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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Baby's narration

Photos self explanatory. Taken after kenduri aqiqah Husna in 2002.

Remembering Maahad : The Great Escape Part 1

It was one Friday afternoon in SMKA Maahad Hamidiah, the year was 1985, bulan & tarikh tak ingat. I was in Form 2 back then. Right after the Friday Prayers, myself and 4 friends, Udin "Ketong", Muzaffar "Roche", Nik Fazri & Ismail "Jenggo" confidently made our way to the guard house. The previous night, right after the recitation of surah Yasin at the surau, we had approached 4 separate wardens to get their permission for us to balik kampung. Nik Fazri, my old primary schoolmate buddy and me myself were heading back to our homes in Damansara Utama/Taman Tun, Roche planned to go back to Taman Ehsan in Selayang, Ketong, the son of a rubber tapper, plans to visit his aunty in Sg Buaya, Rawang while Mail Jenggo, the class ruffian and the toughest S.O.B for the whole batch, plans to visit his ailing mother, whom was suffering from diabetes in Klang (see, sebenarnya hati dia baik).

Unfortunately, none of the wardens gave any permission whatsoever for our outing. And we were desperate enough to try other alternatives just in order to "fly". The system for allowing persons coming in and going out to this boarding school were not without any flaws.
  1. From our observation, among the great many flaws of the system :
    Each of the wardens has got personal discretion to allow a student to go on an outing but there is only one record card aka "kad keluar bermalam". If memory serves be right, the card was maroon in colour;
  2. Full reliance on the record card – if one warden’s signature is already on the card upon inspection, the other wardens would just assume its authenticity;
  3. The record card has no serial numbers or security feature whatsoever;
  4. The record card can be purchased at the price of a measly 50sen from the koperasi (requires proof that the previous card space for recording dah habis);
  5. The koperasi was compromised – persons in charge was either our close friends, abg or kakak angkat we all;
  6. In the alternative, if one cannot d.i.y the necessary documents, the of course, in any "prison" such as this (exactly like in the WWII movies), small underground businesses of enterprising students could flourish & caters for the preparation of "travelling papers" complete with 99% accurate signatures of any particular warden & the school rubber stamped chop. All for a small fee.

Back then, the schools boundaries were still covered by rubber plantation, with great hiding places, obscure from the public view and unlike the present surroundings. All these factors encourage creativity.

Armed with muka selamba & 4 separate and signed "authentic" record cards duly "signed" by each of the wardens (just in case). We made good progress at the guard house, semua dokumen lulus… and proceeded to exit through the main entrance.

After some brisk walking suddenly …OMG!….waiting for us behind some bushes – pengawas sekolah!!! We are done for… so we thought, but alas, it was revealed to us that they were also having their own version of "the great escape". A small mini "sapu" van stopped by and picked us up to transport us to the old Kajang Bus Station. From Kajang, we would need to catch Foh Hup bus no 5?? (or was it 577?) to Puduraya. One abang pengawas sat next to me in the mini van (better for me not to mention the name of the abang) and asked me "nak ke mana?" and advised us to be careful. Imagine the smile on each of our faces.

(the story is far from over - to be continued if enough request for it is garnered)

Petrol Price up... AGAIN???

Petrol Price Up Again

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 27 (Bernama) -- The retail price for petroleum products including diesel will be raised by another 30 sen effective Tuesday.

"The government has decided to raise the retail price of petrol and diesel by 30 sen per litre and the price of LPG by 30 sen per kilogram effective tomorrow (Tuesday)," said a statement from the Prime Minister's Office Monday night. The new price of RON 97 petrol is now 192 sen per litre, RON 92 Petrol -- 188 sen per litre, Diesel -- 158.1 sen per litre and LPG -- 175 sen per kilogram.

The Prime Minister's Office also said the financial savings from the increase in the price of petroleum products would be used to finance development projects and improve the public transport system for the benefit of the people.


SO - when can we expect a better transport system being implemented in Shah Alam? Lets take for instance the taxi... as a special bonus to warga Shah Alam, cab drivers NEVER uses the metres!

Monday, February 27, 2006

Team Bola Tampar MRSMJ87-88

This was the team that represented MRSMJ87-88 for Karnival Sukan ANSARA in 2003.
Habih pancit semuanya. Kena trash dgn champion, MRSM Kuantan. Sepatutnya kita main 4 games, the last game kami concede. SEMPUT!!! No training, no practice. no nothing. Tak larat woo!!!

Cases Part 3 (closing)

I was talking to the police officer in charge when suddenly a group of photographers came by (presumably from the press). They took many photograph of me, Abg Selamat and the two despatch boys at the entrance of the masjid before being ordered to leave by the police. I remember one reporter got his camera confiscated.... wah aku terasa macam VIP sekejap! (but for the wrong reasons).

Note : The photos were published on the main page of Utusan Malaysia the next day. Abg Selamat , Din and the other chap faces appeared very clearly while I only got my backside facing the camera... siap ada caption which reads somewhat like this "Pujuk - pihak polis sedang memujuk pelajar yang terbabit dalam demonstrasi haram untuk menyerah diri". The main headlines for Utusan Malaysia goes somewhat like this : "PM : Tindakan Bodoh". There was also a photo of the Old Man taken in Kota Bharu after his meeting with Tn Guru Nik Aziz. I was told very much later that the Mentri Besar had given the ok for tha transfer of Malay reserve land from the cooperative society to the newco unconditionally, while the Mentri Besars for other states did not give their consent.  (I was told that they were asking for "something in return" should they allow consent for the transfer. Strange... and there are from the same ruling party that formed the Government....it was not funny at all for the firms' client.

Then came the police lorry aka Black Maria, ready to ferry us to the Lembah Pantai Police Station. I insisted that I shall be allowed to follow the two poor lads in the black maria (terasa macam jadi hero sekejap - tapi dalam hati takut woo!) I passed my car keys to Abg Selamat and instructed him to follow closely. Sure enough my hunch was right - Had I followed the police instructions to go to the police station in my own car or on foot, I would be denied the chance to follows the two lads and meet with the commanding police officer to offer explanation. Abg Selamat had to park the car outside and proceeded to enter the police station on foot - anyway he got my car keys and concocted the idea that he wants to return the same to me.

Another note : while the black maria stopped at the nearby traffic lights, several cameramen snapped our photographs. One got published in Harian Watan (now defunct) with the caption : "Pelajar UM yang ditangkap kerana mengadakan tunjuk perasaan". Well, excuse me... none of us ever studied in the University of Malaya!

I found out later that the police had already arrested a group of persons and they were about to perform the Maghrib prayers in the police surau, led by Sdr Mahfuz Omar. I prayed next to a lawyer in full suit, which was later introduced to me as Sdr Hanipa Maidin. Both of them turned out to be org kuat PAS. Sdr Hanipa turned out to be my super senior when I was reading law in IIU. We talked about rule of law and the blatant action committed by the police. One of the pakcik I met outside after prayers - kepala dia pecah and blood was dripping profusely - I pleaded with a junior police officer to give the old pakcik medical attention but instead, all eyes were on me

Q: Awak siapa? Siapa yang bagi awak masuk ke kawasan ini? Tengok IC? Awak dari mana?? (and at that time I fumbled a bit while searching for my IC) .

Q: Awak boleh kena dakwa...sebab takde IC!

Finally I managed to locate my IC. Syukur, Alhamdulillah that I did not misplaced it somewhere else. Then realising that I and Abg Selamat was not supposed to mingle around with the detainees, they took us to see one ASP J. Choong and with the evidence that I took in the form of the cover letter (duly acknowledged receipt by the Prime Minister's Department for the documents sent by the two boys earlier that morning : the PM's Department at that time was still in KL. My dad was posted in ICU - Implementation and Coordination Unit or in Malay : Unit Penyelarasan dan Pelaksanaan, Jabatan Perdana Menteri). ASP Choong promised to look into the matter and we thought the matter was closed.

When I arrived home that night, I could not sleep. It was all over the news. I was horrified to see that the police used tear gas & chota to disperse the crowd. The bleeding pakcik told me that the police lead by the General Inspector of Police had brought dogs into the masjid's compound. The so called unlawful congregation had planned to disperse after the doa recitation. He claimed that doa pun kami tak habis lagi, the police dah tembak kami dengan gas pemedih mata. On the other hand the newpapers published the next day claimed that the crowd could be controlled. Kononnya macam "ganas" sangat. But the fact was that the majority of the demonstrators were old men, ladies, students and passers by who happened to stay back after the friday prayers. Ganas macam mana? None of them were armed. Hanya Allah yang tahu. Siapakah sebenarnya golongan yang mencemarkan kesucian masjid tempat ibadah? Orang yang masuk didalamnya dan menunaikan solat dan berkumpul secara aman tanpa apa jua senjata atau pihak polis yang tak beradap melepaskan anjing masuk ke dalam masjid, masuk masjid tanpa membuka kasut dan menganaiya penghuni masjid dengan tembakan gas pemedih mata dan pukulan kayu cota? Esok kome jawablah ye.

It is funny nowadays orang hanya associatekan masjid utuk solat sahaja sedangkan Nabi membina masjid untuk apa jua aktiviti meninggikan syiar Islam. Ianya tempat belajar, itulah juga aktiviti kemasyarakatan diadakan, masjid juga tempat mesyuarah dan berkumpul untuk membicarakan keadilan. Islam itu syumul mencakupi kesemua bidang kehidupan dunia sebagai jambatan ke negeri akhirat. Malang sekali pemikiran anak bangsa kita yang sekarang ini lebih menjurus kepada pemikiran sekular.

Well, I may not actually know the truth or which side of the story to believe, but the experience had changed my perception on certain things and from that point of time onwards, I became interested to know and learn about national politics. In months to come, I had the rare opportunity to represent Majlis Peguam Malaysia and address the magistrate in charge of the remand case involving hundreds of people - depa semua kena lanyak dengan polis tanpa alasan yang munasabah..

I represented Din and the other fellow for a couple of times in the KL Magisitrate Court for the charge of unlawful assembly - but for a reason or another, the trial dates often got itself postponed till Sdr Haniffa Maidin said that it would be in the best interest of all the persons charged that they are represented by a single lawyer. Himself. Years later all of them were acquitted. Alhamdulillah. lagi lama kes dibicarakan dalam mahkamah, makin banyak kezaliman didedahkan.

(Abg Selamat still works in the Firm, while Din, the Firm's former despatch boy whom latter pursued his studies in one of the many persantren in Eastern Java, is now known as Ustaz Saifuddin in a Maahad Tahfiz in Selangor. I accidently met him in Kompleks PKNS, Shah Alam, on the very first day I commence work with my present employment - siap berpeluk-pelukan, oblivious to the stares of the many people there sebab sangat terharu).

Side track : Husna's Birthday

We side track a lil bit.
The picture is self explanatory.
Husna celebrates her 3rd birthday.
Kalau takde kek memang tak sah!

The other photo was taken in July 2005 at the exit point - Langkawi Jetty. The highlight of the trip was the cable car ride to the top of Gunung Mat Cincang. Lived to tell the tale..

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Cases Part 2

heh..heh..heh... kita sambung balik ye.

I arrived in the office late evening to pick up Abg Selamat, the staff whom seemed to know about the actual whereabout of Din and his other collegue (I had already forgotten the latter's name). Abg Selamat briefly informed me that it was all pre-planned by the opposition party to stage the demonstration. For once, I admit that eversince I joined the firm, I did not give all the nation's political ramblings much thought. At that time, even to watch the television or read the papers (especially the business sections), my concentration was to all the projects that the Firm's assisted... seriau tau.... buat one agreement, the next day it was reported in the news. And I am not talking about small sum of monies, but transaction that goes berjuta..juta.. and juta (millions). If anything goes wrong, I trust the insurance coverage for professional negligence in the Firm only covers up to RM10 million only...

We rushed to the scene, and armed with my black jacket (no tie!) and fortunately enough, my newly painted red 2nd generation Honda Accord hatchback (it was still considered kereta buruk to my friends, if not cared lovingly) had the Malaysian Bar emblem affixed (both at the front and rear of the car). We got clearence to pass through from all the police barricades / roadblocks. Maybe they thought that I am representing the Majlis Peguam Malaysia. Police were everywhere, it was hard to describe the situation... feels like in the moovies where police and FRUs all fully equippped and armoured to the teeth planning to launch a strike in the next hour.. then a small incident happened...

One guy was pleading with one of the superior police officer (in plain clothes) to allow him to enter into the masjid's premises on the pretext to assist his friends in there. The police was just asking the guy "ada urusan apa nak ke sana?" (what business you have to go across to the other side?) when the office turned to me and Abg Selamat to address me, thinking that I have official business with the police, this guy suddenly ran and slipped passed the police last barricade, climbed the locked gate and slipped into the masjid's compound and he cheekyly commented, to the fury of the police officers "saya nak tolong org yg polis kepong ni la!" ( I am here to give assistance to those surrounded by the police).

I slowly explained the to police officers that two of my despatch guys carrying official documents meant for the Prime Minister's Department were belived to be trapped inside the masjid. When their names were being called out, the slowly walked towards us till boundry the locked gate and said "Encik balik lah, tak guna tunggu kami, kalau kami keluar tentu kena pukul dengan polis" So we started to pujuk both of them to surrender to the police as I knew, Din is the sole breadwinner foir his family eversince his father passed away 2 yrs before. Abg Selamat joined in and said to the other guy "Ko tak ingat kat anak bini ko kat rumah ke? Kalau ko bantah Israel main kriket pun, ada ke orang nak tanggung anak bini ko?" "Din ko tak ingat ke mak & adik2 ko kat kampung tu?"The police gave assurance that they would not be harmed and at that point of time, I did the unthinkable "Jgn risau, kalau lori black maria datang nak ambil kamu berdua, saya naik sekali" and I pleaded withe the police not to handcuff them.

The idea to board the police van was sound but again the police reluctantly said that the nearest police station and barrack is just a stone thrown away - located in Lembah Pantai. "Encik boleh naik kereta sendiri ke balai" but still I insisted that I am here not to cause any trouble.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Memorable cases

About 9 yrs ago, the the MD of the Firm decided to send me to the Malaysian Institute of Management in Jalan Ampang for a 2 (or was it 3) days course in Financial Analysis. I thought that by reading law in my university days would save me from having to deal with numbers, but the MD retorted "How would you expect to advise our corporate clients, if you could not even understand all the financial statements that you will be perusing?" At that point in time, I was involved with the restructuring of a cooperative society... on its way to be listed on the main board of the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange.

Short deadlines, practically and inconveniently "moving targets" and lots of meeting and joustling around was involved. The due dilligence exercise had disclosed some potential problems. It was later found out that the cooperative society had been registered as the legal owner of lands catagorised as Malay Reserved Land in various states in Malaysia. At that time, due to special exemption in the Malay Reservetion Act, the cooperative society was recognised as "Malay" and therefore it could be registered as propreitor of Malay reserve lands.

It was unfortunate that the vehicle company (newco), to whom all the assets of the cooperative society would be injeccted into is not 100% owned by Malay or ingeneous people and I had rightfully voiced my concern in several meetings, but due to my status as a junior lawyer or maybe they did not listen to me properly, my concern was ignored, by reason that they were confident that by writing to all state chief ministers, the issue would be easily solved. They were only concerned with the various plots of Malay Reserved land situated in Kelantan, at that time Kelantan being the state controlled by the opposition party, PAS and lead by its spiritual leader, Tuan Guru Nik Aziz Nik Mat.

As stated in the Federal Constitution, land is placed under the state list and I was instructed to draft a standard cover letter to the various Mentri Besars to ask for their consent. As for Kelantan, I was told THE OLD MAN himself would see Nik Aziz himself in Kota Bharu and was to not to worry about it. The morning before I left for MIM, I was told the OLD MAN had seen Nik Aziz. The Tok Guru had given its consent for the transfer of the lands to the newco.

I was grimacing over some number crunching exercise in MIM, when suddenly my handphone rang. It was an emergency. "Encik, ada masalah,tolong balik ke ofis, Din & sorang lagi budak despatch yg hantar dokumen ke Jabatan Perdana Menteri siang tadi tak balik-balik lagi - agaknya depa tu ikut berdemonstrasi kat Masjid Al-Rahman, UM bantah perlawanan kriket Malaysia lawan Israel - Polis tengah kepong kawasan tu". (Sir, please come back to the office, there is a serious problem, Din and another despatch staff whom had went out this morning to send an important document to the Prime Minister's Department is probably involved in a peaceful demonstration objecting to the freindly cricket match between malaysia and Israel at the University Malaya's mosque, the police has surrounded the whole place".

As I was told that all of the Firm's lawyers were around as they had earlier left for some urgent meeting with the merchant banks, I reluctantly went back to the office to get the full story.

My journey as a lawyer

Dear readers,

Assalamualaikum wrt wbt (Peace be upon you).

This is my first posting. I guess that it needs some introduction to it as a muqaddimah. I am now a technology lawyer... working in a leading R&D company in Malaysia. Just need a place of my own to pen my thoughts. My thoughts actually - the main reason for this.

In the course of my work... I would recieve instructions from my clients. Some just do not understand that I can only advise or give recommendations - point to them the risks that they are taking when concluding a deal. All the commercial risk are for them to think and ponder upon, as whatever their instructions would be, I would just carry them out.

Well anyway, it was one heck of a journey for me to reach where I am now. Initially I wanted so much to be a litigation lawyer (those in black & white suites attending court and arguing cases for you laypersons). I found self satisfaction in assisting others and see to it that the desire of the client is well taken care of within the limits of the law. Most cases that I did would be in civil litigation defence.... against banks whom all these clients took financial assistance, but to a reason or another, they later found themselves in trouble when they cannot pay the installments payment.

Unfortunately for me, (or you can say that it was also a blessing in disguise) that after I finished my chambering (sort of a hands on training period, before a person intending to be officially admitted as a lawyer) , the managing partner of the new firm that I applied work, decided that it would be in the best interest of the firm if I could join their corporate department, notwithstanding the fact I do not have any idea at all, what a corporate lawyer actually do (other than the intimidating thought of attending to and having to deal with the endless reams of papers, which they seemed very good at - churning them into myriad types of legal documentations).

The next thing I know, I was doing tons of documentations starting from 9 am till the wee hours after midnight....

Yeah, that was... hmmmm yup, I got the date right, 4th of July 1995... a great date to remember. Now more than 10 years down the line and add a few law firms to the list of employment. Boleh la... mybe one of these days, I'll scan some of the old pics that I have and post it here.