Sunday, May 20, 2018

The beginning of a new Malaysia

The Sunday Star
by Roger Tan

The new government’s priorities should be to restore the rule of law, redress miscarriages of justice and bring about reforms to our public institutions.

ON May 10, Malaysians woke up to a new country, signaling the dawn of a new era.

The unprecedented GE14 results have obviously proved to the world that we the citizens are the masters of our own ship – we decide when and whether to repair, sink and rebuild it, let alone rock it! We should also take pride in the smooth and peaceful transfer of power. 

But GE14 victors should not use it to exact revenge on the vanquished in that they have received their comeuppance or take delight in their political schadenfreude. Instead, the new government’s priorities should be to restore the rule of law, redress miscarriages of justice and bring about reforms to our institutions of government. 

What then is the rule of law? This concept of the rule of law is also the fourth guiding principle of our Rukun Negara. To make it simple for our readers, it is best summed up in the words of Dr Thomas Fuller, who wrote in 1733, “Be you never so high, the law is above you.” In other words, no one including the king could disregard the law with impunity. As the English jurist, Henry Bracton (c. 1210 – c. 1268) put it, “the king is under no man but under God and the law because the law makes the king”. 

In Malaysia, the ascendancy of the law is also enshrined in Article 8 of the Federal Constitution that all persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law. 

It is ironic that the reforms are now being pursued at great pace by the new Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who was also the old Prime Minister who had pursued Machiavellian policies and undermined some of the institutions during his previous rule. 

But he is now one person most loved by Malaysians and best suited to undertake this restoration, and rightly so because without him, whether one likes it or not, Pakatan Harapan would not have won GE14. 

What is most gratifying, however, is what Tun Mahathir said when he first took office, that the component parties in Pakatan are of equal standing, regardless of the number of seats respectively secured by them. This is unlike the component parties in Barisan Nasional who had to kowtow to the dominant party UMNO. 

Likewise, the Prime Minister’s relationship with his cabinet will be governed by the concept of primus inter pares or first among equals. 

It is hoped that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who has turned 70 will be now wiser. My generation remembers the damage caused by his pursuit of ethnocentric policies and ‘crony capitalism’ when he was a deputy prime minister. 

It is also good for him to always remember that when he was at his lowest ebb when first arrested on September 20, 1998, it was those from the opposition such as Lim Kit Siang and Karpal Singh who had gone to his aid. Hence, it remains a prayer of all Malaysians that when he takes over the reins, he will be a benevolent leader pursuing inclusive policies, making every Malaysian feel that they have a sense of belonging in this great nation. After all, it is a Malaysian tsunami that swept Pakatan into power.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Lawyer: Government can terminate contract of A-G

The Star

By Maizatul Nazlina

KUALA LUMPUR: The Government can terminate the contract of Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali (pic), says senior lawyer Datuk Roger Tan.

This follows after Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced that Apandi has been told to take leave and that his duties will be taken up by the Solicitor-General.

The Prime Minister said although the A-G's contract has been recently renewed for another three years, the government would go through the proper process to initiate investigations against Apandi. 

According to Tan, the Government could terminate Apandi's contract before the three years, subject to the terms and conditions.

His contract was extended to 2021, by which time he will be aged 71.

He said unlike former A-G Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, Apandi was not a career officer.

Tan explained that Gani was a "legal officer" when he was said to have resigned due to "ill health".

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Lawyer: Dr M only needs support of MPs to be PM

The Star Online

KUALA LUMPUR: A senior lawyer agreed with Prime Minister-designate Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's interpretation that he can lead the country with the majority support of Members of Parliament (MPs).

Datuk Roger Tan (pic) said Article 43(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution refers to a member of parliament – not the party or coalition of the majority of the MPs.

"Since all the Pakatan MPs have signed a written declaration to support Tun Mahathir, it is hoped that all government institutions will immediately give effect to the sacrosanct will of the people expressed through the ballot box," he said.

Pakatan Harapan has asked the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V to swear Dr Mahathir as the 7th Prime Minister by Thursday evening.

Dr Mahathir said he had the support of 135 MPs, surpassing the 112 needed for a simple majority.

His remarks come after outgoing prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said he accepted "the will of the people" but stopped short of admitting defeat.

Dr Mahathir said that four parties in the coalition have also "written to the King, asking for a swearing-in ceremony to take place the sooner". 

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Lawyer: Change loans rule and pay direct to developer

The Star
by Fatimah Zainal

PETALING JAYA: The Public Sector Home Financing Board (LPPSA) should change its loans rule to allow the money to be released straight into the developer’s account if it is a direct purchase from the developer, said a senior lawyer. 

“If it is a second sale or sub sale then I understand the money must be released to the seller’s lawyer to take care of other payments,” said Datuk Roger Tan, the chairman of the Malaysian Bar Council Conveyancing Practice Committee. 

LPPSA is a statutory body established under the Public Sector Home Financing Board Act 2015 to manage the provision of housing loans to civil servants. 

Tan was commenting on reports by The Star on Thursday about buyers of an affor­dable housing scheme in Johor Baru who were duped by a lawyer. 

The lawyer, who was supposed to help them secure housing loans, did not remit the money to the developer after the loans were approved. 

The lawyer siphoned off the money from the victims, mostly civil servants, and wrote invalid cheques to the developer instead. The developer then decided to hold back the keys to the houses, to the dismay of the buyers. 

The Star also reported that the victims, who lost more than RM620,000, lodged at least five police reports against the lawyer.