Draft of Legal Profession Bill isn’t from AG’s Chambers, says Sarawak DAP

Bandar Kuching MP Kelvin Yii.

KUCHING: DAP’s Bandar Kuching MP Kelvin Yii today said the widely-circulated draft of the Legal Profession Bill 2019 was not released by the federal government.

He said he had confirmed with de facto law minister Liew Vui Keong that the draft did not come from his office or the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC).

“It is a proposal from the Malaysian Bar Council to the AGC on the need to update and amend the Legal Profession Act (LPA) 1976,” he said, in a statement here today.

He said at present, the paper has not been brought to Liew’s attention for submission to the Cabinet for approval.

Yii said he disagreed with the proposal to repeal the Advocates Ordinance of Sabah and Advocates Ordinance of Sarawak.

He feared that repealing these laws would allow lawyers from the peninsula to practise in Sarawak without any application.

Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen supported Yii, objecting to the extension of the LPA 1976 to Sarawak.

“Many see it as an attempt to encroach upon Sarawak’s rights as currently the LPA 1976 is not applicable to Sarawak,” he said.

The state’s legal profession, he said, is governed by the Advocate Ordinance Sarawak 1953, which sets out the criteria to practise as a lawyer.

Meanwhile, legal practitioner Dominique Ng said the LPA 1976 cannot be extended to Sabah and Sarawak unless the states approved this through an enactment made by the Sabah and Sarawak legislative assemblies, as provided under Article 161B of the Federal Constitution.

“We will never allow that to happen,” he said.