Bar passes no-confidence motion against Chief Justice’s KPI measures

By Florence A. Samy, The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Bar passed a no-confidence motion on Saturday against the Key Performance Index (KPI) measures introduced by the Chief Justice and is demanding its immediate withdrawal before a protest is called.

The motion, which was raised at the Bar’s 65th Annual General Meeting on Saturday was almost unanimously passed with only one objection and two abstentions.

Newly-elected Bar Council president Lim Chee Wee said members were increasingly frustrated over the KPI system that they said did not serve the interest of justice and litigants.

Members, Lim said, also wanted action to be taken against judicial misbehaviour by judges, magistrates and judicial officers.

These, the Bar said, included striking out cases before the end of the sitting or actual date of hearing; fixing hearing dates without regard to the availability of the counsel; refusing to grant adjournments when counsel had a valid reason such as a medical certificate; making a decision without reading the court papers and submissions and without adequate deliberation; and delivering decisions without grounds of judgment.

“The Malaysian Bar is disappointed and concerned that inadequate action is being taken against judges, Session Court judges, Magistrates and Judicial Officers who misbehave,” the motion said.

“Members are also disappointed that solutions reached during dialogues between the Bar Council and judiciary have not been implemented,” he told a press conference later.

Lim added that other stakeholders, including judges, were also feeling the strain of the KPI implementation meant to reduce backlog in cases.

“Judges too need time to think and make their judgments. Justice must not give way to speed. No litigant wants justice to be rushed,” he added.

The Malaysian Bar also passed several motions, including that related to custodial death inquiries, during the closed-door AGM which was attended by 617 of the over 13,000 members.

They called on the government to introduce a Coroner’s Act and establish a Coroner’s Court to review how inquiries take place, train magistrates and prosecutors who preside over inquiries and to demand explanations as to why there were deaths in police custody.

Other motions were on regulating will writing in the country and on providing all necessary legal assistance to a lawyer and human rights activist who was being sued after highlighting alleged human rights violations.

Lim was made the new Bar Council president following the AGM, replacing Ragunath Kesavan who served two terms.

Christopher Leong has been made the new vice president.