Report errant lawyers to disciplinary board, Bar urges CJ, public

Malaysian Bar president Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor.

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Bar has urged Chief Justice Richard Malanjum and the public to lodge an official complaint with the Advocates and Solicitors Disciplinary Board (ASDB) if there is any evidence of professional misconduct by lawyers.

Newly-elected president Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor said the Bar stands ready to render assistance to the chief justice and any would-be complainants in having their grievances properly directed to the disciplinary board.

In addition, they can also lodge police reports, he said in a statement.

Fareed said this in response to news reports last week where Malanjum alleged the existence of the “unhealthy practice among lawyers of dropping names of prominent judges, prosecutors, policemen and investigating officers to impress prospective clients”.

The top judge also said there were lawyers who asked clients for money to “share with the magistrate, judge, prosecuting officer and policemen”.

“The Bar views with deep concern these grave allegations by the chief justice of professional misconduct by lawyers.”

He said the Bar abhors, and condemns, any form of corrupt practice or unethical conduct by lawyers.

Chief Justice Richard Malanjum.

Fareed said any inference of such misconduct is highly damaging to the credibility and reputation of the legal profession and must not be taken as fact until and unless proven to be true.

He also said as an equal and committed partner in the administration of justice, the Bar would continue to seek the judiciary’s views on how both could work together to ensure the efficient and effective administration of justice.

It is in this vein, he said, that the Bar had expressed concern over what has been perceived by lawyers and litigants as an over-emphasis on the speed of disposal of cases — at the expense of fairness and the overall quality of justice.

“This has led to an unfavourable public perception of the judiciary’s reliance on the use of key performance indicators (KPIs) as the predominant criteria in the disposal of cases,” he said.

Fareed said the emphasis must be on quality and integrity over quantity, and to ensure that justice is in no instance sacrificed for speed or expediency.

“The Bar will do its utmost to protect the interests of the public and members of the Bar in matters relating to the administration of justice,” he added.