Seminar @ Kota Kinabalu, 2013

In June 2013, The Malaysian Bar and Sabah Law Association jointly organised a seminar in Kota Kinabalu and I was invited as a speaker to speak on data protection laws. We had about 50 people.

Sabah Law Association had kindly booked a room for me at Horizon Hotel. It costs RM300 a night. My room was nice and spacious.

View from the hotel

I discovered that it is extremely difficult to grab a taxi in Kota Kinabalu suburbs. Suaran (another lawyer and invited speaker) and I took taxi to Damai to eat at the legendary Fook Yuen at Damai. Our 5 minutes cab ride costs us RM20! Although the ted madras and roti kahwin were worth it, we were stranded in Damai after our delicious meal at Fook Yuen. We couldn’t get a taxi for half an hour.

Fortunately, we managed to flag down one Mr Usman to fetch us back to the hotel at a very reasonable rate.

Suaran and I also wandered around the city and went on an eating rampage. Although I’ve been to Kota Kinabalu many times, I’ve never had the opportunity to see the Filipino market and its surroundings.

I was in Kota Kinabalu for a short time but I managed to squeeze an hour with my in-laws after dinner. They brought me to the legendary and awesome Fook Yuen (again!).

The seminar was fun. It was well organised and the turn out was good. As a token of appreciation, the Sabah Bar presented me with a book consisting of a compilation of cases decided in the Native Court of Appeal, a special Court that deals with Sabah natives’ customary issues. The cases revealed disputes regarding wrongful trespass by animals, destruction of bamboo trees, theft of animals, damages for embarrassing someone, right to harvest bird nests, inheritance of customary lands and also marriage issues. Many of these cases involved the payment of damages by way of sogit – usually a cow or other animals. Failure to pay sogit can put the wrongdoer in jail! Sabah Law Association painstakingly went through many old files to extract the judgments. Many of these cases were presided by local Judges such as Richard Malanjum, Ian Chin and Nurchaya Haji Arshad. It was an interesting read. I finished it while waiting for my flight in the airport.

We later found out that our hotel was charging RM120 to fetch us to the airport (!!!) notwithstanding that it is only a 15 minutes drive. I called Mr Usman to fetch me and he agreed. However, he was uncontactable an hour before he was supposed to pick me up. Fortunately, he turned up on the pick up time and explained that his mobile phone ran out of battery.

My flight back to Kuala Lumpur was delayed for few hours. It was almost midnight and the airport was empty. I wandered around the airport and even went to the empty immigration desks and international departure hall. No one stopped me!

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