Ex-rep smells a rat in draft bill to amend the Legal Profession Act

Voon Lee Shan

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KUCHING, April 27: Former Batu Lintang assemblyman Voon Lee Shan believes that the federal government could be behind the drafting of a bill to amend the Legal Profession Act.

He based his hunch on a remark by Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii that `It (bill) is basically a proposal to get feedback from the Bar’s members and it’s associates’.

Voon, who is also a practising lawyer and legal advisor for Parti Bumi Kenyalang, opined that nobody could be a busybody to do such a job and that it could be a systematic strategy by the federal government to take away the constitutional rights of Sabah and Sarawak.

In a statement today, he said if the bill was really the work of Putrajaya, it showed that the federal government had very little respect for the people of Sarawak and Sabah.

“This is because Sabah and Sarawak have their own laws to regulate the legal profession in both Borneon states,” he argued.

Voon cautioned that if the bill were tabled in Parliament, it would be passed because Sarawak and Sabah would not have enough votes to oppose it.

“Pakatan Harapan MPs from Sabah and Sarawak may speak against the bill during the debate, but they would be expected to vote for the bill into law. They are bound to support their own PH (Pakatan Harapan) government,” said Voon.

He reckoned that once passed into law and extended to both states, the rice bowls of lawyers in Sabah and Sarawak would be affected.

“Lawyers in the Borneon states may not be able to compete with lawyers from Malaya because law firms from Malaya are many, if not most are much bigger than any law firm here.

“Since banks and insurance companies are from Malaya, they would, for convenience, prefer to deal with law firms from Malaya and not with law firms in the Borneo states.

“Lawyers from Malaya will then be engaged by Petronas to re-file the suit against our Sarawak government to claim exclusive rights over oil and gas in our state under the Petroleum Development Act 1974,” he said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen said in a statement yesterday that the proposed amendment bill was proposed by the Malaysian Bar Council in January this year, but it had not obtained any endorsement of the federal government. — DayakDaily