well as public roles. We play a mixed role.
“So if people come and tell us, ‘Look you’re the Bar, you should only concentrate on bread and butter issues, you should only concentrate on matters which concern your members and their practice’, I’m sorry we have a problem,” he was quoted as saying.
He said it would not make sense if anyone told the Bar it was being political and should just concentrate on the welfare of lawyers.
“If you look at the LPA, we are also required to go beyond that.”
Star Online reported that Thiru spoke about the government wanting to place two representatives in the Bar to dispel the notion that it was working with the Opposition.
He said such “spies” in the Bar would not foster positive relationships with the government but instead worsen it.
“Young lawyers who join us will no longer be able to feel that they can speak without fear or favour.”