Show some leniency, Sabah law firms tell financial institutions

Sabah Law Society president Roger Chin urges financial institutions not to impose unnecessary demands on their panel lawyers and to show some compassion during this Covid-19 period. (Facebook pic)

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah lawyers have called on financial institutions in the state to exercise some leniency with firms providing legal services to them during the movement control order (MCO) period.

Sabah Law Society (SLS) president Roger Chin said a number of financial institutions in Sabah are compelling their panel law firms to adhere to strict timelines in the provision of legal services and completion of tasks.

He said insistence on meeting the usual deadlines at this critical time may be tantamount to encouraging legal firms and their staff to breach the MCO.

“The SLS notes that financial institutions, which are defined as essential services, are allowed to operate during the MCO period.

“However, many businesses providing supporting services to these financial institutions , including law firms, are required to close to prevent mass movement or gatherings across the country to prevent the spread of Covid-19,” he said here today.

As such, Chin urged financial institutions not to impose unnecessary demands on their panel lawyers and to show some understanding or compassion during this period.

At the same time, he said the SLS also requested government departments to exercise consideration if panel lawyers were unable to meet deadlines in submitting documents.

“The SLS urges government departments and Bank Negara Malaysia to take notice that some of the tasks involved in conveyancing practices will unavoidably be delayed without the privilege of having the physical files and other facilities normally available.

“As such, the society supports the plea to government departments, Bank Negara Malaysia and all financial institutions to relax standard operating procedures requiring strict compliance with timelines while the MCO is in force,” he said.

Chin said the SLS will soon engage their stakeholders, including the Inland Revenue Board, the Lands and Surveys Department and the Sabah Commercial Banks Association, to resolve the deadline problem.

“Only with mutual respect and co-operation from all players will Malaysia be able to overcome Covid-19 together,” he said.