Sunday, May 10, 2020

Tribute to my mum on this Mother's Day

NEVER FORGOTTEN, ETERNALLY GRATEFUL: On this Mother’s Day, let me pay tribute to this woman I have the privilege of calling Mum (1925-2015). Though forever missed, we will never forget what she had gone through in her mortal life - a lot of suffering and trials; living in poverty; but always standing by her husband our dad throughout who later went missing in May 2000, at the same time looking after all of us. This video resonates with us how bad life was in the 1960s and 1970s, but never forgetting for a single moment one of the most important values of Chinese culture - our filial piety towards our parents.

In fact, mum had a miscarriage during her first pregnancy when she was 18. When her first child, a girl, was finally born, mum was a weak and frail 19-year-old girl herself. It was also in this year (1943) that our paternal grandmum in her 40s died. Believing that the newly born girl had brought bad luck to the family, maternal grandmum then decided to let the poor baby girl die in the cold outside.

She came over to Malaya with Dad in March 1947. They first settled down in Sepang, Selangor and toiled hard as pig-farmers there. A son was shortly born but died a few days later, again. Still childless at this time, they decided to adopt a girl in 1948 in the belief that later pregnancies would be smooth going. In November 1949, their own child, a girl, was born and this was followed by a son in October 1951. Much to their dismay, one more miscarriage happened in 1952. In June 1955, they were blessed with another daughter. But life then was still bad, and they lived in poverty and under the constant fear of the communist insurgents which Malaya was fighting at this time. As the pig farm was located far away from home, their livelihood was severely affected by the many curfews imposed by the security forces. When another girl was born in 1957, like so many other Sepang residents then, they had no choice but to give the child up for adoption by the Christian missionaries in now known as the Convent High School, Seremban. Years later, it was discovered from the records kept at the Seremban Convent High School and confirmed by the National Registration Department that the baby girl named Mary Agatha Tan Ah Siew had died 3 months after her admission from pneumonia.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

MPs urged to pass Covid-19 bill


The Star

PETALING JAYA: The Bar Council’s Conveyancing Practice Committee has called politicians to put aside their differences for the sake of the country to pass a Covid-19 bill in the coming May 18 Parliamentary sitting. 

At a webinar meeting yesterday “Adequacy of our laws on stratified properties during and post-MCO”, president and panellist Datuk Roger Tan said without this bill, there would be massive litigation, done on a piecemeal basis, for failure to perform contractual obligations after the lifting of the MCO. 

To avoid that situation, the enactment of such a bill would at once cover all contractual obligations to be performed on or before a certain time. 

“Singapore, the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland, Scotland and even Hungary have done it, ” Tan said. 

“This bill would provide ‘a legal shield’ to all businesses big and small, and across all sectors of the economy. 

Tan said these measures were temporary and should be in place for a prescribed period. 

“In other words, the non-performing party’s liabilities will be suspended and non-enforceable during the prescribed period, ” he said. 

The enactment of such a bill is to “safeguard” against any unfair outcomes, Tan said. 

Monday, April 6, 2020

Malaysia too needs a Covid-19 Bill

The Star Biz

by Roger Tan


MALAYSIA should enact a law similar to the one proposed by the Singapore government to offer temporary relief to businesses, in particular SMEs and individuals who are unable to perform their contractual obligations because of the movement control order (MCO) brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

On April 1, the Singapore Ministry of Law announced that it intended to introduce the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Bill this week. 

The Bill will have a retrospective effect and cover contractual obligations that are to be performed on or after Feb 1,2020 and contracts that were entered into or renewed before March 25,2020. 

According to its statement, Feb 1 was used as the approximate date when the impact of Covid-19 started to be significantly felt in Singapore’s economy. 

These measures will be in place for a prescribed period, which will be six months from the commencement of the new law, expected to come into force this month itself, and may be further extended for up to a year from the commencement of the new law. 

In other words, the non-performing party’s liabilities will be suspended and non-enforceable during the prescribed period. 

Contracts covered by the Bill are: 

> Non-residential leases and licences in that if the commercial tenants or licensees are unable to pay rent for February and/or March, they may seek relief; 

> Construction and supply contracts in that the contractors will not have to pay damages for late delivery or non-performance of contractual obligations; 

> Contracts for the provision of goods and services (eg, venue, catering) for events (eg, the cancellation of weddings, business meetings) and for visitors to Singapore, domestic tourists or outbound tourists, or promotion of tourism (eg, the cancellation of cruises, hotel accommodation bookings), for example, there shall be no forfeiture of booking fees or deposits; and 

> Certain loan facilities granted by a bank or a finance company to SMEs with turnover of not more than S$100mil in the latest financial year. 

Friday, December 27, 2019

The Star

This letter was originally a Facebook post by Datuk Roger Tan, and is republished here with his permission. 


DURING the Christmas break, I chanced upon this 39-year-old A4-size cardboard mockup (pic) of a report on a student election held at Tunku Abdul Rahman College (TARC). The mockup was given to me by the editorial board of the 1980 magazine of the School of Pre-University Studies at TARC (which is now known as Tunku Abdul Rahman University College). It brought back lots of memories that I would like to share. 

The report was about the first student representative election held at TARC. In 1980, TARC comprised several schools, including the School of Pre-University Studies (SPUS). Many of the first-year SPUS (Lower Six) students studied outside TARC’s main Jalan Genting Klang campus, Kuala Lumpur, including myself; I attended the Jalan Cheras Secondary School, next to Taman Midah, KL, in 1979. All students, however, would continue their Upper Six studies on the main campus. 

Of course, without TARC, I would not have been able to do any A Level (or Higher School Certificate, HSC, as it was known then) studies at all, as I hailed from the little town of Yong Peng, Johor, and had to survive on an all-in monthly pocket money allowance of M$200. This included travelling daily from my brother’s house near Batu Caves to the Jalan Cheras Secondary School on a journey that usually took about an hour and half, including a 2km walk from the house to the main road to catch a stage bus. That explains why I was then only one third of my current size!