In 2013, I had to stand for election to get into the Kuala Lumpur Bar Committee. It was my first time trying and I had go against 13 candidates. I managed to squeeze into the 10-men general committee.
Last year, I got into the committee against but there was no vote as we had exactly 10 people running for general committee.
However, this year, we had 3 people running for chairman and 11 people running for general committee! It triggered an election. The 3, Amir, Peter and Ravin, who ran for chair were also former committee members.
Each of them were given chance to speak. Amir came out with a powerpoint slide and even sang for the crowd! Peter on the other hand gave a powerful speech on how he would improve the KL Bar and how he would go on the ground to solve problems. Ravin presented his visions and plans for the KL Bar for each committee.
There was also some heavy lobbying going around to garner votes. It was the first time I see campaign being run on WhatsApp and Facebook. I was a little bit worried that I won’t get in as I didn’t do any lobbying or even announcing my candidacy on Facebook. But I knew that what matters was my 1 1/2 minute speech to the crowd. If I’m convincing enough, they may vote for me.
Many of us prepared written speeches. I did mine too. I spoke about how I will revamp the website, introduce new member management system, online payment and digitalizing KL Bar records. But as soon as I spoke, I started to hear chatters and I realise many are not listening.
Fortunately, I got voted in with the 4th highest votes (a spot which I also share with Dee Wei). Ravin was voted chairman of the Kuala Lumpur Bar taking over Dipendra who retired after 2 terms. It’s a tradition that every Kuala Lumpur Bar chairman will retire after two terms. Out of the 10 new committee members, 7 were from the previous term.
Most people left after the cast their votes (its a secret ballot). From the 200-300 over people, only 20 were left in the hall. The last item of the agenda allows any members to raise any matters and SI Rajah, a senior lawyer (called to the Bar in 1968), addressed the crowd with some of his ideas. Two of his ideas caught my attention. One being an establishment of an archive for the Bar consisting of historical information, documents and materials He had this idea after he tried to borrow a wig from the Bar Council and he couldn’t get one because the Bar Council does not keep such wigs. Interestingly, wigs were never compulsory in Malaysia. I approached SI Rajah after his speech and I said I was very interested in his archive idea. Hopefully we can work something out.
The other idea he had was an establishment of an “incubation center” by the Bar Council for young lawyers or lawyers who want to start up their own firm. He said that one of the foreign bars had this incubation center to help lawyers with their first few stages to allow them to kick start their law firm. But this idea may be difficult as the Bar Council is running out of space.
Anyway, glad to be re-elected again. Hopefully my plans can be completely rolled out by this year!