Student’s Guide to Malaysian Legal Profession

Recently, I received an email from one Yii Zhu, a Law / Commerce student from Australia asking me for guidance about the legal profession in Malaysia. Yii Zhu wants to return home to practice but do not know where to start. After advising him, I thought it would be useful to share this with other law students or those who wants to practice law in Malaysia.

My legal life started off as an attachment student in a small firm in Kuala Lumpur. After my attachment, I joined a large firm and stayed on until now. I am currently a Senior Associate in one of the largest law firms in Malaysia.

When a student is qualified to start his chambering, he has 3 choices namely a large, medium or small law firm. There is no exact definition on what amounts to a large, medium or small law firm. But based on my own view, a large firm has around 20 lawyers, medium sized firm has less than 20 lawyers whereas small law firm has 5 or less lawyers.

The allowance a student gets would range from RM800 to RM2500. A large firm generally pays higher allowance. In respect of attachment students, this would depend on the firm. Some do not pay allowance to attachment students as they take the position that they are doing a favour for the student. Some firms do pay but not a lot – probably less than a RM1000 per month.

Generally, large and medium firms (let’s call them larger firm) can expose a student to various types of work. Most of the larger firms have separate departments where a student will be expose to matters relating to corporate, conveyancing, litigation, intellectual property, employment etc. Some larger firms have a rotation system where a student will be rotated to different departments. Also, larger firms pay more. When I was chambering, my allowance was RM1500. My friends in the small firms were getting RM800 – RM1000.

A small firm may not expose a student to many types of work. However, some small firms are boutique firms which specialize in certain types of law. For example, there are some law firms in Kuala Lumpur who specialise in Intellectual Property. They are very reputable and highly recognised in the Intellectual Property industry. They also have the best clients and the best work. With this, joining a smaller firm does not mean a student will learn less things.

Also, in a small firm, a student may be able to handle files on their own (most of the time under a partner’s supervision). A student may also get to shadow the partner.

In larger firms, it will take time for a student to be able to handle files of their own. A student usually starts off with menial work (e.g research, translation). Substantive work will probably come at a later stage. A student in a large firm may find themselves doing less important work than their counterparts in a small firm.

Also, in a smaller firm, a student may be given more opportunity. When I was an attachment student in a small firm, the bosses decided to send me to Japan for an assignment. This may not happen if I had been attached in a large firm.


My awesome free trip to Tokyooooo

When I wanted to look for a place to chamber, I couldn’t decide whether to join a larger firm or go back to the small firm to chamber. I emailed a family friend and asked him where to go.

He advised me to join a larger firm to take advantage of the networking opportunities. Initially I did not understand what he meant by “networking opportunities” but after a few years, I began to understand.

In larger firm, a student will get to know many people. In the legal profession and as a basic business principle, to make money, it is not “what you know”, it is “who you know”. Of course, legal knowledge is very important but if you do not have the necessary connections, the legal knowledge will be not utilized. There will be no food on your table if you do not have the necessary connection to bring in business.

A student’s friends and colleagues may eventually become legal advisers in companies, businessmen, directors and even politicians. They may become your source of referral for businesses in the future.

But this doesn’t mean that a small firm would lose out in business. There are of course many ways to get business. For example, give talks, join associations etc and recently, through social media networking.

If a student finds that chambering in a larger firm / small firm is not his cup of tea, he may always switch.

Once a student finishes chambering, he may or may not be retained in his firm as a legal assistant/associate (different title but same position). A first-year legal assistant/associate’s pay in Kuala Lumpur firms may range from RM2000 to RM4000.

Lastly, if you aim to have lifetime career as a lawyer, you should always aim for partnership (in a larger firm) or alternatively, set up your own firm (as a sole proprietor or a partnership). A partnership in a larger firm may take a longer time as most of the time, there are many people ahead of you. Even if you are made partner, it will take time to be an equity partner (a partner with shares in a firm thus gets a share of the profits). Most of the time, young partners in a larger firm are only salaried partners. It will take time to be an equity partner. However, such situation in a small firm may vary. Some small firms are known not to take new partners.

I hope the above is of assistance. If you have any comments that are helpful, please share.

Ah Weng Koh Hainan Tea @ Imbi Market

For the past few years, I read numerous articles about Ah Weng Koh Hainan Tea (阿荣哥海南茶档) – on how great the place is. So last Monday, I made a trip to Ah Weng Koh for breakfast. My usual breakfast Yut Kee is closed on Monday hence it gave me an opportunity to explore other kopitiams.

Finding the place was a task. I’ve no idea where Imbi Market is and my Google Map wasn’t of much help. After going round and round for half an hour, I found the bloody market – only to find it is closed. NIAMAAAAAAAAAAAA!!

After complaining on Facebook, someone told me that Monday is usually a day off for Hainanese.

Not wanting to give up, I made another trip to Ah Weng Koh for breakfast on the next day. It was open!

Ah Weng Koh is actually a small hawker stall which shares a common area with other stalls. Finding a place to sit was quite easy. I found a spot right in front of the stall.

I ordered Hainanese coffee, toasted bread and half boiled eggs.

Coffee came in a big mug. Very aromatic and not too sweet.

My toasted polo buns – slapped with a generous amount of kaya and also a cold slice of butter. Very tasty but fattening. The outer layer was crunchy whereas the inner layer was soft!

Next contender! Half boiled eggs in a stainless steal mug with hot water inside! Had to wait for a while for my half boiled eggs to get cooked!

It was a little bit difficult to eat the half boiled egg as the heat of the egg was burning my fingers. It tasted too as well, comparable with my other favourite half boiled egg places namely Yut Kee, Pappa Rich and Village Park.

The only downside off this place is the heat. Ventilation is poor and there is no fan to cool you down. I was sweating like a pig there.

Imbi Market is just a few metres away from Pasar Rakyat. Parking space is ample. You may park by the roadside or pay RM2 for private parking.

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My Funniest Slurpee Video

Recently, I posted an entry about making a video advertorial with Samantha. Well, it was for My Funniest Slurpee Video contest. Check out the video below! Samantha and I have set out the information about the contest theree!

To those who are planning to enter this contest, here’s a little tip – when you buy your Slurpee from 7-Eleven, make sure it’s full! The level of Slurpee will subside after a while. So be patient and wait for it to subside and refill it again. I wasn’t aware of this and I brought a 3/4 full Slurpee to Sam’s place!

Once you get your Slurpee, make sure you got enough space in video camera to record. Try to shoot the same scene a few times. Samantha and I shot the video a few times because we couldn’t remember what to do.

Once the video is done, upload it to youtube.com. Thereafter, register yourself as a member of Slurpee nation on http://www.slurpee.com.my/slurpeenation – register and upload your video there.

After that all you have to do is just get your friends to vote! You should also check out the video below, I thought it was actually quite well shot!

Anyway, the Grand Prize is a 3D/2N stay in Berjaya Redang Resort for 2. There will also be travel packages for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd winners. The 1st Prize would win a 3D/2N stay in Berjaya Tioman Resort for 2. 2nd Prize winner would win a 3D/2N stay in a Deluxe Chalet at Berjaya Langkawi Resort for 2 whereas the 3rd Prize winner will win a 2D/1N Spa Package at Colmar Tropicale, Berjaya Hills for 2.

For the Grand Prize, 1st and 2nd Prize winners, they are also entitled to a 1 Year supply of free Slurpee!

For more info, check out www.slurpee.com.my/myfunniestslurpeevideo.php !

Delaney’s @ Federal Hotel, Kuala Lumpur

[Advertorial]

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner hence to warm things up, Melvin, Tania, A and I went to Delaney’s @ Federal Hotel for a pint of ‘Black Gold’ to warm up for the event.

When I told my friends about Delaney’s, none of them know about the place. Apparently, the place has been around for more than 10 years.


Even the façade and interior looks old school.

Although it was a Friday night, the place wasn’t crowded. It also had a live band playing some nice tunes.

I was told that over 100 pubs are having a Guinness promotion and Delaney’s is one of them. The promo’s name is Guinness St. Patrick’s Finger Food Festival. I also heard that you can get a redemption stamp card from the barmen to win Guinness St Pat’s hat. All you need to do is to collect 12 stamps.


You have a few choices of finger food. For us, we ordered the Chicken Wing Balls with French Fries.


Duck Meat Spring Roll – not part of the promotion but sounds interestingggg


Waiting for my Guinness to come – Cant wait! Drink fake 1 first..nomnomnom


Here it is!!! woooo My Black Gold!


Chicken Wing Balls – I thought it would look something like fishballs.


Oh, it comes with a free gift. A luggage lock! Great!

I don’t know why but the Guinness Draught at Delaney’s tasted much better. It was fresh and milky! After a long day at work, a big gulp of the Black Gold is magic!

Guinness Stout has always been my preferred choice of alcoholic drinks. It doesn’t give me runny nose like beer and it doesn’t give me hangovers like hard liquor. I wish every bar serves Guinness Stout!

After finishing our finger food, we ordered more food.


Cheese baked potatoes – zomggg the cheeeseee. It came with a generous amount of potatoes – baked to the core with melted cheese spread all over it. Absolutely yummy.


Sheppard’s pie – came with a thick layer of mash potatoes covering a layer of stewed beef. Tassty!

After eating 3 meals with potatoes (French fries, baked potatoes and mashed potatoes), we were stuffed!

As a lead-up to the big day at 1 Utama, 13 GUINNESS outlets across the country including those in Penang, Johor, Melaka, Ipoh, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching will be hosting their very own St. Patrick’s bashes, which will see a combination of live music and fun, exciting activities.

St. Patrick’s Day will be held on 19 March 2010 at 1 Utama, from 6pm onwards. There will be plenty of scrumptious food and entertainment. You can even learn how to pour your own perfect pint and keep the glass – all for RM20!

Remember, dress in green!

For more information, visit http://www.guinness.com.my/stpatricks

Address:
Delaney’s – The Irish Pub
1-5, Rear Entrance Federal Hotel,
Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur

My Funniest Video Contest

I was tasked with an advertorial which requires me to shoot a video. I’m a lawyer so I do not have much artistic quality in me. Fortunately, I managed to procure the assistance of Samantha, a good friend of mine.


This is Samantha, aka Miss Hong Kong.

Samantha and I go way back to our raving days. Those were the days when we used to party until wee hours in the morning. When I first met her, she was still in high school. Years later, she graduated from university and started work at an international fashion company. Subsequently, she moved to a local boutique.

Thereafter, she quit her job and started an online fashion business at stylesofia.com (which I fondly call stylesofa.com). Stylesofa caters for the international crowd hence you will find many international fashion blogs talking about it.

Samantha has always started a fashion blog at http://dreamcassette.blogspot.com. Those who are interested in international fashion are welcome to visit her blog.

Samantha has always been a trustworthy and reliable friend to me therefore you don’t need to worry if the stuff you bought from stylesofa doesn’t come.

Anyway, back to the advertorial, we shot the advertorial at her place cum office.


With a crouch sniffing dog aka door stopper Siberian husky, Zoe.

Samantha chose a nice location for us to shoot the video. The video had to be at least 30 seconds. I initially had no idea how to shoot it but thanks to her brilliant idea, we manage to churn a video out. I must say that I hate doing video advertorials.

I’ll post the video up shortly! It’s silly but watodo, we’re not professionals!

Privacy Law in Malaysia

I wrote this for my department’s monthly legal update and I thought it would be useful to share this with readers here. It is a very interesting case.

Lew Cher Phow @ Lew Cha Paw & Ors v Pua Yong Yong & Anor
(Johor Bahru High Court Suit No. MT4-22-510-2007)

In this case, the Plaintiffs and the Defendants were neighbours. The High Court had dismissed an application by the Plaintiffs who applied for an order for interlocutory injunction to restrain the Defendants from installing any CCTV cameras at the Defendants’ house which faced the Plaintiffs’ house as well as also for an order to compel the Defendants to remove their CCTV cameras that were installed facing the Plaintiffs’ house.

The Plaintiffs alleged that the act of the Defendants installing the CCTV cameras had intruded their livelihood and daily activities. The Defendants on the other hand alleged that the CCTV cameras were for security reasons as their house had been intruded before and also that the CCTV cameras only showed the Plaintiffs’ house as background.

The grounds given by the High Court in dismissing the Plaintiffs’ application are, among others, as follows:

(a) there is no evidence to show that the CCTV cameras intruded the livelihood and daily activities of the Plaintiffs. Further, there is no evidence in the Plaintiffs’ affidavit to show that the CCTV cameras recorded the Plaintiffs’ activities.

(b) the Defendants are entitled to install CCTV cameras for security and safety purposes.

(c) if the interlocutory injunction is granted this will bring a legal implication to the general public especially when CCTV cameras are installed at residential and commercial premises to protect the safety of the general public.

(d) there is no right of privacy in Malaysia thus the Plaintiffs do not have the right to institute an action against invasion of privacy rights.

Yup folks, currently there is no right to privacy in Malaysia. However, there are certain laws to protect you from being harassed by others. For example, if someone enters your house to install a camera to spy on you, you can get him jailed for trespass. This is exactly what happened in Nasha Aziz’s case, who is Malaysian celebrity.

Well, I will write more about this issue when the Personal Data Protection Bill 2009is tabled in the Parliament. Stay tuned!

Mandarin Grill and MO Bar @ Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur

Timothy Tiah, as usual, was feeling generous and decided to treat me and a few of us for dinner @ Mandarin Grill and MO Bar @ Mandarian Oriental, Kuala Lumpur.

Mandarin Grill is a new dining venue of Mandarin Oriental. It serves a variety of Western and and local dishes. So western till you have guai lou chefs cooking for you.

The service was excellent. From time to time, we had free food on our table – complements from the chef.

I’m not a food connoisseurs and thus I am not able to describe how good was the food. Nevertheless, I will try to describe the food ahbeng Old Klang Road 58200 style!


I ordered the 1824 Australian grain-fed, 120-day-aged 25o-gram tenderloin which costs around RM100++ pursuant to the recommendation of EatDrinkKL.


I get to choose a knife of my choice!

I wonder what does 120-day aged means, does that mean that the cow lived 120 days before it got slaughtered or it was slaughtered 120 days ago? Well, if it died 120 days ago or not, the steak was tender and awesome!


Even the salt was out of the ordinary. It had 3 types of flavour – vanilla, wasabi and durian. I’m just kidding. I can’t remember what they were.

The most expensive steak on the menu was the Master Wahyu steak. It was around RM500++ \(*O*)/ I can eat Pappa Rich for more than a month!


Interior was nice. The hot chick in the photo made it nicer!


fourfeetnine had the Wagyu beef burger Rossini. It is topped with foie gras, porcini mushrooms & truffle mayo. Check out how the french fries were stacked! Ada styleeeeeeeeee!


Tim and 4feet9


For dessert, we had their Hazelnut Crème Brulée (my favourite!) and Mango Cheesecake. Hazelnut Crème Brulée was topped with blueberries and sorbet. However, the Crème Brulée looked like dried hardened curry to me. However, it tasted awessooome!


Mango Cheese Cake on the other hand was so-so.

The bill came up to RM1200++ for 6 of us. Timothy‘s wallet bleed badly. RM132 came from our gold-filtered-nuclear-powered water. fourfeetninesaid it must have came from an extinct mountain.

Nevertheless, I had a great time there. Looking forward to go there again on company’s expenses!! hohohohoho!

Those with a fat wallet who are interested to go, you may call +6(03) 2179 8960 to make a reservation. The dresscode is smart casual. T-shirt and jeans are acceptable. As a tip, order a drink if you don’t want to pay RM132 for water.

Kota Kinabalu Food Guide – Lintas Square

Lintas Square is a small commercial zone just few minutes away from Kota Kinabalu City. It is located within the residential area and it is a treasure trove of good KK food. These are the few places that I would recommend to fellow visitors.

Kedai Kopi Melanian

When I first read the signboard of the restaurant, I thought the place was Kedai Kopi Melamine.

This restaurant is well known for its sang yuk mee. In KL, its commonly known as chu yuk fun. Basically, its pork noodles.

We ordered the dry version of the noodles and I must say this in CAPS. IT WAS BLOODY GOOD!

The noodles came with very thick sauce. The bowl of soup came with pieces of soft and tender pork slices and also few pieces of nice pork balls. The soft and tender pork slices is my personal favourite. I could eat this everyday.


Before


After – gobbled up everything!!!

Must come back to this place when I’m back in KK again!

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Address
Kedai Kopi Melanian
Lot 7-0, Ground Floor, Lorong Lintas Plaza 1,
Jalan Lintas, 88300 Penampang Kota Kinabalu

Other reviews
beautifulkk.com | Kedai Kopi Melanian 2

Kedai Kopi Jia Siang

This restaurant also serves awesome sang yuk mee. The taste is almost identical to the sang yuk mee served at Kedai Kopi Melanian. Its open for dinner unlike Melanian which closes by dawn.

The noodles is also served with very thick sauce. The bowl of soup comes with pieces of soft and tender pork slices, a few pieces of nice pork balls and also ‘wantan’. You may customise your soup by adding other stuff like ‘pig’s spare parts’.


Again! hehe!


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Kedai Kopi Man Hui Wei

If you’re fan of Tuaran mee, you should try it at this restaurant. It only covers half a shop and as such seats are limited.

For their Tuaran mee, you may choose to mix it with seafood or roasted pork or both. Spicy yet sour sauce is available as condiment.

Seafood is fresh and the slices of roasted pork is not bad.


Interior reminds me of someone’s home kitchen


UFO Mee anyone?


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Yoyo Cafe

Yoyo Cafe recently moved from their small premise to a bigger premise in the newest block of Lintas Plaza. It now boost a 2 storey cafe. Yoyo Cafe is well known for its Bubble Tea but I recently discovered that their mini Croissant is awesome. It costs RM5 for 100g which is about 5 pieces. The outer layer is crispy and the fillings melt in your mouth!


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