Monday, 24 December 2012

Forging ahead to a better year

Another Year has passed. It was another busy year. 

The Firm remains the focus. Much work to do to remain competitive and focussed on our work. Its easy to start a Firm, but its never easy to keep the Firm ahead.

This year, because of the continued increase of crime rates (despite whatever the Government may claim), Yip and I initiated a Community Project called SAFER MALAYSIA. A memorandum was drafted where we proposed solutions and offer help to the Government to work with the Govt to resolve crime rate. Copies of the Memorandum was send to the PM, Home Minister, IGP, AG and the Bar Council; amongst others. We even hosted a Candle light Vigil on 1.8.2012. It was an awesome event with thousand taking part via Virtual Vigil that night. 

No news and reply from any of them, except the Bar Council. Recently, on 8th December 2012, the Bar Council agreed to support and adopt Project SAFER MALAYSIA. With Bar Council's help, we can do more. 

Also got re-elected to Bar Council. Appreciate the support of the members of the Bar. Will do what I can for this next term. 

The family is fine. Wifey has been supportive as usual. Parents are OK. Mum is not well, but believe she will be better. Sister is seeing someone. Maybe she will get married, we will know soon. 

Anyway, lets get ready for the New Year. We forge ahead and always try to make things better. 

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Thirty Nine

6th November 2012. Celebrated the 39th Birthday that day.

Had a small gathering with family and very close friends, on the 4th November (being a Sunday).

Wifey Ann was party organiser and Mum helped cooked her fabulous Laksa Kelantan.

Another year, another milestone. This is the final year of my 30's. I will be 40 next year.

I can only hope to do the right things and in the right way. And its great to have family and friends with you, as we forge ahead.

Thanks for all your wishes.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Safety isnt just a slogan, It is a way of life

The edited version is at the Star:-

Below is the unedited version of the article

An unknown author once said that “Safety isn’t just a Slogan, It’s a Way of Life”.

In recent times, news of violent crimes, injuries to victims, robberies and many other incidents of criminal activities have been reported at every possible form of media. Speak to anyone living in the city and chances are that person will share with you his or her feeling of insecurity in that city.

In the major cities of Malaysia, criminal activities and being victim of a crime is slowly but terribly becoming a fashion of life. Friends and family members whenever they meet up, will more often than not, share of who was robbed, who was attacked and sometimes worst, who was killed.

This is a REAL issue, not one of perception, not one of statistics, but a the REAL feeling of insecurity.

If one should form a new Nation; law and order would be the paramount ingredient in the creation of the new Nation. Law and order is important to give the citizens the feeling and the knowledge that the system will protect them and ensure that crime is prevented as much as possible. Further, in any new Nation, law and order will ensure that should crime happen, the system will do its best for justice to prevail.

A system which provides strong security and safety for the people breeds confidence amongst its citizens.

Unfortunately, in Malaysia, with respect to our system, it is found wanting. Reports of accused in criminal trials being acquitted for technical points, is often seen. Reports of citizens being victim of crimes which remain unsolved, are often heard. What can we do and what shall we do?

Perhaps it has come to a point where we cannot pull the wool over our eyes anymore. Our nation’s Security and Justice system needs an overhaul and I believe this government has the resources and the capability to reform the system. It now only needs political will to do so.

Where do we start? What do we reform? What are the solutions we look for?

One example to start of with would be the Royal Commission of Inquiry of 2005 which proposed reforms in the police force. We can adopt the proposed reforms there.

Other reforms would include the accurate education to send the message that the correct mindset ought to be “Don’t Rob”, “Don’t Rape” and/or “Don’t Attack.”

We do our best so that we “Don’t get Robbed”, “Don’t get Raped” and/or “Don’t get Attacked” but surely the citizens can only do so much to protect themselves.

For too long, we read in reports of our authorities telling us that we should not carry a large handbag or dress in a short skirt or allow ourselves to be attacked. These advise are acceptable but the crux of the problem is not the failure of the victim to be careful; but the audacity of the criminal to carry out the criminal activity. 

There is no doubt that Malaysians are a careful lot. Take a drive around the city and see how many houses are double locked and how many cars are steering-locked. Take a ride with a lady in the car and see how she hides her handbag and vigilantly looks left and right whenever she is at a traffic light to be careful so that no motorcyclist will stop by and smash her glass to steal her bag.

But the focus ought not and should not be on the potential victims. The focus ought to be always on the potential criminal. Stop the criminal, and we stop the crime.

Our nations security administrators have and must continue to take proactive steps to ensure the people are confident that their safety is well taken care of.

Of course the citizens are not silly, we can never expect a zero crime rate. There will always be crime, we know that. But the key would be for the system to strive crime rates as low as possible.

What about the Police, the frontier of the Nation’s Security system?

The people, for too long, have questioned the police force and alleged that many in the police force are corrupt. I dare say that the said allegation is not far from the truth, but what can we do to eradicate that. We can only complain so much. What can be done to make things better?

The system must change from within. The police ought to be made to feel proud that they are a police force. Our government in recent months seems keen to invest and donate funds to the people via BR1M and other aids given to the people. Why not have the government divert those funds towards the salary scheme of the police force? If the nation wants the police to work harder, pay them better.

The police too, must change within themselves. They are our guardian, they are our security administrator. Help the people, save them, and not hurt them. Like a Malay proverb, “Harap Pagar, Pagar Makan Padi”, to the police I say, don’t do that.

The police may also consider sharing their success story to the people on how they successfully investigated and arrested certain criminals. Somehow in my memory, the gunning down of the infamous criminal, Bentong Kali, in 1993 remains fresh. I recall reading on how the police tracked down Bentong Kali, quietly surrounded his home in Medan Damansara and tried to arrest him but unfortunately the arrest turned into a shooting incident which resulted in Bentong Kali’s death. It was a good police operation, and that arrest, I recall, made my family and I feel safer again.

Merely showing the public items which were recovered and touching them with rubber gloves doesn’t inform the public on how the police caught the criminals. Of course, the police cannot share the secret methods of their investigation process but surely stories of how certain policemen pretending to be floor sweepers and pizza delivers to try and corner a criminal will excite the imagination of the public and, more importantly, give confidence to the people that the police are trying to do something.

Let us take a look at the recent infamous Batman killing in the United States. Within two days of that tragic incident, James Holmes was arrested and eventually charged. Within ten days after the incident, the police there announced the results of their investigation and shared with the public how they investigated the incident. We can and ought to do the same here.

Ideally crime ought to be stopped in the minds of potential criminals. The system must try to plant in the thoughts of the people that crime does not pay. The classic “You should not do what you do not want others to do to you” should be engrained in the thoughts of Malaysians from a young age.

Another area which the system can explore is to have a criminology department to study the minds and the backgrounds of convicted criminals. The system must try to understand why a person got involved in a crime, so as to ensure that the circumstances and the surrounding atmosphere which caused that person to commit crime is diminished and mitigated. This process of criminology is prevalent in the Western nations. The same is used in Japan. We ought to follow that too.

But the citizens cannot just rely on the system and expect the nation to just save us. The citizens must do our part. Over and above locking up your doors, we may consider taking part in community projects to help find ways to solve crimes. The best informers to inform the authorities of criminal activities are actually us. We should do that.

We must strive towards a Safer Malaysia, a nation where a child can ride a bicycle freely outside the house, a grandma can happily do her gardening outside her home or any of us can walk around without fear of being mugged or robbed. Surely that is not too much to ask for. After all, Safety is not a Slogan, it’s a way of life.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Safer Malaysia

Been extremely busy the last few weeks. Juggling life, the firm & NYLC has been tough. 

But been so pissed off with the occurrence of crime all over Klang Valley (plus the perceived lack of bother by the Govt) led me to start a new project, SAFER MALAYSIA. 

Its a project to gather the citizens to push for reforms and improve the security administration of the country. Been an exciting (and also tiring) times the last few weeks; but is something that has to be done and will be done. 

Remarkably the reaction from the people is overwhelming. With only Facebook and Twitter as our outlet, Safer Malaysia has reached hundreds of people within 2 weeks. 

Will be writing more on this soon. Hope this project will work out.


Monday, 14 May 2012

7th Heaven, again?

Taking into account the loss of Arteta in August and no quality addition to our squad before January 2012, the 7th place is rather remarkable. 

Our new players for this season were:-
1. Straqualasi (on loan)
2. Mc Fadden
3. Landon Donovan (on loan for 6 weeks)
4. Pienaar (on loan till end of this season)
5. Jelavic
6. Darron Gibson
7. Royston Drenthe (on loan)

The most telling and impressive addition is without doubt Jelavic. His goals has given us hope, but the fear is that he will leave us for other clubs, particularly those in Champions League. The poor state of our funds means our best players are always in danger of being pinched.

Personally, I feel Darron Gibson is our best purchase. His presence has freed Fallaini in midfield. Last night's performance against Newcastle is proof that Gibson's presence frees up Fellaini's defensive midfield duties, allowing the mop-head midfielder free rein playing behind Jelavic. It has worked the last 4-5 games and it will probably be our system for next season. Jelavic is a great striker but without strong support from Fellaini and Pienaar, Jelavic would have been isolated upfront. 

Pienaar too is another player we must get back. He should have never left us in the first place, and now he can return to Goodison for good. 

Landon Donovan was again brilliant for us. If only we can get him permanently. 

Straqulasi is a super hard working player, and we should add him into our squad to him the team more depth. His energetic play will lift the team and he is good at holding the ball. 

Drenthe was great but inconsistent. He wont be playing for us anymore due to discipline problems. And McFadden was a steady addition, though I am not sure if he will stay with us for another season. His contract ends this June. 

As for this summer, we can expect the same nonsense from our board. No money, and need to sell. It's incredible that Moyes takes and accepts this nonsense. Any other manager would have probably left; which makes his continued employment at Everton, one which the fan should be grateful.

It is unlikely we will be on a buying spree. At best, we can expect one or maybe two loan deals. Even if we have some extra money, it will likely be put back into the team, by giving existing players better deals. Players like Baines, Jelavic and Fellaini may seek better pay package next season, so their continued stay will be priority. 

However, Moyes must be braver in his tactics. There were times that the negativity of the team caused us the points. We wont know how far we can go unless we are brave enough to go there. 

In any event, we salute our team. They did us proud on many occasions. We can only hope the team will be better next season.

Thank you.

Personal views of Richard Wee


Thursday, 8 March 2012

An explanation about Mandatory CPD

*taken with permission, from a Lawyers' e-Forum. An email from Chairperson of CPD Committee of Bar Council, Mr HR Dipendra to the members of the Forum.


Dear all,

I thank those who have responded to the email on the CPD Scheme. I thought it would be best to wait for a number of comments first before responding as it is not wise to clog all your in-boxes with individual replies.  I now respond to all the comments made against the CPD Scheme, in addition to what I have already said in my earlier emails. 

(1)    Why the CPD Scheme?

The CPD Scheme is not about whether the legal profession is broken or whether standards of Malaysian lawyers are declining. There are many lawyers who are of the view that the standard of lawyers in Malaysia requires improvement. But the point is this, and to answer the good Lt Colonel Syed’s argument that we should wait for things to be broken before fixing it, is, why can’t we, as professionals, take steps to constantly improve the standards of lawyers?

In Malaysia, the accountants, architects, chartered secretaries and engineers already have in place their own CPD Scheme. The accountants for example, have to comply with 20 hours a year and their courses run into the thousands of ringgit. These professionals abide by such a requirement because there is an expectation by the public that they do so.

Criticisms have been levied against the BC for not doing enough to improve the standard of lawyers in Malaysia. Other major legal jurisdictions like the UK, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Ireland, South Africa and the US all have mandatory CPD schemes. I cannot find any justification why we, should be the odd one out? We should aspire to be as equal, if not better, than these legal jurisdictions.

Given the impending liberalisation of the legal services sector, there is a need to brand Malaysian lawyers so as to attract legal work into Malaysia. With Asean opening up and the lingua franca of the business world still being conducted in English, Malaysian lawyers should and are poised to take advantage of this.
Government agencies like Ministry of International Trade, the AGC, Bank Negara and with the BC are working towards making Malaysia a viable destination for legal services. We compete with HK, Singapore and to an extent, the UK and Australia. All these countries have a CPD Scheme and the BC believes that having a CPD Scheme will go a long way in making Malaysia an attractive legal destination.

(2)    Why mandatory?

We are a “self-regulating” body. The BC is, unfortunately, under an obligation to maintain and set quality standards befitting of a professional body. Please do not look at “mandatory” as a chore, an added obligation that will encumber or burden us all. Mandatory is merely to ensure that all of us take the CPD Scheme seriously and it operates as a reminder of an obligation to ourselves and to the public. If we all agree that professional development is important to our legal careers, then the fact that the CPD Scheme is mandatory is merely psychological or a mind over matter issue that we can overcome.

(3)    Earning CPD Points and the logistics 

As the proposed CPD Scheme is intended to be mandatory, some of you remarked about the challenges in earning CPD points. The FAQs and Guidelines contain a lot of information about how a lawyer can earn points with minimal cost. I have attached the Guidelines and FAQs (Page 17 onwards) which I hope will help answer the questions you have.

The bottom line is this: How a lawyer earns CPD points is entirely up to him or her. There is no compulsion to attend specific BC or State Bar Committee seminars, or to take up Legal Aid files or to attend AGMs or even to participate in Bar committees.  As long as you can show that you have taken part in an event (whether as a participant, in a teaching capacity, or as a researcher etc) and that event has professionally developed you as a lawyer, you are entitled to the allocated CPD Points.  

The BC wants to make earning CPD Points as seamless as possible and as compatible as possible with a lawyer’s daily work but with the added requirement that lawyers make an attempt to improve themselves in a structured manner.

To answer some of the points posed by Rohaizad and Sachpal, one does not need to go back to school to earn CPD Points. As I have stated, you can earn points in many ways.  
Some of you regularly give talks to your clients about updates in the law. Some of you attend non BC or State Bar events that have a legal component to it. These count as obtaining CPD Points. Rohaizad talked about Islamic classes at mosques. If the Sharia Law Committee organises this, CPD Points are given.  Many of you regularly attend 3rd party conferences and seminars, all of which will attract CPD Points.  

All you need to do is to get a little creative and understand the CPD Scheme better.    

To answer Charles, the Bar Council cannot regulate by listing all possible methods for you to earn CPD Points. It provides a list (as a guide) and this list is constantly updated to take into account the expectations of lawyers and current conditions.  
By listing exhaustively, this defeats the purpose of trusting lawyers to choose the way in which they would continuously professionally develop themselves. This will also help overcome any logistics issues about sufficiency of courses that Kheng Hoe had advocated.  

(4)    Attending AGM/Taking up Legal Files/participating in Bar Committees

I chose to make this a separate sub topic and to answer the points raised by Charles, M Menon and Kheng Hoe. The reason these were added because firstly the BC feels that lawyers do derive professional development from these events. Some may find this cynical but the BC is all inclusive in this regard. Some members have told me that by attending AGMs, they find that they learn about current practices and developments. Legal Aid is one way for younger members or those who don’t regularly do general criminal work the opportunity to take up some of these files. The BC wants to be all inclusive and want to make the CPD Scheme as broad as possible.

Participating in Bar Committees cannot be viewed narrowly as some of you have suggested. A lot of serious work goes on in some of the committees like the Legal Profession Committee, Trade in Legal Services, Human Rights and specialist committees like IP, Shipping and Arbitration. Many members go beyond mere attendance to thoroughly research and produce opinions and advice that guide the BC in its decision making.

Why should they not be entitled to CPD Points?  The same applies if you attend or teach ethics courses, risk management courses or even sit in the DB. We also give points to the lawyers who assist the BC by attending Inquiries, attending court for the BC, obtaining injunctions on behalf of the BC. There is an element of professional development there.

I fully understand that lawyers don’t like much change. I am a partner in a small firm and I too, like, many of you sometimes struggle to practice. I understand the frustrations voiced out by Vasanthi, Subashini and Sivam. They are genuine concerns and I believe the BC is doing something about it.

But this is a separate issue and the BC and the PSDC committee having thoroughly debated the CPD Scheme, are convinced that this is a positive development for the Malaysian legal profession. It is unpopular no doubt, but a right move to improve standards of the legal profession. One can always encourage but without a mandatory element to the CPD Scheme, it will be futile.

The Malaysian Bar is still a highly respected institution. Just as we all expect the public and the government to respect for our views, the converse will hold true. There will be an expectation that we, too, must be seen to be setting high standards among ourselves.  

All I ask of you is to give this CPD Scheme a chance. As Damian from Melaka has pointed out, members can always vote it out if it does not work or is too burdensome for some reason at the next AGM.   

Best regards
Chair- PSDC, Bar Council

Monday, 5 March 2012

Mandatory CPD?

Fully Support This!


Motion regarding mandatory Continuing Professional Development Scheme, proposed by Dipendra Harshad Rai (Chairperson, BC Professional Standards and Development Committee), on behalf of BC

Tuesday, 28 February 2012 02:30pm
(a)  the Bar Council Professional Standards and Development Committee (the “Committee”) has considered whether there is a need for the implementation of a mandatory Continuing Professional Development (“CPD”) Scheme for the Malaysian Bar;  

(b)  having considered international trends in favour of the implementation of such programmes for the purpose of practitioners of law and the context of, and circumstances relevant to, the Malaysian Bar, the Committee has come to the conclusion that the implementation of a mandatory CPD Scheme would be to the benefit of the Members of the Malaysian Bar; and 

(c) the Committee has considered all the reservations or objections raised against the implementation of a mandatory CPD Scheme, and has prepared the CPD Guidelines (herein attached as Appendix A);  


(a) the Malaysian Bar recognises the need for the implementation of a mandatory CPD Scheme; 

(b) to facilitate the transition for Members of the Malaysian Bar, the mandatory CPD Scheme will be implemented on a voluntary basis for the first two years;  

(c) the minimum number of CPD hours is 16 hours (units) in a 24-month cycle, obtainable by a variety of  ways as listed in the CPD Guidelines; and

(d) Bar Council be authorised to take all necessary steps, after the pilot two-year voluntary programme, towards the implementation of the CPD Scheme including, if considered necessary: 

(i) adopting the CPD Guidelines;

(ii) accrediting courses, seminars, workshops, conferences and other appropriate events, for the purpose of ensuring programmes for the CPD Scheme;

(iii) organising courses, seminars, workshops, conferences and other appropriate events, for the purpose of ensuring programmes for the CPD Scheme; 

(iv) putting in place measures to ensure participation in the CPD Scheme and to inculcate a culture of continuing professional development amongst Members; and

(v)  doing all such other things that are incidental or conducive to the successful achievement or betterment of the mandatory CPD Scheme.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

The Construction Industry Payment and Adjudication Bill 2011 (CIPA): What is the fuss?

There is much interest generated in the construction industry of late what with the proposed Construction Industry Payment and Adjudication Bill 2011 (CIPA). Many professional bodies have jumped on the bandwagon in offering courses and seminars to key construction industry officials to try to explain the Bill of Parliament and how the Bill when passed in Parliament will affect them. It has been hinted that the Bill will be passed this March 2012. This would mean that companies in the construction industry should arm itself and be ready for the new regime of statutory adjudication. This is the era of adjudication in the construction industry.

Why CIPA? The construction industry themselves have been pushing the government to enact this piece of legislation since 2003 to address the cash flow problems plagued by the industry. The primary objective of the proposed Act is to address critical cash flow issues in the construction industry. It aims to remove the practice of conditional payments (‘pay when paid’ and ‘pay if paid’) and reduce payment default by establishing a cheaper, speedier system of dispute resolution in the form of adjudication. According to the provisions of CIPA every construction contract made in writing that relates to construction work carried out in Malaysia would be affected by the regime of adjudication. This would essentially mean that if you have entered into a construction contract and there is a problem with regards to payment, an adjudication process can be commenced either by you or against you. A construction contract can be a construction work contract and or a construction consultancy contract.

To this extent, the parties will be subjected to compulsory adjudication or statutory adjudication. This would mean that both parties will be dragged into the adjudication process which is dictated by the provisions of CIPA. The provisions of CIPA does not however affect natural persons entering into a construction contract in respect of a building wholly intended for his own occupation and is four storeys and below.

Be that as it may, would adjudication stop your right to arbitration or to go to court to litigate matters? The answer is No. The purpose of adjudication is to hurry along cash flow and facilitate payment in the construction industry. Parties are free to opt for arbitration or court litigation to deal with the legal matters concerning the same. CIPA simply provides a statutory right for the parties to demand payment for work done and to create a simple process to ensure that a decision and payment is made. This of course is in the form of adjudication as a process.  In fact, the parties can commence adjudication and concurrently arbitrate or litigate the matter as well. Of course, common sense would dictate that the adjudication process will be terminated if the dispute is decided by arbitration or the court before the adjudication decision can be made. If however, the adjudication decision comes first then it is a binding decision and payment must be made. 

In short, statutory adjudication has the following characteristics - 
1.     It is a mandatory and statutory process that does not require the agreement of the parties’ to commence the process.

2.     It offers a much faster process compared to arbitration and court litigation because the time frame is as prescribed by the proposed CIPA itself. It is the only form of dispute resolution that has a statutory time period in which the dispute must be resolved in forty five (45) working days.

3.     It provides a binding decision on a payment dispute.

4.     The parties can choose their own adjudicator or request for KLRCA to choose an adjudicator on their behalf.

There are many procedures to be complied with by the parties and the time frame is dictated by the provisions of CIPA. The entire adjudication process including the time required to decide the case would take approximately one hundred (100) working days.  So how do you go about starting the adjudication process? The adjudication process can be summarised by the following steps -
1.     Payment Claim - The unpaid party serves a Payment Claim on the non-paying party. The non-paying party would then serve the Payment Response on the unpaid party in reply to the claim within 10 working days. (Either party has a right to refer the dispute to adjudication)

2.     Initiation of Adjudication - The adjudication proceeding is thereby initiated by the serving of a Notice of Adjudication served by the claimant on the respondent.

3.     Nomination of Adjudicator - An adjudicator is thereby nominated by the agreement of both parties in the dispute within 10 working days from the service of the notice or to request for the adjudicator to be nominated by the Director of the KLRCA. The KLRCA has 5 working days to nominate the same.

4.     Adjudication Claim - Once the adjudicator is nominated and has accepted the terms and conditions and relevant fees, the claimant is to serve the Adjudication Claim on the respondent within 10 working days upon receipt of the acceptance by the adjudicator whereupon the respondent is to then serve the Adjudication Response on the claimant within 10 working days; the claimant may then serve a further Adjudication Reply within 5 working days.

5.     Commencement of Adjudication - The adjudication would then begin. KLRCA shall be informed of the commencement. The adjudicator shall direct that reasonable proportion of the adjudicator’s fees in equal shares be deposited in advance to the Director of KLRCA as security. Parties can represent themselves or choose to be represented namely by a lawyer.

6.     Decision - The Adjudicator has to reach a decision not later than 45 working days from the service of the Adjudication Response or Adjudication Reply, whichever is later. An adjudication decision which is not made within the specified period is void. The adjudicator may also direct full payment of the fees and expenses to be deposited with the Director of KLRCA prior to the release of the adjudication decision to the parties. A copy of the decision shall be provided not only to the parties but a copy must be served on the Director of KLRCA as well.

Hence it is important to nominate the correct adjudicator and if in doubt, reliance should be placed on the KLRCA to appoint one on your behalf. The KLRCA has been appointed the adjudication authority in Malaysia by virtue of Part V of CIPA, thus setting the standard terms of appointment, fees for adjudicators and setting the competency standards and criteria for adjudicators.

It is not clear whether CIPA would effectively address the cash flow problems in the construction industry but Malaysia is one of five countries who have opted to adopt this form of legislation. The other countries are the United Kingdom, some States and Territories in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. We can only wait and see.