Bar Council welcomes independent law reform commission

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The Malaysian Bar welcomes the announcement made by the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Liew Vui Keong, that it is time Malaysia establishes an independent law reform commission responsible for reviewing, drafting and making laws and the related processes equitable, modern, fair and efficient.

The Deputy Minister was correct in acknowledging that “our country is probably one of the largest jurisdictions in the Commonwealth that has not got a law commission,” and that “to avoid the problems we recently experienced and anomalies created, we will have to look at the entire perspective on how laws are drafted and made in our country.”

The Malaysian Bar has for some time now been calling for the establishment of an independent law reform commission which would undertake research, public consultations and legal policy development, and make recommendations to the Parliament, without fear or favour.

Malaysia only needs to look to the New South Wales Law Commission in Australia, the Australian Law Reform Commission and the English Law Commission for model legislation and set-up.

The Malaysian Bar also welcomes the proposed composition of the commission to be “made up of retired or serving federal court judges, retired or serving law professors, experts or specialists on law, senior and experienced lawyers as well as senior members of the civil society.”

Another assurance by the Deputy Minister is that the proposed commissionwill be different from the present Malaysian Law Reform Committee (MLRC) that was established in 2009 headed, by the Deputy Minister and under the purview of the Prime Minister’s Department.

The Malaysian Bar expresses the hope that the words of the Deputy Minister are not merely “feel-good” rhetoric uttered ahead of a much-anticipated general election.

The issue of law reform is too critical and too pressing to be used as a political gimmick to garner votes and electoral support.

If the Malaysian Government is genuine and has the political will to fulfil its stated desire, then the Malaysian Bar would be more than willing to assist and play an active role in the process of forming and participating in this long overdue law reform commission.

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