Law to check Bar Council funds
PETALING JAYA: The proposed Legal Profession Act (LPA) amendments should address issues of funding received by the Bar Council, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said ( pix).
In a statement issued yesterday, Azalina said the proposed amendments would deal with issues pertaining to any grant, gift, property or money received by the Bar Council to ensure it upholds justice without any personal interests or interference from external parties.
“Malaysia is a sovereign nation. We may have our differences but we must resolve it ourselves and not allow any external parties to meddle with our internal affairs and politics.”
Responding to the Bar Council’s admission that it received a research grant from billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Foundation (OSF), Azalina said the Societies Act 1966 (Act 335) and Societies Regulations 1984 should be amended to be enforced to all categories of organisations.
“There is a need to redefine the Societies Act by inserting the reporting procedure on donations received to ensure sound governance, accountability and transparency, which indirectly lead to better social and community development. “The same law should also provide room to regulate the registration of coalition of NGOs such as Bersih to prevent misuse,” she said.
Her response came after Bar Council Migrants, Refugees and Immigration Affairs Committee chairman Datuk Seri M. Ramachelvam had admitted last week that it had received a sum of US$15,000 (RM63,165) from OSF in January 2015 as a grant for research on migrant workers in Malaysia.
Police are currently investigating the Bar Council under Section 124C of the Penal Code for allegedly attempting to undermine parliamentary democracy.