International Centre For Law & Legal Studies Inauguration Ceremony

Ladies and gentlemen,

1. As the Patron of the International Centre for Law and Legal Studies, it gives me great pleasure to welcome all of you to the Inauguration Ceremony of the International Centre For Law And Legal Studies (I-CeLLS).

Ladies and gentlemen,

2. If I were asked to identify one of the most important factors that underpin our national achievements thus far as a nation then I would without hesitation declare that it is our adherence and reverence to the principle of rule of law. So highly that we place this principle that we incorporate it as the fourth pillar in our national ideology the ‘Rukun Negara’.

3. The rule of law ensures that the dignity, life and liberty of each individual is properly safeguarded and the danger of tyranny whether visited from the state or from fellow citizens is rigorously checked, it allows the unleashing of the entrepreneurial, creative and innovative spirit to be unleashed, generating both prosperity and a better quality of life. In the international arena the rule of law rather than raw might will ensure a more peaceful world. It will allow dispute resolutions to be resolved without resorting to armed conflict.

4. The world around us is changing at an unprecedented speed. Society have become more connected, we have become more plugged in into the global information grid. Today, local news has immediate global impact. In order to thrive in the global reality, leaders need to reassess, re-think and re-strategise the way they do things.

5. Malaysia has set its vision to become a fully developed high-income nation by the year 2020. In light of the changing world economy, the Government of Malaysia has redoubled its efforts. Spearheaded by the Government Transformation Programme and complimented by the Economic Transformation Programme and the New Economic Model these initiatives collectively would steer Malaysia towards becoming a fully developed nation within the time frame envisioned.

Ladies and gentlemen,

6. In line with the Government’s transformation efforts, the Attorney General’s Chambers has taken up the initiative to transform its organization by formulating the AGC Strategic Transformation Programme (AGCSTP).

7. Most notably, I am proud that the Attorney General’s Chambers has gone beyond organizational transformation, and has proposed the establishment of a strategic centre for legal studies and research. The establishment of I-CeLLS is an exciting development on the legal front that would bring further cohesion between the different sectors of the legal fraternity. As the Patron of I-CeLLS, I am willing to do all that is within my means for this distinguished institution to achieve its vision.

8. The inception of I-CeLLS shows vision and forward-thinking, as it is driven not only by the Attorney General’s Chambers, but also by law academicians and private legal practitioners. Even more impressively, I-CeLLS has managed to attract international legal experts to work together with Malaysian legal counterparts in steering I-CeLLS to become a prominent and renowned resource centre for law and legal studies to the nation, the region and the world.

9. I am encouraged by the presence and commitment of the esteemed members of the Executive Council of I-CeLLS, which includes world-renowned, public international law experts of the stature of Professor James Crawford, who is a Whewell Professor of International Law at the University of Cambridge, as a member of the I-CeLLS Executive Council. We also have His Excellency Ambassador Chusei Yamada who has a distinguished career as a diplomat and a lawyer for the Government of Japan. Both of them have had the privilege of serving the United Nations International Law Commission.

10. Other international experts in the I-CeLLS Executive Council are Prof Dirk van Zyl Smit, Professor of Comparative and International Penal Law of the University of Nottingham, who is an expert in criminal justice reform, and Mr. Robert Volterra, a highly-accomplished public international lawyer.

11. On the domestic front, we have the President of the Bar Council, Mr. Lim Chee Wee, Tan Sri Dato’ Cecil Abraham who is a prominent lawyer and arbitrator and Emeritus Professor Datuk Dr. Shad Saleem Faruqi, a Senior Professor of Law at Universiti Teknologi MARA and an eminent expert of constitutional law.

12. Last but not least is, of course, Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, Attorney General of Malaysia as the Chairman of the Executive Council. He, I believe, does not need any further introduction.

Ladies and gentlemen,

13. With the guidance of the esteemed Executive Council, I am confident that I-CeLLS will focus on and attend to the most pressing issues and challenges faced by our nation, region and international community. Several projects have been chosen by I-CeLLS to jumpstart its activities. This includes the Climate Change Initiative and the Reform of the Criminal Justice System Project.

14. The Climate Change Initiative will focus on developing a legal framework on climate change for the region as well as the international community. The Climate Change Initiative will work towards contributing to and complementing existing regime at international level, particularly in the implementation of the outcome of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change Convention negotiations, while being proactive to national needs.

15. The Reform of the Criminal Justice System Project will study Malaysia’s current criminal justice system and make practical recommendations for the overall and comprehensive reform of the criminal justice system based on jurisprudence and experience of other jurisdictions.

16. With the participation of the best legal brains from the academia, government, private practice and international organizations, as well as inputs from all stakeholders, I am confident that the projects undertaken by I-CeLLS will directly contribute to the progress of law and justice in Malaysia, the region and the world. This is exactly the type of transformation that the Government has been advocating: delivering tangible outcomes that can be felt and benefited by all.

Ladies and gentlemen,

17. For I-CeLLS to be a renowned and prominent resource centre for law and legal studies domestically and internationally, I-CeLLS must carry out its functions in an objective, professional and neutral manner. I acknowledge that at its infancy stage, I-CeLLS is faced by administrative and financial constraints as well as teething challenges, which necessitates it to be set up administratively under the Attorney General’s Chambers of Malaysia. However, for the best interest of I-CeLLS and the nation, it is envisioned that I-CeLLS would be a separate and independent entity on its own in the nearest possible future. In any case, I have full confidence in the esteemed Executive Council to guide I-CeLLS towards reaching its aspired height and stature.

18. Once again, I would like to thank the Attorney General’s Chambers and I-CeLLS for making this occasion a successful one. I wish all of you every success in this exciting endeavour, and on this note, I hereby officiate the inauguration of the International Centre for Law and Legal Studies.

Thank You.

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