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Malaysian Bar calls upon govt agencies to exercise wisdom, discretion during MCO

23 Mar 2020 / 16:11 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Bar is calling upon all government agencies including the Inland Revenue Board (IRB), Royal Malaysian Customs Department and land offices, to be cognisant of the problems faced by lawyers during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period.

Its president, Salim Bashir, also pleaded for fairness in dealing with any application or request to extend time, even as lawyers attempt to fulfill their legal and administrative obligations on behalf of their firms and clients.

“The Bar is optimistic of a gradual return to normality and stands ready to assist members of the Malaysian Bar, in relation to matters within its purview,” he said in a statement today.

When contacted, Salim clarified that the application and request to extend time were related to taxes and property-related matters.

He said, the Bar was aware that some law firms feel pressured to remain open as a result of demands and instructions made by some banks and financial institutions, which are allowed to operate while the MCO is in force.

In this regard, Salim said the Bar had issued a press statement on March 18, 2020, chiding such banks and financial institutions.

He also urged all Malaysian Bar members to exercise wisdom and discretion during the MCO period.

Salim said, for lawyers whose nature of work that did not fall under the definition of essential services in the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures Within the Infected Local Areas) Regulations 2020, they must stay at home or working from home.

He said the Bar, through circular issued to its members dated March 18, 2020, strongly advised the members against opening their law firms during this time in order to keep in line with the government directives, in respect of the closure of non-essential services.

Therefore, he urged law firms to adhere to this advice in order to safeguard the health of their lawyers, pupils and employees, and not risk offending the law by forcibly requesting them to be physically in the office. - Bernama

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