The Malaysian Bar will be the first recipient of the inaugural Rule of Law Award by the International Association of Lawyers (UIA) that will be presented during UIA’s 60th Congress in Budapest next month.
Malaysian Bar president Steven Thiru today read out the letter from UIA, which is based in Paris, to the Malaysian Bar announcing the latter as the winner of the award, which is being held in cooperation with Lexis Nexis, the global pioneer of electronic accessibility of legal documents.
The letter, read at the Bar’s International Law Conference, commended the Malaysian Bar for its “strong and unfailing commitment to the defence and promotion of human rights and the rule of law.”
UIA said that with the award, it intends to “support and encourage” the Malaysian Bar.
“The Malaysian Bar is truly humbled and honoured by this generous recognition by the UIA, particularly at this critical time for us,” Steven said.
“It will certainly serve to further strengthen our resolve and galvanise us in our efforts to repulse the attempts to interfere with our independence,” he added.
The award comes as the Malaysian Bar is vehemently opposing the government’s proposed amendments to the Legal Profession Act 1976, which lawyers allege would curtail the freedom of the Bar and are tantamount to state intervention in its affairs.
Putrajaya’s moves come amid the Bar’s strong criticism of the government’s handling of allegations of misappropriation in state linked investment firm 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB)
It has also in the past criticised Attorney General Tan Sri Apandi Ali over his handling of the same issue.
Steven also announced today that 19 international legal organisations had supported the Malaysian Bar in resisting the LPA amendments.