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asked on Dec 12, 2016 at 02:24
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edited on Dec 22, 2016 at 06:48
 
The Star 11th Dec 2016

THE move by the Perlis state legislative assembly in allowing one parent to convert a child to Islam is totally at odds with what the Federal Government is finally doing.
It has disrupted the legal process of the Federal Government, and like it or not, this tiny state has set off a dangerous precedent.

Malaysians have argued, debated and decided on this contentious issue – and now Perlis has sent this controversy back to square one.

The issue of unilateral conversion became controversial in recent years after several cases like that of M. Indira Gandhi and S. Deepa, two women who faced lengthy court battles to gain custody and reverse the conversion of their children, carried out by their Muslim convert former husbands.

Understandably, Islam is a state matter but state legislation should be consistent with federal laws and the amended enactment by Perlis clearly contravenes the aims and spirit of the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Bill 2016 which is intended to secure the constitutional rights of non-Muslims.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said had noted that the Federal Constitution ruled supreme above all state laws, even in cases of unilateral conversion of a child.

“Once the amendment (to the Law Reform Act) is passed, it becomes federal law and it should be noted that Article 75 of the Federal Constitution provides that when any state law is inconsistent with a federal law, the federal law shall prevail over the state law,” she said in a statement.

You don’t have to be a lawyer or legal expert to understand that Section 88A of this Federal Bill specifically states that “conversion to Islam can only be done with the approval of both parents”.

Azalina tabled the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Bill 2016 for first reading at the Dewan Rakyat last month, the highlight being the inclusion of a new section (Section 88A) that explicitly states that “both parties in a civil marriage” must agree to the conversion of a minor to Islam.

Specifically addressing the “Religion of a Child” in civil marriages where one spouse has converted to Islam, the amendment also said that the child will remain in the religion of the parents at the time of marriage until the child is 18 years old, when he may choose his own religion.

“Where a party to a marriage has converted to Islam, the religion of any child of the marriage shall remain as the religion of the parties to the marriage prior to the conversion, except where both parties to the marriage agree to a conversion of the child to Islam, subject always to the wishes of the child where he or she has attained the age of eighteen years,” the section reads.

The proposed amendment also states that if the parties to the marriage professed different religions prior to one spouse converting to Islam, “a child of the marriage shall be at liberty to remain in the religion of either one of the prior religions of the parties before the conversion to Islam.”

I hope the state assemblymen in Perlis, regardless of their faith, have taken time to ponder on what they have decided on. It is easy to just say sokong (support) in unison. But have they considered the consequences?

Is it too difficult to allow children, where one parent has converted to Islam, to hold on to their original faith until they can decide for themselves at age 18?

Reverse the situation – if a Muslim parent residing in a non-Muslim country decides to embrace Christianity, Hinduism or Buddhism, and then converts the child to another faith – what will the reaction be? Frankly, I do not think this should be admissible either.

The same rule should be adopted and taken from a compassionate and humanitarian stand. Worse, we should never allow religion to be used in the fight over child custody when a marriage breaks down. It’s simple, common sense. Let’s do what is humane and right.

In a nutshell: unilateral conversion should not be allowed for whatever religion, be it Islam, Christianity, Hinduism or Buddhism.

Should a parent convert to a religion which is different from that at the time of marriage, especially during the dissolution of marriage, the children should remain in the original faith until they turn 18.

Forcing the children to embrace any religion when one party decides to convert may show a lack of confidence in oneself in practising one’s faith or worse still, show a lack of faith in the attractiveness, beauty and truth in his or her religion.

It is more rational for parents to show their children the beauty of their faith, new or otherwise, and allow them to decide once they become adults.

There is nothing to stop a Hindu father or mother, who has become a Muslim, from bringing his or her child to study Islam or visit the mosque to share the beauty of Islam.

When the time comes, let the child decide for himself. The question is – what’s the hurry?

This is a country which is predominantly Muslim. Certainly, the presence of Islam is increasingly dominant and the religious authorities should not worry about numbers.

These wise men of Islam, in fact, should be aware that there are selfish men and women out there who use religion for their own motives when a marriage goes sour.

Why are we denying justice to the non-converting spouse?

The same principle applies to those of other faiths too, and we acknowledge that all religions believe in justice and compassion.

We should also remind ourselves that the Federal Constitution is a major piece of legislation aimed at balancing the needs of all races and religions that make up this multi-racial country.

If a single parent is to be allowed to convert a child it would only have the effect of ignoring constitutional provisions.

Take a breather, listen to our hearts of heart, do what is fair, just and right – not what is politically right or politically beneficial.

Source: http://www.thestar.com.my/opinion/columnists/on-the-beat/2016/12/11/stand-up-for-what-is-fair-and-right/
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answered on Oct 23, 2010 at 02:09
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edited Mar 2, 2019 at 02:34
 
SUNDAY SPOTLIGHT:

Mother not always the best nurturer

17 October 2010

A MEDIATION bureau comprising a panel of experts, including child and marriage counsellors, will be a better alternative to settling divorce cases than going through the courts.

The Association Against Parental Alienation Kuala Lumpur and Selangor (Pemalik) says putting children through the trauma of a custody hearing and subsequently denying them access to one parent is a form of abuse that needs to be addressed.

"If the interest of the child is paramount, then couples heading for a divorce need to first meet a panel of experts to reach an amicable settlement over issues such as custody, finance, education and the child's upbringing before the divorce is formalised by the courts," says Pemalik president R.S. Ratna.

He says the practice of courts usually awarding full custody of a child to the mother on the assumption that she is a better nurturer may no longer be applicable as many fathers have proven to be responsible parents as well.

Pemalik strongly believes that every child has the right to access his parents.

"Every child wants to love and be loved equally by both parents. They should not be denied that right unless their safety is at stake," he says , adding that in most instances, one parent will alienate the other by "brainwashing" the child into believing that the other parent is bad.

"The biggest losers are always the children. It is painful enough for them to acknowledge that their parents are going through a divorce but to drag them to court for the custody battle is even more traumatic."

Endless litigation by lawyers on both sides also adds to the problem.

There must be a better system.
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answered on Oct 23, 2010 at 02:12
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edited Mar 2, 2019 at 04:03
 
Child's welfare first

17 October 2010
nst.com.my

THERE are numerous stories of child custody battles; some are sensational, some are long and complicated, and some draw a lot of blood.

All are heartbreaking and involve at least one child whose life is shattered by the separation of two adults. But there is one story of a child custody case that took place thousands of years ago. It is the story of the judgment of Solomon.

King Solomon was a man known for his wisdom. One day, two women with one child came to Solomon. Each woman had had one son, but one child had been accidentally smothered by its mother in the night.

The mother of the dead child was now claiming the living child of the other woman as her own. Both women called on Solomon to give his judgment as to who should have custody of the living child. Solomon called for a sword and said he would split the live baby into two and each woman could have half a baby. Upon hearing this, the baby's real mother gave up her claim to the child in order to save the child from being cut up, while the other woman agreed to the division of the child. Solomon gave custody of the child to the woman who had wanted the child to live -- reasoning that a true mother's instinct is to protect the child.

The moral of the story? Don't "kill" the child in the process of divorcing.

In a divorce, many things compete for the divorcing couples' attention. Most of it involves leaving the past, creating a new life, and moving on. In an acrimonious ending, the whole crux of divorce proceedings can sometimes be about extracting one's pound of flesh. But a child is not chattel to be divided as part of the divorce settlement. It is, therefore, not easy for a judge to decide what happens to a child.

What if both parents don't mind the child being cut up? With the wrong decision, a judge can kill a child as much as any other adult in a divorce proceeding. That is why the welfare of the child must always be kept in absolute focus.

As divorce rates keep rising, it's not going to get any easier. It is time to implement an expert advisory panel for each family court judge -- to assess the welfare of the child before, during, and after the divorce. The opinion of the child should also be taken into consideration. It is not enough for the child to survive the divorce; he must go on to flourish in life. For, had Solomon taken a sword to that child, he would not have been remembered for being wise.
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answered on Oct 23, 2010 at 02:16
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edited Mar 2, 2019 at 04:05
 
SUNDAY SPOTLIGHT:

Torn between mum and dad

17 October 2010
nst.com.my

"WHAT gives the judge the right to decide on my life by just talking to me for 20 minutes? What does she really know about my feelings or who I am?" says 15-year-old Sean (not his real name) over a Family Court decision a year ago.

The court awarded his mother custody of him and his two siblings.

Still bristling over the decision which he claims was "so unfair", Sean "moved in" with his father two months ago, during one of the weekends when his father had access to the children.

"My mother flipped when she found out. She has since been emotionally blackmailing me, telling me that she is depressed and may soon lose her job.

"But I have had enough of her lies. They don't work on me. Besides, she is never really there to look after me and my siblings. She has a new partner whom she spends a lot of time with. My siblings and I are mostly left alone with the maid," says the lanky teenager.

Sean cannot understand why the judge chose to award custody to his mother. He had expressed his wish to be with his father.

"I told her the truth -- that I am happier living with my father. Don't my feelings matter?"

When a marriage breaks down and the fight for custody begins, parents are often so consumed by their own hurt, anger and hatred towards their former spouse that they seldom see the damage they inflict upon their kids.

But these are situations many children caught in custody battles find themselves in. Yet, when they do speak up -- as did 11-year-old Low Bi-Anne, who was determined to live with her father despite the Family Court awarding custody to her mother -- does anyone really hear them?

Senior family lawyer Vicky Alahakone says there is a need for our Family Court judges to be sensitive to the needs of children and family issues as decisions should not be based solely on affidavits and interviews with children.

Vicky has consistently called for the adoption of the Singapore family law system where the court looks into the interests of the child first.

Under the system, both parents have to make future arrangements and decisions on the future of their children jointly. The courts ensure that the children are protected and sometimes even left in the care of grandparents or extended families so that there is little chance of the child being caught up in a domestic dispute.

"The mediation takes place and all the issues between the couple are slowly ironed out by experienced court counsellors and judges. The counselling for children continues even after the divorce to ensure that they settle into their new environment."

Children who are caught in custody battles often suffer long-term emotional damage which manifests itself when they are adults, adds consultant psychologist Edward Chan of the Malaysian Psychology Centre.

"When they see their parents fighting 'over' them, they get confused and start blaming themselves. This leads to long-lasting effects on their emotional and mental health," says Chan, who is seeing an increasing number of adults, who were themselves caught in custody battles as children, seeking counselling.

"The emotional abuse can get very bad. And litigators are not helping either when they adopt a model of war to get the best for their client but the poor child gets caught in between."

University Malaya Medical Centre Associate Professor and Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Subash Kumar Pillai agrees that when a marriage fails, no one wins and the children are the ones who suffer the most.

"The children will always carry scars from a divorce."

The danger, he says, is when children are brainwashed by one parent into believing that the other parent is bad, thereby alienating the child from the other parent.

"This is also a form of emotional abuse. They influence the child into taking sides. Sometimes, they do not even want custody of the child but they do it just to spite the former spouse."

Child protection consultant Vijayakumari Pillai says when deciding on custody matters, it is important for the courts to engage the services of a competent social worker or a child psychologist.

"An experienced and competent social worker will be able to subtly analyse the child's bonding with both parents and gauge if he is happy with his existing environment."

Vijayakumari Pillai says courts should engage the services of a competent social worker or a child psychologist"WHAT gives the judge the right to decide on my life by just talking to me for 20 minutes? What does she really know about my feelings or who I am?" says 15-year-old Sean (not his real name) over a Family Court decision a year ago.
The court awarded his mother custody of him and his two siblings.

Still bristling over the decision which he claims was "so unfair", Sean "moved in" with his father two months ago, during one of the weekends when his father had access to the children.

"My mother flipped when she found out. She has since been emotionally blackmailing me, telling me that she is depressed and may soon lose her job.

"But I have had enough of her lies. They don't work on me. Besides, she is never really there to look after me and my siblings. She has a new partner whom she spends a lot of time with. My siblings and I are mostly left alone with the maid," says the lanky teenager.

Sean cannot understand why the judge chose to award custody to his mother. He had expressed his wish to be with his father.

"I told her the truth -- that I am happier living with my father. Don't my feelings matter?"

When a marriage breaks down and the fight for custody begins, parents are often so consumed by their own hurt, anger and hatred towards their former spouse that they seldom see the damage they inflict upon their kids.

But these are situations many children caught in custody battles find themselves in. Yet, when they do speak up -- as did 11-year-old Low Bi-Anne, who was determined to live with her father despite the Family Court awarding custody to her mother -- does anyone really hear them?

Senior family lawyer Vicky Alahakone says there is a need for our Family Court judges to be sensitive to the needs of children and family issues as decisions should not be based solely on affidavits and interviews with children.

Vicky has consistently called for the adoption of the Singapore family law system where the court looks into the interests of the child first.

Under the system, both parents have to make future arrangements and decisions on the future of their children jointly. The courts ensure that the children are protected and sometimes even left in the care of grandparents or extended families so that there is little chance of the child being caught up in a domestic dispute.

"The mediation takes place and all the issues between the couple are slowly ironed out by experienced court counsellors and judges. The counselling for children continues even after the divorce to ensure that they settle into their new environment."

Children who are caught in custody battles often suffer long-term emotional damage which manifests itself when they are adults, adds consultant psychologist Edward Chan of the Malaysian Psychology Centre.

"When they see their parents fighting 'over' them, they get confused and start blaming themselves. This leads to long-lasting effects on their emotional and mental health," says Chan, who is seeing an increasing number of adults, who were themselves caught in custody battles as children, seeking counselling.

"The emotional abuse can get very bad. And litigators are not helping either when they adopt a model of war to get the best for their client but the poor child gets caught in between."

University Malaya Medical Centre Associate Professor and Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Subash Kumar Pillai agrees that when a marriage fails, no one wins and the children are the ones who suffer the most.

"The children will always carry scars from a divorce."

The danger, he says, is when children are brainwashed by one parent into believing that the other parent is bad, thereby alienating the child from the other parent.

"This is also a form of emotional abuse. They influence the child into taking sides. Sometimes, they do not even want custody of the child but they do it just to spite the former spouse."

Child protection consultant Vijayakumari Pillai says when deciding on custody matters, it is important for the courts to engage the services of a competent social worker or a child psychologist.

"An experienced and competent social worker will be able to subtly analyse the child's bonding with both parents and gauge if he is happy with his existing environment."
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answered on Oct 23, 2010 at 02:19
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edited Mar 2, 2019 at 04:08
 
Murders, custody battles take centre stage

16 September 2010
By Chok Suat Ling: nst.com.my

THESE past several days, the attention of the nation has been riveted on the lurid details of murders most foul.

Cosmetics tycoon Datuk Sosilawati Lawiya, her banker, lawyer and driver were murdered and burnt and their ashes strewn in a river near Ladang Gadong, in Tanjung Sepat, near Banting.

Tanjung Sepat, a sleepy hollow previously known only for sightings of UFOs and other strange lights in the sky, will join an infamous list of locales where gruesome murders have been committed -- Mona Fandey's storeroom in Pahang; Mukim Bukit Raja, Selangor; 7th Mile, Jalan Klang Lama; and a road off the Federal Highway, at a junction leading to the Subang airport.

The Banting case may most likely replace the hack job committed by bomoh Mona Fandey as the most sensational murder in Malaysian history.

Already, the buzz surrounding the murders practically drowned out every other news item from Sunday onwards, except for the proclamation of the 29th sultan of Kelantan.

But another stood out -- real estate negotiator Low Swee Siong was sent to jail when he failed to pay a fine for not complying with a court order to surrender his 11-year-old daughter to her mother, his ex-wife.

It was the latest development in a child custody saga that started when Low's former wife, London-based restaurant manager Tan Siew Siew, won the custody of Low Bi-Anne in a High Court ruling in 2008.

The couple married in 1999, and when they divorced seven years later, the custody of the girl was given to the father. After two years, the mother applied for custody.

During the Court of Appeal hearing on Aug 13, three judges had to persuade Bi-Anne to give her mother a second chance.

But the girl repeatedly stated in open court that she did not love her mother.

When a judge advised her: "Your mother took care of you for nine months. Give it a try," Bi-Anne retorted: "She took care of me for nine months but my father took care of me for 10 years."

Only those with hearts of fortified concrete would not have been moved by the girl's words. At her age, all she should be thinking about is acne and Justin Bieber.

Indeed, custody battles are painful and tumultuous affairs. With divorce rates spiking, it can be safely said that we will see a rise in custody disputes, too.

There have been several well-known ones through the years.

The custody battle between Raja Datuk Kamarul Bahrin Ahmad Shah and his ex-wife Jacqueline Pascarl-Gillespie received wide attention from both the Malaysian and Australian press in the early 1990s.

More recent was that between former lecturer Elis Syuhaila Mokhtar and estranged husband Frank Theodorus Van de Ven over their 6-year-old son Ferris Mokhtar.

And then there are the inter-religious ones.

But perhaps the country's most famous child custody battle was that involving Natrah Maarof. Born Maria Bertha Hertogh, Natrah was torn between two worlds during a fiery legal custody dispute between her Dutch parents and her foster Malay mother in 1950.

Why do adults have to fight over children?

Custody, according to the experts, is all about what is best for the children.

That apparently involves proving that you are the best parent -- that the other parent is not as good as you and/or that he or she is simply lousy.

On the Internet, there are sites on "How you can win your custody battle", "10 mistakes dads make while fighting for custody", and "Bad mouthing the other parent", among others.

But how can custody battles be best for the children when they are bitter and hard-fought? Is it really in the best interests of the children, or the wrangling adults?

Ask any kid what's best for him (or her) and he (or she) would likely say that all he (or she) wants is for everyone to stop fighting, especially over them.

Is it impossible for the adults to set aside their differences to work out a plan for shared physical custody? Children can have two primary residences, even if time in each is not equal.

This will help avoid a prolonged, bitter custody battle unlikely to yield any real winners.
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answered on Oct 23, 2010 at 02:22
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edited Mar 2, 2019 at 04:10
 
SUNDAY SPOTLIGHT:

Lawyers can aggravate matters

17 October 2010: NST

DRASTIC changes need to be made to the country's family law system to ensure that divorce and custody proceedings do not scar children who are caught in custody disputes.

Stressing that the current system is not the best for family disputes, senior family lawyer Vicky Alahakone says while the country has sufficient trained family law mediators, child psychologists and marriage counsellors, it lacks more competent welfare workers who can assist the courts in arriving at decisions which are best for the children.

Family court judges, she says, must seek the help of child psychologists and competent welfare officers to assist them in deciding on the fate of the child.

"In my opinion, an interview of the child in the judge's chambers for an hour or more and who then goes on to make a decision on the issue of custody is certainly not the answer."

This is because the judge would not be in a position to determine whether the child has been brainwashed (by a parent) and may not have all the facts of the case as he relies only on the affidavits before him.

"Besides, not being an expert on children, the judge would not have the benefit of experts advising him as to what is best for the child. The law is that whatever the circumstances, the interest and welfare of the child must be of paramount importance and this takes precedence even over the wishes of the parents," she stresses.

She says although there is a provision in the law for judges to seek the assistance of experts, it is seldom applied because the process can be time-consuming.

"However, we cannot take shortcuts because the future and welfare of the child is at stake here and a wrong decision can affect the life of the child."

On claims that lawyers often aggravate matters with endless affidavits, she says it is unfair to blame family lawyers for the advice they give to their clients, as under the present legal system the only way the divorcing parties can express the facts in court is through affidavits.

"One cannot blame the lawyers as it is the current family law system that has to change," adds Vicky, who is a member of the Bar Council's Family Law Committee and vice-president of the Association of Women Lawyers.

However, she cautioned that lawyers must, above all else, ensure that the child does not become a victim of the divorce.

"They are to ensure that the children are given the freedom to visit both parents and live in two households after the divorce and that the children's future and interests are protected, after which the other ancillary issues should be mediated upon and resolved jointly."
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answered on Oct 23, 2010 at 02:25
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edited Mar 2, 2019 at 04:11
 
SUNDAY SPOTLIGHT:

The trauma of separation

17 October 2010: NST

WHEN parents quarrel and coach their children to tell lies about the other party -- as often happens in custody battles -- children learn the art of manipulation early, says consultant psychologist Edward Chan.

He says this can often lead to depression and anxiety, and affects the self-esteem of the child in the long run.

Usually, one party in the custody dispute would bring the child for assessment, often without the knowledge of the other party, in the hope that the psychologist's report can "add" weight to their case.

"They would also often allege that the child has been abused by the other party. What we do is invite the other party to come so that we get the perspective from both parents. If they can't or won't come, then we get the best assessment from talking to the child. And we usually take the accusations made by the other party with a pinch of salt."

Where young children are involved, a lot of play is used during the assessment.

"For example, we ask the child to draw a picture of the family and from there we can tell how he feels. Sometimes, the picture only includes one parent. So we ask the child to draw a picture of the mother's and father's houses and see if there is a difference.

"One drawing may show a bright and cheery house while the other may show a gloomy house with dark colours.

"Children often express their feelings through their drawings and these feelings cannot be coached," says Chan, who specialises in child and adolescent psychology and is a certified play therapist.

If there are suspicions that the child has been sexually abused, the child is given dolls to play with. "The way they play with the dolls will reveal the extent of their sexual knowledge."

Describing parental alienation as a form of emotional abuse, he says children who are forced to live with one parent often end up suppressing their emotions.

"They get angry and the relationship with the parent is affected. There is also a feeling of loss and grieving. All this needs to be taken into account when custodial rights are deliberated upon. You cannot abruptly change the lifestyle of the child. The effects are tremendous and long lasting and it may not be immediately apparent."
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answered on Oct 23, 2010 at 21:39
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edited Mar 2, 2019 at 04:17
 
There is nobody apart from the Bar Council who can control lawyers. The Bar Council will not act on complaints such as high fees because these many such lawyers who also sit in the Bar Committee. There should be legislation to make mediation mandatory so that all parties facing divorce/custody battle must first be referred to a mediation body just like the Marriage Reconciliation Tribunal.
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answered on May 11, 2011 at 18:36
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edited Mar 2, 2019 at 04:20
 
Obstacles to progress will come from by those who benefit from an unjust practices.. that's law.
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answered on Jul 13, 2011 at 02:11
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edited Mar 2, 2019 at 04:26
 
Tips for a good and bad lawyer
Signs of a less desirable lawyer

Below is a list of some of the warning signs of a lawyer who is more concerned about playing by the rules of the system and to not rock the boat rather than doing everything he/she can to help you win your case.

• Tells you that the courts are fair and just and that bias against men is not a real problem in the system.

• Refuses to agree before taking you on as a client, to follow your instructions in the event that the two of you do not agree on the best strategy to use to proceed on your case.

• Tries to pressure you to agree to a settlement that clearly is not in the best interest of you and your child and you do not feel comfortable with. Don’t forget that the system would rather have you sign away your rights voluntarily, rather than it be seen that the judge made a bad decision which created lots of problems later.

• Not willing to allow you to manage your own case and instead insists that everything related to your case go through them including all phone calls and correspondence – even when you tell them that you can’t afford it.

• Not willing to represent you just for the day in court should this be what you want or all that you can afford.

• Does not seem to be familiar with your case whenever he/she talks to you. Always seems to be forgetting important dates and names. This is usually a sign that your lawyer just has not been looking over your documents and in reality is just trying to make it look like he/she does so that you will keep paying them more money.

• Does not return phone calls or messages or takes an excessively long time to get back in touch with you.

• Is unable or unwilling to give you the names of satisfied customers he/she has represented in the past six months in court cases involving similar matters.

• Tells you that if you are not willing to follow the lawyers legal advice to you that you should find another lawyer and unwilling to respect your instructions because your opinion may disagree with the advice the lawyer gives you.

• Has not been in a trial before involving similar issues to the ones you are dealing with.

• Gives you the general feeling of being uncomfortable in that you don’t feel that he/she is really fighting for you.

• Seems unwilling to argue or bring forth points before the court that you feel are important nor give you reasons why your points should not be included.

• Unwilling to make Charter arguments in court or seems not very knowledgeable about Charter arguments or Supreme Court of Canada case law.

• Discourages you from dealing with outside third parties or having advocacy groups that are able to provide help to you. Tells you that these people are not good for you and may only get you into trouble. (Remember, your lawyer has a vested interest in keeping you not too well informed – the less you know the easier it is for your lawyer to screw you without you even knowing you’ve been screwed.)

• Says that friends and family are not allowed to come with you to court. (If they tell you this then they probably don’t want anyone to see them do a lousy job.)

• Tells you that materials you have prepared for court such as offers to settle are not what the court wants to see even though your own logic tells you that what you have proposed makes perfect sense to you.

• Tells you to never tape record anyone and that this might look bad on you. (This is the signs of a lawyer who wants to play with gentleman’s rules with the other lawyer, and does not want to make things for the other lawyer too difficult.)

+++++ Signs of a lawyer with some guts, confidence and integrity+++++

Below is a list of some of the indicators of a good lawyer who is willing to do whatever it takes to maximize your chances of winning in court at the lowest possible costs to you.

• Not afraid to say that bias against men exists in the courts and that it will be a tough battle if you happen to be a male.

• Agrees prior to taking you on as a client, to follow your instructions in the event that the two of you do not agree on the best strategy to use to proceed on your case, even if it is not in agreement with the lawyers.

• Will not put pressure on you to agree on a settlement that clearly is not in your best interest and you do not feel comfortable with unless he/she has very good and compelling reasons for this. Remember, even if it costs more to go to court and lose, it is always better off to go down with a fight. Surrendering and giving your consent to an injustice does not look good to your children, your family and friends.

• Willing to charge a flat fee for services. A lawyer who is willing to provide services for a flat fee generally is more confident of the expected number of hours and more willing to take a risk themselves to help keep your final bill low. Be cautious however with lawyers who charge a flat rate in that it is not in their best interests to do extra work on your file. A lawyer who is on flat rate should be even more willing to let you do as much of the work as possible on your file.

• Agreeable to allowing you to manage your own case while still willing to give you all the legal advice you need without becoming the “solicitor on record” and willing

• Agreeable to appear on your behalf in court on the day of your court.

• Your lawyer is willing to let you write letters to the other lawyer and other side but only asks that you let him/her approve them first. A good lawyer will let you do anything that will help save money and time in your case. It has become the practice of most lawyers to tell you that all correspondence must go through them.

• Seems to be familiar with your case when he/she talks to you and seems to take an interest in your case.

• Will return phone calls or messages in a reasonable period of time.

• Is willing to give you the names of other satisfied customers he/she has represented in the past six months in court cases involving similar matters.

• Does not makes you feel confident that he/she is really fighting for you.

• Willing to give you legal advice but willing to respect your instructions even if they do not agree with the advice that the lawyer gives you.

• Is willing to argue about points that you feel are important.

• Willing to make Charter arguments in court or seems not very knowledgeable about Charter arguments or Supreme Court of Canada case law.

• Is willing to work with any outside third parties or advocacy groups that you have chosen to provide help to you and will not prejudge their credibility or value to your case. A lawyer who is really out to help you win your case will encourage involvement of any person or agency that can assist your case in a positive manner.

• May tells you that materials you have prepared for court such as offers to settle may not be what the court is used to getting but will support your wish you to put it before the court anyway.

• Will encourage friends, family and supporters to come to the court to observe proceedings.

• Will keep you up to date on your legal charges and not let your account build up to some large amount before asking that you pay more money.
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answered on Feb 3, 2015 at 05:54
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edited Dec 28, 2018 at 23:46
 
Source: THE STAR

Act to save the family unit

Monday February 2, 2015 MYT 8:04:27 AM

STRENGHTENING the family institution and promoting noble values are in greater need now than ever before, judging by the issue of moral degradation and social ills besetting our children and teenagers today.

When a nation progresses the family institution could be the first victim with children not getting enough attention and guidance leading to the emergence of various social ills affecting our teenagers.

The fact is that parents are busy with their careers and not able to spend quality time with their children with the result that thousands of urban children are left to the whims and mindsets of foreign maids, baby-sitters and in some cases relatives.

Children who return from schools find themselves in empty homes as both their parents are out at work. There is no one around to show parental love, teach and inculcate in the children good family values.

Instead of seeking guidance from parents these children do so from their peers. With negative peer pressure, an environment will exist which will eventually lead to various social ills.

Children who grow up in such an environment will end up becoming the victims of social ills like truancy, violence in schools, drug abuse and even crime.

If this problem is not addressed it will result in a serious divide between children and their parents and an increase in social problems and crime involving young people.

If this problem is not addressed it will result in a serious divide between children and their parents and an increase in social problems and crime involving young people.

Parents must be increasingly concerned about the quality of family life and must constantly take steps to instill in their children the basic moral values needed to build the foundation for a strong, stable and cohesive society.

It is meaningless to have dynamic economic growth with improved living standards and per capita income when the moral values, quality of life and family development do not grow proportionately.

Family development and family empowerment are essential in the upbringing of children, educating and guiding them to grow up as useful and positive citizens.

The power and potential of the family in the fight against social ills afflicting our nation’s youth is much greater and more meaningful than all the enforcement agencies we can muster to tackle social problems.

For while law enforcement is essential, more important is our ability to open our homes and give communities access through the strength and the power of the family.

Empowering families to undertake the tasks and responsibilities towards tackling social problems must include inter alia the inculcation of parenting skills and motivating families to be interested and involved in the development of their children.

The Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation (MCPF) calls on both the public and private sectors to organise more family-based activities with incentives from the Government in order to strengthen family institutions and their role in national development.

With regard to the family well-being index which, according to the Prime Minister, currently is at 7.55 out of a scale of 10, it is obvious that a lot more needs to be looked into by the Government for further improvement.

Apart from the social ills which afflict families, other issues like the frequent occurrences of crime and safety in the community must be addressed continuously and effectively as they impact greatly on family well-being.

TAN SRI LEE LAM THYE

Vice-chairman, MCPF
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