All Categories - LEGAL & OTHER THOUGHTS by George Lo

I don't think the MCA President should quit. The vote of no-confidence was carried by a wafer-thin margin. This was what I said in a comment I left on his blog:

Datuk Seri,

Before you make the ultimate sacrifice of resigning the Presidency, I would like you to consider the following:

1.The motion of ‘no confidence’ was carried by a majority of 14 votes. That means, if 7 of the ‘no confidence’ delegates had voted otherwise, the motion would have been defeated.

2.Article 35 of the MCA constitution expressly stipulates that Party Officials (elected or appointed) can only be removed by a 2/3 majority of the delegates present and voting at a General Assembly. The rationale is obvious. It is to avoid just this situation – where the position of the Presidency turns upon the votes of a few delegates.

3.Article 23 permits the CC to fill any vacancy until the next General Assembly but it is made expressly subject to article 40 which stipulates that only the Deputy President can replace the President in the event that the President ceases to hold office.

4.There is no Deputy President. In such event, article 167 mandates you to hold office until a new President is validly elected to replace you.

5.Having regard to the apparent deadlock in the support of the 2 factions in the General Assembly, convening another EGM to elect a President would be highly undesirable. In this case, it is perhaps time for the CC to consider returning to the grassroots. To the ordinary members who are not swayed by any vested interests on either side.

6.It is perhaps time for the CC to invoke article 171 and refer the Presidency and the future direction of the Party to a referendum.

Although not an MCA member, I personally believe you still command the support of the vast majority of the ordinary members of the Party. Your office carries with it onerous responsibilities to the Party, its members and to the Chinese community in general. Such responsibilities require you to think of more than the few delegates who comprised the wafer-thin majority at the EGM.

George Lo.


Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh described the disputes over the formation of Dudong branch as 'a storm in a teacup'. Unfortunately, this storm threatens to engulf the entire Party if it is not managed properly. Datuk Dr Soon Choon Teck has thrown his lot behind a Special Delegates Conference requisitioned by 21 branches which is scheduled to be held on 25 Oct. He is counting on the delegates to confirm his election as chairman of 'Dudong branch' during the 'First General Meeting of Dudong Branch' held on 30.4.2009.

There is one problem with that: the 'First General Meeting of Dudong Branch' was held without the approval of the Registrar of Societies. This would make 'Dudong Branch' an unlawful society under the Societies Act 1966.

The SDC, if it confirms the committee elected at that meeting, will bring the Party into a head-on collision with the ROS. That would be highly risky for SUPP, the only Chinese-based party in the Sarawak Barisan Nasional.

In my view, the answer to the Dudong problem does not lie with the SDC. All it needs is for the Party to apply for ROS approval to form Dudong branch, approve the list of members to be transferred from Sibu branch to Dudong, and hold an election of the new branch once ROS approval is obtained. What is so difficult about that?

I have written an article which will appear in the Borneo Post tomorrow. My analysis goes into greater detail and it can be found in the


Today, the Malaysian Chinese Association held an Extraordinary General Meeting and the result was announced earlier this evening. By a slim margin of 14 votes, the delegates passed a motion of no confidence in their President Ong Tee Keat.

At the same time, they also voted not to reinstate Deputy President Chua Soi Lek who had been sacked from the Party by the Presidential Council but subsequently had his sentence changed to a 4-year suspension. The end result of the EGM seems to be that the Party delegates neither want OKT nor CSL.

But the margin for OKT is only 14 out of a total of more than 2000 votes cast. The question that must be facing him and his supporters is this: is there any way he can hold onto his position as MCA President? If not, there is going to be a lot of horse trading behind the scene before a successor is anointed. The reality is that, in this leadership vacuum, anyone who wants to lead the pa


A friend of mine who operates a food stall introduced me to Genneva Gold a month ago. He told me that it is a sure and secure investment which yields a return of 2.5% per month! Now that works out to be a return of 30% pa. According to my friend, Genneva Gold operates like a goldsmith. They sell gold to investors at RM130 per gram [minimum purchase of 100 g at RM13,000] with a guaranteed buy-back at the same price in 3 months. In the meantime, Genneva Gold will pay investors 2.5% every month which Genneva calls a discount.

My friend says it's the best investment ever because it generates fantastic returns and he has the security of holding physical gold. Sounds good?

On the face of it, the scheme looks legal. It is a sale of gold at a discount with a 'put option' given to the buyer to sell the gold back at the original price. But one key question which I asked that my friend could not answer despite checking further with the agent who sold him the gold:

How can Genneva Gold generate sufficient profits to pay its investors returns of 30% per annum?

In order for Genneva Gold to pay its investors 30% pa [and pay its agents commission plus all its overheads], Genneva Gold would have to consistently generate profits of at least 50% pa on its investments using the money that is placed with Genneva Gold by investors like my friend.

Warren Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha, is the greatest investor in the world, bar none. He has consistently generated returns of about 20% pa since he first started a half century ago. No one can match his record. No one.

So how is Genneva Gold going to generate returns that more than doubles Buffett's? I am told that the company is a goldsmith selling gold but that does not answer the question. We all know that no goldsmith will ever guarantee you a 'buyback' at 100% of the price you paid him for the gold purchased. And on top of that, pay you 2.5% per month on the price you paid him for the gold. So what's the catch?

Last week, it was reported in the Star that Bank Negara had started a probe into Genneva Gold whether the company is taking deposits without a licence. Even if Bank Negara concludes that Genneva Gold's business model is not a deposit- taking scheme, that will not answer the key question how Genneva Gold can offer annualised returns of 30%. Until that answer is forthcoming, then I still believe the deal is just too good to be true. 


Two stories in today's Borneo Post caught my attention this morning while I was having breakfast of beef noodles at a coffeeshop at the Sunday Market. The first is the call by our Sports Minister to start referring to disabled people as 'people with special abilitities'. He rationalises that this is appropriate by referring to those who compete in paralympics [obviously overlooking the fact that only a tiny minority of the disabled participate in these competitions] and pointing out to those disabled people who have gone on to achieve success in professional fields like medicine, law or engineering [obviously overlooking the fact that these people achieve their professional success despite their disability and not because they had any special abilities].

I very much doubt that disabled people have any wish to be described as people with 'special abilities' - it would be trying to gloss over their disabilities. What we need from the government is more concern for the disabilities of these people. The minister should pay more attention to what can be done for disabled people rather than to change how we call them because 'a rose by any other name is still a rose'.

Then we have the furore caused by my friend Datuk Wan Junaidi, the deputy speaker of our Federal Parliament. He recently pointed out (in comments to the press) that Sarawak MPs are a quiet bunch who seldom had much to say in parliamentary proceedings. MP Nancy Shukri was up in arms, calling for action to be taken against Junaidi.

Instead of trying to muzzle Junaidi, Sarawak MPs should take a careful look at themselves. Have they been sufficiently vocal on issues that concern our nation, not merely raising problems in their own constituency? Why did the deputy speaker make the comment he did?

A deputy speaker assists the speaker in presiding over parliamentary proceedings much as a teacher's assistant does in class. If my daughter's teacher tells me that she does not participate in class activities, I would look at the reasons why rather than to castigate the teacher for speaking out.


Recently in Kuching, 2 school girls were raped in broad daylight. One was raped under an overpass bridge in Petra Jaya. She had been sitting on the bridge waiting for her parents to pick her up. Her assailant grabbed her by the neck and dragged her under the bridge and raped her.

My lawyer friends SN Voon and Ann Teo have been vocal in condemning the heinous acts and calling on the police to take action to ensure the security of the kids.

My view on this which I expressed to Voon is that primary responsibility rests with us as parents. We have to make sure our children are not placed in a situation where they can come to harm. If they have to wait to be picked up after school, they must wait in a secure place where there are other people  around.

The police have promised to step up patrols but the criminals will still look for windows of opportunities because the police cannot be everywhere all the time. I can only hope that parents will learn a lesson from the tragedy that had befallen the 2 poor girls and ensure that something like that does not happen again.


On the night of 7 May 2009, five members of the Kuala Lumpur Legal Aid Centre, Fadiah Nadwa binti Fikri (Secretary), Murnie Hidayah binti Anuar, Puspawati binti Rosman, Ravinder Singh Dhalliwal (Chairperson) and Syuhaini binti Safwan (collectively known as the “LAC Lawyers”), in their capacity as Advocates & Solicitors, had requested the police at the Brickfields Police Station for access to the detained persons who were arrested that same night whilst holding a candlelight vigil at the same Police Station over the recent arrest of political scientist Wong Chin Huat.

The Police denied the LAC Lawyers access to the detained persons. Instead, the Police, without any reasonable grounds, proceeded to arrest the LAC Lawyers and only released them on police bail the following day at around 3 p.m., notwithstanding repeated requests by other lawyers for their immediate release. 

The rights of detained persons to have access to counsel of his/her choice is provided for in Article 5(3) of the Federal Constitution and sub-sections 28A(2) to (7) of the Criminal Procedure Code (“CPC”).

Today, the West Malaysian Bar Council is holding an EGM to consider a motion proposed by its President to condemn the arrests of lawyers who were only carrying out their duties in accordance with the law. I was asked to draft a press statement to be issued by the Advocates Association of Sarawak in support of the Bar Council's stance. I trust that the press statement will appear in the newspapers tomorrow.



I visited fellow lawyer Shankar Ram and his family today at around 1pm. Had a delicious lunch there with some delightful red wine. Met many other Kuching lawyers there too. The road outside his house was continuously jammed with cars through the afternoon. Happy Deepavali to all my Indian friends.


Transparent International Malaysia published a survey of 339 lawyers in W Malaysia in which only 1 of those surveyed thought that the Malaysian judiciary was not subject to any influence at all. The Advocates Association of Sarawak (presumably through its president) issued a press statement to say that the Sarawak Bar has full confidence in the judiciary in Sarawak.

The TI-M survey reflected the personal views of the 339 lawyers. It is not the view of the Bar Council. An appropriate comparison would be if a survey was conducted of a similar number of Sarawak lawyers. Instead we have a statement from the president of the AAS (perhaps in consultation with some of his committee) which purports to be made on behalf of all Sarawak lawyers. How does he know what the Sarawak lawyers would say if a survey was done?


Today, the new Advocates Association of Sarawak, Kuching branch meets for the first time since the AGM. I am appointed chairman of the sub-committee on human rights and current issues. It's an acknowledgment of my vocal stance on several issues since the Lingam tape scandal. No, I will not be issuing press statements on behalf of the Kuching Bar. My sub-committee will be bringing the issues to the attention of the committee for further action. Let's see what develops from here.