Wan Junaidi hopes draft Legal Profession Bill 2019 not another attempt to take away Sarawak’s right

Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar

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By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, April 26: Santubong MP Dato Sri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar questioned whether a draft Legal Profession Bill 2019 that is now in circulation in the legal fraternity is another attempt by Malaya to bulldoze its way into Sarawak’s legal arena.

He said the passing of this bill would have serious implications.

“If this law is passed based on this drafted bill, the Ordinances of Sarawak and Sabah governing the legal profession is repealed.

“The Advocates Association of Sarawak will be abolished by the operation of the law under this drafted bill. That means also the two states of Sarawak and Sabah legal profession practically lose control of the states’ legal practitioners and have no more authority over the legal profession as provided for under the respective states’ ordinances,” he told DayakDaily today.

He questioned if in drafting this proposed Bill, had all the stakeholders in the two states, namely the state governments, the attorney generals and, most importantly, the legal practitioners, had been consulted.

“Is this another attempt by Malaya through the backdoor to disregard Article 161B(1) of the Federal Constitution?  Sarawak government and all Sarawak Advocates with a practising certificate should be consulted in advance on this issue,” he asserted.

Wan Junaidi stated that Article 161B (1) states, “In so far as any provision made by or under an Act of Parliament, by removing or altering a residence qualification confers a right to practise before a court in the States of Sabah and Sarawak or either of them on persons not previously having the right, that provision shall not come into operation until adopted in the State in question by an enactment of the legislature.”

Consultation and administrative arrangement are not enough. It must be in the form of Ordinance passed by the State Legislative Assembly, he pointed out.

“I really hope that this is not another attempt by Malaya to bulldoze and take away our rights, like how they bulldozed many legislations in the states, ignoring the procedure set in the Federal Constitution,” said Wan Junaidi.

He stressed that if there was no prior consultation, the move to bulldoze the drafted bill would be as “unconstitutional” as the sudden attempt to move the High Court registry from Kuching to Kota Kinabalu.

“If there is no sufficient consultation being made, I would say this is unconstitutional. Sarawakians must stand and be heard and listened to. We must protect the people’s right and the sanctity of the Federal Constitution,” he insisted.

On the whole, he said the drafted bill was quite a comprehensive piece of legislation, covering all aspects of legal practice in Malaysia.

He opined that the main objective of the bill was to “federalise” the legal profession in the country and to standardise all aspects, from qualification, discipline and formation of a firm and partnership of the legal firm.

“But a few points must be taken into consideration before Sarawakians or Sabahans lawyers and the governments of the two States are concerned. It does not only affect the legal profession of Sarawak and Sabah alone. It also involves the two states’ administration,” he said.

At the moment, there are three legal profession jurisdictions, namely Malaya, Sarawak and Sabah, where there are three sets of legislation and regulating procedures governing the three `Negara’ that made up of the Federation of Malaysia. — DayakDaily