APRIL 24 — In the fight for integrity within the legal profession, the eradication of touting (activities conducted by unscrupulous persons who receive commissions from law firms in return for securing clients) stands as a crucial battlefront where ethical standards intersect with the pursuit of justice. Due to its corrosive influence on fair legal representation and public trust, eradicating touting demands a concerted effort from all stakeholders involved.

An example of such an effort emerged on 18 April 2024, as detailed in the news report by The Star titled “MACC arrests two bank officers for allegedly soliciting bribes”. The bank officers were arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (“MACC”) for allegedly soliciting bribes amounting to RM316,064 from various law firms. Their modus operandi involved demanding kickbacks in exchange for referring property buyers to these law firms.

While it is crucial that due process, in accordance with the rule of law, be afforded to these individuals, the Malaysian Bar reiterates that the eradication of touting in the Malaysian legal industry is not merely a matter of ethical integrity; it is an imperative for upholding the very foundation of justice and fairness within society.

On top of the criminal offences provided for under the law, Members of the Malaysian Bar who are engaged in touting are subject to section 94(3)(h) of the Legal Profession Act 1976 and Rule 51 of the Legal Profession (Practice and Etiquette) Rules 1978, which expressly define touting as professional misconduct and may result in possible disciplinary action.

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Anyone who is aware of or has reason to believe touting activities are being carried out should immediately report such incidents to the Malaysian Bar via the Touting - Online Report Log or by email to compliance@malaysianbar.org.my. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Anyone who is aware of or has reason to believe touting activities are being carried out should immediately report such incidents to the Malaysian Bar via the Touting - Online Report Log or by email to [email protected]. — Picture by Choo Choy May

Anyone who is aware of or has reason to believe touting activities are being carried out should immediately report such incidents to the Malaysian Bar via the Touting - Online Report Log or by email to [email protected]. All complaints must be sufficiently detailed and should be supported by evidence, where available, to enable action by the Malaysian Bar. The identities of those lodging the reports and all information received on the online report log or email will be kept strictly private and confidential.

It is encouraging that the Malaysian Bar’s initiative to eradicate touting has been met positively by not only its Members but external stakeholders as well. Members of the Malaysian Bar have given positive feedback and pledged their full support towards our initiative. Additionally, the Malaysian Bar has held engagements with external stakeholders, including a major financial institution, where these stakeholders have expressed their commitment to eliminate incidences of touting among their employees.

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As part of its long-term goal of eliminating touting, the Malaysian Bar has also made concrete plans to establish a standing committee.

By eliminating touting, we pave the way for a legal landscape built on principles of equality, transparency, and accountability. The Malaysian Bar calls upon everyone, both Members of the Bar and the society at large, to steer clear from the practice of touting, and to inform the Malaysian Bar through the available avenues should such practices come to light. Be the cure and not the cause of this illness. Together, we can turn the tide from touts to trust.

*This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.