MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Thursday, December 30, 2021

Exempt law firms from HRDF levy, says Bar


The Bar Council says legal firms should not be required to register under the Human Resources Development Fund.

PETALING JAYA: The Bar Council has objected to the government’s move to include law firms among employers who are required to register under the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) and pay a levy, saying it runs its own programmes for lawyers.

In a circular to its members sighted by FMT, the Malaysian Bar said it sent a letter to the human resources minister together with six other professional bodies on Tuesday, stating their joint position that they should be exempted from the expansion and their reasons for it.

The Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA) was said to be one of the professional bodies that signed the letter.

“We have also expressed concerns on the effect of the expansion, considering the current economic climate, when law firms are still recovering from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic,” the circular said.

Under the law, it is compulsory for employers with 10 or more Malaysian staff to register with HRDF. For those with five to nine workers, it is optional.

The firms must contribute a sum equivalent to 1% of the monthly salary of each employee. For those where it is optional, it will be 0.5% of a worker’s basic salary.

The council said the expansion to include law firms, which fall within the “professional” category, was enforced in April but it had made representations asking to be excluded as it was a regulated body with its own mandatory Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme.

“As such, it should not be made compulsory for members to register with the human resources ministry and be subjected to the payment of levy.

“Since our earlier update, the Bar Council has continued to express our objections to the expansion for reasons mentioned earlier here. To date, we have not received a response on our requests and representations,” it said.

In the interim, it said, the council has requested a deferment of the implementation of the expansion until the end of next year.

In the meantime, it advised its members to comply with the requirements under the law.

“We have requested a working group to be formed between the Malaysian Bar and the ministry to elaborate further regarding the robustness of our CPD programme and to evaluate the compatibility of the HRDF scheme with it,” it said. - FMT

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