Bar proposes e-voting to raise turnout for council election

Bar president George Varughese said the proposal was to increase the percentage of turnout to elect the 12 members to the Bar Council.

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Bar has proposed electronic voting to increase the percentage of turnout to elect 12 members to the Bar Council that manages the day-to-day affairs of the lawyers’ group in the peninsula.

Bar president George Varughese said this proposal was included in the amendments to the Legal Profession Act 1976 which would be submitted to the Attorney-General’s Chambers soon.

“Members are amenable to the suggestion to conduct electronic voting as one of the options to pick the 12 members during the on-going road show to brief them on key amendments to the LPA,” Varughese told FMT.

He said a higher percentage of turnout would give legitimacy to those elected to manage the council on behalf of the 19,000 members.

Varughese said the LPA currently only provided for the council to conduct voting by way of secret balloting and the number who cast their votes was about 20%.

“Most are not interested in the affairs of the council as they just want to renew their annual practising certificate for their livelihood,” he said.

However, Varughese said the election to pick the 12 members to the council for the 2019/2020 term saw a turnout of close to 30%.

“But we still want the percentage to go beyond the 50% mark by introducing other methods of voting,” he said.

Meanwhile, former Bar president Hendon Mohamed secured 3,375 votes to emerge top among 30 candidates who vied for the 12 positions on the council.

According to the Malaysian Bar website, only 5,512 members voted although 19,001 ballots were issued.

Another former Bar president, Sulaiman Abdullah, took second spot with 2,691 votes, followed by incumbent Bar secretary Roger Chan Weng Keng with 2,643 votes.

Others elected were Karen Cheah Yee Lynn, Ravi Nekoo, Muhammad Rafique Rashid Ali, Mohamad Ezri Abdul Wahab, Andrew Khoo Chin Hock, Lukman Sheriff Alias, Roger Tan Kor Mee, Salim Bashir and Yusfarizal Yusoff.