The recently announced free legal services “Yayasan Bantuan Guaman Kebangsaan (YBGK)” has started operating in Bintulu last Friday.
The Bintulu branch of YBGK is led by prominent Bintulu politician, lawyer, the chairman of the Advocates’ Association of Sarawak, Bintulu branch Henry Ling Kuong Meng.
“The establishment of YBGK provides, for the first time, a comprehensive and sustainable legal aid programme for those ensnared in the criminal justice system. In order to make it work this requires the assistance of lawyers,” Henry told The Borneo Post.
In Bintulu, seven lawyers are trained and have the authority to handle YBGK works. These lawyers are now under the duty roster of YBGK to provide free legal assistance to individuals who are under arrest, remand or charge with criminal offences.
“Under the YBGK scheme, the police are not only under the duty to inform an arrested individual’s family members regarding the arrest but also to submit information regarding arrested individuals to any lawyer on duty under YBGK, so that YBGK lawyers can go to the police station to render legal assistance,” he said.
According to him, the lawyers who do YBGK work are independent in their delivery of services.
They do not charge any individual who is Malaysian. They will get a nominal fee from the YBGK fund.
Henry said, YBGK lawyer would provide legal representation to all Malaysians (irrespective of their financial means) upon arrest, at remand hearings and when they are charged in court, adding that YBGK will also provide legal representation to Malaysians at the hearing stage if the accused satisfies a means test.
“The types of legal representation provided by YBGK will be introduced in stages. In the first phase the emphasis will be on providing legal representation to persons when they are arrested.
“The police (as well as all other enforcement agencies) are required to inform YBGK when they make an arrest, and any lawyer under duty roster will go to the police station to meet and advise the arrested persons,” he added.
In Bintulu, the seven YBGK lawyers are:
- Henry Ling Kuong Meng,
- Musa Dinggat, Leslie Linton,
- Ma Seong Yuin,
- Stephen Augustine Lateng,
- Janting Anak Antalai and
- Eric Lau Lian Jing.
Ling can be contacted at 013-8380022 or 012-8980022 at Ling & Wong Chambers, 1st & 2nd Floor, 153-154 Assyakirin Commerce Square, Jalan Sultan Iskandar.