Malaysia: Don’t Undercut Independence of the Bar

July 19, 2016

Human Rights Watch

The Malaysian government should stop trying to muzzle the outspoken Malaysian Bar, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to Prime Minister Najib Razak. The government’s proposed amendments to the Legal Profession Act, which are expected to be submitted to parliament in October 2016, would interfere with the bar’s self-regulation and independence.

Then-President of the Bar Council of Malaysia Christopher Leong speaks at a rally calling for the repeal of the Sedition Act in Kuala Lumpur on October 16, 2014.

(Then-President of the Malaysian Bar Christopher Leong speaks at a rally calling for the repeal of the Sedition Act in Kuala Lumpur on October 16, 2014. © 2014 Reuters)

“The Malaysian government’s blatant attempt to silence the country’s bar shows little concern for the immense damage this will do to the rule of law in the country,” said Phil Robertson. “The government should drop its proposed amendments so the bar remains free to choose its own leaders, act without improper government interference, and speak out on legal issues.”

Human Rights Watch said that the proposed amendments are contrary to international human rights principles and called on the government to withdraw them.


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