UPR submission Malaysia
In March 2018, Lawyers for Lawyers submitted a report for the Universal Periodic Review of Malaysia. This review will take place in November 2018.
In the report, Lawyers for Lawyers highlighted that the Malaysian authorities do not always uphold the necessary guarantees for the proper functioning of the legal profession in practice, as set out in the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.
Lawyers for Lawyers expressed concern about the fact that lawyers in Malaysia who work on sensitive cases can be the subject of improper interference, arrests and even criminal proceedings.
Lawyers for Lawyers has been informed by lawyers in Malaysia that they are in some cases subjected to harassment, improper interference and in some cases even criminal prosecution when exercising their right to freedom of expression. According to our information, the 1948 Sedition Act is used increasingly to obstruct legal professionals and lawyers who express their views on matters concerning the law, the administration of justice and the promotion and protection of human rights.
It is our understanding that the Malaysian government has initiated a new process intended to make comprehensive amendments to the Legal Profession Act 1976 (LPA). The Bar Council of Malaysia is a corporate body established under the LPA. Lawyers for Lawyers expressed concern about the process of drawing up the reform proposals and the composition of the special committee, as these proposals may include changes to the internal management of the Bar Council and its election process. Therefore, Lawyers for Lawyers stressed the importance of guaranteeing the independence of the Malaysian Bar and refraining from adopting any legislation which may interfere with such independence.
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