Bar Resolves To Enlarge Council From 12 To 16 Members





Members of the Malaysian Bar have voted to increase the number of elected council members from 12 to 16 from the next election onwards.
They also voted in today’s extraordinary general meeting (EGM) that there should be laws that “automatically disqualify” elected representatives who defect from the political party they contested under.
They further passed a resolution that Malaysia must stop discriminating against children based on their parents’ marital status or the gender of their Malaysian citizen parent.
Of the nine motions discussed during today’s EGM, these were the three that passed.
Afterwards, Bar Council president AG Kalidas told the media the council will next inform members on the new number of council members to elect for the 2022/2023 term.
“We just have to send a notice to all our members on how many will be elected for the election year 2022/2023.
“[...] The process is absolutely the same, it’s just the number (of council members) changes,” he explained in a press conference held at Wisma Badan Peguam Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur.
The basis of the motion to enlarge the council was due to the increase in the number of members, Council committees and Council election candidates since the Bar was formed in 1977.
Anti-hopping resolution
As for the “party-hopping” resolution, aside from resolving that a new law was needed to disqualify defectors, the EGM also decided that there should be a fresh election after a defection.
This was regardless of whether defectors changed parties or changed their independent status.
A law was further needed to allow voters to “remove” their MP or state assemblyperson due to a “loss of confidence”, they resolved.


“(This is) akin to the right of MPs to change the prime minister, resulting in an immediate election for the people to democratically choose their new MP or assemblyperson,” the resolution read.
The EGM also voted that the Election Commission must be empowered to “investigate and prosecute” those who violated election laws.
Laws barring individuals from running for office for a certain number of years after serving their jail sentence or paying a fine should also be abolished, they resolved.
“(This is) not only unjust but also encourages discrimination against ex-convicts after they have already served their sentences,” the resolution read.
Abolish gender discrimination
The third resolution adopted by the EGM, which was attended by 2,735 members, was to protect the rights of the child and abolish gender discrimination in Malaysian laws.
Members resolved that Malaysia should not discriminate against a child if the child was not conceived or born within a legally registered marriage.
They also voted in favour of amending the Federal Constitution to ensure a Malaysian woman has equal rights as a Malaysian man to conferring her citizenship to her child.
They further resolved that a child whose either biological parent is a Malaysian citizen shall be entitled to Malaysian citizenship regardless of whether their parents were married or whether the marriage was registered.
“It is hereby resolved that Malaysia (should) stop referring to a child as illegitimate or illegal considering the negative impact on the child [...] which may affect his or her development and well-being and is certainly not in the best interest of the child,” the resolution read.

Kalidas was joined by Bar Council vice-president Surindar Singh, secretary Shahareen Begum and treasurer Murshidah Mustafa during the press conference.  - Mkini


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