Malaysia could be the next Asian country to liberalise its legal market. The government is considering lifting restrictions, allowing foreign firms to enter into joint ventures with local counterparts.
Datuk Dr Rais Yatim, a minister in the prime minister's department, told The Straits Times that although the government is opposed to full liberalisation, alliances in some areas were feasible. "In commerce and trade, financial sector, IT and intellectual property, there is scope for foreign participation," he said. The Malaysian Bar Council, traditionally against liberalisation, will question Malaysia's 10,000 lawyers before assessing its stand on the matter. Its president Mah Weng Kwai said: "The council prefers the status quo, but we don't want to be ostriches." He added that strong opinion in favour of change could influence the council to alter its stance.