KUALA LUMPUR (May 24): The Malaysian Bar says its welcomes the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz's reported announcement that the Government will look into establishing "an independent law reform commission to review and modernise archaic laws in the country".
In a statement on Thursday, Malaysian Bar president Lim Chee Wee said Nazri's announcement echoed a similar announcement made by Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong on Nov 8, 2011.
"The Malaysian Bar has repeatedly called for the establishment of an independent law reform commission that would undertake research, public consultations and legal policy development, and make recommendations to the Parliament, without fear or favour," he said.
Lim said Malaysia only needs to look to the New South Wales Law Commission in Australia, the Australian Law Reform Commission and the English Law Commission for model legislation and set-up.
He said the Malaysian Bar also welcomed the Minister's reported statement that the commission would comprise "people from all walks of life".
"In our press release of Dec 14, 2011, we had applauded Datuk Liew Vui Keong's reported announcement that the composition of the commission would include "retired or serving federal court judges, retired or serving law professors, experts or specialists on law, senior and experienced lawyers as well as senior members of the civil society," he said.
Lim said the Malaysian Bar hoped that the words of the Minister, and the Deputy Minister before him, were not merely "feel-good" rhetoric uttered ahead of a much-anticipated general election.
"The issue of law reform is too critical and too pressing to be used as a political gimmick to garner votes and electoral support.
"If the Malaysian Government is genuine and has the political will to fulfil its stated desire, then the Malaysian Bar would be more than willing to assist and play an active role in the process of forming and participating in this long overdue law reform commission," said Lim.