Some 21 percent of Malaysia’s lawyers are contemplating ceasing practice or closing their law offices due to the impact of the national lockdown instituted as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A small section of the respondents also said that they expected to suffer losses of more than 3 million ringgit ($700,000) between March and September this year.

There were some of the results of a survey conducted by Bar Council Malaysia titled “The Effect of the Movement Control Order (MCO) on Law Firm Owners of the Malaysian Bar.”

According to the survey, 54 percent of the 844 respondents said that they were confident that there was no need to make any changes to their law practices. However, nearly 42 percent of the respondents said they hoped to continue their practice by downsizing or merging.

Additionally, the survey discovered that nearly 36 percent of respondents indicated they would experience losses of up to 50,000 ringgit between March and September this year while 29.5 percent expected to incur losses of between 100,001 ringgit and 500,000 ringgit.

Also, feedback for the Malaysian government’s 260 billion ringgit ($60.8 billion) PRIHATIN Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package was generally negative, with the respondents averse to taking on additional financial burdens in the form of loans.“Whether it is in the lack of work available to law firms or existing clients cancelling and terminating work and requesting refunds of fees paid, the devastating shadow cast by this pandemic will continue to loom over us for the foreseeable future,” Malaysian Bar president Salim Bashir was quoted as saying in The Star newspaper

The survey was conducted from Apr. 10 to Apr. 20. The Malaysian government imposed its MCO on Mar. 18 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

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