Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Resolutions, resolutions, resolutions


Ah... the end of the year dawns upon us, and soon we will be thinking of what we have done and plan what we want to do next year.

I must say (as cliche as it sounds) 2009 zoomed pass faster than a Jet plane. Well, maybe not as fast as a Jet plane as some Jet planes in Malaysia recently lost it's Engine. (I am amazed on how corrupt Malaysia has now become that a Jet Engine can be stolen. It's like having an Elephant in a Room, one cannot simply lose something that huge.)

As for the year end, I would suggest people stop making new resolutions but look back at the resolution you made at the end of 2008. The resolutions which you could not achieve or attain, you should review that. Was it an over ambitious resolution? Was it an impossible one? Really, no use formulating another resolution if you cant achieve the ones you set out to do this year.

Perhaps instead of resolutions for the New Year, one may alternatively reflect, review and reassess our life. Look back at the decisions you took, which led you to where you are today. Think back of the comments you made and the thoughts which came through your mind. Were they accurate? If they were incorrect, why?

The year has been a roller coaster for me. Starting of slowly and quietly. The Legal Firm struggled the first few months of the year. We picked up business but most of the time, we were merely covering the losses suffered from last year and early this year. I am so glad Yip has joined in. He will bring stability and intelligence to the Firm, and since he and I have put aside whatever perceived differences we had, I look forward to work with a person I consider to be a close friend.

The Firm also welcomes Johnson, a young lawyer with immense potential and Penny, my former clerk. They will both add quality to the Firm.

I am glad and thankful that my family are all right. I pray for their safety and well being next year.

As for my country Malaysia, what can I say; we lost 2 Jet Engine, won a SEA Games football gold and continue to draw unnecessary attention of the World media with the Kartika's proposed caning and Teoh Beng Hock's death. I guess we can say Malaysia, won lost and draw this year.

I can only hope next year will be better. The year has ended in mixed feelings of anguish, despair and hope. Love too, has come knocking at my door and it is nice to feel, again.

This Thursday is the last day for the year and the decade. Goodbye 2009, Hello 2010.


Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Magic

The most amazing magic trick I've ever seen. Check out the burger, after he takes a bite at it. Introducing : Cyril Takayama

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

The Malaysian Ku-Klux-Klan?



What a wonderful phrase above. The above is a quote from Malaysian Insider, quoting Ahmad, who is one of the 6 charged for the now infamous cow-head incident.

Let us study this phrase carefully. It seems to me this person is using history to back up his claim for racial supremacy. His foundation is that this land was once known as 'Tanah Melayu', and on that logic, as a Malay, he claims supremacy. He suggests that all other races being migrants, are 2nd class.

I would like to quote the website of www.sabrizain.org, where that website is quoted to state:-

"Anthropologists trace the home of the malay race to the Northwest part of Yunan, in China".


So, if that is the history of the Malay race in Tanah Melayu, it only means that the Malays are actually, Chinese. If the Malays are actually Chinese, that would make all my malay friends, my long distance relative.

Wow, what a revelation.

So, how does one claim racial supremacy over other migrants, when one is also a migrant?

It is also obvious that this Ahmad chap is relying on 'I-came-to-this-land-before-you' argument to lay claim as the supreme race of the Land. But it is an acceptable truth that the Orang Asli were here before the Malays. If that is the case, using the logic of Ahmad, of who come first is supreme, how did that make the Malays a supreme race in Malaysia? The Orang Asli has to be the supreme race in Malaysia then?

I would submit that the tirade by Ahmad above is the very reason why Malaysia must move away from this racial issues in Malaysia. These issues are illogical and unacceptable in the modern day Malaysia.

But, I will concede that the Constitution of Malaysia preserves the rights of the Malay race. I would accept that as part of the Law, as I respect and accept the Federal Constitution as the supreme law in Malaysia.

I would, however, not accept that our Federal Constitution was drafted to bred racism.

We do not and should not have a Ku-Klux-Klan attitude in our Country.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Experiments at the Duta Court

Whilst most lawyers are trying to complete their work with the impending year-end holidays in the horizon, a small but significant group of lawyers have been battling their way in the Lower Courts for the last 1 month.

Since the introduction of the Tracking system at the Lower Courts (Session & Magistrates Courts), scenes at the newly created Managing Judge zones in the Court complex resembles a refugee camp, of people lining up trying to get out of the country.

For those who dont understand what this tracking system is, please allow me to explain.

There are about 10 Civil Magistrate Courts and Session Courts. The Lower Courts also have specialised Courts to hear Criminal matters, but that division is not affected by the Tracking system (yet?).

Every single Civil Lower Court would have it's own Session Court President (the Judge) or a Magistrate. Each President/Magistrate would have about 10,000 to 50,000 files to go through every year. Mostly small claims and mostly cases which can be disposed off fairly quickly. The President/Magistrate would manage the Court and fix cases for Hearings/Trials. Admittedly, some Courts are slower than the other; but eventually, matters move.

It would be ideal to tweak that system, instead of just replacing the entire system to the current Tracking system.

So, what is this Tracking system?

In this system, ALL files from ALL Courts are managed by a central unit, referred to the 'Managing Judge Unit' (MJU). The Magistrate and Session Courts have their respective MJU. Every day now at the Duta Court complex a group of about 200 to 500 lawyers, mostly younger lawyers, trying to find their way in the MJU areas. Recently, the Session Court's MJU moved from the Basement to Level 3, whilst the Magistrate MJU remains in the Basement floor.

What happens there; is unfortunate and depressing. Lawyers are made to queue for hours to find out about their files. What use to take about 20-30 minutes in the old system, now take an average of an hour to 2 to sort out. Some lawyers will be at Court for about 2 hours to sort out just 1 file.

Instead of quickening the system, it has costs massive waste of legal time for the lawyers. Every minute away from the office for these lawyers would mean the lost of opportunity to serve other clients. Of course, this would adversely affect the incomes of the Legal Firms too.

This is not a conducive method to dispense Justice and the experiment at the Lower Courts must be either stopped or held back (and re-done) before re-implementing the system. Ideally the Courts Administrators ought to think things through first, before implementing any system.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Press Release by the Malaysian Bar

Press Release: Move towards transparent and accountable investigationsPDFPrintE-mail
Contributed by Ragunath Kesavan
Tuesday, 01 December 2009 05:14pm
ImageWe refer to Syed Nadzri’s column in today’s New Straits Times, entitled “When common sense goes out the window”, in respect of the High Court’s recent ruling that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission can only question witnesses between 8.30am and 5.30pm.

The Malaysian Bar is of the view that the interpretation of the High Court’s decision that is articulated in that editorial is inaccurate.

We restate our position on this matter, as expressed in our press release dated 30 November 2009, which includes the following principles.

Witnesses who aid law enforcement agencies in investigations should surely, at a minimum, be accorded the same protection and rights as accused persons.

However, there is a fundamental distinction between witnesses and accused persons, which must be highlighted. Accused persons can be remanded because they are implicated in the alleged offence, whereas witnesses are integral in assisting the investigation and prosecution process. It is essential that witnesses, whose testimonies are important in court hearings, not face any actual or perceived intimidation, pressure or coercion during the interrogation process.

The High Court decision relates to the MAAC’s practice of
compelling witnesses to appear and be questioned, including for long periods of time that stretch beyond office hours, with no option for them to decline. We reiterate that if witnesses volunteer to be interrogated outside of office hours, and attend the interview with their legal counsel, any allegation of impropriety or abuse would be immediately dispelled.

Such respect for the Constitutionally-enshrined right to counsel of one’s choice, and adherence to the High Court ruling, will, in the long run, promote transparency and accountability. Furthermore, witnesses would be encouraged to be forthcoming in assisting with investigations, as they would have no reason to fear the interrogation process or dread being unduly detained for long and unreasonable hours.


Ragunath Kesavan
President
Malaysian Bar

1 December 2009