New Malaysian Bar president vows to strengthen internal mechanism on sexual harassment complaints

Yiswaree Palansamy
·2-min read
Newly elected Malaysian Bar president AG Kalidas said the bar is treading carefully on the matter of sexual harassment. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Newly elected Malaysian Bar president AG Kalidas said the bar is treading carefully on the matter of sexual harassment. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, March 13 — The new Malaysian Bar president AG Kalidas today vowed to enhance and strengthen the legal body’s sexual harassment complaints mechanism, following numerous cases against lawyers.

Kalidas said the Malaysian Bar has already “worked on something” to address the issues and is treading carefully on the matter.

He said complainants who are not Malaysian Bar members can also file their complaints with the body’s disciplinary board.

“What we intend to do is we will look into our internal mechanism to see if we can somehow entrench the rights of those who should not be harassed in the first place, sexual harassment victims in other words.

“We want to see what we are going to pass will not be deemed ultra vires,” he said, assuring that the Malaysian Bar would look at formulating rulings.

“Perhaps soon we will come up with a ruling as far as sexual harassment is concerned,” he told reporters during his first press conference as Malaysian Bar presidents.

During the Malaysian Bar’s 75th annual general meeting (AGM) earlier, motions requesting that the body make a stand on issues of sexual harassment and on minimum wage for chambering pupils, abolishing the practice of child marriages were passed.

There were seven other motions presented during the AGM, which was held online for the first time due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The motion demanding that the Malaysian Bar clarify the validity of its 14-year-old internal sexual harassment mechanism which came into being in 2007, was passed with 444 votes in favour of it, while 38 voted against, with 21 abstaining.

Two other motions requesting the Bar to take a stand on minimum remuneration for pupils and also clarify a policy as to how this would be implemented were also passed.

The former was passed with 465 votes in favour with 228 voting against and 48 abstentions. The latter motion was passed with 436 votes in favour with 182 voting against and 29 abstentions.

A motion to abolish the practise of child marriages in Malaysia was also tabled, with 462 lawyers voting in support, 17 against the motion, with nine abstaining from voting.

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