Category Archives: Legal

A wrong is a wrong — Minister

BINTULU: Nobody will be spared from the long arm of the law irrespective of whether a crime is committed online or in the real world, said Minister of Information, Communications and Culture Dato Seri Utama Dr Rais Yatim.

He stressed that a wrong is a wrong whether it was committed in cyberspace or otherwise.

“As what is happening now in the United States, a film that belittles and insults Prophet Muhammad … this should not be taken lightly because it broke humanitarian laws,” he said when asked to comment on the film `Innocence of Muslims’ by Sam Becile which has sparked anger among Muslims the world over.

Speaking to reporters after closing an ICT literacy workshop for community leaders at Kampung Penan Muslim at Mile 10 Bintulu-Miri road here yesterday, Rais said the film represented an “unacceptable act even for our non-Muslim brothers.”

“Perhaps, it is now happening to the Muslim community, maybe tomorrow it will be the Christian, Hindu or Buddhist communities next. Therefore, we cannot compromise on this matter.”

Rais said Indonesia and countries in the Middle East had blocked the distribution of the film.

“I have asked the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to negotiate directly with other authorities to block access to the content either through YouTube or other channels.”

Rais cautioned that if no firm action was taken against it such religious abuse could spiral into other domains, such as social circles, in the future.

On the demeaning and degrading comments on Sarawak uttered by forum panellist Md Yusri Hidrus on ‘Bicara Kampus’ which was aired over TV1 recently, Rais said the issue was still under investigation.

“We have the laws and it can be used when an act goes against it. We are not afraid of facing these parties.”

PBB Youth vice-chief Pandi Suhaili has been reported as saying that he would lodge a police report against Yusri if he did not apologise to Sarawakians.

Md Yusri, an undergraduate from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), had reportedly uttered comments such as “Sarawak is developed because there is McDonald outlets in Kuching” and “Don’t blame peninsula people for seizing job opportunities because Sabah and Sarawak people prefer to be farmers and fishermen”.





Lawyers casting professionalism aside to stay alive

BINTULU: It’s a dog-eat-dog world in the legal fraternity and this has forced a growing number of young legal eagles to seek greener pastures elsewhere.

Advocates Associations of Sarawak (AAS) Bintulu chairman Henry Ling lamented that most lawyers in the state were underpaid because legal firms lower their fees to stay afloat due to stiff competition.

“With fierce undercutting, low income and no increase in legal fees, the legal profession has been very stingy towards young lawyers who worked under other lawyers.”

Ling said because of this situation many lawyers only looked good on the outside but are a disappointment financially.

“In Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah, the legal fees for providing legal services are revised upwards to meet the high cost of living.

“In Sarawak, the fee scale has stagnated since 1988 despite the rising costs of living. Compounding to this problem is that many lawyers are still undercutting the scale of charges,” Ling said at a `Ngiling Bidai’ (rolling of the mat to signify the closing of Gawai Dayak) here last Saturday. The event was organised by AAS Bintulu branch.

He told those present that in Sabah legal fees had been increased by between 30 and 120 per cent under the Advocates Remuneration (Amendment) Rules 2010 which came into force in October last year.

Ling lamented that some developers and financial institutions had taken advantage of the situation in the state by disregarding what was stipulated under the Advocates’ Ordinance with regards to legal fees.

“They fixed (developers and financial institutions) their own extremely low scale of charges for law firms who rendered service to them in Bintulu.

“Lawyers, in undercutting of legal fees and charging cheap or cheapest legal fees, are usually those who have problems and very desperate for quick money.”

Because of this problem, members of the public now tend to opt for firms which could offer them the lowest fees. Most of these clients are now blind to professional quality, intellectual ability and work standard.

Ling said proposed amendments on the revised remuneration rules and the scale of charges and other matters were “still under discussion” in the state.

He lamented that it was now very tough to operate a law firm because the operating expenditure was high and client’s demand had soared, unlike in the old days.

“The pressing need now is for the Advocates’ Association to enforce the minimum scale of charges and to demand lawyers to adhere to the profession’s scale of charges, which is part of the code of ethics.

“We need to uphold the dignity of lawyers and to provide a good quality of legal service, not discount, to uphold justice without fear or favour. “Law firms charging extremely low fees and undercutting the scale of fees are bad lawyers and the black sheep in the legal profession. They provide a poor and low-class service for various works at cheap fees which had tarnished the reputation of the profession.”

Bintulu High Court to have online payment

BINTULU: Bintulu High Court will be equipped with an electronic system to facilitate ‘e-payment’, which will allow lawyers to make online payment without having to carry large quantity of cash to the court.

Bintulu High Court Judicial Commissioner John Ko Wai Seng said the use of ‘e-payment’ is not only more secure but the safety issues will not arise.

“A fee payment for a case is no longer needed to be paid in cash,” he said at the Gawai Dayak Ngiling Bidai dinner organised by the Advocates Associations of Sarawak (AAS) Bintulu branch at Highland Seafood Restaurant on Saturday night.

“I hope the court staff will provide guidance and ongoing support for the success of all these efforts, thus strengthening the role of the court here,” he said.

He also mentioned about the efforts to expedite the handling of civil cases to three and six months compared with up to one year before.