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22 OCtOBER 2011 YLC - A DAY With thE YOunG LAWYERS At BRiCKFiELDS ASiA COLLEGE Report prepared by Kenneth Wong Poh Lim After the previous 3 successful “University Visits” series organised by the KLYLC in collaboration with the PWC, the “University Visits” series resumed at Brickfields Asia College (“BAC”) which took place on 22 October 2011. The event started at about 10:30am with an introductory speech by Kenneth Wong, Chairperson of KLYLC. One particular moment which impressed the volunteer lawyers was when the participants unanimously answered that they had voluntarily attended this “University Visits” and were not “forced” by the law society or the lecturers, in response to a question by Kenneth on whether the participants actually wanted to attend this “University Series” session - a rarity indeed!
Using the same mechanism and modules, the volunteer lawyers from KLYLC and PWC kicked-off the visit by having the participants (approximately 50 of them) participating in a session entitled “Where do you stand?” which was led by Yohendra Nadarajan and Lai Yee Fan.
Yohendra then led the next session entitled “Understanding Your Rights” wherein he gave an inspiring talk to educate the participants about their rights under various legislations and the importance of such legislations being ratified by our country.
The participants were then given the opportunities to engage in a question-and-answer session with the KLYLC and PWC team, particularly in respect of the legal practice for young lawyers.
The students were also given a set of the MyConstitution Campaign’s Rakyat Guides booklets and a copy of the Pupillage Handbook, courtesy of the KLBC.
18 nOVEMBER 2011 YLC 2nD SOCiAL GEt tOGEthER The 2nd YLC Social was held on Friday, 18 november 2011 at Bakita, 33 Jalan Berangan, Changkat Bukit Bintang. The event started at about 7.00pm and ended at approximately 12.00am. The KLYLC intends to continue organising such similar event with the intention to provide a platform for the members of the Bar, in particular the young lawyers, to interact and socialise with fellow lawyers on a more regular basis. This 2nd YLC Social was attended by more than 50 persons.
03 DECEMBER 2011 ChEQuE PRESEntAtiOn tO ASRAMA CAhAYA Following the successful Charity night 2011 held on 30 September 2011, the KLYLC is now in the midst of distributing the proceeds from the Charity Night 2011 to the respective charitable homes/organisation. On 3 December 2011, 6 members of the KLYLC went to Asrama Cahaya to distribute the proceeds to the home. The KLYLC members assisted in distributing goodie bags to each of the 35 residents of the home. In total, RM20,000 was set aside for Asrama Cahaya wherein RM15,000 was given in cash and the remaining RM5,000 would be in kind based on the needs of the home and the residents.
07 DECEMBER 2011 ChEQuE PRESEntAtiOn tO MERCY MALAYSiA (SOMALiA RELiEF FunD) On 07 December 2011, KLYLC Chairperson, went to Mercy Malaysia to hand over their share of the proceeds from the Charity Night. In total, RM4,000 was given in cash. Raja Riza Shazmin the Hon. Secretary of Mercy Malaysia accepted the cheque on behalf of Mercy Malaysia.
10 DECEMBER 2011 ViSit tO Chin REFuGEE COMMunitY CEntRE Members of the KLYLC visited the Chin Refugee Community Centre at Jalan Loke Yew, one of the recipients of the Charity Night 2011’s proceeds on 10 December 2011 to check on their needs. The refugees in Chin Refugee Community Centre had entered into Malaysia to seek refuge from their original country whilst waiting for resettlement in a safer country. Being the aboriginal inhabitants of Chinland (Burma) for hundreds of years, Chin people have a distinctive nationality with their own culture, religion, politics and literacy. The Chin Refugee Community Centre house 4 classrooms, an office, a kitchen, a chapel and living quarters for the Chin people.
28 DECEMBER 2011 ChEQuE PRESEntAtiOn tO ShELtER hOME On 28 December 2011, Kenneth Wong, Daniel Albert and Munirah Maarof, handed over a portion of the proceeds from Charity Night 2011 (amounting to RM30,840) to Shelter Home for Children. Part of the monies would be used to purchase a set of water filters for the home as part of the measures to improve the quality of life of the children in Shelter Home for Children. Mr Cheok Hoong Poh, the General Manager of Shelter Home for Children accepted the cheque on behalf of Shelter Home for Children.
1. REPORt OF thE MAnAGEMEnt PAnEL intRODuCtiOn In June 2006, I attended my first legal aid duty as a chambering pupil at the Bar Council Legal Aid Centre (Kuala Lumpur) (KLLAC). Since then, there has been no turning back.
Today, five and a half years later, I am enormously impressed and pleased with what the Bar Council Legal Aid Centre (Kuala Lumpur) has achieved and the direction in which it is headed. 2011 has been all about taking Legal Aid to the next level.
This year the Team worked tirelessly for the Bersih 2.0 rally with support of many members of the Bar and even members of the public. The Team has also been on standby for Students, Workers, the Malaysian Bar (walk for freedom) as well as members of the marginalised communities such as the recently misunderstood Sexuality Merdeka movement.
Seeing as there seems to be continued actions against gatherings and assemblies, the Urgent Arrest Team will continue to exist and serve.
nEW PROGRAM - PROJECt OutREACh Project Outreach which commenced as a pilot project in 2010 became a regular program of the Centre in 2011. Project Outreach is a service provided by about 15 young volunteer lawyers who run a legal aid clinic every week in Brickfields on Sundays from 10.00am to 3.00pm, advising and assisting the public on legal matters. Project Outreach is expanding its work to Jalan Sentosa - an area off Old Klang Road in January 2012.
nEW PROGRAM - COMMunitY EDuCAtiOn The brain child of the Executive Director of the Legal Aid Centre - Community Education is a long overdue prerequisite for the people of Malaysia.
I had the opportunity of training the first batch of the community participants on their rights when stopped by the police as well as the basic procedures on arrest and remand. It was a startling surprise to find out that simple information that we (lawyers) take for granted is nowhere within the knowledge of the masses.
However I also learnt that educating the community was not a one way street. It was a learning experience for me to find out about the experiences and realities of the marginalised and impecunious communities when dealing with the law and the authorities.
The Community Education Training provided basic legal information to the public on their rights in criminal, employment, family as well as civil matters. While it is impossible to educate the lay person in one training session for him/her to self-represent, the information provides them with the power to understand the process and make informed decisions when faced with any of the above situations and to not be taken ‘for a ride’ so to speak by the authorities or other litigants.
nEW COMMittEE - RESEARCh AnD LAW REFORM COMMittEE A group of young lawyers have felt the need to demystify the law and make it accessible and understandable to the legal community and NGOs. The aim is to encourage more lawyers to help members of the public when the need arises. They are coming out with one of KLLAC’s first publications - a user friendly book on arrest and remand.
nEtWORKinG - ViSitS tO LOCAL AnD intERnAtiOnAL LEGAL AiD CEntRES The KLLAC is happy with the increased networking among State LACs for programs and trainings. The Centre also had better working relationship with the police, prison authorities, welfare and other relevant departments.
Some members of the panel were able to visit legal aid centres or attend conferences in other countries where they were able to learn and also offer to help other countries in the setting up of legal aid systems.
LAunChED - nAtiOnAL LEGAL AiD FOunDAtiOn (nLAF) / YAYASAn BAntuAn GuAMAn KEBAnGSAAn (YBGK) For several years the Bar Council and the Legal Aid Centres had lobbied for the implementation of a government funded legal aid system. With the persistence of members of the legal fraternity, especially the erstwhile President of the Malaysian Bar, Mr Ragunath Kesavan, the past Chairman of the KLLAC Mr Ravi Nekoo, with the assistance of the Chief Executive officer of the Bar Council Mr Rajen Devaraj and the Executive Director of the KLLAC, Ms Stephanie Bastian, the National Legal Aid Foundation (nLAF) was set up and officially launched in February 2011, by the Prime Minister of Malaysia.
There have been several questions raised on ‘what exactly is the Foundation going to do? In a nutshell, currently in Malaysia 80% of persons charged with criminal offences are unrepresented. The Foundation has been set up to act on behalf of Malaysians charged with criminal offences (with death penalty cases excluded) from the point of arrest to appeal.
BAR COUNCIL LEGAL AID CENTRE (KUALA LUMPUR)58 ANNUAL REPORT 2011/12 • The members of the nLAF committee have travelled to each and every state in Malaysia to train lawyers on the basic understanding of the foundation, on the standard operating procedures as well as the basic legal knowledge needed to undertake foundation work.
The Foundation is currently waiting for confirmation from the Police as well as the Attorney General’s Chambers to commence the scheme. Legal Representation is a right just like the right to medical attention. It needs to be taken seriously.
COnCLuSiOn It is my 3rd Annual Report for the KLLAC and all I can say is that, I am not tired. The years I have spent at the KLLAC have been nothing short of a roller coaster ride of experiences, memories and challenges.
thAnK YOu no forward would be complete without the thank you to all our members. In no particular order I would like to thank the
NLAF TRAINING PARTICIPANTSI believe I speak on behalf of all the trainers when I say thank you for all your support. With the successful training in every state we feel more and more confident that this national Legal Aid Foundation is going to become a reality. We appreciate the participation that you have all provided as well as all the representation that each and every one of you will be attempting.
VoLuNTeeR LAwYeRS We would like to emphasise that what we have achieved to date would not have been possible, if not for the tremendous support from our many dedicated volunteer lawyers. We would like to take this opportunity to thank every one of them.
PuPILS While the 14 days of compulsory legal aid duty might not have been an “exciting” prospect before you commenced your legal aid, I trust this view might have diminished towards the end of your term with LAC. We the committee members of the KLLAC acknowledge that the mainstays of the KLLAC are our pupils who carry out our various programs and activities PRoJeCT HeADS, MeMBeRS oF THe MANAGeMeNT PANeL AND oFFICe BeAReRS My special thanks goes out to all the Project Heads, members of the Management Panel - 2011 has been as pleasurable as 2009 and 2010. While we have had a few changes in Members of the Management Panel over the years, I humbly thank the members who have moved on to other committees for all their support in LAC.
For those of you who are continuing to support us on the Management Panel, please let me say thank you for all your work, it has been a pleasure serving with all of you.
I would like to mention my thanks to the KLLAC Secretary, Ms Harleen Leena whom I have had the opportunity to serve with as an office bearer for 3 years, Assistant Secretary, Mr Abd Shukor Tokachil and Treasurer, Ms Rajesweri Paramasevam. It has been an honor serving with the three of you. Your assistance has made the burden of the position as Chairman seems weightless.
STAFF oF THe KLLAC To Jessie, Mani, Jeeva, Chitrah, Elizabeth, Jayashree and Sheena, it has been a pleasure working with all of you. Your attention to detail as well as your support far outside of your working hours has made the jobs of the Management Panel devoid of stress.
To Ms. Stephanie Bastian, the Executive Director of KLLAC, you are the backbone of the establishment. There is nothing I can state in the forward that can adequately explain my appreciation for your support and assistance. You have been the source of inspiration to many if not all of the members of KLLAC and I personally look forward to working together in the future.
Ravin Singh Chairperson Bar Council Legal Aid Centre (Kuala Lumpur)
intRODuCtiOn The Legal Awareness Program (“Program”) is one of the most important programs of the Bar Council Legal Aid Centre (KL) (“BCLAC (KL)”). Through this program, pupils who are the backbone of the Centre, will experience the “real dimension” as to what is required and expected from them during their 14 days of Compulsory Legal Aid Duty. Further, the program will introduce the various programs/clinics conducted by the BCLAC (KL) to the pupils.
OBJECtiVES To help the pupils to discover and understand their roles and responsibilities as lawyers in the society;to inculcate a sense of social responsibility and a concern for human rights, the rule of law and justice among the pupils; to expose the pupils to legal aid as well as to instill and develop a long term commitment towards legal aid and equal access to justice, which extends beyond their Compulsory Legal Aid Duties and various BCLAC (KL) programs/clinics; and to educate the pupils to utilise their legal knowledge and skills in helping those who are in need of legal aid and to contribute back to the society.
ACtiVitiES As of 31 December 2011, the Legal Awareness Program Committee (“Committee”) has conducted the following programs/
1. COMMittEE MEEtinGS Three (3) committee meetings were held throughout the year.
2. ORiEntAtiOn SESSiOnS Twelve (12) orientation sessions were held and the Committee had trained approximately 910 pupils from Batch 66, 67, 68 & 69. The orientation sessions utilise a participatory methodology, incorporating group dynamics, open discussion, human rights input as well as introduction to the various BCLAC (KL) programs/clinics.
The Committee has also opened up the orientation sessions to pupils from other states. To date, approximately 170 pupils from Selangor Legal Aid Centre have been trained.
The sessions were facilitated by Vernon Jude Samuel, Harleen Leena, Abd Shukor Tokachil, Mohd Radzlan Jalaludin, Puspawati Rosman, Sasha Lyna, Murnie Hidayah, Rajen Devaraj, Stephanie Bastian and Sheena Manicam.
3 EXit EVALuAtiOn SESSiOnS 3 Exit Evaluation sessions were held for all pupils from Batch 65, 66 and 67 who were involved in the various BCLAC (KL) Programs/Clinics. The exit evaluation session for Batch 68 pupils will be held in January 2012 due to the festive season.
This session is designed to appreciate the pupils contributions toward the public and LAC. A total of 600 pupils have participated in the sessions and shared their experience in the various programs/clinics which they have served as part of their legal aid duty.
This program emphasised on the importance of the role played by pupils/young lawyers in the society and their duties towards the society. The Committee also used this opportunity to recruit young volunteers/leaders for legal aid work and to obtain more detailed feedback and recommendation to improve BCLAC (KL) programs and the Malaysian Bar as a whole.
For this year, at national Legal Aid Committee’s request, the Committee extended invitation to other State LACs and it was encouraging to see a total of 17 participants from, Selangor, Kedah, Kelantan, Perak, Pahang and Melaka together with 35 participants from KL participated in the said training.
The training was facilitated by Committee Members, Volunteer Lawyers and LAC Staff namely, Vernon Jude Samuel, Rajen Devaraj, Harleen Leena, Abd Shukor Tokachil, Ahmad Shahrizal, Adora Yusof, Juvita Jumpil, Intan Farida Adnan, Stephanie Bastian, Sheena Manicam and Manimaran Sinnakanoo.