«THURSDAY 23RD FEBRUARY 2012 02:00 PM AUDITORIUM, WISMA MCA JALAN AMPANG, KUALA LUMPUR KUALA LUMPUR BAR COMMITTEE 2011/12 L to R (Front): Mary Tan ...»
READ THIS CAREFULLY – Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, c3 of the Statute of Westminster 1354, Article 5 (1) of the Federal Constitution, Article 8 (1) of the Federal Constitution, Article 8 (2) of the Federal Constitution, Article 5(1) of the Federal Constitution, Article 10 (1) (a) and (b) Federal Constitution and Article 160 (1) Federal Constitution.
C. thE LAC/Pt/MAC LEGAL CLiniC COMMittEE 15 years on and for years to come we will be still providing our services to the marginalised communities and continue this undertaking despite the negative portrayal of them by certain groups. We have been assisting the transgender, homosexuals, sex workers, drug users and people living with HIV for many years.
They were legally represented for cross dressing offences, provided legal intervention when they are harassed by the authorities, attended to remand hearings, meet OCPDs when there were mass arrests of sex workers and even held dialogues with the relevant authorities (JAWI, Syariah Prosecutors, Syariah Lawyers, Baitulmal, Police Officers, OCPDs, Attorney General’s Chambers, JAIS) to streamline our work and to sensitise them about the marginalised communities. We have to note here that we received positive support from the said authorities.
We must continue to assist them and to continue our fight to Dispel All Forms of Discrimination and Stigmatisation Against the Sexually Marginalised communities.
For the second time we are pleading to all State Legal Aid Centres to assist us in opening a Legal Clinic for these communities and we are ever willing to assist in formulating and sharing our resources.
Finally, I extend my deepest THANK YOU and appreciation to all of my committee members, my staff and lawyers from the KLLAC who assisted in the running of the LAC/PT/MAC Legal Clinic and hopefully I would receive more support from the other State Legal Aid Centres.
This Clinic facilitates liaison and co-operation between the KLLAC and NGO Partners namely AWAM, WAO and SIS. This basically allows KLLAC to broaden the scope of lending a hand to the needy and to those who need legal representation. The clinic provides training to chambering pupils that covers various areas of the law, among which are Domestic Violence and Syariah Law.
Tenaganita is a Malaysian NGO that protects and promotes the rights of women, migrants and refugees. Their main vision is for a just, free and democratic society where all are treated as equal human beings with dignity and rights. The KLLAC works jointly with them in order to promote this cause.
This year there were four batches (Batch 65, 66, 67 and 68) of chambering students that were assigned to Tenaganita.
Throughout the 3 months, they worked together to help the NGO achieve their objectives.
This year as well we had 4 Mid Term Reviews, during which pupils shared their problems that they faced during the duration
of their Legal Aid. Among them were:
a) The need to improve the filing system
b) Lack of facilities (eg: computer, air-cond)
The KLLAC works with the NGO to ensure the protection for refugees in Malaysia and is solely responsible for the reception, registration, documentation and status determination of asylum-seekers and refugees. This year there were 4 batches (Batch 65-68) of chambering students that were attached to UNHCR for their Legal Aid duty.
There were 4 trainings and 4 Mid Term Reviews that were held for the year. At the Mid Term Review various games and activities were carried out. Besides that, pupils were also told to list down the problems that they faced during the program
and also to suggest how to improve things. Among the problems that were highlighted were:
a) Lack of manpower
e) Facilities-lack of room and information Besides that, pupils also expressed their experience during the presentation whereby they visited a community during an outreach program and were very moved by what they saw. Zaim, the representative that was present from UNHCR explained that they plan to do more outreach projects for the community and that more pupils were be able to get involved in it.
BAR COUNCIL LEGAL AID CENTRE (KUALA LUMPUR)72 ANNUAL REPORT 2011/12 • Overall, students were pleased with the program and were grateful for all the experiences that they had gained through their duration of Legal Aid.
12. BCLAC (KL) REPORt On PROJECt OutREACh Report prepared by Shairahtul Adora Yusof
On 23 October 2010, Project Outreach was officially launched. Since then, Project Outreach has given legal advice, referred clients to various relevant bodies and also to the Bar Council Legal Aid Centre KL for representation.
For the past one year, Project Outreach has continued to advocate its objective; to come forth and provide legal aid to the community. Project Outreach was initiated by a group of pupils back then, whom have since become members of the Bar and are practising in their respective firms. Despite their hectic schedules and growing workload, the members of Project Outreach still make time to contribute to the community.
Project Outreach is guided by its objectives and they are as follows:To reach out to people who are in need of legal aid, regardless of their race, religion or social status;
2. To educate people regarding their legal right and the position of law on their respective issues;
3. To assist and direct people to the proper avenues in addressing their problems;
4. To create awareness among the public on the existence and functions of all the Legal Aid Centres and other relevant bodies.
Project Outreach currently has one legal outpost in Brickfields and it operates every Sunday from 10.00 am until 3.00 p.m. This outpost is located on the 1st Floor, Wisma Koponas, Jalan Tun Sambathan, 50740 Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur (above CIMB Bank). For every session, there are at least 2 members who will be on duty to attend to walk-in clients.
Members of Project Outreach are all qualified practising lawyers and have gone through the in-house trainings provided by the Bar Council Legal Aid Centre KL. These trainings were mainly conducted by senior lawyers specialising in the relevant area of law such as Family Law, Employment Law, Criminal Law, Law on Immigration, Procedural Law etc. For future recruitment of members, further trainings will be conducted in order to familiarise the new members with the legal issues, manner of advising and reference materials (manuals and guidelines) available.
Although the number of clients visiting the outpost has decreased, members of Project Outreach are committed to further market and promote its cause to different parts of Kuala Lumpur and broaden the exposure by continuing its announcements and advertisements on the radio. At the same time, Project Outreach had also bid farewell to a few of its members due to work commitments. As such, the team will also be looking into recruiting new members to volunteer at the outpost and keep on realising the group’s objectives.
In conclusion, although Project Outreach has yet to diversify its operations, we still hope to further reach out to the community and meet our basic objectives. Also, our deepest gratitude to the Secretariat and all other parties that had helped Project Outreach become what it is today and we hope such support will continue with the opening of the second outpost and all other future undertakings.
Over the past few years, we have witnessed a number of situations where members of the public have been arrested and detained for taking part in peaceful mass gatherings and assemblies. Those who were arrested are very vulnerable and often do not have access to legal counsel. In such situations, they are not fully aware of their rights and their various options.
In view of all these incidents and where members of the public have been arrested and detained the Bar Council Legal Aid Centre (Kuala Lumpur) (“BCLAC (KL)”) has stood up to lend a hand to the members of the public. One must take note that the Urgent Arrest Team was mobilised, trained and set up to provide legal assistance and representation to those who are arrested. The Urgent Arrest Team is formed by a group of committed volunteer lawyers from the Centre who have received training in law and skills to assist during mass arrests.
This year, through requests, the Urgent Arrest Team conducted trainings and was put on standby for the following events:
In order to be more effective and efficient in dealing or handling such situations, the BCLAC (KL) last year developed an Urgent Arrest Training Manual. The Manual was tested by way of training which was attended by about 25 participants. Just before the Bersih Rally this year, the Centre held a training for about 150 lawyers who volunteered their assistance for the Bersih rally
intRODuCtiOn The Bar Council Legal Aid Centre (Kuala Lumpur)’s BULLET (Animal Rights) Committee (“Committee”) was initiated in 2010 by the BCLAC (KL) Chairperson, Ravin Singh.
The main objective of this Committee is to promote animal welfare in Malaysia through a reform of the current Malaysian laws on animal rights, which is perceived as outdated compared to the laws in other developed nations. The Committee also aims to promptly raise awareness among the public on the responsibilities of dealing with animals in a more humane manner.
The Committee will predominantly focus on the existing laws on animal rights in Malaysia and recommend reforms on these laws. For instance, the maximum punishment that can be imposed on an offender of cruelty to animals under section 44 of the Animal Act 1953 is only RM200 or imprisonment for a term of six months or both. The punishment is seen as extremely lenient as compared to the punishment meted out in other developed countries and creates an impression that cruelty to animals is a minor offence that can be easily tolerated. Furthermore, the lack of legislation which protects animal welfare may instill a lackadaisical attitude among the public towards protecting animal welfare in Malaysia.
Therefore, the Committee aims to make a comparative study of animal welfare laws in other developed nations such as Switzerland and England in order to draft the most appropriate animal legislation that can be applied in Malaysia. The Committee also hopes to liaise with the relevant bodies and authorities in Malaysia to obtain more insight on enforcement procedures to be undertaken under a reformed law.
ACtiVitiES AS OF 15 DECEMBER 2011
The Committee is still in its preliminary stage and currently the Committee is working on the following:
i) to analyse the animal laws which are currently available in Malaysia;
ii) to make a comparative study of animal laws in Malaysia against the animal laws of other countries and list down the best practices that can be adopted in Malaysia; and iii) to discuss the findings and come up with a draft proposal on law reform that contain a structure of guidelines in relation to the treatment of animals, the prevention of harm of animals, the enforcement of animal laws and the imposition of a more deterrent sentence for animal cruelty offences.
FutuRE ACtiVitiES The Committee plans to speak to the relevant bodies and authorities to obtain a better understanding involving the enforcement of animal welfare laws. The Committee also aims to come up with an education program to create heightened awareness among members of the public on animal rights.
• Commitment from Committee members to discuss and brainstorm for ideas to implement stronger animal laws for Malaysia and improve animal welfare • Determination in propelling a change in animal welfare laws in Malaysia to keep up with other developed countries
intRODuCtiOn The Bar Council Legal Aid Centre (Kuala Lumpur)’s Law Reform & Research Committee was initiated in 2010 comprising a group of enthusiastic young lawyers and pupils who are passionate about legal aid. The Committee is the product of Exit Evaluation Get-together Session organised by the Legal Awareness Program on 20 August 2010 for volunteers who have indicated interest to join Legal Aid as volunteers.
The main aim of this Committee is to delve into research and to recommend law reform as well as organising educational trainings, talks and seminars. It is hoped that with the work that is done in the Committee, there would be more clarity in the application of the law especially in areas where there is a need for reform.
The Committee is in the midst of finalising the “Guide to Law and Practice on Arrest and Remand” which is aimed to be published by early next year. The said manual, which will be available to the public and is intended to be used as a Standard Operating Procedure which enables practitioners regardless of their experience in remand proceedings to have a better understanding of the remand procedure and also serves to educate the public on their rights during arrest and remand.
Great time and effort has been undertaken to prepare the said manual by the committee members under the guidance of experienced practitioners in the area and the staff of the KLLAC whereby it is anticipated that there will be further books and/ or guidelines in other areas of the law in the future.
BAR COUNCIL LEGAL AID CENTRE (KUALA LUMPUR)76 ANNUAL REPORT 2011/12 • StREnGthS Committee members’ commitment, their ability to research and come up with ideas on certain topics.
WEAKnESSES Time-consuming and lack of human resource support.
16. BCLAC (KL) REPORt On COMMunitY EDuCAtiOn Report prepared by Secretariat The Community Education Program is a pilot project introduced in 2011 to offer educational sessions to members of the public or organisations or groups of people involved with working with people.
During the course of KLLAC programs and activities it was abundantly noticeable that the citizens or ordinary people were largely ignorant about the laws, the procedures and their rights under the laws.
Hence the emergence of the concept of community education - the KLLAC felt there was a need to teach people about the fundamentals of law and their rights and to empower them to help themselves.
Furthermore members in the KLLAC were supportive of the idea that legal aid and Legal Aid Centres should connect with people and the community.
The main purpose or the aim of the program is to empower their legal knowledge especially in key areas of the law such as Criminal matters, Family, Syariah, Employment and also general Court Procedures in relation to civil or criminal matters.
The program will run for a total duration of 6 months. The program successfully kick-started in the month of July 2011 and is ongoing. Below is the brief view of what BCLAC (KL) has done for the past few months:
Upon the completion of the entire program the participants will be presented with a certificate to acknowledge their participation in the said program
17. BCLAC (KL) REPORt On AttAChMEnt PROGRAM Report prepared by Secretariat The Secretariat at the Bar Council Legal Aid Centre (KL) runs an attachment program tailored for students from both public and private institutions. This program is especially catered to those who are eager to experience the nature of the Centre’s role in the legal system.
Students especially with legal background are most welcomed to partake in this program where they will be exposed to the Centre’s activities via the available programs. Among the programs included are:a) Legal Aid Centre (“LAC”) Clinic (where distressed clients are interviewed by pupil-in-chambers and given advice);
b) Dock Brief Program (where pupil-in-chambers conduct mitigation for those who have pleaded guilty);