My Life in LHAG

As mentioned in my earlier post, I served LHAG for 7 years.

I started off as a chambering student in the Intellectual Property (IP) Department in December 2004 and was eventually retained in the department after 4 month.

My first few months was quite dull as I was assigned with menial work but I was fortunate to have Yvonne, a Senior Legal Assistant of the department, teaching me the traits of IP work. She was also instrumental to my early retention. My interaction with my pupil master and Head of IP Department, Mr Tai, at that time was quite rare.


Yvonne, me and Mr Tai

One of the first projects that I did as a student was preparing a report of incoming files from Messrs Allen & Gledhill during the LH and A&G merger in 2005. There were few hundred files and I had to prepare a list of the files and the status of all the files. It took me a week and it left me with bad sinus (from the dust) and backache (from carrying the files).

Yvonne left the firm immediately after I got called to the Bar.


With Y.A Wan Afrah during my admission to the Bar.

From there onwards, I worked under my pupil master as an associate. There was another senior but she too left after a while. At one point, it was just me and Mr. Tai holding the fort.


My first office room. Small but cozy.

Soon, we were joined by Bahari and he managed many of the litigation portfolios. I assisted the both of them in some of their matters. Eunice joined us after that.

My chambering mates and I were very close. Such support system is very important. We watched each other’s back and helped each other during times of need.

They made my time there very enjoyable. Many have moved out from the firm and now only 2 remained in the firm.

Many lawyers say that their first three years is the toughest. I must say that this is true. Research and drafting were the ordeal of the day.

My biggest challenge came when Mr Tai left the firm with his other partners. It was a time when 7 partners left our firm. Bahari, Eunice and I were left with a headless department. Even our department chief clerk left us. She was in charge of keeping track of all the deadline and formalities.

The three of us took on the challenge and shortly managed to stabilized the department. It also gave us a lot of new opportunity. Bahari was made head of department. Eunice and I were given the chance to attend international conferences to expand our exposure and network.

But there were downsides. Mr Tai used to guide me in every process from sending internal emails to drafting of documents. He will read and approve all my work. And the good thing about him is that he never scold or raise his voice for any mistakes that I’ve done. Without him, I was all alone. It took me a while to do things on my own.

The other downside is the sudden stoppage of new work. In the past, Mr Tai used to bring the work in but without him, I had no work. There were times which I spent the whole day surfing the net in the office without any work.


My 3rd room.


Messy table as usual.

Our senior partner gave me a very good advice. He knows that I’m into Internet and technology stuff and he advised me to focus on it.

In 2009, I joined the Kuala Lumpur Bar Information Technology Committee as a committee member which was headed by Richard Wee at that time. I did my first presentation there with member of parliament, Jeff Ooi and fellow lawyer, Nizam Bashir on Blogging and Law. From there, speaking arrangements started pouring in although I’m a terrible speaker. My dad blames himself for letting me jumble up my words when I speak during my younger days -_-


Forum on Blogging & Defamation Laws

Marketing then became an important part of my practice. I began writing articles, giving presentations and attending all sorts of networking events. Work started pouring in.

I realise that legal practice is not all about doing work, it’s also about getting to know the right people and selling your expertise the right way. There is no point being so good with your work if nobody knows about it.

LHAG had always been very supportive of me. They pay me very well (bonus from 3 to 6 1/2 months). Unfortunately, taxes ate a huge chunk of it. I don’t mind paying taxes so long the Government doesn’t use it to buy condominiums.

I read an article on how Google used to instill entrepreneurship on their employee. Junior employees are given chance to come out with their own products for Google. In LHAG, I took the initiative to develop a new practice area namely the data protection and privacy practice. It all started when I was featured in The Star newspaper on the Personal Data Protection Act 2010 (PDPA). The feature was arranged by LHAG.

I also wrote an article on the PDPA for our firm’s newsletter. With this piece of endorsement, I approached many our of clients for free speaking arrangements. It bore fruit within few months. Work started coming in a form of written opinion and compliance exercise. It kept me and my junior Lyssa busy for the past year.

After 7 years in LHAG, it was time to move out from my comfort zone for a new challenge.

So far it has been very smooth sailing. I was fortunate to have some clients who followed me. Friends have been referring work to me almost on a daily basis.

I must thank LHAG for all the good times and support. It’s been a pleasure serving them.

Good Bye LHAG! Hello FCL & Co!

After working 7 years in one of the most reputable firms in Malaysia, I gathered enough courage (and savings) to resign from LHAG and to establish my own law firm. Although partnership in LHAG is just a step away (in fact, less than 6 months), I declined and moved on. I will be joined by another colleague, Dymphna, who is an Industrial Relation specialist, as a partner. My focus will be on intellectual property, information technology, franchise, social media, data privacy and the likes.

Both of us will work from home until we get our cash flow stable. Paying for renovation and office is just too much burden for a start. We will probably move into an office next year or when we have a fixed set of partners. We currently use the services of a virtual office that accepts documents and letters and also take calls for us.


Humble beginnings..

Frankly, the aim of the firm is fairly ambitious. I would like to grow the firm into a middle sized firm with various specialists under one roof.

I foresee that the liberalisation of the Malaysian legal industry will happen sooner or later. Foreign firms will step into our shores and provide their expertise to Malaysians. This will be a great opportunity for our firm to work with foreign international firms to improve our skills, services and competitiveness. By that time, I hope I still have enough energy to bring the legal industry to a new height.

It’s easier said than done. I’ll read this blogpost again 20 years later to see whether we will achieve this goal.

Till then, wish us luck and hope we can make it!

BFM Radio Interview: Privacy Laws in Malaysia

Privacy laws is one of my specialized areas. It’s a relatively new area in Malaysia. It was not until recently the Federal Court held that the Malaysian Constitution recognises our right to privacy and that invasion of privacy rights is actionable in Malaysia. Few years ago, invasion of privacy rights is not actionable in Malaysia.

It is highly developed in the United Kingdom. So developed that there are law firms well known for their privacy law practice. For example, Schillings, a law firm in London, is well known to have develop privacy laws in the United Kingdom and they have well known celebrity clients such as Naomi Campbell, JK Rowling, Ryan Giggs, Tiger Woods, Keira Knightley and Cristiano Ronaldo. I hope we could develop something like this in Malaysia.

Anyway, thanks to LoyarBurok and Edmund Bon, I was invited to speak at BFM Radio on privacy laws in Malaysia. How this opportunity came about was also through two (2) articles I wrote for LoyarBurok regarding the right to privacy in Malaysia. One of the articles was later republished by the Malaysia Insider. Amazing how articles can help a lawyer’s legal practice.

Without further ado, you can listen to the podcast below.

Gosh, it’s so weird to hear myself on radio! It’s a pity we don’t have much time. There are so many other things we could cover! Hope there will be a 2nd series soon!

Fukuoka, Japan – 2012 – Overview

They say one thing always lead to another.

It all started with a blog post entitled, “All Lawyers should have an iPad!” at LoyarBurok which talks about the use of iPad by lawyers. I wrote this post on one of the many nights that I couldn’t sleep.

Immediately after posting that article, I was invited by the Bar Council to speak on the topic, “Use of Technology amongst Lawyers“.

Most of the participants of my talk were practitioners senior to me. However, Gaythri, the Head of Marketing of LexisNexis SEA, a multinational legal information provider, attended too. She found out about my talk through Twitter.

After the talk, I was invited by Gaythri to review their upcoming LexisNexis iPad App which I gave input.

In early January, Gaythri invited me to attend the LexisNexis Customer Engagement Workshop at Fukouka. And at all expenses paid!

And weeks later, there I was, sitting in Business Class sipping champagne. Just one article led me to this. Amazing what the power of social media can do!


Business Class Seats – I could almost recline the seat 90 degrees.


Food


Awesome free stuff!

There were only five people (including me) invited by LexisNexis to attend this event namely a Managing Partner of an Indian law firm, a partner from a large Singaporean firm, a Chinese legal counsel of Foxconn (manufacturers of Apple products) and lastly a Japanese legal counsel from Lotte.

The event was held at Luigin Spa and Resorts, a hotel 40 minutes away from the city.

My room was spacious and it faced the sea.

Great view. Great service too.

The customer engagement session was great. Many ideas were discussed and exchanged. We had two sessions. In the first session, we had a panel discussion on how will legal profession be in the next ten years. The five of us gave our views to 50 over participants. My views were quite similar to what I presented in my “Use of Technology amongst Lawyers” talk. Briefly, they were:-

1. The new generation of young lawyers (namely the Gen Y) prefer flexibility over money. They no longer like 9 to 5 working hours. With this, mobility is important. The ability to work wherever and whenever are important in the future. Cloud computing and light weight and portable devices will be useful.

2. Touch screens, mobile devices and Apps are the way forward. Due to the need for mobility, documents will be in electronic form. I said that the use tablets and ultrabooks in legal practice will flourish. I also said that we may one day have paper thin touch screens and the Courts may use touch screen tables.

3. Apps will be developed to help legal practice. Currently, Dropbox, text convertors App and Penultimate (handwriting app) are useful.

4. I also said that thumbdrives will be one day as cheap as CDs. In the future, thumbdrives will be sold in bulk and people may even give thumbdrives as namecards (and also in the form of namecards) where their profile will be saved.

Before the presentation, the Indian lawyer told me that he goes to Court with three iPads and he doesn’t bring the physical file to Court. Each iPad would have all the relevant documents. If he needs to refer to two separate documents, he will use two iPads. Browsing and highlights are done through PDF reader Apps like GoodReader.

For thick documents, the Singaporean lawyer told me that she indexes her PDF files which will appear on the side of the document. These files will be indexed before e-filing them in Court.

5. Social media is the new marketing tool for lawyers and law firms. Many law firms have embraced social media to market their services. I gave an example of a UK law firm having their lawyers to have their own professional LinkedIn and Twitter account.

The second session was a breakout session. I was interviewed by the Malaysian LexisNexis team on various issues. I told them the story on how I ended up having a share in Nuffnang and also in Fukuoka.

The last session lasted until lunch time. We had lunch with the top management of LexisNexis including the South East Asia Head and Group CEO. It was a real privileged for a young practitioner like me to be there.

Due to the short trip, I didn’t have much time to visit Fukuoka. I did manage to visit the city and have some good food. Will talk about this later.

For my participation, LexisNexis presented me with a Kindle Fire. I can’t wait to download ebooks!

Many thanks again to LexisNexis for the opportunity!

What lies ahead for social media

My yearly social media reflection article is out on The Star newspaper under the Putik Lada column!

This time round, it’s about new social media legal cases that happened in 2011. For the first time (probably), my Putik Lada article got onto the most read article in The Star online!

If you missed it, here’s an extract of the article:-

It is going to be a tempestuous year with more developments in the social media scene, and a digital war may erupt between Internet users, companies and governments.

MALAYSIA’S social media sphere hit a milestone last year. Facebook users reached 12 million in Malaysia as at Decem­ber and Twitter users reached about 470,000 as at October.

Defamation actions and criminal charges against people for alleged misuse of social media have also become normal. There have been interesting developments in the social media and Internet legal scene.

Last year saw an increase in the use of social media by the legal profession to market their services. Some lawyers, law firms and courts have their own Twitter accounts.

Former Bar Council president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan (@Ambiga_S) has over 6,000 followers, international law firm Allen & Overy (@AllenOvery) has more than 6,600 followers and the US Supreme Court (@USSupremeCourt) has 23,000 followers and counting.

With such extensive use by legal practitioners, the Law Society of England and Wales issued a practice note for the use of social media by lawyers.

Back home, Cybersecurity Ma­­laysia introduced a new Internet guideline called Best Practice on Social Networking Sites (SNS).

The guideline is used as acceptable practices in usage of SNS with heightened ethics as well as in protecting the security of users and privacy needs. It is very useful for companies as guidance when drafting their social media policies.

Interestingly, the High Court of Malaya recognised that misappropriation of a domain name by a former employee is actionable under conversion of and trespass to property and breach of fiduciary duty in the 2008 case of Ogawa World Bhd & Anor v Ch’ng Wai Loong.

Normally, misappropriated Top Level domain names are recoverable through the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Centre.

In Canada, the Su­­preme Court of Canada in Crookes v Newton (2011) delivered an important decision on the status of….

You can read the rest of the article at FoongChengLeong.com. By the way, my blawg is now on Twitter. Please follow FCLco for latest legal updates on intellectual property, social media, data privacy and the likes!

All lawyers should have an iPad!

Posted this on Loyarburok! Got attacked by a Grammar Nazi for my bad grammar and spelling -_- well, I live by the motto “Don’t feed the trolls”. I didnt bother replying.

On a brighter note, immediately after publishing this article, I got invited to speak on the use of technology to help lawyers at the Bar Council. Writing articles does wonders!

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Well, this article is not only about the iPad but about other tablets in the market in general. Other tablets such as Samsung Galaxy Tab or Blackberry Playbook are instructive examples, too, but that is not my focus here.

For me, my iPad is probably one of the most useful tools in my practice. It helps me with the following:-

Research
An internet enabled iPad is very useful for quick research. Imagine you’re in Court and you suddenly remember a case which would help your case. You can easily access legal publishing websites such as CLJ, Lexis-Nexis and even British and Irish Legal Information Institute (Baili). On a different note, Lexis-Nexis now has its own iPhone App. I understand that an iPad App for that will be out soon.

You can also store your basic cases and statues in your iPad. Since my practice is only limited to intellectual property matters, I keep a folder of relevant statues such as the Trade Marks Act 1976, Patents Act 1983, Copyright Act 1987, Industrial Designs Act 1996, Franchise Act 1998, Personal Data Protection Act 2010 etc. This allows you to access it quickly without internet connection.

Accessibility
With the right App (such as DropBox) or a proprietary software, you can access your files anywhere. Let say you need to look at a letter for a file, you can view straightaway it on your iPad.

I use DropBox to store my statues and legal cases – divided into various categories. For example, if I want to view a case regarding trade marks, I only need to access my Trade Marks folder.

Dropbox also synchronizes my folders in all my devices. To illustrate, the files that I keep in my PC will be the same with the files in my iPad when I update the former.

If you have a little bit money to spend, build a proprietary software or use a reputable software to make your files accessible remotely and securely.

But remember, everything that can be accessed on the internet, although secured by professionals, is not 100% secure. You wouldn’t want to end up like ACS:Law, a UK law firm who had some of their confidential information leaked online after its website was attacked.

Saving paper
The iPad allows you to take notes using its keyboard or even scribbling your notes on handwriting apps such as Penultimate. I have books and books of notes in my room. Some of these notes had no value and it’s a waste of paper.

Once you’re done with your notes, your can email them to yourself or anyone you like.

Presentation
Recently, I met a potential client who wanted help on drafting an intellectual property license agreement. He had never seen such agreement before and my professional fee was a concern to him. He was probably thinking why should I pay so much for something I’ve never seen before?

I downloaded a 20 pages sample intellectual property license agreement into my iPad and showed him that such agreement would look like this. That 20 pages agreement was a great help to him to visualize the deliverables and of course, my fees. 😀

Screen sharing
Few months ago, my colleague printed a few copies of presentation slides and distributed them to some clients in a meeting. I suddenly thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool if he had distributed iPads with those slides?”. Imagine walking into a board meeting with 10 iPads in your hand to be distributed to the board of directors!

With screen sharing, a user can share his screen with others by connecting the devices wirelessly. Let’s say if you wish to refer to a passage in a case to a Judge, you can do so by sharing your screen with him (provided that the Judge has an iMac or iPad, which brings to say, “All Judges should have an iPad too!”).

Digital Text Converter
If you have iPad2, you can use it like a scanner by taking a picture of a document and then convert it to editable text using Apps like FotoNote. Very useful when you have some hardcopy precents that are too troublesome to be typed.

You can also convert written digital text into editable text using certain Apps like PhatPat.

GPS
iPad has basic GPS function. It gives you your real-life location and directions to a specific place. Although very basic, this function saved my skin numerous times when I needed directions to Court or finding my way out of Putrajaya and Cyberjaya.

Closing
There are many functions which I have not explored on my iPad. I’ve seen Apps which allow you to digitally sign on a document. I’ve also seen Apps which could turn your iPad into a fax machine to send and receive facsimile. It will also help you send the document by mail!

I only own an iPad hence I am unable to advise whether the other tablets are good. But if you’re looking for an iPad for work, my view is that a 16Gig and 3G+Wifi iPad2 is sufficient. iPad should be treated as a secondary device hence there is no point storing all your information inside. Also, with cloud computing, your data need not be stored in the iPad but in the “clouds”.

As for the best country to purchase an iPad, Malaysia has one of the lowest iPad prices.

As a closing note, iPad is a portable device. It is a light and easy to carry. It can easily be misplaced and lost. Therefore, security is very important. Make sure you password protect your iPad and ensure that MobileMe is installed. MobileMe allows you to wipe out your content if you lose your iPad.

Borneo Court Document

You may remember my blog postings about the Straits Settlement Court documents. I now have one from Kuching dating back to 1939.

The person featured on the stamps is Charles Vyner Brooke, third and final White Rajah of Sarawak. This stamp was produced from 1934 to 1941. There is little value in these 2 stamps.

This Court order as a whole, however, is quite valuable. There are not many old Sarawak Court documents available in the market. This document was initially priced at RM400 which I have reduced to RM200 after bargaining. RM200 is still a little bit expensive considering that it only costs me SGD15 for my old Straits Settlement documents. However, I believe it is worth it as there is only one copy in this world.

This Court order was signed by Mr. Gerald Francis Jack Pegler (later Lieutenant) serving as a Magistrate of the Second Class of the District Court of Kuching. Not many information is available on Mr Pegler.

According to RootsWeb and the Roll of Honour websites, Mr Pegler was born around 1909.

He was married to Eve Lilian Dalton in or around 1936. They then had a daughter by the name Jennifer Gaye Pegler who was born in Singapore in 1939.

Mr Pegler’s name was mentioned in a few times in the old Singaporean Straits Times. On or around 13 May 1930, he was appointed as a cadet in the service of the Sarawak Government – then ruled by the White Rajah.

He served as an officer of Class III in Sarikei in August 1933. On or around 12 December 1935, he was appointed as Assistant District Officer in Kuching and promoted to District Officer on or around 30 April 1936.

When World War Two broke, he was made Secretary of Defence. What happened to him next is unclear but a newspaper report stated that one person by the name G. S. J. Pegler (presumably G. F. J Pegler due to a typographical error) was tasked to lead the Sarawak Rangers to defend against the Japanese invasion.

Sarawak was captured by the Japanese in 1942. Unfortunately, Mr Pegler was captured by the Japanese and was sent to work at the death railway. He died at the age of 34 and buried in the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, Thailand on 20 November 1943. Sad ending for a promising young man.

After Mr Pegler’s death, his daughter, Jennifer got married had a daughter and a son. She died in 1971.

I contacted a relative of the Pegler family. Unfortunately, I did not receive any response from her. It will certainly be interesting to know the live of Mr. Pegler, who once had the luxury of living as Government officer and ended his life as a prisoner of war in the Burma-Thailand railway.

Malaysia’s Intellectual Property bLawG

I started a blawg with a focus on intellectual property, information technology and data protection. At the moment, it houses all my articles and media appearances. Purpose of housing them is to separate my identity as a blogger and a lawyer.

Instead of giving my blog address during professional networking sessions (where sometimes people like think..xes…SEX arr???), I can give my blawg address. Click here to visit! Will be updating it from time to time.

Articles are good marketing tools. They generally do not generate direct work but they do generate a lot of opportunities such as speaking arrangements.

Recently, I gave a talk on data protection at the Annual Conference for Chartered Secretaries of Malaysia. It was probably my 20th talk within a span of one year. Since I’ve done the same topic so many times, I didn’t bother to prepare and also didn’t bother to ask anything about the participants (biggest sin when giving presentation!). I thought it would be a small crowd of 20 – 30 people.


However, it had over 300 people /(*O*)\. I was shocked!

Nevertheless, practice makes perfect. Since I’ve done the same topic many times, it went well. I started off with a question to the crowd and the crowd faintly answered it. When I gave the answer, loud gasps were heard. From there onwards, they were all ears.

The talk went so well that it received positive feed backs. So positive that the same association contacted me again for another round of talks. The results of this talk is far cry from one talk where one participant came up to me asking me to learn public speaking. And yes, I did follow his advice.

So weeks later, the association sent a picture of me on stage.


My face was photoshopped. I lost all my pimples and pores -_-

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What happened to Teoh Beng Hock’s Right to Privacy?

I got this article published on LoyarBurok!

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This is perhaps one of the many issues raised in the Teoh Beng Hock Royal Commission Report (“TBHRCI”) that did not receive wide attention. I have read a few commentaries on TBHRCI but I did not see anyone raising the issue of privacy in the interrogation of Mr Teoh Beng Hock (“TBH”). But as an advocate of privacy rights in Malaysia, I thought it would be pertinent for me to raise this.

When I first read the TBHRCI, the first thing that caught my eyes is that the investigators of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (“MACC”) had forced TBH to reveal his password to his personal email.

I was shocked. Isn’t TBH merely a “witness”? How can a witness be forced to give his password to investigators? What happened to his right to privacy? (On the right to privacy in Malaysia, please read my earlier article here.)

The background to this invasion can be seen in paragraph 42 of the TBHRCI where the Commission stated the following:-

[42] Another important aspect of this “interview” is that both these officers extracted from TBH the password to his private email account, a matter which vexed TBH very much, causing him great concern and distress. We will discuss this later in this report.


Later at paragraph 48 of the TBHRCI,

[48] TBH, according to Lee, complained that MACC officers had taken away his mobile phone and laptop. He also lamented that he should not have disclosed to the officers his password to his email account….

We all know that password to our personal email is sacred. Our personal email may contain all sorts of private information such as banking, financial or health information, private conversations and even intimate photographs. It may not only contain one’s private information but also private information of others. Allowing another person to have our password is akin to giving that person keys to our private life. What people do in the private lives is none of our business.

Further, many internet users use the same password for various accounts. One password can be used to access many account to avoid memorizing many passwords.

However, request for password to private email is not new. Recently, Malaysian Blogger Hanief complained that the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission compelled him to reveal the passwords to his email, Facebook account and Blogger account when he was investigated for publishing a defamatory blog posting. In his own defence, Hanief stated that the defamatory article is available on his blog and there is no reason for him to reveal his passwords.

In view of the TBHRCI, such practice must be carefully exercised. In paragraph 155, the Commission criticized the interrogators’ action:-


[155] Another aspect of this interrogation of concern was the ability of Arman and Ashraf to extract from TBH his password to his private email account. To many of us, this may be equivalent to disclosing our pin number of our ATM card. At least in the case of an ATM card, the extractor may be allowed to withdraw a limited amount of our money at any one time before such unauthorised access is reported. But in the case of an email account, all our personal information and data would be exposed immediately and permanently. This is a gross violation of a person’s right. TBH would have been very disturbed over this and his disappointment and regret in divulging his password to Arman and Ashraf was further mirrored in his conversation with Lee.

[156] We are of the view that this regret and concern of TBH over these matters remained festering with him. An indication of this could be seen from his behavior when his statement was being recorded by Nadzri. This was further reflected in his being silent and being deep in thought when he met Tan Boon Wah near the toilet. Instead of being excited and surprised to see a fellow in a similar distressful situation, he maintained a distance and was virtually silent.


In fact, the TBHRCI has attributed TBH’s “suicide” to this invasion of privacy. In paragraph 220, the Commission stated that:

[220] Another factor which had serious implications on TBH was the surrendering of his laptop to the officers of the MACC, and worse than this was being forced to divulge to the MACC officers the password to his email account. As this held the key to many things private, TBH must have felt that his privacy was violated under duress, and the secrets to his life were in the open. This was a gross violation of TBH’s person right, which would have compounded his anxiety and worry.

The TBHRCI provided recommendation for the MACC to implement due to TBH’s case. Unfortunate, there is no specific recommendation by the Commission on such practice. The best we could rely on is the recommendation for powers of search.

However, search on a premise is very different from a search on a person’s private email and also electronic data. A search on a house may not reveal as many information as a search on a person’s personal computer. It is opening a whole new can of worms. In the Canadian case of R v Cole, 2011 ONCA 218, it was held that “searching a computer that is used for personal purposes is potentially among the most invasive of searches”.

There are many things that one would not want the world to see and it includes details belonging to others. For example, in Edison Chen’s case, the intimate photographs of his partners were spread around the internet after he had his laptop sent for service. These photographs now can be considered to have entered public domain and no amount of work can remove them from the public domain.

In view of the aforesaid, special attention must be given to search on electronic data. A party granting such search must carefully weight the individual reasonable right to privacy and public interest. If there are other means of obtaining information, such search should not be conducted.

If the owner specifically requests that certain portion of the computer be restricted, such request must be considered.

Also, whether there can be search to electronic data should be left to the Courts. In R v. IRC, Ex P Rossminster [1980] AC 952, Lord Wilberforce stated that:-


The courts have the duty to supervise, I would say critically, even jealously, the legality of any purported exercise of these powers. They are the guardians of the citizens’ right to privacy. But they must do this in the context of the times, ie, of increasing Parliamentary intervention, and of the modern power of judicial review.

Perhaps an exception can be given if is a real and present belief that failure to act will result in the destruction or loss.

Guidelines and standard operating procedures on electronic data search should be issued. Officers must be educated on the right to privacy of all Malaysians. No forceful entry should be made by them. Information wrongly obtained through this practice must be deemed inadmissible in Court.

On the other hand, private sectors, who hold our personal information, should play a role in protecting all Malaysian’s privacy. For example, internet or web hosting service providers should restrict the access of personal information of customers by any Government authorities or other individuals.

I must state that nothing in this article prohibits the access of electronic data. There are circumstances that should justify the access to one’s electronic data. As an extreme example, the police should be allowed to access private emails of a kidnapper, who they reasonably believe based on credible information, which has information of the whereabouts of his victim.

TBH’s case reveals the sad stage of our right to privacy. Every Malaysian, including those in power or given power, should be concerned with how their own privacy is being treated.

I am sure TBH would still be distressed if the MACC interrogators still have access to his private email – if only he is still alive today

Young Lawyers Convention 2011

If you have the time, please attend. It’s a great opportunity to meet new other fellow lawyers and make new friends. Networking among lawyers is useful especially when you are a specialist. A senior IP practitioner once told me that most of his clients came from referral from other lawyer friends.

The Young Lawyers Convention started off as a platform for Young Lawyers to meet and exchange views.

The 1st Convention was held at Kuantan around 6th April 2003. At that Convention, the Young Lawyers issued a Statement calling for the repeal of S46A, LPA. That provision bars Young Lawyers from being elected as Bar Council or State Bar Committee members.

At the 2nd Convention at Pangkor, the Young Lawyers came up with a revolutionary Statement. On 30th January 2005, the Young Lawyers issued a statement demanding :-
1. S46A LPA be repealed
2. Formation of a Shadow Council to shadow Bar Council
3. Reform the Bar elections, electing Bar Council members
4. Improving Professional Development classes (then known as CLE)
5. Better information be disseminated and published to members on better Professional Practise.
6. Improving Pupils Welfare
7. Revamping Bar Council Secretariat
8. Increasing legal activism

Many proposals at the 2nd Convention is being implemented by Bar Council, till today.

By the time the 3rd Convention in 2008 came, S46A(1) para (a) was removed from the LPA. That freed the Young Lawyers to be elected as members of the Bar Council or State Bar Committees. With that in the background, the 2008 Convention set out retain the existense of Young Lawyers Committee and to ensure the lawyers are protected and defended.

Held at Penang, the 2008 Convention was crucial to ensure the Young Lawyers movement continued, despite the removal of S46A LPA. For a long while, many sees the S46A LPA as the principle batter cry for YLC, and that the YLC was created to give the young lawyers a platform to speak, since the LPA at that time disallowed young lawyers in the Bar Council/State Bar Committee. However the 2008 Convention was a water shed in the history of YLC, as Lawyers attending that Convention endorsed the Statement to demand that YLC remains in existense and that the removal of S46A LPA does not lead to the closure of YLC.

This coming Young Lawyers Convention focuses on improving the young lawyers, to ensure the Bar becomes better. A better Bar, would only mean better laws, which we hope would eventually lead to a better country.