by Choo Dee Wei
Published February 9, 2015
By this time, many of the lawyers practising in Kuala Lumpur would have received notices about the upcoming 23rd Annual General Meeting of the Kuala Lumpur Bar. The Kuala Lumpur Bar being one of the State Bars under the Legal Profession Act 1976 (“LPA”).
This author remembers his first annual general meeting that he attended in his first year of practice. In a nutshell, he had no idea what was happening.
So it is hoped that this article will answer some of the frequently asked questions and that members would have an understanding of such meetings. So let’s begin.
As with any annual general meeting, there are procedures to be adhered to. The procedures of State Bars’ annual general meetings are laid out in the LPA. In it, there are several interesting aspects.
It is not by coincidence that annual general meetings of State Bars are held in the month of February. This is expressly provided under section 70(1) of the LPA. The date, time and place are at the discretion of the Secretary of the said State Bar.
Before an Annual General Meeting can start, there must be quorum. The quorum for an annual general meeting shall be 5% of the total number of members of the State Bar as at the date of the notice of the meeting. As such, if at the date of the notice calling for an annual general meeting, there are 1000 members, then the quorum for that annual general meeting shall be 50 members.
If quorum is not met within 1 hour from the time fixed for the said annual general meeting, it shall be adjourned to the following day at the same time and place unless otherwise notified to members by the State Bar Committee in the notice convening the original annual general meeting.
As to who is a member of a particular State Bar, he or she is a member of the State Bar where he or she ordinarily practises. Only members of that particular State Bar are entitled to attend and vote at the annual general meeting of the said State Bar.
The Chairman of the State Bar Committee shall preside at every annual general meeting and in his or her absence, the most senior member present who is willing to preside shall preside.
What happens at the annual general meeting, you may ask. Well for one, members will be entitled to vote upon any motion proposed by a member. However, in order for a motion to be considered at an annual general meeting, the said member shall serve a notice of such motion in writing upon the Secretary of the State Bar not less than 7 days before the said annual general meeting.
Apart from the voting upon any motions, there will be elections for:-
Members to form the State Bar Committee (not less than 4 but not more than 10 members); and
A representative of the State Bar on the Bar Council.
It is after the members are elected to form the State Bar Committee that elections will be held to elect a representative of the State Bar on the Bar Council.
Once a State Bar Committee is formed, they shall appoint a Secretary who shall be a member of that State Bar.
It is interesting to note that if the Chairman elected is also the current President or Vice-President of the Malaysian Bar, members shall elect 2 members (instead of 1) to represent the State Bar on the Bar Council.
So there you have it, aspects and information regarding annual general meetings of State Bars which you may or may not have known.
This author hopes this article will generate interests so that more members would attend annual general meetings of their respective State Bars. What about extraordinary general meetings? Well, that’s a subject matter for another article.