Malaysian Mediation Centre
The Malaysian Mediation Centre (MMC) was established by the Bar Council of Malaysia in 1999. It handles commercial, civil and family disputes.
The MMC requires all its mediators to be practicing members of the Malaysian Bar with at least 7 years’ standing. Mediators must have completed 40 hours of training under the MMC and must also pass a practical assessment1.
Terms of Mediation
Prior to the commencement of mediation, parties must sign an Agreement to Mediate which preserves, inter alia, the confidential nature of the mediation.
Legal System of Malaysia2
Malaysia’s legal system comprises two systems. There is the common law and legislative historically derived from its British colonial roots, developed and modified since independence. There is also Islamic law administered by the Syriah Courts. Islamic law is mainly applied in respect of family and succession issues for Muslims.
Attitudes towards Mediation3
Malaysia is a multiracial and multiethnic country. Traditional forms of mediation have been historically practiced. For example in Islam, mediation is indispensable and is represented by the word shafa’a (meaning intercession and equality, or to even up)4. Hindu scriptures reflect the mediation process. The concept of the panchayat is similar to mediation – this is a mediation process in villages where the panchayat comprises the village headman and senior villagers.
Modern mediation has been increasingly adopted in Malaysia. Prior to the establishment of the MMC, the insurance and banking industries had their own mediation centres – the Insurance Mediation Bureau and the Banking Mediation Bureau. Both were established as non-profit companies5. Other industry specific mediation centres cover consumer claims and the housing industry6.
Some legislation in Malaysia requires mediation, such as the Workman’s Compensation Act 1952 and the Trade Unions Act 1959. The Rules Committee in Malaysia is looking into making mediation compulsory in the Rules of the High Court while a Mediation Act is reported to be in the pipeline7. There do not appear to be any reported decisions in Malaysian courts where mediation has been extensively considered.
The website of the Malaysian Mediation Centre is currently under construction.
1 Khutubul Zaman bin Bukhari, Arbitration and Mediation in Malaysia, presented at the 8th General Assembly of the Asean Law Association in 2003, available at http://www.aseanlawassociation.org/docs/w4_malaysia.pdf, last accessed 8 January 2008.
2 P.G. Lim and Grace Xavier, “Malaysia” in Dispute Resolution in Asia 3rd Edition, (Kluwer Law International, 2006), Michael Pryles Ed.
3 Last updated 8 January 2008.
4 Ibid at 1.
6 Dato’ Cecil Abraham, Alternative Dispute Resolution in Malaysia, presented at the 9th General Assembly of the Asean Law Association in 2006, available at http://www.aseanlawassociation.org/9 GAdocs/w4_Malaysia. pdf, last accessed 8 January 2008.
7 Ibid at 11.