KUALA LUMPUR, March 16 — Datuk Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor is now the new president of the Malaysian Bar for the term 2019/2020.
Abdul Fareed, who was the vice-president in the previous term, also announced the list of elected office-bearers after the Malaysian Bar’s 73rd annual general meeting.
Roger Chan, who was previously secretary of the Malaysian Bar, was elected the vice-president.
Senior criminal lawyer Salim Bashir Bhaskaran is the new Malaysian Bar secretary, while Perak Bar committee chairman Surindar Singh Chain Singh was elected as the new treasurer.
The four were elected at the Bar Council’s first meeting for the 2019/2020 term, which was held after the AGM ended.
When asked for the Bar Council’s priority in the new term, Abdul Fareed told reporters that it would have three main focus.
“Priority is we will continue with our rule of law initiatives, engaging the government whenever there’s a need.
“We will also have to focus on the proposed amendment to the Legal Profession Act which we have submitted to the attorney general and follow up from there.
“Number three, this council will be focusing on members, members’ issues, we will go down to the states to get feedback from members and serve our members better,” he said.
He confirmed that this would involve observing court cases, saying: “For matters which involve rule of law and which is currently hot now, we will be sending watching brief counsels.”
Abdul Fareed said the Bar Council’s meeting today revolved around the election of the new office-bearers, but confirmed it would look into matters such as pushing for judges’ retirement age to be increased to 70 years old.
“This is in line with international norm. Most countries’ retirement age is 70, so council will consider, we will consider that during our meetings,” he said.
As for the call for the introduction of the Common Bar Course as the common entry point for those seeking to be lawyers, Abdul Fareed said that there is a standing Malaysian Bar resolution on the push for this.
“It is part of our proposal to the attorney-general in amendments to the Legal Profession Act and we will definitely push for that as well,” he said, adding that the Malaysian Bar has had one consultative meeting this January with the government on this matter.
* A previous version of this story contained an error which has since been corrected.