Archive for the ‘Law Students Essays’ Category

Indefeasibility of Title and Innocent Buyer

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

By Loke Yuen Hong

Imagine while you were leisurely enjoying your tea, reading newspaper. Life is blissful as it is serene. Suddenly, in the front page of Business section, you found out that XYZ Corporation is embarking on a billion dollar project on land plot ABC. You had a funny feeling, not because of the intensity of the project at this time of global economic meltdown, but rather, plot ABC is yours and you definitely had nothing to do with XYZ Corp nor its project.

You went to Land Office, and lo! the records showed that you sold your land to XYZ Corp two weeks ago. Whats more, the Document of Title that was used in the transaction is a duplicate one as you had “lost” the original ones some three weeks ago, though now you had it in your hand.

Had you had some amnesia? A quick check showed that “you” had done the transaction, though XYZ Corp. officers had seen you not.

Obviously, someone sold your land to XYZ Corp using your name. What can you do?

Nothing.

Yupe, you read it right.

Kiss your land goodbye and keep the document of title as a memory of a long gone land.

Because that was what happened in Adorna Properties Sdn. Bhd. v Boonsom Bonyanit. It all begins when a rogue pretending to be Boonsom managed to convinced the Land Office that she was Boonsom and that the original document of title went missing. When she got the duplicate, she sold the land to Adorna. By the time the real Boonsom knew of it, the title had already been registered in Adorna’s name.

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An ‘Insight’ Look at the Kajang Prison

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

 by Nur Farzana Mohd Zulkifli

When Ben Franklin said, ”It is better to know than to wonder”, he probably didn’t know how powerful those words are, or many people they would touch.  before law school or the Community Outreach programme and Clinical Legal Education course in University of Malaya I never would have envisioned a prison (at least not much) , let alone be able to talk about one from an INSIDE perspective.

Movies or books often dictate a pre-conceived set of emotions to feel ‘if and when’ you’re entering one, like fear and sympathy. Some say we should feel appalled after such an experience. What I felt after my first visit and those after that were different. There was empathy and humility, but most of all, gratitude and empowerment.

 

To clarify things a bit, what I saw in all my visits include physical infrastructures, like buildings that looked like hostel dorms, huge impenetrable-looking gates and barbwire, but also the human side of the prisons – among other things, fierce-looking wardens, extremely disciplined detainees. Note that I use the term detainees here instead of prisoners or convicts because I had only visited the juvenile-detention-center part of Kajang Prison, known as Sekolah Integrity Kajang or Kajang Integrity School. How is this different from a real prison? Well, for one the detainees there were found guilty for crimes while they were juveniles in age, while others were juveniles remanded or awaiting trial, mostly too poor to afford bail to be set free in the process; and their living quarters are separated from adult convicts in the prison, as the law demands so.

 

I was involved (and still am) in the Community Outreach Programme ( and later the Clinical Legal Education course) and our access into the Kajang Integrity School was allowed as we were there to teach these detainees about the laws, unorthodoxly using interactive teaching methods and laymen terms. Among the things I remember very clearly was what or CLE Advisor Assoc. Prof Hjh Norbani Mohamed Nazeri said to us the first time we arrived to teach,”…it’s not about you, its about them”. She was right. We were there to teach and we taught them law, but in the end, the teachers became the students.

 

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Race Relations Act

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008

by Donovan Lee Shyun Hyn

There are always pros and cons to an Act of Parliament. The notion that one cannot have the best of both worlds is indeed true and is applicable in this situation as what is good for the Executive may not go down well with the rest of the population. The proposed Race Relations Act is one fine example. Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, the Minister of Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage in his interview with the New Sunday Times, contended that the proposed Act is specific in which it would be able to deal better with issues of religion and sensitivities of race as compared to the Sedition Act or Internal Security Act which is too general, thus creating loopholes to prosecute alleged offenders.

One might think why do we need to formulate such Act after having achieved 51 years of Independence? Wouldn’t the world community laugh at us for the failure to govern race relations despite the existence of various policies and bodies which were meant to instill unity among Malaysians of all races and religions? I certainly have my reservations for that.

Great Britain was formed in the year 1707 with the passing of the Acts of Union which merged the two parliaments of England and Scotland while Canada was formed in the year 1867 by virtue of British North America Acts. They have both enacted Race Relations Act in which the former was established in 1965 and the latter in 1991. These countries were created way before Malaysia was born but the Legislatures see the necessity of enacting the Act which makes it unlawful to discriminate against a person on the grounds of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin. Hence, the issue of humiliation does not arise here.

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Let Us Not Fall Into This Racist Trap – A Plea To All Malaysians

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

An Open Letter from A Law Student

By Loke Yuen Hong

Horribly, one man can make so many racist incitements and get away with it. After telling the Chinese they are never gonna get equal rights, he went on a rampant recently and all you need to do is just google around and type in Ahmad Ibrahim and there you get his antics. There is no need for me to provide any link here.

Now i am no Nostradamus nor am i a conspiracy theorist. But i can clearly see only one end to these antics if being feed on. The inevitable would be a repeat of history of 13 May, and set us all back another hundred years, with only a few will gain and all the rakyat (citizens) losses. It will break our finally found unity for the sake of a few politicians.

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Look Before We Leap (III/III) (By Raphael Kok)

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

frog-leap.jpg Part III

Thirdly, the whole idea that it’s unthinkable and dishonourable to switch parties stems from the idea that the party is always correct, and the representative should tow-the-line. This idea, unfortunately, is ingrained in Malaysian society, that both capable BN and Opposition candidates lose out because of blind party loyalty. People expect representatives to conform with their parties’ principles, for better or worse. People expect the political freedom of representatives to be restricted by their parties.

Such is the chain reaction effect of perpetuating a party-politic dependent democratic system, which is what the APHA does. People need to grow to have faith in their representatives, instead of relying on their favoured parties to control the representatives. For if we embrace the idea that party politics is the order of the day, and the law needs to entrench that order, why not just replace the whole electoral system with a pure party-based elections? No candidates, just vote for the parties. The party will later choose any of its member to fills its rank. Doesn’t matter who he is, since the only concern is not what the person believes, but that the person believes religiously to a particular party’s line. Isn’t such a system more effective in guaranteeing parties won’t lose control of their representatives once voted in?

Lastly, I find the APHA unfairly shifting the blame solely on the representatives. Since we place political parties on the pedestal already, shouldn’t it be the responsibilities of parties to choose their candidates wisely? If parties expect people to vote for their candidates, shouldn’t they be responsible of ensuring that the candidates chosen is a true party loyalist?

The APHA is thus hypocritical in the sense that it perpetuates the idea of party-politics, and yet effectively recognize that political parties are not strong enough to maintain loyalty and cohesiveness amongst its members. It’s an easy way out, isn’t it? Simply choose any Tom, Dick or Harry to run as candidate. No need to check his credentials. Why? Because if he goes rogue, the law will kick him out.

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Look Before We Leap (Part II/III) (By Raphael Kok)

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008

frog-leap.jpg  Part II

The third issue pertains to the effects of the APHA on the political climate of Malaysia. In my view, the APHA severely dilutes the spirit of democracy in Malaysia, and reinforces the centralisation of power by the elite few.

Malaysia adopts the British Westminster Parliamentary system. Entrenched deeply in this system is the role of party politics, as the majority in the Parliament determines the appointment of the Prime Minister, and consequently, the Cabinet i.e. the executive branch of the government. Such a system has been described, and criticised, as a system patronage, where the elite few at the top essentially controls the political minds and actions of the many lower party members below. It is not a perfect system, but one that works, with adequate check and balance.

Party politics in Malaysia is well-known. Candidates in constituencies are chosen by party leaders. And once elected, they are expected to agree with the party line, no questions asked. Opposing the party’s bill is tantamount to breaking ranks, and assures the rebellious representative a meeting with the party leaders. In short, there is hardly room for personal opinions, no matter how big or trivial.

In my view, the APHA effectively reinforces the idea of party politics, to the extent that threatens the democratic will of the people. By imposing legal sanctions against anyone who switches parties, it essentially sends the message to voters: “Vote for the party, not the individual”. Indeed, such a mentality is already prevalent amongst Malaysians. But is this a healthy mentality? No, it is not.

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Look Before We Leap (Part I/III) (By Raphael Kok)

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

frog-leap.jpg  Part I

It has been weeks passed the 2008 General Elections. And yet the dust has not quite settled yet. In the aftermath, many voices for reforms have been raised.  Amongst them, are calls for the enactment of an Anti-Party Hopping Act (‘APHA’) – a law which prohibits elected representatives (both Members of Parliament and State Assembly) to switch political parties after being voted in. Essentially, it has the legal effect of expelling an elected representative if he switches political allegiance during his tenure.

The idea was initially proposed by Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, the newly appointed Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department. Since then, it has rapidly gained support from many respected politicians, even among the Opposition, including Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat from PAS and Karpal Singh from DAP.

There appears to be an urgent need for such a law, as one of the fallouts of the recent general elections has been the rumoured defections of certain elected representatives. PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim alleged that he met BN MPs from Sabah and Sarawak on crossing over to the Opposition.

This is not the first time such a law has been in the spotlight. In 1992, the Supreme Court ruled that an anti-hopping law enacted in Kelatan was unconstitutional as it violated the freedom of association as enshrined in the Federal Constitution. Interestingly, both the Sabah and Sarawak State Constitution has a similar law since 1986 and 1994 respectively. So far, such laws have not been challenged in the courts.

According to Article 10 of the Federal Constitution, freedom of association is not absolute. Restrictions can be imposed based on “public order or morality” – which is what most of the supporters of the anti-hopping law is justifying their claims on.
“I will propose to the Cabinet for consideration. It is an issue of integrity and morality,” said Datuk Zaid Ibrahim. “I am sure Malaysians would not want their politicians to hop”. Karpal Singh equated hopping parties as cheating and deception.

But first, let’s look before we leap. Are calls for an APHA justified? Is it effective in solving practical problems? Does it cause any adverse effects to the democratic electoral system in Malaysia? In my view, such a law is unjustified, ineffective and causes grave adverse effects to Malaysian democracy. And here’s why.

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Sexual Empowerment (By Raphael Kok)

Monday, March 10th, 2008

 

 

breast.jpg 

Since the dawn of humanity, women have always been bullied, dominated, and abused by men. But not anymore, with the rise of feminism in the last century or so. Day by day, more and more of their suppressed rights have returned, their stifled voices heard. Society has changed, and so has the law.

Sexual empowerment for women is getting better. But it can get funny and ugly, too.

In early March 2008, a 38-year old Japanese bikini model, popularly known by her professional name as Serena Kozakura, was facing criminal charges. But she was acquitted, for the simple reason that her breasts were big. Very big, in fact. It’s a case which proves that size DOES matter.

What happened was that she was charged for property destruction. A man accused her for kicking in the wooden door of his room, and crawled through the hole she had made. Apparently, he was with another a woman inside. No doubt, a typical love triangle, jilted feelings and revenge was thrown in the mix.

So how did her big breasts make the difference? Simple. In her appeal, her defence counsel brought a plate showing the size of the hole before the Tokyo High Court. He showed that it was impossible for her to fit through the hole with her 110cm breasts. Satisfied with such incontrovertible evidence, the court acquitted her.

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2008 Beijing Olympics: The Final Cut (By Raphael Kok)

Friday, February 29th, 2008

beijing-olympics-logo.jpg 

Once every four years, the world arrives at a standstill. Peoples from all over the world gather to celebrate the peak of our physical prowess. And to celebrate with a spirit of camaraderie. A moment when national, racial and religious divide are forgotten. And when everyone exchanges smiles and handshakes.

Such is the essence of the Olympics. Or is it?

No doubt, the 2008 Beijing Olympics would be China’s crowning moment in its sudden, stunning meteoric rise from a sleeping giant to a global superpower. But as the Games loom ever closer, rumblings of discontent from the rest of the world have grown even louder.

In February 2008, the famous Hollywood film director Steven Spielberg (E.T., Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List) dropped a bombshell by withdrawing himself as artistic adviser to the 2008 Olympics. His main reason was China’s role and influence in the western Darfur conflict. He accused China of not doing enough to pressure the Sudanese government to end the “continuing human suffering” there.

He said: “At this point, my time and energy must be spent not on Olympic ceremonies, but on doing all I can to help bring an end to the unspeakable crimes against humanity that continue to be committed in Darfur”.

Predictably, his withdrawal has sparked much controversy. The Chinese authorities and media have categorically condemned him. The International Olympic Committee (“IOC”) has backed China. The rest of the world has shown mixed reactions.

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The Red Book – Police And Your Basic Rights (By Derek Chong Ching Hsiang)

Monday, February 25th, 2008

red-book.jpg

Around April later year, the Bar Council has launched a book by the title “Police and Your Basic Rights” which was a noble action initiated by a group of lawyer known as TANGKAP (Tindakan Anti PenyalahGunaan Kuasa Polis).[i]  The book is well known among the public as “The Red Book”.  The main objective of this book is to educate the public generally about their rights when being confronted by police. This is because a mass majority of people do not know their basic rights and thus this leads too many problems.The Red Book was officially launched on the 20th of April 2006 by Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Bin Abdul Aziz, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Law also with the ex-President of the Bar Council, Mr. Yeo Yang Poh.[ii]  Each and every individual have certain rights guaranteed under our very Federal Constitution.[iii] The police have powers to stop, arrest and search an individual under the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC)[iv] but these powers are limited.In this topic, I will discuss

Please click at this link to read the full article: the-red-book.doc

(This article is contributed by Derek Chong Ching Hsiang, Law Student of Univeristy Malaya)

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