Members of the legal fraternity at a photocall. Photo: Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Bar has called on the government to provide leeway to law firms to operate during the movement control order (MCO) period.

It said the legal profession plays a critical and irreplaceable role in the economy by supporting and enabling the real property and banking sectors, as well as operations that include contracts and transactions, capital markets, debt recovery, insolvency, and intellectual property protection. 

“Allowing law firms leeway to operate would only be meaningful if other agencies are also allowed to begin operations. 

“This would include the Land Offices, commissioners for oaths, Inland Revenue Board offices, Companies Commission of Malaysia, and various local authorities and government agencies,” Malaysian Bar president Salim Bashir said in a statement.

He said the Bar Council recognises that since the outbreak of Covid-19, the legal profession cannot go back to a mode of operation that was practised before the outbreak.

“We therefore accept that we will have to work with the government to come up with a standard operating procedure that will incorporate the requirements and guidelines from the Ministry of Health (MOH) that is practical and cost-effective. 

“To this end, the Bar Council has been in contact with the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti) and other relevant government authorities, in our efforts to move things forward. 

“We are concerned that the standard operating procedure and operating guidelines for the legal sector during the MCO period that were drawn up by Miti, are too stringent, and this has affected the ability of firms to satisfy the requirement and make applications,” he said. He said it is imperative that law firms and their employees survive the challenges of Covid-19 and the extended MCO if the nation hopes to recover from the pandemic. – Bernama