CEO Morning Brief

Bar Reminds Enforcement Agencies to Respect Legal Professional Privilege

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Publish date: Wed, 12 Jun 2024, 10:55 AM
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TheEdge CEO Morning Brief

KUALA LUMPUR (June 11): The Malaysia Bar has reminded enforcement agencies including the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to respect legal professional privilege and the right to legal representation, stressing that these legal rights and privileges are fundamental to the proper administration of justice.

"These rights are cornerstones of a fair and just legal system, ensuring that individuals can seek and receive confidential legal advice without fear of reprisal or breach of confidentiality," Bar president Mohamad Ezri Abdul Wahab said in a statement on Tuesday.

The reminder comes in the wake of the MACC's recent action against two lawyers, Lai Chee Hoe and Irwin Lo, who are representing the JMCa joint management committee (JMC) in a strata management dispute.

Lai claimed the commission had raided his office on June 4 and questioned him at the agency's headquarters in Putrajaya, where he was later detained. Lo said he was also questioned by the MACC.

Human rights NGO Lawyers for Liberty director Zaid Malek on Tuesday that the MACC's action amounted to harassment against the lawyers.

However, the MACC has rejected Zaid's claim, saying that Lai was detained in connection with a complaint received by the commission over the alleged misappropriation of maintenance fees collected by the JMC.

In its statement, Mohamaad Ezri said that while the Bar stands firm against unethical practices and dishonest acts by lawyers, enforcement agencies must respect legal professional privilege and people's right to legal representation.

“By respecting these fundamental rights, enforcement bodies not only adhere to constitutional mandates but also reinforce the integrity and credibility of their investigative processes, ultimately contributing to the public’s trust in the legal and justice system. Any act which undermines these rights would be detrimental to the public,” he said.

He also reminded all lawyers of the critical importance of upholding legal professional privilege.

“If information or documents that are protected by legal professional privilege are sought, members are obligated to refuse disclosure unless their clients provide explicit written consent,” he said.

Source: TheEdge - 12 Jun 2024

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