The Malaysian Bar is a creature of statute established under the Advocates and Solicitors' Ordinance 1947 which ordinance was subsequently repealed by the Legal Profession Act 1976. It is an independent Bar whose aim is to uphold the rule of law and the cause of justice and protect the interest of the legal profession as well as that of the public.
The legal profession in Malaysia is a fused one with a membership of approximately 21,400 members. Each advocate and solicitor is automatically a member of the Malaysian Bar so long as he/she holds a valid Practising Certificate.
The Bar Council comprises forty-two members who are elected annually to manage the affairs and execute the functions of the Malaysian Bar. The Council consists of the immediate past President and Vice-President of the Malaysian Bar, the Chairman of each of the twelve (12) State Bar Committees, one (1) member elected by each of the twelve (12) State Bar Committees to be its representative to the Bar Council, and sixteen (16) members elected from throughout Peninsular Malaysia by way of postal ballot.
The Office Bearers, namely President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer are elected annually by the Bar Council at its first meeting which is traditionally held immediately after the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Malaysian Bar. They are full time practitioners and their honorary appointments are subject to re-election every year. In any event save for the post of the Treasurer which is not provided for in the Act, the Office Bearers cannot hold office for more than two (2) consecutive years.
The Bar Council takes office at the conclusion of the Annual General Meeting and concludes at the AGM of the following year. The members serve on a part-time voluntary basis as the Legal Profession Act prohibits payment of fees or remuneration.
To ensure the effective and efficient management of the affairs of the Malaysian Bar, the Bar Council from time to time delegates its power and functions to Committees in the various States throughout Malaysia or to Committees appointed within the Council itself. The State Bar Committees and Committees of the Council are however not independent and have no power under the Act to air any views on behalf of the Bar.