Bashir Ahmad Mallal



Bashir Ahmad Mallal (b. 26 February 1898, Domel, Pakistand. 5 September 1972, Singapore1) founded, edited and published the Malayan Law Journal (MLJ).2 In addition, he was an eminent law scholar and benefactor of the University of Singapore’s (now National University of Singapore) Faculty of Law. He was a member of the MLJ editorial board from its inception until his death in 1972.3

Early life
Born in Domel in West Pakistan, young Mallal travelled east and settled in Singapore during World War I. In 1918, Mallal joined the firm of Battenburg & Silva as a law clerk.4

Achievements
His work as a law clerk made him aware of the inadequacies of law reporting in the region. To fill the void created by the discontinuation of the monthly Straits Law Journal and Reporter some 50 years ago, Mallal conceived and founded the MLJ in 1932 and became its editor. The monthly publication reported law cases from Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei.5


Self-taught law scholar
Besides his involvement in the MLJ, Mallal was also the author and editor of more than a dozen law publications including The Criminal Procedure Code of the Straits Settlements, Annotated (1931)6 and Mallal’s Criminal Procedure (1931).7 His Supreme Court Practice and digests of Singapore and Malayan (later Malaysian) case law8 are among some of his monumental works.9 As Mallal did not have formal law training or a university education, he earned the reputation of being a self-taught law scholar and researcher. He was also regarded as the “lawyer’s lawyer”, as it was not unusual for lawyers to consult him regarding cases they were working on.10


Generosity
A generous man, Mallal was always available to those who turned to him for help or advice. He was a benefactor of the Law Faculty of the University of Singapore (and its forerunner, the University of Malaya). Among his donations were gold medals to the top students of the faculty, and a large collection of books to the library.11 He also made his personal library available to all students, and was a constant source of encouragement for them.12

Recognition
In recognition of Mallal’s contributions to the legal profession, the University of Singapore conferred on him an honorary Doctor of Laws degree on 12 June 1962.13 To commemorate the occasion, the university created the B. A. Mallal Moot Prize which is the oldest and most prestigious domestic moot in the institution.14

Departure
Mallal continued to serve as editor of the MLJ until his death on 5 September 1972 at the age of 74.15 The last issue of the MLJ that Mallal edited was the August issue of the 1972 volume.16 He was survived by six sons and four daughters.17 In a tribute to Mallal, then Chief Justice Wee Chong Jin wrote: “His death is a great loss to all of us for had it not been for him it would have been almost impossible for the legal profession and the judiciary in Singapore to carry out their duties and responsibilities adequately".18 After Mallal’s death, his protege, Al-Mansor Adabi, became editor of MLJ. In 1992, the Singapore Law Reports took over the reporting of the Singapore law case. Today, MLJ continues to report cases from Malaysia and Brunei, and is the longest-surviving law report in the region.19



Author

Joshua Chia Yeong Jia




References
1. Dr. Bashir Ahmad Mallal – in memoriam. (1972, September). Malayan Law Journal, xix–xlv. (Call no.: RCLOS 340.05 MLJ)
2. Tribute to ‘gallant and gracious’ Mallal. (1972, September 17). The Straits Times, p. 25. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. In memory of a great law maker. (1975, September 14). New Nation, p. 32. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Lee, Y. Y., & Namazie, M. K. (1992). A tribute to Dr. Bashir Ahmad Mallal. Singapore Law Review, 13, 156–162. (Call no.: RSING 340.05 SLR)
5. Lee, Y. Y., & Namazie, M. K. (1992). A tribute to Dr. Bashir Ahmad Mallal. Singapore Law Review, 13, 156–162. (Call no.: RSING 340.05 SLR); Dr. Bashir Ahmad Mallal – in memoriam. (1972, September). Malayan Law Journal, xix–xlv. (Call no.: RCLOS 340.05 MLJ)
6. Mallal, B. A. (1931). The criminal procedure code of the Straits Settlements, annotated [Microfilm no.: NL 7749]. Singapore: C. A. Ribeiro.
7. Mallal, B. A. (2001). Mallal’s criminal procedure (6th Ed.). Singapore: Malayan Law Journal. (Call no.: RSING 345.595705 MAL)
8. Mallal, B. A., & Mallah, N. A. (1940). Mallal’s digest of Malayan case law: Being a comprehensive digest of all decisions of the Superior Courts of Malaya from 1808–1939 [Microfilm no.: NL 9578]. Singapore: Malayan Law Journal Office; Mallal, B. A. (1990–). Mallal’s digest of Malaysian and Singapore case law 1808 to 1988 (4th Ed.). Singapore: Malayan Law Journal. (Call no.: RSING 348.595026 MAL)
9. Lee, Y. Y., & Namazie, M. K. (1992). A tribute to Dr. Bashir Ahmad Mallal. Singapore Law Review, 13, 156–162. (Call no.: RSING 340.05 SLR)
10. Dr. Bashir Ahmad Mallal – in memoriam. (1972, Septermber). Malayan Law Journal, xix–xlv. (Call no.: RCLOS 340.05 MLJ)
11. Tan, K. Y. L. (Ed.). (2005). Essays in Singapore: Legal history. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Academic & Singapore Academy of Law, pp. 151–154, 175. (Call no.: RSING 349.5957 ESS)
12. Lee, Y. Y., & Namazie, M. K. (1992). A tribute to Dr. Bashir Ahmad Mallal. Singapore Law Review, 13, 156–162. (Call no.: RSING 340.05 SLR)
13. National University of Singapore. (2006). Honorary degrees recipients. Retrieved 2016, September 28 from National University of Singapore website: http://www.nus.edu.sg/registrar/administrative-policies/university-statutes-and-regulations/honorary-degrees-recipients.html
14. Singapore Management University. (2013, October 18). B.A. Mallal Moot. Retrieved 2016, December 6 from Singapore Management University website: https://law.smu.edu.sg/about/students/moots/ba-mallal-moot
15. Dr. Bashir Ahmad Mallal – in memoriam. (1972, September). Malayan Law Journal, xix–xlv. (Call no.: RCLOS 340.05 MLJ)
16. Tan, K. Y. L. (Ed.). (2005). Essays in Singapore: Legal history. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Academic & Singapore Academy of Law, pp. 151–154, 175. (Call no.: RSING 349.5957 ESS)
17. Law Journal editor Mallal, 74, dies. (1972, September 6). The Straits Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
18. Dr. Bashir Ahmad Mallal – in memoriam. (1972, September). Malayan Law Journal, xix–xlv. (Call no.: RCLOS 340.05 MLJ)
19. Tan, K. Y. L. (Ed.). (2005). Essays in Singapore: Legal history. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Academic & Singapore Academy of Law, pp. 151–154, 175. (Call no.: RSING 349.5957 ESS)



The information in this article is valid as at 2016 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

 

Subject
Writers
Periodical editors--Singapore--Biography
Authors, Malay--Singapore--Biography
Law and government
Mallal, Bashir Ahmad, 1898-1972
Personalities>>Biographies>>Authors