The Malaysian Bar’s Ongoing Fight against Dishonesty in the Legal Profession

The Malaysian Bar has issued a statement on its ongoing fight against dishonesty in the legal profession. This statement seeks to correct recent comments made by the Director of the Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) of the Royal Malaysia Police, which linked a case leading to a RM4.8 million loss on a fraudulent land transaction that was actually undertaken by an individual posing as a lawyer, to more general concerns about dishonesty in the regulated profession.

Whilst repudiating the legal profession’s responsibility for fraud in this particular case, the Malaysian Bar does note that despite the fact that the majority of lawyers act ethically,  misconduct does occur. It notes that it is aware of losses of RM19 million in criminal breach of trust cases involving lawyers over the past twenty years. The MBA’s comments seek to reassure the public of its ongoing cooperation with the police in the prevention and investigation of such cases, of the penalties it is able to impose on Malaysian Advocates guilty of dishonesty as well as the availability of the Compensation Fund which provides financial relief to those affected by lawyers’ dishonest actions. But the MBA also uses its statement as an opportunity to call for further legislative reform and an updating of the Legal Profession Act 1976 (last reviewed in 2018) to assist the fight against dishonesty within the profession .

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