Wednesday, December 13, 2006

General election in 2007?

The headline of Nanyang Siang Pau "明年不大选" (General Election will not be next year).
Similar headline for all major Chinese newspapers.

New Straits Times and Utusan did not carry this piece.

My friend Ng Wei Aik has jumped into the early election bandwagon by throwing down the gauntlet to the Penang Chief Minister, Dr Koh Tsu Koon. He has to maintain his stamina for another 12 months.

The source from Bloomberg.

Here is the excerpt:
"Abdullah Says Malaysian Polls Can Wait, Targets Graft (Update3)
By Stephanie Phang and Angus Whitley
Dec. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said he probably won't hold an election before 2008, giving himself more time to battle corruption and muster support.
``Next year is too early,'' Abdullah, 67, said in an interview at his home in Putrajaya, south of Kuala Lumpur. ``I have to prove that a lot of things can be done and have been done and we have succeeded.'' "

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Cautioned statement

The Court of Appeal is sitting in Penang for the past three days. There is an interesting murder case coming up for appeal. Lim Chooi Huat v Public Prosecutor. The High Court sentenced the accused to death.

The crux of the argument of the appellant counsel is the admissibility of the cautioned statement (also known as s113 statement). The appellant is a Form 1 drop-out. The appellant counsel pointed up that the Recording Officer (RO) failed to administer the caution to the accused. The counsel argued that the RO read the caution but not explain to the accused (baca tapi tidak terangkan).

The defence quoted the cases of Hizbullah, Tan Ewe Huat etc.

The panel of three judges reached an unanimous decision today that the trial judge has wrongly admitted the caution statement and there is insufficient evidence to call the accused to enter defence.

The accused is discharged and acquitted. The defence counsel is Sithambaran.

For further details and the photos, please read the major newspaper.

Anyway, the issue of admissiblity of cautioned statement will be part of the legal history. The amended Criminal Procedure Code (effective 1-1-2007) will remove the clause.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Not an exact science

Quotable quote from the judgment of Singapore High Court in the divorce case of NK v NL

"Division of matrimonial assets is not and is never an exact science. The court can only attempt to make a just and equitable division, applying a broad-brush approach. "

The Court further awarded to the petitioner/wife by way of monthly maintenance a sum which was adequate for the standard of living she had been accustomed to in recent years, during the subsistence of the marriage.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Affirmative Action around the World

My learned friend, Sdr Yeap Cheng Liang, has written a letter to Malaysiakini. He quoted the book "Affirmative Action around the World" by Thomas Sowell. His letter can be accessed here.

Yeap also send me the book. I managed to finish the chapters on India, Sri Lanka and Malaysia. I am still reading the chapter on Nigeria. I will like to thank him for the kind gesture.

The issue on equity and marginalization would be the highlight of the coming General Election.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Kallang body parts muder case (Appeal dismissed)

On 22-5-2006, I have blogged the Singapore case of PP v Leong Siew Chor (also known as Kallang body parts murder case) . Leong Siew Chor was convicted for the murder of his girlfriend and sentenced to death by the High Court.

He filed an appeal against the conviction in the Court of Appeal.

The basis for the appeal was that the trial judge erred in admitting the cautioned statement.

The accused has made the cautioned statement on the ninth day after he was arrested. The accused was only granted the right to counsel on 20th day.

The argument by the defence counsel is that once an application was made to the subordinate court (on the seventh day) , then any further denial of a right to counsel would be unreasonable.

On 6-10-2006, the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.
The ground of the decision:
"It is not enough merely to say that this accused was denied access to counsel on the grounds given in this case. Counsel was inviting this court to make an important ruling on a constitutional point without sufficient material in law and evidence to sustain any cogent question of law. It may be that the police ought not deny a right to counsel in the narrow form of receiving advice on the right to remain silent, to the broadest form possible, but this is not the case to advance any such argument. It is too thinly supported on the facts; this is not the right case for the points of law alluded to."

It is a settled law in both Malaysia and Singapore that the right to counsel is not an immediate one but one that would be granted within a reasonable time after the accused is arrested.

Jasbir Singh v PP [1994] 2 SLR 18 and Lee Mau Seng v Minister for Home Affairs, Singapore [1969–1971] SLR 508 are the cases cited by the Public Prosecutor.

What amount to reasonable time is a question of fact. Case in point is Mohd Ezam (Federal Court), an ISA case.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Breakdown of lawyers by etnic groups

A few CLP (Certificate in Legal Practice) candidates wrote to The Star and NST complaining about the low passing rate of the exam and ask for more transparency.

In a separate note, I came across the statistics on the breakdown of lawyers by etnic groups. The order of the data is Bumiputra, Chinese, Indian.

Year 2000: 3118 , 3861, 2588

Year 2005: 4465, 4354, 2834

I will leave it to you to make your own interpretation and judgement.

I am reading the book "Affirmative Action Around the World" by Thomas Sowell. I will blog it later.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Double agent or rather penetration agent

I am reading the book called "My Silent War" by Kim Philby. It was the autobiography by a spy.
Philby told his life story on espionage which spanned across 1940s to 1960s.

Philby was a British citizen. He was brought up and educated under the British education system. In Cambridge, he was exposed to communism. He became a Communist then.

He was under the payroll of MI6, The British Intelligence Service. He climbed up the career ladder and became a high-ranking officer in MI6. Behind the scene, he was a Soviet agent.

Philby confessed that he was not a double agent. He was actually a penetration agent in the MI6 working for the interest of the communism.

Penetration agent is nothing new.

Lai Teck (the one time chairman of Communist Party of Malaya) was actually a spy planted by the British in the CPM. Through deception, Lai Teck gained the trust of the committee members of CPM and ascended to become the chairman of the party. He continually sold out party members, so that the leaders were arrested by the British colonial government one after another before the Second World War.

Another good movie on the penetration agent was the "Wu Jian Dao" (Infernal Affairs). The convention practice is the police force sending the under-cover agents into the secret societies. "Wu Jian Dao" was a story on how the secret societies sending the penetration agents into the Hong Kong police force.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Rote learning, Socrates method or Problem based learning?

Dear Sara,

Your question: "Would you mind if I asked whether it is really NOT necessary to refer to textbooks for the CLP as claimed by the lecturers at bricks? Making it sufficient to pass the exams solely on memorising, regurgitating, and somehow writing it all down in 45mins?"

My short answer:
There are three ways to tackle CLP - rote learning, Socrates method or Problem Base Learning. You may apply either way depending on your situation. If you are a graduate from foreign university, you may face a bit of problem as you have to familiarize yourself with the Malaysian law. For me, it was pretty straightforward as I have invested 4 years of my time in Malaysian law prior to CLP exam.

I must confess that although I was part of the statistics in the success story published by Bricks, I did not follow the advice of Bricks. In my opinion, the Bricks method is sufficient for you to face the exam of yesterday but not today. In fact, I only attended the Final Intensive Review for 10 weeks (March to June). I did not attend the lectures or tutorials.

One of the main challenges of CLP exam is the questions are pretty current. You have to read up on the recent judicial pronouncements.

Takes for instance, you will not able to answer the question on double presumption on drug trafficking if you have not read Muhamand Hassan and Tan Tek Eek. Bricks would not prepare you for that. In the Evidence paper for July 2005, double presumption constitutes one question. I am very sure that Bricks has included double presumption in its lecture notes now. This was not done back in 2005.

Another example is the Bankruptcy question in July 2005. The candidates are expected to know the case of Bungsar Hill (Federal Court, year 2005). Again, this was not cover in the lecture notes. I attempted that question. I was rewarded with an A for the Professional Practice.
Anyway, Bricks is right on the General Paper. The candidates have to sit down and attempt at least 10 statements of claim. In General Paper, you have to make sure that you are able to finish the papers within the stipulated time. Practice made perfect.

I was using the reverse engineering approach. Here is the outline of my study method for CLP.
It was kind of problem-based learning method.

1. First round: Speed reading. One subject per week.
2. Check out the past year questions. Group the past year questions into multiple topics.
3. Base on the past year questions, read up the cases and attempt the questions at the same time.
4. Attend the Final Intensive Review by Bricks.

You may find some the following books useful:
1. Evidence by Augustine Paul.
2. The CLP books series by MLJ.
3. Criminal Procedure by Mimi Kamariah. You may read this together with Bricks notes.
4. Criminal Prosecution for High Court by MLJ.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Time and tide wait for no man

Well, I am moving on.

My schedule until end of the month.

Tuesday: Go to see D for advice on Form 1 and 2.

Wednesday: Last day in my work place.

Thursday: Work on Form 1 and 2. Go to see Commission of Oath to certify my documents. Getting things ready for submitting petiton to KL High Court

Friday and Saturday: Attend Criminal Law Workshop at University of Malaya.

Sunday: DAP Publicity campaign at Jelutong Market

Monday (September 18th):Report to work. Start the 9-month chambering.

Monday (September 25th): Submit Form 1 and 2 at KL High Court. I will find time to attend the hearing on Chin Peng's case.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Wisma Denmark

I am going to file Borang 1 and 2 at Wisma Denmark (High Court of KL (Civil Division) in two weeks time.

Thanks to WH and WikiMapia for giving me the pointer. Wisma Denmark is a stone's throw away from Dang Wangi LRT.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Merdeka movie

A friend of my wife told her that Tae Guk Gi is an interesting movie. As a fan of the military and historical movie, I spend my Merdeka countdown by watching Tae Guk Gi.

My comment: Highly recommended. Pre-requisite: History of Korean War.
The synopsys of the movie can be accessed here.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

From Alor Setar to Lumut

Shamsudin, a former POPO detainee, related the story of successive remands (also known as chain smoking) in the POPO forum organised by Bar Council and Suaram held on last Saturday.

POPO is the acronym for The Emergency (Public Order and Preventive of Crime) Ordinance 1969. POPO is a product of May 13. It is enacted on May 16, 1969 to curb the racial riot.

Shamsudin was arrested at Alor Setar. He was brought before the magistrate and remanded for 10 days. It was alleged that the Police brought him from one town to another town and he was remanded for more than 143 days in total. He told the audience that he was brought before the magistrate at Alor Setar, Sungai Petani, Kulim, Bukit Mertajam, Butterworth, Taiping, Ipoh and Lumut.

In law, a magistrate can issue a remand order up to 14 days. However, multiple remand orders is a blatant abuse to rule of law. If the Police cannot finish the investigation within 14 days, then the detainee should be released.

Shamsudin was later sent to Simpang Renggam detention camp for 2 years under POPO. After 2 years, he was given a restrictive residence order to a place called Jerantut. He told the audience that he could not find a living in that backwater village. There were around 200 Malay families and he was the only Indian-Muslim in the community.

POPO is a law on preventive detention. It is the same genus as ISA.

In another related development, Minister in the PM Department, Dato Seri Mohamed Nazri told the Parliament that he has consulted the AG's Chambers on revamping the Emergency Ordinances. However, he will not commit to any possible reform.

This is what reported in the Hansard on 21-8-06.
"Terima kasih Tuan Yang di-Pertua. Saya ingin mengucapkan berbanyak terima kasihlah kepada Yang Berhormat bagi Bukit Gelugor. Dia telah membangkitkan berkenaan soal mengapa kita tidak menggunakan Artikel 150(3) untuk membatalkan semua ordinan darurat yang telah dikeluarkan pada tahun 1948, 1964 dan 1969.

Saya telah pun menghubungi pihak AG's Chambers untuk supaya kita menimbangkan pandangan Yang Berhormat itu yang memang memerlukan kepada satu exercise yang besar-besaran untuk melihat berkenaan dengan peruntukan-peruntukan yang mana kalau sekiranya ia masih diperlukan, maka kita harus memperaktakannya dan tidak lagi mengguna Ordinan-ordinan Darurat ini.

Jadi, dalam hal ini oleh kerana kita meminda maritim oleh kerana ordinan ini tidak dibatalkan, maka ia masih lagi menjadi undang-undang. Jadi dalam membincangkan rang undang-undang ini, maka sememangnyalah kita terpaksa meminda ordinan ini kerana ia masih lagi menjadi undang-undang."

The news coverage on the forum and the relevant material can also be found in the following links.
The mainstream media did not cover this forum.

Friday, August 25, 2006

On the road

I will be travelling to KL (again) this weekend. My 6th trip this year.
The 7th trip is scheduled on September 15th and 16th - A criminal law workshop for pupils and lawyers.

I will attend two events this weekend.

1. POPO forum. POPO is the acronym for The Emergency (Public Order and Preventive of Crime) Ordinance 1969. The POPO detention camp is located at Simpang Renggam, Johore. I have been following up on the POPO cases like Lee Kew Sang, Koo Tee Yam etc. Federal Court has delivered the judgment in Lee Kew Sang that the only ground to attack POPO order is from procedural aspect. Examples are the validity of the detention order and the composition of the Advisory Board etc.

2. Debat Perdana.

All events are organised by Bar Council.

I will blog it next week.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Remedy for a frustrated house owner

Dear Lai,

Thanks for the SMS.

Your question is: Is there any action can be taken against a neighouring house owner who has rented the flat unit to more than 30 foreign workers?

My short answer: You may file a complaint to local council. You may quote Section 78 of Local Government Act.

Section 78: Over-crowding of houses.
"Any person who permits a house to be so overcrowded as to be injurious and dangerous to the health of the inhabitants shall be guilty of an offence and on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding two thousands ringgit or to a imprisonment not exceeding six months or to both such fine and imprisonment to a further fine not exceeding one hundred riggit for each day during which the offence is continued after conviction"

If there is no action taken by the local council, then we may move to the next course of action.

Yours sincerely,
Hon Wai, Wong

My BOJ experience...

Dear Koh and David,

I received the emails enquiry from you on the similar topic. I am replying to both of you by this blog entry. Perhaps, this will be beneficial to other folks out there who are doing Bachelor of Jurisprudence (University of Malaya). Send my regards to all your BOJ classmates.

I started doing my BOJ in year 2001. During my first year, I sat for 4 subjects namely Constitution Law, Malaysian Legal System, Islamic Law and Contract Law. I managed to pass all of them in one sitting. I completed the BOJ by passing 15 subjects in 4 years time.

I was working full time then (from 8am to 5.15pm, Monday to Friday). I did not have any access to the notes from the tuition providers namely Kemayan or Brickfields. I am from Penang and did not know anyone who attended the tuition classes.

The syllabus outline from UM was my Bible. I used it to prepare my own notes. I travelled to UM Law Library at least 4 times a year. I usually took the mid-night express bus from Penang and arrived at Pudu Raya in the wee hours. I would normally stayed at UM for two days during each visit to buy books, checked out the MLJ cases, photocopied the necessary materials.
I also utilized the resources from the library of USM and UUM. My sister was in UUM then.

There are two places in UM you should visit frequently. The first is the Pekan Buku. And the second is the law library. In fact, it has become my habit to visit Pekan Buku every time I travel to KL.

I set aside a budget of around RM500 each year to buy books. For the first year, you have to invest in buying books on Constitution Law. For Constitution Law, you cannot just depend on one book. You have to read widely. I found that Kevin Tan on Constitution Law is quite comprehensive. Furthermore, you may refer to articles and books by Aziz Bakri, Wu Min Aun and Shad Faruqi.
For landmark cases, it goes without saying that you have to read the whole case. I meant you have to read from line 1 to last line. You will go far if you have developed the habit of reading whole cases in your early years.

At first, you may face problem in understanding the legalese. If you cultivate the habit of reading cases, you will find it not difficult to grasp the concept, the ratio decendi or dictum.
BTW, buy yourself a legal dictionary. Check out at Pekan Buku.

For MLS, it should be an easier paper. As long as you get the concept right, you should be able to pass the paper.

For Contract Law, practice made perfect. There is a good reference book by UM lecturer. You may check out at Pekan Buku. For Islamic Law, I downloaded the Al-Quran verses from the website of JPM. I like the Islamic Family Law. It provided me another perspective other than civil family law.

I started the preparation in August. I allocated 20 hours per week for reading books and cases. From April to July, I usually spent 30 hours per week to wrap up what I have learned and prepared for the exam. I am an early bird. So, for me, the best time to study is 5am to 7am.

You may opt to attend the LEEP programme organised by the Faculty sometime in May. In my first year, I only attended the Islamic Law session.

In my first year, I knew that I am ready to go further in law studies when I won the second prize for an essay competition organised by Bar Council. The first prize went to a chambering student. The third prize went to a LLM holder. The topic of my essay: "Hak Asasi Manusia: Imbangan Antara Hak Ramai dan Hak Individu". You may check out the bibliography (the last part) of the essay. I used those reference materials to prepare for the Constitution Law. The essay was a product on a weekend.

I have been talking to many BOJ aspirants who did not complete the first year. I understand that the drop-out rate is quite high for those on self-study mode.

I just want to share with you a quotation by the author of the book - The Paper Chase
"You teach yourselves the law. I train your minds. You come in here with a skull full of mush, and if you survive, you'll leave thinking like a lawyer." -- Professor Kingsfield"

I am displaying this photo to motivate you guys. All four of us are from BOJ (Malaya). We started the BOJ in 2001 and passed the CLP in 2005.

From left: Josephine (Seremban), Cha Kee Chin (Seremban), Ong (PJ) and me (Penang).

Josephine and Cha will be called to Bar soon.
Ong is doing his LLM at UM. I will start my chambering in a month time.

Let me know if you need further assistance.

Yours sincerely,
Hon Wai, Wong

Friday, August 18, 2006

GST in Hong Kong

The Government of Hong Kong SAR has given the following undertaking in the GST consultation paper. The consultation process will last for 9 months.

"It is the Government's intention that the tax reform package would not need to generate additional revenue. It is our plan that for the first five years after GST introduction, all revenue so generated would be returned to the community as tax relief and other compensation measures. We also proposed that all key elements of the tax reform, would remain unchanged for the first five years."

The tax relief could be the reduction of income tax rate or additional tax relief.

How about Malaysian version of GST? Everything is keep in the dark. No such undertaking was given by Abdullah's administration.

Let's wait for the budget day, September 1st. I believe the 84-day maternity leave package for the female civil servants will be announced then.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Qing Zhen -- born on August 10th.

My wife and I will like to invite you to view our baby's photo online at Penang Adventist Hospital Baby Photo Homepage.

Photo Access Code: 238531JZV

Both mother and baby are doing well. Birth weight is 7lbs 7ozs. Mode of delivery: natural.

We named the baby as Qing Zhen 慶琛. Zhen in Chinese language means treasure. The other prominent person with the name Zhen is Qian Qi-Chen 钱其琛, Former Vice Premier and Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China.

We named our first kid as Qing Lynn 慶琳. In Chinese language, it means jade. She is 4 years old now. Her first name sounds similar to the name of Soong Ch'ing-ling 宋慶齡. Mdm Soong was one of the Soong sisters—three sisters whose husbands were amongst China's most significant political figures of the early 20th century. She was the wife of Sun Yat-sen, the founding father of modern China.

Our second kid is Qing Ray, 慶鋭. In Chinese language, it means agile, sharp. He is two years old. His first name is similar to Goh Keng Swee, 吴慶瑞, the former Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore.

Monday, August 07, 2006

UEM, LKS, O53, PIL and QSR

I shall put a disclaimer here: This blog entry is not about Da Vinci Code.

1. On 18 August 1987, Lim Kit Siang filed at the Penang High Court and applied for an interim injunction against United Engineers (M) Sdn Bhd to restrain it from signing the North South Highway contract.

The Supreme Court ruled that Lim Kit Siang did not have the locus standi although he might be a politician, a road user and a taxpayer. The court did not grant the leave and did not even discuss about the substantive issue.

2. Moving fast forward. Now, it is year 2006. The Abdullah Administration announced that UEM will be granted the contract to build the second Penang Bridge. No open tender was called.

3. Is there any changes to the law on locus standi since the case of UEM v LKS?

In the case of QSR Brands Bhd v Suruhajaya Sekuriti [2006] 3 MLJ 164, Court of Appeal noted on the changes of the new Order 53 (Rules of High Court). The test of threshold locus standi is "adversely affected". Gopal Sri Ram, JCA, quoted a case of Supreme Court of India and outlines the test on locus standi namely:
(a) Is there a sufficient personal interest? or
(b) Is the application a public interest litigation (PIL)?

4. Base on the fact of UEM v LKS, it is clearly fall under the category of Public Interest Litigation as described in QSR Brands. Should the UEM v LKS to be heard after the new Order 53, it will definitely pass thru the leave stage and at least will have a chance to be heard base on substantive issue.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

LPA, Hansard and Interpretation.

There have been heated debates among the legal fraternity on the amendment to Legal Profession Act. In fact, both the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara have passed the amendment. It is now pending at Royal Assent.

There are two opposing views. To me, it is the pragmatism versus idealism. All of them agree on the quorum clause as well as young-lawyer clause. However, they disagree on the issue of secrecy clause, DB proceedings and appeal/judicial review clause.

The idealists camp has provided their input to Senator YB Dato Rhina Bhar. I have read the Hansard and the speech by Rhina Bhar was more or less the same input as discuss in the Malaysian Legal Forum.

It is uphill task to reconcile the interest of every party. If you want to go for the United Nations type of consensus building, it is time consuming.

For those who are going to participate in the discussion at a forum organised by Bar Council this Saturday, I would think that they should at least read the Hansard particulary speech by Rhina Bhar as well as the wind-up speech by Kayveas.

I shall put a caveat on this. The Malaysian Court, in ascertaining the intention of the legislature, will only refer to the speech by the Minister. The speeches by MPs as well as Senators will not be refer to. However, the speeches will be helpful to those interested to understand the nuances of the issue.

Singapore has a clause which enable the court to have recourse to statements made in Parliament to ascertain legislative intention in the event of any ambiguity in a statutory provision.

Section 9A of Singapore Interpretation Act states that interpretation of a provision of a written law shall include, inter alia, any relevant material in any official record of debates in Parliament.

Monday, July 31, 2006

How to recover the maintenance charges due by apartment owners?

In the case of John Denis de Silva v Crescent Court Management Corporation [2006] 3 MLJ 631, the High Court of Kuala Lumpur provides the guideline on how to recover the maintenance charges owed by owners of the apartment.

(1) The management corporation should recovers the sums due to it by filing an action in court for the recovery of the debt against the owner. This is provided under the Strata Title Act.

(2) The management corporation should not prevented the entry and the right to park on the ground that owner had not paid his or her monthly maintenance charges.

In addition to what stated in the case of John Denis, I would add that the other way is
(3) Wait for the owner to sell the unit or a force auction to happen. This is a passive way.

Blogs on CLP exam

CLP exam for year 2006 has just finished. I checked out the web and found two CLP candidates who related their experiences on the exam.

1. Score: CLP Board - 3, Fiona - 0.

2. CLP Exam, Here I Come!!!

My advice to the prospective CLP candidates:

(a) For recent landmark cases - read the whole case. Usually, there will be one full question per paper which is base on the recent landmark cases.

(b) Attend the final intensive classes. I spend 10 weekends in Brickfields College for the last 3 months before the exam. I did not attend the 6 months formal lectures.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Universities are independent entities

On the way to office, I will normally stop by at the coffee shop to purchase a copy of New Straits Times. The vendor will then give me a complimentary copy of The Sun. A good deal indeed - buy one free one. I will then having breakfast and flip through before driving to work. For the other newspapers, I will read up from the web.

Today, I am looking forward for my Thursday edition of The Sun. Prof Dr Shad Faruqi has a Thursday column on the constitutional law. I am his faithful student for many years.
I have collected the weekly articles he wrote in The Star back in year 2000-2001.

However, there was a heavy downpour in the early morning. The Sun did not arrive on time.

Anyway, I am still able to browse the online version of The Sun.

Prof highlighted that universities are independent entities. There is no provision in UUCA for universities to receive directives from cabinet.

This is refreshing as the words come from Prof. He leads a committee in reviewing the UUCA.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Pamplet on IPCMC

Bar Council has launched a campaign to lobby for the formation of IPCMC.

The 2-page pamplet is available here.

The current Inspector General Of Police will retire in three months time. There is a window of opportunity then. Abdullah's administration can use this opportunity to appoint a new IGP who is more committed (or rather with less resistance) to the formation of IPCMC.

We may learn the lesson from Hong Kong ICAC. I have blogged it earlier.

Shanghai and Penang

My friend, 吴汉民 (Hammer Goh), is on the news. He is a designer by profession. He has lived in Shanghai for two years.

In the two parts interview with Penang Media, he shares his view on the lifestyle of Shanghai as compare to Penang.



Monday, July 24, 2006

My kids - Lynn and Ray on the bicycle

Final lap to complete an essay on tax law.

I am in the final lap to complete an essay with 2500 words on tax law.
This will be the submission for the essay competition organised by Bar Council.

Earlier, I have blogged on the Public ruling 1/2006: Additional tax liability for the employed

Here is the excerpt of the essay:

"Pemberian komputer peribadi daripada majikan kepada pekerja adalah dikecualikan cukai bagi tahun taksiran 2001 hingga 2003. Tetapi, Ketetapan Umum 1/2006 telah menafsirkan pemberian komputer peribadi tersebut sebagai satu perkuisit dan terjumlah kepada pendapatan kasar daripada penggajian. Lanjutan daripada itu, ia akan dikenakan cukai.

Ketetapan Umum tersebut merupakan satu usaha Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri untuk mengembangkan asas percukaian dengan merangkumi manfaat-manfaat yang didapati daripada penggajian. Manfaat-manfat penggajian telah dikenakan cukai dengan lebih luas lagi berbanding dengan dahulu. Ini bukan berlaku di Malaysia tetapi juga di negara-negara maju lain. "

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Amendment to Penal Code and CPC

The Dewan Rakyat has passed the amendment to Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code. The amendment bills are now pending at Dewan Negara.

All parties in the criminal justice system will have to scrutinize the bills and prepare accordingly. It will become law by August 2006.

On the other hand, I find the parliamentary debates on the amendment bills very interesting.
For the full text, please read the Hansard dated 13-July and 17-July.

I have written an article on the similar topic in 2004. Hukuman kepada pesalah bagi perlakuan jenayah terhadap wanita masih terlalu ringan?

The man who stole the thunder was none other than the MP for Kota Melaka (MCA).

His quotable quote:
Tuan Wong Nai Chee [Kota Melaka]: Tuan Yang di-Pertua, biasanya kita gunakan
perkataan rogol, biasanya kita menggunakan satu situasi yang mana pesalah itu adalah lelaki dan mangsa itu perempuan. Tetapi jika isteri saya mahu rogol saya, saya pun rela juga..... [Ketawa]

Elizabeth Wong, a social activist, provides more insight on the debate - When MPs debate rape.

Monday, July 17, 2006

UUCA forum (updated)

I have attended the forum on UUCA (University and University College Act) as the representative from DAP Sosialist Youth. The event was jointly organised by SOS, Freemedia, Suaram Penang and Students Progressive Front.

There was a heated debate on the motion to repeal UUCA.

I participated in the debate and basically reinterate the points which I have highlighted in the following blog entries.

1. Auku dan Hak Persatuan published in Malaysiakini, Dec 2005

2. Repeal UUCA, Repeal s47 PHEAI too

3. Gugurkan Pertuduhan terhadap Lima orang mahasiswa USM

BK Ong from SOS has blogged the event.

大专生拍案要求废除大专恶法 - Merdeka Review

Scrap UUCA - Malvu blog

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Mumbai train blasts

CNN reported that there are at least 454 people suffered injuries from multiple explosions in Mumbai, India, that are blamed on terrorists.

Bodies are still being recovered. Police say 174 people were killed.

Analysts are comparing the attack with the 2004 Madrid bombings and 2005 London blasts, noting all involved multiple, well-coordinated explosions.

Thomas Friedman has written the following paragraphs in his famous book The World is Flat.

I have blogged about the book.

"Is it an accident that India has the largest Muslim minority in the world, with plenty of economic grievances, yet not a single Indian Muslim was found in Al Qaeda?

Is it an accident that the richest man in India is an Indian Muslim software entrepreneur, while the richest man in Pakistan, I will guess, is from one of the 50 feudal families who have dominated that country since its independence?

Is it an accident that the only place in the Muslim world where women felt empowered enough to demand equal prayer rights in a mosque was in the Indian city of Hyderabad?

No, all of these were products of democracy"

If Friedman is correct, then it could be the act of Kashmiri separatist groups.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

No man shall be a judge in his own cause

While debating on the Amendment Bill on Legal Profession Act, YB Karpal Singh (Bukit Gelugor) raised objection to a new sub-clause on the Disciplinary Board of the Bar Council .

His argument is base on the conflict of interest and violation of the rule of natural justice.

The sub-clause says: No act or proceedings of the Disciplinary Board shall be invalidated solely on the ground that the President of the Malaysian Bar or his representative has taken part in any deliberation or decision of the Disciplinary Board relating to any complaint where the Bar Council is the complainant.”

YB Chow (Tanjong) reported from his blog that a notice of amendment was tabled by Government to strike out the said sub-clause from the Bill.

The case in point is Ngeow Yin Ngee v Majlis Peguam Malaysia [2004] 3 AMR 476 and Rohana Ariffin v USM.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

World Cup fever

Italy against Germany was the second match I watched in 2006 World Cup. Perhaps I am a late starter. I only warmed up at the final lap of the World Cup. The first match I followed was Brazil against France.

I woke up at 4.30am and managed to witness the crucial moment. The match started at 3am. Two goals happened at around 115th to 119th minutes.

I was a soccer player representing my class in my secondary school days. My position was fullback wearing the jersey number 2. Besides soccer, I was a reserve player in my primary school basketball team.

The highest record I attained in sports was my team won the gold in the 4x100 meter relay for the Ayer Itam Zone. I was the final runner. I was Primary Five then. My team entered the final for the State level. I still remember that we were barefoot runners as compare to the athetes from Union Primary School who put on expensive sport shoes. Union Primary School team won the gold.

My son, Ray, has probably inherited my sports DNA. He is two years and one month old and I have introduced him to cycling, swimming and soccer.

I think sport is an excellent way to foster father-son bonding.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Public ruling 1/2006: Additional tax liability for the employed

The Government is operating under a deficit budget for many years. The Economic Planning Unit is working hard to find ways to finance the 9th Malaysian Plan. The Royal Malaysian Police is launching the Ops Saman to collect traffic summons. The IRB Department, in the other hand, scratches their heads to collect more revenue from the taxpayers.

One of the legitimate ways is through the Public Ruling issued by the IRB.

I found out that I have higher tax liability in year 2006. Public Ruling 1/2006 has effectively increases the tax liability for the employed.

There are new categories of tax liability, inter alia,
1. Annual insurance premium paid by the employer will become part of the gross income from employment and therefore taxable.

2. A gift for service award is taxable. A watch costing RM XYZ for serving the company for 20 years is taxable.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Election petition: Chee Siok Chin v AG

Chee Siok Chin from the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) filed an Originating summons in the High Court of Singapore challenging the validity of the results of the 2006 General Election.

She also wanted the High Court to declare the ban on podcasting during campaigning period as unconstitutional.

Chee was a candidate for Sembawang GRC and the younger sister of Chee Soon Juan, the Secretary General of SDP. I have blogged that Chee Soon Juan was declared bankrupt and therefore barred from participating in the 2006 General Election.

Unfortunately, she did not seek any legal advice before submitting the OS. Her case was thrown out as she failed to adhere to one of the requirement of the Election Regulation that is to pay the deposit of S$5000 within 3 days. In short, it was struck down purely on technicality.

The relevant rule is as following;
"At the time of the filing of the application under section 90, or within 3 days afterwards, security for the payment of all costs, charges and expenses that may become payable by the plaintiff shall be given on behalf of the plaintiff."

For the full judgment, please click here.

Malaysia has a similar rule - Rule 12 of Election Petition Rules 1954 (Malaysia).
The amount of deposit is RM10,000.

"12.(1) At the time of the presentation of the petition, or within three days afterwards, security for the payment of all costs,charges, and expenses that may become payable by the petitioner shall be given on behalf of the petitioner.

(2) The security required by this rule shall be given by a deposit of money of not less than ten thousand ringgit, and the Judge, in the course of the trial, may require the petitioner to deposit an additional sum of money by way of security as the Judge may think fit.

(3) If security as in this rule provided is not given by the petitioner, no petition shall be registered at such Court. "

Chee Siok Chin issued an open letter on 28 June 2006 thanking the SDP supporters who have chipped in for the legal expenses.

This is what she said:
"As I was the litigant-in-person, I had filed the OS and affidavit, and had personally served them on the AG. At that point, I had not engaged a counsel. As a lay person, I was unaware of the fact that I had to put in the deposit within three days after I had filed the OS. It was only when I received a letter from the AG Chambers that they were moving to dismiss the case because I had not put in the deposit that I realized the requirement"

M Ravi is the counsel for Chee Siok Chin. He acted on pro bono basis. Anyway, he is in trouble now. As reported in Singapore Straits Time, he is going to face a Court of Three Judges, the legal profession's highest disciplinary body, for being disrespectful to a district judge.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Re-arrest in front of the detention camp

15 detainees have obtained their habeas corpus orders. Their lawyers served the court order to the officer in charge of Simpang Renggam detention camp. The detainees would have to be set free accordingly. There was heavy presence of police in front of the detention camp. Things turned chaotic and 8 of detainees were re-arrested.

It is the history repeats itself.

A few months ago, Tee Yam obtained the habeas corpus order. He wanted to leave the camp but worried that the police with re-arrested him. His lawyer sent the notice to the media. The reporters waited outside the camp for two days. Tee Yam had a short-live freedom before rearrested by the police. His lawyer threatened to file a contempt of court suit against Inspector General of Police. Within a few days, the Police released him.

The same episode happened to Karpal Singh in 1989. He walked out from Kamunting Detention camp after successfully obtained the habeas corpus order. While he was on the way back to his home in Penang island, the police re-arrested him in Nibong Tebal.

Abdul Ghani Haroon can be considered an exception. In the case of Abdul Ghani Haroon (2001), Hishamuddin J invoked S25(2) of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964 read with para 1 of the Schedule to make a further order that the police be restrained from rearresting the applicants at least for a period of 24 hours.

His Lordship wrote: "The purpose of the order, argued counsel, is not only to give fruits to my judgment earlier in the morning but also on humanitarian grounds since the families of the applicants were then still outstation and were on their way from Penang and Kedah to Shah Alam to meet the applicants."

In short, the re-arrest episode which happened outside Simpang Renggam camp was a grave injustice. Police has made a mockery to the habeas corpus order issued by the High Court.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Proposed amendment to Legal Profession Act

YB Chow Kon Yeow blogged from the Parliament house that the amendment bill for Legal Profession Act was tabled for first reading.

I have received a soft copy of the bill in national language. Drop me a mail in you want to have the soft copy.

For the CLP candidates who are going to sit for the exam in July 2006, you don't have to worry about this. Having said that, if you have to resit for Professional Practice in October, you will have to know the amendment especially on the disciplinary proceeding part.

As I used to comment, the questions for the exam papers may be the same. The answers will differ.

The salient points:

1. Fasal 7 bertujuan untuk meminda subseksyen 13(4) Akta 166 untuk memendekkan tempoh seseorang pegawai mesti berkhidmat dengan Perkhidmatan Kehakiman dan Perundangan, iaitu daripada tujuh tahun kepada sekurang-kurangnya setahun, bagi melayakkan diri untuk mendapatkan pengecualian daripada menjalani apa-apa tempoh latihan bagi maksud penerimaan masuknya sebagai seorang peguam bela dan peguam cara.

My comment: The purpose is to make the Judicial and Legal Service more attractive to the law graduates.

2. Fasal 10 bertujuan untuk memotong perenggan 46A(1 )faj Akta 166. Dengan pindaan yang dicadangkan, kehendak bahawa seseorang mesti merupakan atau telah menjadi seorang peguam bela dan peguam cara selama tempoh tidak kurang daripada tujuh tahun bagi melayakkannya menjadi ahli Majlis Peguam atau sesuatu Jawatankuasa Peguam, atau ahli mana-mana Jawatankuasa Majlis Peguam atau mana-mana Jawatankuasa Peguam, dihapuskan.

My comment: This will effectively abolish the discrimination clause against young lawyers.
With this amendment, young lawyers are qualified to run for office of the Malaysian Bar.

3. Fasal 11 bertujuan untuk meminda seksyen 64 Akta 166 untuk memperhalus dan menjelaskan peruntukan yang berhubungan dengan pengadaan sesuatu mesyuarat agung tahunan, antara lain mengenai kehendak kuorum, iaitu lima ratus ahli Bar Malaysia;

My comment: This is welcome. The quorum requirement is changed from 1/5 of the total members to 500 members. Currently, there are 12,000 lawyers in Peninusular Malaysia. It is a high hurdle to cross the 1/5 quorom (2400).

4. Fasal 19 bertujuan untuk meminda seksyen 93 Akta 166. Antara lain, subseksyen baru (4D) menyatakan dengan khusus bahawa tiada perbuatan atau prosiding Lembaga Tatatertib boleh menjadi tidak sah semata-mata kerana Yang Dipertua Bar Malaysia atau wakilnya telah mengambil bahagian dalam penimbangtelitian Lembaga Tatatertib yang Majlis Peguam merupakan pengadu.

My comment: There is to close the gap. High Court has in a few cases nullified the decision of the Disciplinary Board due to the fact that the Chairman of the Malaysian Bar sat in during the disciplinary hearing in which Malaysian Bar is the complainant.

Updated: YB Karpal Singh raised objection to a new sub-clause on the Disciplinary Board of the Bar Council . His argument is on the conflict of interest and violation of the rule of natural justice.

The sub-clause says: No act or proceedings of the Disciplinary Board shall be invalidated solely on the ground that the President of the Malaysian Bar or his representative has taken part in any deliberation or decision of the Disciplinary Board relating to any complaint where the Bar Council is the complainant.”

His contention is that "no man shall be a judge in his cause".

YB Chow reported from his blog that a notice of amendment was tabled by Government to strike out the said sub-clause from the Bill.

The case in point is Ngeow Yin Ngee v Majlis Peguam Malaysia [2004] 3 AMR 476.

5. Seksyen 103B yang baru memperkenalkan sistem satu peringkat dalam penyiasatan apa-apa aduan terhadap seseorang peguam bela dan peguam cara yang hendaklah Rang Undang-Undang dijalankan oleh Jawatankuasa Tatatertib sahaja.

My comment: The Investigation Panel will become the history.

Anyway, there is no amendment to S46A. Office bearers of the political parties and trade unions as well as SAs and MPs are not allowed to run for office in the Malaysian Bar.

Friday, June 23, 2006

On aggravated rape and sentencing

The proposed amendment on the Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code will be tabled in the Parliament for second reading soon.

The Criminal Law committe of Bar Council led by senior lawyer, Sithambaran, has opposed to the new definition on aggravated rape. Click here for the news report.

Teresa Kok. the DAP MP for Seputeh, who is also a member of the Select Committee expressed disappointment with the comment by the Bar Council. Please click here for her full statement.

I have written this back in year 2004 (in National Language). My view is that Parliament should only define the maximum sentence and leave the discretion for sentencing to the judiciary. Sentencing should be the disretion of the judge who has the opportunity to hear the evidence.

"Terdapat pihak yang mengkritik bahawa undang-undang rogol di Malaysia tidak mempunyai unsur keruncingan seperti Kanun Keseksaan India. Kanun Keseksaan India misalnya mempunyai hukuman spesifik terhadap rogol berkumpulan, rogol terhadap wanita hamil, pesalah ialah polis atau pegawai awam,

Pada pendapat saya, kategori di bawah Kanun Keseksaan India bukanlah satu senarai lengkap yang tertutup. Faktor keruncingan seperti pesalah yang mengetahui dirinya menjangkiti AIDS atau penyakit berjangkit seks misalnya tidak dalam senarai keruncingan Kanun Keseksaan India.

Parlimen biasanya menggariskan hukuman penjara maksimum dan hukuman sebatan maksimum, adalah menjadi budi-bicara mahkamah untuk menilai setiap unsur keruncingan dan menjatuhkan hukuman yang setimpal. Pada pandangan saya, budibicara kehakiman dalam menjatuhkan tempoh hukuman yang berpatutan tidak harus dikongkong oleh Parlimen. "

For the full text of my essay, please click here.

There are other online comments on this issue:

1. From the blogger Weng Tchung -"The Proposed Provisions on Aggravated Rape: Sithambaram Has Got it all Wrong"

2. Forum in the Malaysian Bar Website- Should there be a new category of rape?

3. Other NGOs as posted in the Teresa's blog.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Tax law

I have a new assignment. I have to complete an essay on the tax law to be submitted by 31 July.

The title is "Akta Cukai Pendapatan: siapa dapat dia dicukai. Bincangkan". It is one of the three essay topics set by the Bar Council for the 2006 Essay Competition. For details, please click here. The other topics are on intellectual property and arbitration.

The topics are quite challenging. It is for the post-graduate level.

For the next few weeks, I would read up on the recent development on tax law such as double taxation. I will blog it then.

Taming the Global Finance

I just finished reading the book "Taming Global Financial Flows : Challenges and Alternatives in the Era of Globalization" by Kavaljit Singh.

From my interpretation, the author is a leftish. He advocated for certain degree of capital control and also the implementation of the Tobin Tax.

He is an economist base in India.

This book serves as a basic text on the herd effect, assymetry information, hot money, money laundering, off-shore financial center etc.

For those who will like to make sense of what happening in the globalised world, there are two books I recommend:
- The World is Flat on the movement of human resource and
- Taming the Global Finance on the movement of capital.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

On leave for two weeks -- come back after June 19th

I will stop blogging for two weeks. Will be back after June 19th.

Possible reason:
(a) Tight work schedule
(b) World Cup fever
(c) Big boss is visiting
(d) computer broke down
(e) all of the above.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Chambering: A small step in the journey of thousand miles

It is a good beginning for the month of June. On 1 June 2006 at 7pm, I have secured a chambering opportunity with a senior litigation lawyer in Georgetown, Penang. My tentative start date is middle of September which is 100 days from now.

Drop me a private email ( if you want to know in further details.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Another gruesome murder trial

Singapore High Court released the judgment of PP v Aguilar Guen Garlejo on May 29, 2006.

There are a few similarities between the case of PP v Aguilar Guen Garlejo and PP v Leong Siew Chor (I have blogged this earlier).

1. Both cases happened in Singapore in year 2005. (September 2005 and June 2005)
2. The accused dismembered the deceased's body.
3. The deceased are foreigners. (Phillipines and PRC)
4. Public transport was used to transport the decease's body parts. (MRT and cab)
5. The body parts were thrown to reservoir or river.

Part of the judgment of PP v Aguilar Guen Garlejo:

"The accused then headed back to the Sunglade apartment where she systematically dismembered the deceased’s body and placed the body parts into a bag and a suitcase. The accused asserts all this was done while she was in a state of bewilderment. Her mind was still numb and whirling with shock that she had killed her best friend.
On the following day, she took a taxi to Orchard Road and placed the bag containing the deceased’s head near the Orchard Road MRT station. Later she proceeded to MacRitchie Reservoir where she placed the suitcase near a public footpath within clear view, making no effort to conceal it. The accused cannot explain why she did this."

Is this a mere coincidence or copycat act? This should be an interesting research topic for the criminologist.

Chief Justice of Singapore, in his speech to the new lawyers, reminded them about the relationship between law and life. I found it very inspiring.

"The practice of the law is a great learning and a teaching life experience. You will learn more law and more about the law as you progress in your profession. The experience that you acquire from your interactions with your clients will teach you many lessons about life that you will not find in many other professions. Become a criminal lawyer, and you will see the darker and seamier side of life and learn of its harsh realities. Become a corporate lawyer, and you will see the profit-orientated and business-minded world, and learn of the human motivations that are driven by a materialistic life. Become a family law lawyer, and you will see the social problems of failed or dysfunctional families, and a side of life you have never seen before. Then, you may begin to understand and have more compassion for those who are less fortunate and the problems they endure.

Then, you may begin to appreciate all the social and other problems of society, as has been said often, from the womb to the tomb. In a modern society governed by the law, if there is a desire to help people to cope with their lives, the law is a good career choice for you. "

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Amendment to Election Law

Bernama reported on May 10, 2006 that the amendment to election regulation was effective for the Sarawak State Election.

The full text of amendment is available at the SPR's website.

The salient points:
1. In addition to legal tender (meaning: notes/gold coins), the Election Commission is now accepting bank draft.

2. All counting and recounting is going to happen in the individual polling station. The margin for the request of recount has increased from 2% to 4%.

3. The practice of writing of the serial number of the voter on the counterfoil of the ballot is discontinued.

Monday, May 29, 2006

IPCMC (Malaysia) and ICAC (Hong Kong)

I was reading Jeff Ooi's blog on the resistance put up by the Royal Malaysia Police on the formation of IPCMC. There are striking similarities with the resistance by Hong Kong Police Force during the formative year of ICAC.

When established in 1974, the Hong Kong ICAC's main target was syndicated corruption in government departments - notably the Police Force.

News reports about police officers being arrested or investigated for corruption were almost a weekly occurrence in the first three years of the ICAC.

As recorded by the book "History of ICAC" (I have blogged this earlier):

"On 28 October 1977, about 2,000 people demonstrated at the police headquarters, while several dozen police officers stormed the ICAC Headquarters. After careful consideration of the circumstances, the Government decided to issue a "partial amnesty". "

The full text of the Partial Amnesty
The directive stated essentially that in future the ICAC would not act on complaints or evidence relating to offences committed before 1 January 1977. The exception would be those where suspects had already been interviewed (and allegations of offence put to them), persons against whom arrest warrants had been issued, and persons outside Hong Kong on 15 November 1977.Also excluded from the amnesty were offences considered so heinous that it would be unthinkable to refrain from action. However, it was stipulated that the governor should be consulted first.

The difference between the two is that IPCMC is a still-born. The Abdullah administration lacks the political will to bring the reform to the police forces.

New deal for foreign maids?

I am quite delighted to read about the news that there is going to be a new employment arrangement for the foreign maids.

The Government is going to grant certain rights for the maids in accordance to the spirit of Employment Act 1955. The Act is applicable for those earning less than RM1500 per month.
The maids can take their grievances against employers to the Labour Court. Labour Court is a cheaper avenue for the maids as each party has to bear their own costs.

Prior to this, they can appear in person or hire a lawyer to represent them in the civil court (magistrate court or session court). If they lost the case, the costs follow the event meaning the maids have to bear the legal costs of the winning party - the employers.

Secondly, the employers have to pay the monthly insurance coverage for the foreign maids. This is in accordance to the Workers Compensation Act. The Act is applicable for those earning less than RM500 per month.

Those are the progressive deal. Malaysians have to learn to treat their maids and foreign workers in a civilised manner. There are our helpers and not the modern slave.

What could have triggered this new deal?
First and foremost is the necessity to maintain the cordial relationship with the major supplier of the foreign maids, namely Indonesia.

Secondly, Chin Well Fasteners Co Sdn Bhd v Sampath Kumar Vellingiri & Ors [2006] 1 MLJ 117 is a case in point that could have contributed to this new deal.

Despite the new deal, I have been hearing about the abusive treatment on the foreign workers by Malaysia enforcement officers. Lih Kang from Suaram photo-blogged it.

Friday, May 26, 2006

IT revolution in Vietnam

The cover story of this week YZZK (Asia Weekly Magazine) is about the
IT revolution in Vietnam.

Here are the brief facts:
1. Intel has started investing in Vietnam. Current staff size is 13. Plan to grow to 1200. The new plant for Test and Assembly will be ready in a year or two.

2. Bill Gates visited Vietnam recently. Microsoft is going to invest in Vietnam.

3. To the MNCs, Vietnam is equally attrative as China. The labour cost is half of China.

4. Vietnam is going to enter WTO this year.

5. There are a sizeable Vietnamese community in the Bay Area, USA. They are going to be the pioneer and the bridge to bring the investment to Vietnam.

The conclusion: Vietnam will be the new star.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

12% hike in electricity tariff

The Government made the following announcement

A new electricity tariff structure will apply to all our customers effective from 1 June 2006 following the recent Government announcement.

The new tariff is structured to balance between protecting low income group and sustaining the nation's competitiveness. Not everyone will be affected in the same way. These are several quick facts about the new electricity tariff:
No increase if your monthly bill is less than 200kWh (or RM43.60).

Click here for the full text.

My response:
The monthly electricity bill for a 180-unit flat/apartment is in the range of RM3000 to RM5000. This is to maintain the common facility such as corridor lights, elevator, water pump etc.

Although individual unit with monthly bill less than RM44 will not see increase in their individual bill, but the owners have to share the higher maintenance bill. Keng Yeik is making a twist when he said most of the users will not be affected.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Kallang body parts murder trial

For the past 2 weeks, Kwong Wah (the local Chinese newspaper) carried series of court report prominently in the page 2 on the case of PP v Leong Siew Chor.

Finally, the Singapore High Court delivered the verdict -- death sentence. The accused has cut the deceased body into 7 parts and carried it on bicycle and cab before threw it to different location in the island.

Part of the judgment:
"He made a few incisions at her private parts intending to cut upwards towards the chest. He then thought it was not a good idea and decided to cut across the waist instead. When he succeeded in doing so using the same chopper and rubber mallet, some of the entrails fell out. He threw them into the toilet bowl and flushed them away. After washing the blood off himself, he went out to get more plastic bags, some masking tape and a couple of carton boxes that used to contain computer components. He then returned to the toilet where he placed the lower torso into a plastic bag, put it into one of the carton boxes and sealed the box with masking tape."

I am going to read this horror story (judgment) tonight. Sometime, I think the law school should make psychology as a compulsory subject for law students

Monday, May 22, 2006

"Young" lawyer

In the legal lexicon, the term "young lawyer" referred to the category of lawyers who have less than 7 years in experience. A lawyer who has more than 7 years of experience can contest for a position in the Bar Council and its committees. They also can act as master to the chambering students.

So, the word "young lawyer" is not referring to the age bracket. You may have a "young lawyer" who is in his 60s.

Ayavoo is a young lawyer in the age of 67. He called to Bar last week. It took him 10 years to achieve his goal.

His journey:
1. 1996: Start taking "A" Level.
2. Taking LLB (London) exam.
3. Passed CLP in year 2004.
4. Call to Bar in 2006.

Read his story at The Star.

Profiles of DAP YBs (Sarawak)

DAP won six seats in the Sarawak State Election.
Five of the YBs are lawyers and another one is a full time politician (Kidurong).

The five lawyers cum YBs obtained their legal training either from Australia or UK.

Their profiles:

1. Violet Yong Wei Wei -- Melbourne U.
2. Chong Chien Jen -- Australian National U.
3. Wong Ho Leng -- Sydney U.
4. Ting Tze Fei - London U.
5. Voon Li Shan - London U.

Click here for their CVs.

Check out the blog of Teng Chang Kim (State Assemblyman from Sungai Pinang) for what transpired on the battle ground.

History of ICAC

I am currently reading the book of "The History of ICAC" 解密香港廉政公署.
ICAC is the acronym for the Hong Kong Independent Commission Against Corruption.

First chapter:
A top civil servant was invited by ICAC for further investigation.

He was detained for 48 hours (Malaysian law: 24 hours). He was released without a further remand or a proper charge. A few hours later, he committed suicide.

What was the reason he took his own life? Fear of prosecution? Felt guilty and ashamed?

The answer offered by the author: Without a formal charge and conviction, his dependants (wife and children) can still benefit from his pension. This is a logical explanation.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Pupillage in Malaysia

I found a good article on pupillage in Malaysia. The author is BK Fam, a young lawyer practising in Sarawak.

One of the tips:
File your Borang 1 and 2 at the High Court Registry as soon as you commence your pupillage. The date you file your Borang 1 will be the date that you officially commence pupillage.

Fam also wrote articles on Is studying law for you? and Things they did not teach you at law school?

To my friends who have entered short call: keep learning and have fun. 8)

I plan to start chambering soon. As of now, I am bogged down with my work as well as the preparation for my third baby who is scheduled to arrive 10 weeks from now.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Who moved his cheese?

I received an email from a disgruntled co-worker. He is a Canadian engineer and has been laid off recently.

This is what he wrote to the boss and the whole department.

"Dear boss,
You asked about how to get children interested in science and engineering…..
Well you could improve your chances by not laying off their parents.

Seriously, I think my children will be better off if they chose law, medicine, or business and not engineering.

I am not bitter, as the company has been very generous with their severance, and I have been lucky enough to find alternate employment. But this process has affected my children’s perceptions of what they aspire to do in the future."

His job has been realign and move elsewhere. I guess his job has been move to Penang. We can replace one Canadian Engineer with three in Penang.

I have been in this industry long enough to witness all those realign exercises. At one instance, the whole department was moved from London to Ireland. The reason is simple: Ireland offers an attractive tax incentive. The company tax rate for Ireland is 12% (It is 28% in Malaysia). That is why big name like Intel and Dell setting up their European office in Ireland.

A friend relates to me that his company name and ownership changed three times in five years (from HP to Agilent, then later to Avago) and yet he is still sitting in the same cubicle.

The classical example is Digital Equipment Corp (DEC). I took care of DEC machines in my first job. Compaq acquired DEC in 1997. Later, Hewlett-Packard merged with Compaq. Now, DEC engineers are part of HP.

Please read the book "The World is Flat" by Thomas Friedman. The book gives you a good perspective of what happening in the global labour market. Most importantly, we have to make ourselves "untouchable" which is the highest level in the hierarchy of lifetime employability (not lifetime employment).

If you have reached that level, nobody can move your job elsewhere. Then, you can continue enjoying your cheese.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Consti forum disrupted in Penang

Dear CL and AR,

How's life?

The last time we met was 2 months ago. Three of us attended the forum "Federal Constitution:Protection For All" at Crystal Crown Hotel, Petaling Jaya. It was a 4 hours crash course on the issue of freedom of religion. There were 700 participants. Many of them were from outstation. Mr Yai Pe Keng, a senior member of the Bar, travelled from Johor Bahru to PJ to attend this forum. I have blogged the event. I also blogged the current judiciary pronouncement on the freedom of religion (A good question from Ronnie Liu)

The same forum was disrupted by demonstrators in Penang on Sunday morning. The event, scheduled to run from 9.00 am to 1.00 pm at the Cititel Hotel along Penang Road, was unexpectedly cut short to only an hour’s duration. It was reported there were 100 demonstrators as compare to 200 participants. The co-organiser, Aliran, issued a press statement expressing regret that the opportunity to discuss the conflict between civil law and syariah law did not materialise. For the full text of the press statement, please click here.

I think the demonstrators were misled. The forum was not on IFC (Inter-faith Commission).

The local newspaper (Kwong Wah) reported that Cititel received a bomb threat at 11.30am. It was later confirmed that it was a prank call.

A fellow lawyer, Stephen Tan Ban Chen, wrote a report on the incident. It can be accessed at Malaysian Bar Website.

The next destination is scheduled at Johor Bahru. We will have to cross the fingers to see whether it will be materialise.

Perhaps, the organiser should evaluate the possibility to podcast the event through Internet.
After all, this is a flat world. Nobody can hijack the event on the Internet.

Your sincerely,
Hon Wai

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Three personal visits

Last night, I put what I learn from history into practice.

According to the history, Liu Bei paid three visits to the house of Zhuge Liang诸葛亮, and finally on the third visit, Zhuge Liang consented to be his strategist, as he was impressed by Liu Bei's sincerity, virtue and morality. This story has crystallised into a Chinese proverb called: "三顾茅庐". (Translation: Three personal visits to the house).

The confinement lady who has done an excellent job in taking care of my wife and our two babies told us that she may not be able to do it for us the third time. She is now a grandmother and babysitter to a 4 months old baby.

She is not an ordinary confinement lady. We treat her as part of our family. I have peace mind and good sleep when she helped my wife for the previous two confinement period.

In fact, my wife made it a point to visit to her house every Chinese New Year for the past 4 years.

We are going to pay her a third visit soon. Hopefully, she will work out a plan and be able to help us.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The new benchmark - Digital Railways

Sun Yat Sen, the father of Modern China, once mentioned that in order to bring progress to China, railways have to be built connecting the major towns.

In those old days, we may benchmark the progress of a nation by the coverage of the railways and highways.

In the 21st century, the new benchmark is the digital railways -- the fiber optic network.

This is what mentioned by Thomas Friedman in his book "The World is Flat".

He relates his experience with life examples on the power of globalisation .

I bought the soft cover copy last weekend at Popular Bookshop (Jalan Petaling Branch) in KL. It was a good deal, RM38, as compare to RM80 for the hard cover. I spent two hours reading a few chapters at Starbuck Cafe (Summit) last Saturday.

This book will be fit for my bedtime reading for this week.

I enjoy reading his other book titled: "Lexus and the Olive Tree: On Globalisation".

Monday, May 08, 2006

"You have a choice" - Aljunied GRC (Singapore) results.

The Workers' Party (WP) scored 43.9% in Aljunied GRC. It is the historical high point for the opposition since the inception of GRC System. I have blogged on April 29th that Aljunied GRC is a hot seat to be in the radar screen.

In Ang Mo Kio, WP scored 33.87% against the team of PAP headed by Lee Hsien Loong.

The results obtained by the WP demonstrate that voters are responding to the quality of the candidates and image as a whole.

The theme used by the Workers' Party is "You have a choice". "您有选择". Please click here for the 52 pages manifesto.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Word of wisdom from Mr Hei Yu-Lung

I came across an interesting interview on Sinchew Sunday edition.
Mr Hei Yu-lung (黑幼龍), the President of Carnegie Consultancy of Taiwan, shares his experience in making a mid-career switch.

He submits that the middle age group has higher success rate and freedom to make a mid-career switch than those in their 20s.

His arguments are as following:

1. They have accumulated years of experience and wealth. They have a more stable financial status to make such a drastic switch. Mid-career switch is risky as it involves drastic drop of income.

2. They are more mature and understand that the reason to make such a switch is not because they dislike the current job, pay or the boss. They have done the soul-searching.

3. They fully understand their strength and weakness. They are willing to listen to themselves and match their interest with the new career option.

4. They have come to a stage that they fully appreciate their own value system and willing to take a risk to find the purpose in life.

Mr Hei made a career switch at the age of 40 from mechanical work to training and consultancy in the area of human resources.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Praxis March/April 2006 edition

My name appears on page 13 of the latest edition of Praxis, the Chronicle of the Malaysian Bar. Praxis is an in-house publication by Bar Council. The circulation is around 15,000 copies.

I have blogged earlier that I have won the essay competition organised by Bar Council.
For the full text on the essay, please click here.

Monday, May 01, 2006


In conjuction with the income tax filing day, I will blog a topic on taxation.

I have followed closely on the case of Teruntum Sdn Bhd v IRB (Court of Appeal). The written judgment is not available yet. However, the line of argument can be found in another High Court case.

I will blog the issue on double taxation under Real Property Gains Tax and Income Tax. Is there a finality on the tax liability?

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Interesting hot seat: Aljunied GRC (Singapore)

Before the nomination day, I thought that The Workers' Party will field Slyvia Lim in a Single Member Constituency (SMC).

If she lost in the SMC, she will stand a chance to enter Parliament as a Non-Constituency MP (the candidate with the highest percentage of votes among the losing opposition candidates), just like what happened to Steve Chia in the previous election. Steve Chia has lost his credibility. He is involved in a scandal when topless photos of his maid were discovered by his wife in his computer's "Recycle Bin".

Slyvia Lim is trained in law and currently a lecturer in Temasek Polytechnic, a public funded institution. She is the Chairman of the Workers' Party.

Well, she is not eyeing to become a Non-Constituency MP. She wants to slash the overall majority of PAP.

She is teaming up with James Gomez and a few others to contest in Aljunied GRC (Group Representation Constituency). Her team will face the incumbent team - George Yeoh (Foreign Minister) and the gang.

There was no contest in the Aljunied GRC back in 2001 General Election.

James Gomez has a Master degree and currently a PhD candidate. Check out his blog on the campaign trail.

According to an analyst, Slyvia Lim, James Gomez and the team would not cross the hurdle of 25% total votes.

As reported in Lian He Zao Bao , Lee Hsien Loong has thrown down the gauntlet to her team.

My comment: Let's cross the fingers. It is a barometer whether Singaporeans would accept a first class opposition team.

One thing for sure, the PAP is facing a tough time to maintain their 75% popular votes they enjoyed in 2001.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Interesting blogs

Here are the blogs that I read.

Legal related blogs
1. 麻辣大状的BLOG (In Chinese) -- about the life of a young practicing lawyer in Johore Bahru.
2. 山猫の宇宙 (Yamaneko) (English & Chinese) -- by a chambering student in KL
3. A Touch of Tims -- The Brookes Diary -- by a Malaysian law student in UK.
4. Shih - A Malaysian brought up in Singapore and ended up practicing law in KL.

Political activists
1. Awaken the Giant Within (In Chinese) -- by Ng Wei Aik 黄伟益 . He is the executive editor of an established newspaper, the Rocket (Chinese edition).
2. Malaysian Voters Union - by BK Ong, leader of several NGOs.
3. Wengsan's blog - by Lau Weng San. A chemical engineer turned full time political activist.
4. Freedom in Solidarity - by James Wong. Former MP of Kampar.
5. Last but not least, the voices of DAP MPs - namely Lim Kit Siang, Chow Kon Yeow, Teresa Kok, Fong Po Kuan and Teng Chang Khim.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Red Book

This is not the Red Book by the Communist China.

Bar Council has published a book with a red cover called "Police & Your Basic Rights". (English version)
It outlines many useful tips to the general public on their basic rights.

The Chinese version is available here.

Thanks to my learned friend, YJ, for forwarding me this info.

One piece of info not included in this red book, in which I think will be
useful for my friends in the opposition parties. The "minum kopi" invitation is kind of routine for them.

If you receive a letter from a police station which is more than 7 miles from your office or house, inviting you to give a witness statement (112 statement),
you may write a polite letter or give a phone call declining the invitation by quoting Section 111, Criminal Procedure Codes or even to the stage of putting the letter to recycle bin.

In Section 111 CPC, there is no legal obligation to attend to such invitation if the police station is more than 7 miles from your office or residence.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Rafiah Salim -- the academician

Rafiah Salim, the former dean of Faculty of Law, is the new Vice Chanchellor of Universit of Malaya.

Base on my preliminary and limited google search on her academic credential, she has written the following books and articles.

1. Evidence in Malaysia & Singapore Cases, Materials & Commentary (2nd Ed).
2. Rafiah Salim, Akta Pembahagian 1958, Journal of Malaysian Law.

I have not read the first book. The current locus classicus in the area of Evidence law is written by YA Augustine Paul.

I wish that she can bring UM as well as the Faculty of Law to the new heights.

A man with 64 children -- contract marriage in Singapore

The case in point is Public Prosecutor v MX [2006] SGHC 67.

MX, a Muslim of the Shi’ite Sect, has ten wives. Four are legal wives while six are contractual wives. He has a total of 64 children from these ten wives, consisting of 33 sons and 31 daughters.

MX has committed the offence of rape (or rather incest). He has interpreted certain verse in the Al Quran and claimed that as a father had ownership over his children and that such ownership extended to having sexual intercourse with his daughters. He had sexual intercourse with 5 of his daughters.

The Singapore High Court ruled that the accused’s interpretation of the relevant verse in the Al- Quran is not adopted by contemporary or classical Muslim scholars.

The court sentenced MX to 32 years imprisonment and 24 strokes of the cane.

The court did not deliberate on the issue of contract marriage. It was not the core issue. Whether the victim is legitimate or illegitimate child of MX, that does not affect the culpability. It is still incest.

Contract Marriage for Muslim couples in Malaysia

What is the legal implication of a private marriage contract between Muslim couples? It is common knowledge that Muslim couples are required by law to register their marriage with the authority.

A muta’a is a marriage contracted between a male Muslim and a female Muslim, a Jew, a Christian or a fire-worshipper, with the former declaring: "I have united myself to thee" or "I have married thee" or words to that effect, and by fixing the period of cohabitation and specifying the amount of dowry.

The Court of Appeal has an answer for this in the case of Ishak Shaari v PP, as reported in NST on April 15th 2006.

Ishak Shaari was charged for statutory rape on a 14-year-old girl. He put up the defence of a contract marriage, also know as muta'a. If he succeed in convincing the court that he has entered the contract marriage with the girl,he will be acquitted. Under the Penal Code, a man having sexual intercourse with his wife without her consent within a valid marriage is not rape.

The Court of Appeal delivered the verdict that such marriage is unlawful and is not recognised in Malaysia. Muslim couples have to register their marriage with the proper authority.

I would add that such marriage contract is illegal as it is against the public policy, as stipulated in Section 24, Contracts Act.

For non-Muslims, they are governed by Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act. Effective from March 1st, 1982, the marriage of non-Muslim couples must be registered under the Act. The main purpose of the Act is to prohibit polygamous marriages among non-Muslims. Customary marriage for non-Muslim couples (for instance:tea ceremony or signing a marriage contract) without registration with the proper authority is not recognised in Malaysia.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Exam for Patent Agents

Examination for Patent Agents is opened for registration. In order to sit for the exam, candidates should possess BSc or B Engineering or be Advocates and Solicitors.

UKM (Faculty of Law) offers a new weekend course called Master in IP. The course prepares the students to take up the exam for patent agents.

Intellectual Property (IP) lawyers are specialist. They usually work in the area of civil litigation.

Most of the semiconductor factories in Penang are filing patents in US, European Union, China and Japan. Malaysia is not in the radar screen. There will not be much patent activities in the semiconductor industries in Penang until we build up a broad base of locally design products.

There are two reasons why companies want to file patents.
1. Defensive: Cross Licensing, Protects the Implementation, Litigation Counterclaims
2. Offensive: Access to Others Technology, Licensing Revenue or Litigation

Intel Technology files patents to protect its dominant market share against competitor like AMD. IBM generates revenue by licensing the patents.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

"Open Sesame" - Rule 137 (RFC 1995)

Highland Towers residents have made a second attempt to persuade the Federal Court, the apex court, on the same subject matter.

It is common knowledge that we have a three tier system. This case originated from High Court and went through Court of Appeal and has reached the court of final appeal namely Federal Court. The Federal Court has passed the judgment on February 17, 2006.

So, how come there is a second attempt?

For the lawyers who worth their salt, there is a provision in the Rule of Federal Court 1995 that preserve the inherent power of the Federal Court that enables a second or even multiple attempts.

The Rule 137 stipulates that:
"For the removal of doubts it is hereby declared that nothing in these Rules shall be deemed to limit or affect the inherent powers of the Court to hear any application or to make any order as may be necessary to prevent injustice or to prevent an abuse of the process of the Court."

The burden is on the litigant to prove there has been substantial injustice or abuse of the process of the Court.

In the case of Megat Najmuddin, the Federal Court allowed a second attempt thus virtually has created a forth-tier system. The case set a precedent and unsuccessful litigants are trying their luck for the second attempt. It is a high hurdle.

Most of the cases did not even pass the leave stage. The case in point is Kobchai v Adorna Properties.