Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Of Lawyers, (il)Legal Fees & Liberalisation

Do read the below statement by Bar Council President on Government’s recent decision to allow foreign legal firm to practice in Malaysia.

In summary, the Bar Council is unhappy with government’s move to allow foreign legal firms to enter Malaysian Market.

Ragunath says “The Bar Council’s position is that a managed system of liberalisation, in which foreign law firms are required to enter into joint ventures with Malaysian law firms, represents the best of both worlds as the Malaysian Bar has, amongst its members, sufficient practitioners with expertise in the area of Islamic Finance at an international level. Foreign law firms are able to tap into the Malaysian law firm’s knowledge of domestic laws, regulations and business environment, while Malaysian law firms are able to access knowledge of new legal/financial products. This reflects a “win-win” situation that would augur well for an orderly liberalisation of the domestic legal services market. The Bar Council has made known to the Government its preference for this method of liberalisation since November 2004, and has even prepared the relevant amendments and rules and regulations, and is therefore extremely disappointed that the views of BNM have prevailed”

Ragunath claims that Malaysian law firms have necessary expertise and want foreign firm to enter partnership with local firm. Why would any foreign firm want to do this as this would not give them a free hand to operate in Malaysia and what is the difference then as it is the same as the requirement to have 30% Bumiputra equity.

With the level of services that local law firms provide, who wants to partner them anyway!

Ragunath also claims that “Malaysian Bar has, amongst its members, sufficient practitioners with expertise in the area of Islamic Finance at an international level”. Then what is Bar Council afraid of then?

If foreign firm wants to tap into knowledge of domestic laws, regulations and business environment, they can just hire local lawyers with the right skills and expertise. They should be free and welcomed to do that and not forced into partnership with local firms. I think to Bar Council, liberalisation means open up a bit but they still wants control and monopoly.
Actually my recent experience with one of the law firm prompted me to write this post and it was even more relevant when reading the statement by the newly minted Bar Council President.

I purchased an apartment way back in 2002 and paid hefty legal fees in RM thousands for the services of the legal firm appointed as panel lawyers for the property. When asked why the fees are high considering the work involved is just standard preparation of documents without any need for legal advise, counsel or even heroic argument in court, the answer from the learned lawyer was ' the fees are fixed and in accordance with the value of property'.

When highlighted that this is unfair as the work involved (some standard clerical document preparation work) has nothing to do with the value of the property, the lawyer then said that the fees are approved by the Bar Council and cannot be changed. When asked if he can reduce the fees upon request, the esteemed lawyer gave a straight faced answer, we don't do discounts as it is not allowed, again by the Bar Council.

Recently I was surprised to receive 2 notices from the same lawyer. One is for “Perfection Of Transfer ‘ and another for “Perfection of Charge’ which is basically for me to obtain release of Strata Title from the authorities. Being a gullible Malaysian, I was not aware of this requirement, the transfer of strata title. The lawyer who received thousands of Ringgit years ago failed to advise me on the impending transfer and not to mention, another huge legal fees.

As it was before I, was asked to pay few thousand Ringgits as legal fees, again for some standard piece of paper work.

The breakdown are as follows

Memorandum of Transfer RM 400
Service Tax RM 20
Strata Title Search RM 60
Application Fee & CTC Strata Title RM 100
CTC Blanket Consent RM 50
Adjudication FEE RM 10
Registration fee of MOT RM 120
Registration Fee – Consent RM 30
Transport Charges R M 120
Printing, Xerox, Telephone, Fax RM 75
MISC & Incidentals RM 50
Total RM 1035

Memorandum Of Charge RM 400
Consent to Charge RM 300
Master & Strata Title RM 60
Stamp Duty on MOC RM 40
Registration Fee MOC RM 120
Application Fee Consent to Charge RM 50
CTC Strata Title RM 50
Registration Consent to Charge RM 30
Purchase of Charge Doc RM 200
Transportation Charges RM 120
Printing, Xerox, Telephone, Fax RM 50
MISC & Incidentals RM 50
Total RM 1610

Grand Total RM 2645

When questioned on the charges, the clerk answered that the fees are determined based on the value of the property as approved by the BAR Council. If you notice, none of these documents involved any intervention from the lawyer except for maybe their signature. And the lawyer was nowhere to be seen.

How is this fair that fees for a simple piece of clerical work is charged based on the value of the property? What property value got to do with the simple administrative work?

They just use standard documents (they even charge us for the documents) and they do not for example, hold copyrights for authoring the documents. This is a simple piece of clerical work but the charges are anything but fair or reasonable.

Any technology involved? hmm.. just Microsoft word and mail merge function will do the job. What about Human Capital, a PMR/SRP qualified clerk can do the job.

They even charge RM 50, 00 for transportation when as the property/bank panel lawyer, they would have been using a messenger to do the same for more than one client. Just imagine if the lawyer acts for 500 owners in the same apartment project. He would made RM 25,000 for just adding RM 50.00 for transportation on top of his other (il)legal fees and another RM 25,000 for MISC and Incidental charges, which is never explained even if you insist.

By Charging, say RM 2000, this particular lawyer would have made at least a Million Ringgit for rendering these so called professional clerical services if he does the same work for 500 apartment owners in the same project since he is the panel lawyer.

This particular lawyer just sent us the notice by normal post and when we called them, they mentioned that the documents were not ready therefore, asked us to wait for their call. The call never came, and we had to make a total of 5 calls to chase them as we did not want to miss the deadline and end up paying penalty. We had to go their office to sign the documents and yet we are charged for telephone calls and transportation.

This is not the case of this particular lawyer only. The same happened with two other transactions with 2 different law firms. In terms of service, it always us, the clients, who chase the lawyers for follow ups when it should be the other way around. And they claim that they are professionals!

What a way to make money. If this is not daylight robbery, I don't know what is and how are they different from KL taxi drivers who overcharge. At least I know now that I chose the wrong profession.

Legal fees should take consideration of risk involved vs rewards eg how many of such S & P or property related transactions have ended up as dispute in court and how many lawyer were fined or even jailed etc due to errors etc.

And I was reliably informed that lawyers are not allowed to give discounts on fees. This is certainly to prevent competition and all lawyers can safely charge exorbitant fee approved by Bar Council.

Why is Bar Council afraid of competition? If you can’t even allow competition domestically, don’t talk about liberalization or competing at global stage.

When Bar Council espouses protectionism and disallows competition, stop talking about NEP, Quotas, level playing field, WTO and Free Trade!

When their fees and charges are anything but fair and just, don’t talk about justice, judiciary etc

When your own clients are not treated fairly, don’t preach about fairness.

When your services are anything but professional or world class, don’t complain when foreign firm are allowed to practice in Malaysia.

At the end of the statement, Ragunath says “The Government must address domestic market issues and ensure that such policies are also abolished if there is to be true liberalisation of the legal services market in Malaysia. There is no point making Malaysia welcoming to foreigners if we have not yet put our own house in order.

Can Bar council do exactly the same, solve this unjust overcharging, poor level of service and put your house in order or if not, just allow foreigners to come in. I certainly think that opening will the legal services market will only do good for long suffering Malaysians.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Malaysian Indians and Their Attitude Towards Education.

I received this from felow 'right thinking Indian Malaysian'

Why Education?

The words 'cultivate' and 'civilize' are almost synonymous to the word 'educate'.

Education is important as it teaches us the right behaviour, the good manners thus making us civilized. It teaches us how to lead our lives.

Education is the basis of culture and civilization. It is instrumental in the development of our values and virtues.

Education cultivates us into mature individuals, individuals capable of planning for our futures and taking the right decisions.

Education arms us with an insight to look at our lives and learn from every experience.

The future of a nation is safe in the hands of educated individuals. Education is important for the economic growth of a nation. It fosters principles of equality and socialism.

Education forms a support system for talents to excel in life. It is the backbone of society.

Why Malaysian Indians has failed to master the education??

Why the Tamil schools are in terrible condition?


Lack of support from government?

Because of their own mentality?

Importance given to Temples against Tamil school!

Look these cases and judge you self !

Case 1

Maran Marathandavar Temple

But, what about Maran Marathandavar Tamil school?

Given the same care?

Maran Marathandavar Tamil school

Case 2

Sri Balathandayuthapani Temple, Seremban (Negeri Sembilan)

But, this is faith of Lukut Tamil school which located not far from
Sri Balathandayuthapani Temple, Seremban (Negeri Sembilan).

A School with...
No playground.
No canteen.
No library.
Only school in shop lot house.

SJKT LDG Sungai Salak, Lukut, Negeri Sembilan

Why this school is in such condition?
Are the people of Seremban lack of funds?


Case 3

Sri Bala Subramaniar Swamy Temple Port Klang.

SJK (T) Tepi Sungai, Klang

Case 4

Aiyanaar Temple , Ulu Sepetang. Taiping

SJKT Kg Jebong Lama -Taiping

SJK (T) Kampung Jebong Lama in Simpang may have the smallest "class" in the country.

The 74-year-old school has three containers donated by former Kuala Sepetang assemblyman Datuk Siew Kok Kan ..

(Donated by MCA, not even by MIC, Hindraf or people of Taiping).

Pupils can only do so until 11am as the heat gets unbearable after that.

Enough is Enough!

Stop blaming the government!
Stop the street demonstration!

Stop the stupidity

News Clip : Pakatan Rakyat MP asking for funds for school

Pictures from various sources featured.
FACT : There are about 15,000 temples & shrines in Malaysia and about 560 Tamil Schools. 
For those who are not aware, estimated cost for each temple illustrated above or those similar found elsewhere are at least RM I million, at least!!

There are are many other examples. Even recently, it was reported that there are 15 temples in Bukit Selambau while at the same time reports suggests that there are still people, especially Indians living in horrendous condition and some even  without electricity or water!

It’s the same in Sentul, Kuala Lumpur where temples continues to be enlarged while Indians continue to live in squatters. 
Even at Batu Caves temple, they spent close to RM 2 Million for the giant Murugan statue (above) but they appears to have conveniently overlooked the fact that the Batu Caves Tamil School, built on the Batu Caves temple land lacks the funds to maintain it's facilities.  Example, the library is a digrace, the toilets are filthy and school children sit on 'mamak stall' plastic chairs. This year they are still seeking donations to build extra classes and other facilities. 

I know that I may be seen as insensitive for saying the following, but I don't care bacause these are facts. 
FACT : God never asked Indians to built 15,000 temples and shrines, more so by building on land belonging to others. 
FACT : Unlike muslims, it is never a must to go to temples to pray. 
FACT : So-called Hindus in Malaysia go to temples praying for economic prosperity.
FACT : So-called Hindus in Malaysia even prays to pass in exams
FACT : So-called Hindus in Malaysia shaves their head for some reason or the other. 
FACT : So-called Hindus in Malaysia have numerous festivals in temples (minimum 8 a year) spending a fortune collectively, for better well being, prosperity, peace for themselves and the country. 
FACT : So-called Hindus in Malaysia carry Kavadis'  bearing Liverpool and Manchester United Images for Thaipusam. 
FACT : So-called Hindus in Malaysia spends a lot on religious items, 4-D Numbers, booze, tamil movie VCDs but you can hardly find books at their homes. 
FACT : Indian Malaysians claim that they are still poor.
FACT : Indians Malaysian claims that they are systematically marginalised
FACT : Indian Malaysian claims that they are discriminated. 
If GOD is happy with all the above prayers and practises and thousands of temples build in his(GOD) name, why is that the GOD failed to answer their prayers (for peace, prosperity, success ) for almost a century?
WHY are they still struggling as they claim now. 
WHY they claim that they are systematically marginalised
WHY they claim that they are discriminated. 
WHY high number of them are involved in crime
WHY are they turning to MIC, HINDRAF, DAP and PKR to solve their problems
In summary, despite all daily, weekly and yearly prayers, festivals, sacrifices the suffering and difficulties, WHY GOD failed the Indians/Hindus in Malaysia?
1. GOD never asked anyone to built temples everywhere
2. GOD never asked anyone to hold prayers, festivals, sacrifices etc, (these are all man made practises) if they are unable or can't afford to do so. 
and finally 
3. GOD never helps anyone who don't help themselves.
I have stopped giving donations to temples long time ago  and I know the god will not be angry. I realised that donations to temples would not in anyway help the community. I urge everyone to stop doing so and contribute instead to education. 
I am glad that this was circulated widely but unsure if those hardcore MIC, Hindraf, DAP  & PKR supporters have the capacity to THINK rationally. 

Friday, April 3, 2009

Pakatan must disassociate itself from Hindraf

From Malaysiakini.com/letters

Anak Bangsa Malaysia | Apr 3, 09 4:24pm
I refer to the Malaysiakini report, Hindraf to back PKR's Manikumar.
Hindraf has disgraced itself by acting like a spoilt brat in Bukit Selambau just because PKR did not choose the Hindraf coordinator as their candidate.
For a movement which is supposedly apolitical, Hindraf leaders now want political rewards and positions for themselves.
Bukit Selambau is a mixed seat with 50% Malays, 30% Indians and 20% Chinese. To have any chance of winning, a candidate must garner the support of all races, not just the Indians.
For PKR to field a Hindraf man would be a disaster as the 70% of the non-Indians have no reason to vote for the representative of an ethnocentric movement with a one-race agenda.
Knowing that the Bukit Selambau by-election is an acid test for Samy Vellu which will determine whether the MIC strongman’s political fortunes rise or fall, Hindraf still insists on not assisting in a PKR win.
If MIC’s candidate wins this by-election, it will give Samy Vellu a new lease of political life but Hindraf will cheer his victory just to spite Anwar while the Indian community will be the loser.
Compare Hindraf’s attitude with Nicholas Bawin who still works tirelessly for a PKR win in Batang Ai even though he was not selected as candidate despite being the frontrunner.
This is a man who cares about his community more than personal rewards for himself unlike the self-serving leaders of Hindraf.
Hindraf’s self-serving attitude is best illustrated by the Hindraf Penang deputy coordinator’s statement that Indians continue to be marginalised under the Pakatan Rakyat states which he justified by saying:
‘Only in Perak, some Hindraf leaders were appointed as members of village committees and municipal councillors. But no Hindraf leaders or supporters were appointed to any position in other Pakatan states’.
Apparently, to satisfy Hindraf’s criteria, only Hindraf Indians appointed to positions of power and responsibility count, not any ordinary Indian.
So V Sivakumar as Perak assembly speaker or Dr D Jayakumar as Selangor exco member don’t count because they are not from Hindraf.
Seeing everything through a racial lens is bad enough but Hindraf now wants to go one step further and see everything through a Hindraf racial lens.
It is obvious that Hindraf is another MIC in the making, championing personal advancement instead of the Indian community.
This sort of attitude just makes me sick. Pakatan Rakyat should speedily disassociate itself from Hindraf as a movement with a racist one-race agenda has no place in its vision of a new colour-blind Malaysia.
In any case, Hindraf is a floundering organisation with little influence left as the results of the Bukit Selambau by-election will show.


Only now people realise the true colours of people associated with Hindraf and Makkal Sakhti. 
They are racist and selfish bunch of losers who have no ability to think rationally. They believe in being pampered and wants government to spoon feed them to the extend that they do not want Indians to work hard. 
Anwar, knowing their foolishness, took advantage in the last general elections and now must have regretted that they are nothing but bunch of selfish racist who does not subscibe to PKR's so-called multi-racial approach. 
Anwar should also realise that the Indian bunch in PKR, who are sympathetic to Hindraf, are no better. These people, like Kalaivanar, wants nothing but positions and status, and eventually money. They are no different from jokers from MIC. 
With so many independent in Bukit Selambau, expect PKR votes to be taken away and BN may benefit. V Arumugam, the former ADUN, did not do much there, so there's not much track record to speak of. 
Now that Najib has decided to release two of the more harmless of the Hindraf 5, let's see how Hindraf and Anwar reacts. 
For first timers, do read my take on Hindraf here, here and here