Kuala Lumpur Bar Committee 2017/2018

I am pleased to announce that I have been re-elected as a committee member of the Kuala Lumpur Bar Committee for the year 2017/2018.

I have also been re-appointed to chair the Kuala Lumpur Information Technology and Publication Committee. This Committee will continue its development of the Kuala Lumpur Bar website, App and membership management system.

The full list of office-bearers of the Kuala Lumpur Bar Committee for 2017/18 are as follows:-

Chairman :
Goh Siu Lin

Committee members :
Alvin Oh Seong Yew
Atan Mustaffa
Chen Yu Szen
Foong Cheng Leong
Jacky Loi
Muhendaran Suppiah
New Sin Yew
Nik Elin Nik Rashid
Shashi Devan
Vivek Sukumaran

Representative to the Bar Council: Khaizan Sharizad binti Ab Razak (Sherrie)

MY Legal History: Lecture on Traditions of The Bar by Dato Dr Peter Mooney – 28 February 2000

Last year, I found a box full of cassettes at the Kuala Lumpur Bar Secretariat. They were recordings of various Kuala Lumpur Bar events in the late 1990s and early 2000 where smartphones were not widely available yet (perhaps not even in existence).

One of the cassettes had the label “Lecture on Traditions of the Bar by Dato Dr. Peter Mooney”. The late Peter Mooney was a very well-known lawyer who, like many early lawyers of Malaya, came from the United Kingdom. Many of his contemporaries had left for home or had passed on. Peter Mooney served as the Attorney General of Sarawak and Vice President of the Bar Council. He was also one of the founding partners of Skrine. He passed on recently at the age of 92.

I have converted into a podcast using a device I bought online (above). Some parts of the podcast is a little bit fuzzy due to the age of the cassette (16 years old!).

This is my favourite part of the podcast:-

“The independent of the Bar is absolute essential if the system is to work properly and it essential to the liberty of the subject. Justice will be done only if there is a strong bar which is courageous and as well as independent”.

Upcoming Events: Cyber Law Seminars

The Bar Council Information Technology and Cyber Law Committee and the Kuala Lumpur Bar Information Technology Committee will be organising “Seminar on Cyber Law” on 13 March 2017 and “Securing Your Digital Assets” on 9 March 2017 respectively.

Please see below for further information (click on image for larger view)

Download the registration form here.

To register for this event, please click here.

Compoundable Offences under the Personal Data Protection Act 2010

Certain offences under the Personal Data Protection Act 2010 (PDPA) are compoundable as of 15 March 2016.

Under the Personal Data Protection (Compounding of Offences) Regulations 2016, the following offences are compoundable by making payment to the Commissioner of Personal Data Protection Malaysia:-

Offences under the PDPA

(1) Breach of any of the Personal Data Protection Principles (s. 5(2))
(2) Processing of personal data without the required registration under PDPA (this is only applicable to certain class of users) (s. 16(4))
(3) Processing of personal data after registration under the PDPA is revoked by the Personal Data Protection Commissioner (s. 18(4))
(4) Failure to surrender certificate of registration after revocation (s. 19(2))
(5) Failure to make a note on an expression of opinion which is considered as inaccurate, incomplete, misleading or not up-to-date by a person who made a data correction request and using that expression of opinion without the note being drawn to the attention of and being available for inspection by that person (s. 37(4))
(6) Failure to cease processing of personal data upon receipt of withdrawal of consent to process personal data (s. 38(4))
(7) Processing of sensitive personal data without explicit consent (s. 40(3))
(8) Failure to comply with an enforcement notice (s. 108(8))

Offences under the Personal Data Protection Regulations 2013

(1) Failure to obtain consent from a data subject in relation to the processing of personal data in any form that such consent can be recorded and maintained properly by the data user (Reg 3(1))
(2) Failure to develop and implement a security policy or that the security policy implemented does not comply with the security standards set by the Commissioner. Failure to ensure that the security standard in the processing of personal data be complied with by any data processor (Reg 6)
(3) Failure to comply with the retention standards set out by the Commissioner (Reg 7)
(4) Failure to comply with the data integrity standards set out by the Commissioner (Reg 8)

Offences under the Personal Data Protection (Registration of Data User) Regulations 2013

(1) Failure to renew the data user certificate of registration and continues to process personal data after expiry of the certificate of registration (Reg. 5)
(2) Failure to notify the Commissioner in writing of any change to the particulars in the certificate of registration (Reg 6(5))
(3) Failure to display the certificate of registration and any amendment to the certificate, if any, at a conspicuous place at the principal place of business and a certified copy of the certificate for each branch, where applicable. (Reg 8(3))

BFM Podcast: CYBERSTALKING

I was interviewed by BFM Radio to talk about stalking and harassment laws in Malaysia in general on 10 January 2017.


Japan just recently introduced laws to ban cyberstalking after a musical artist there was stabbed by a fan. Malaysia, while having laws that deal with harassment, has yet to introduce laws on stalking. We hear from blogger Cindy on her experience with being stalked and lawyer Foong Cheng Leong on what laws we presently have to deal with it

Your browser does not support native audio, but you can download this MP3 to listen on your device.

BFM Podcast: LANDMARK #3: INSULTS

I was interviewed by BFM Radio to talk about online insults and the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 on 18 July 2016.


Last month, a 76-year-old man was arrested by the police for allegedly posting an insulting picture in a Whatsapp group chat. The man, identified as Pa Ya in media reports, was arrested in Petaling Jaya, where he lives, and taken into custody for investigation, under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, in Johor. On this month’s episode of Landmark, a series examining how the law shapes society as vice versa, lawyer Foong Cheng Leong explains what constitutes an insult and when it is considered an offense.

Your browser does not support native audio, but you can download this MP3 to listen on your device.

SPAD proposal to rename Uber, Grab raises eyebrows

I was quoted by The Malay Mail Online on the Land Public Transport Commission’s (SPAD) proposal to rename Uber and Grab in their article SPAD proposal to rename Uber, Grab raises eyebrows.

Lawyer Foong Cheng Leong told Malay Mail Online that while SPAD could rename both services, it would take more than just a directive from the transport regulator.

He said the move would require an amendment to the the Land Public Transport Act 2010 to bring the services under the purview of the legislation.

“Once they (Uber and Grab) are included in the Act, the government can dictate the names of the operators,” he said.

However, SPAD later denied reports that it may change the names of Uber and Grab as part of its plan to regulate ride-hailing services.

See also Bread & Kaya: Uber and GrabCar services legal in Malaysia?

Bread & Kaya: Cyberbullying, stalking and sexual harassment

Bread & Kaya: Cyberbullying, stalking and sexual harassment
By Foong Cheng Leong | Jun 28, 2016

– Current laws narrowly and vaguely defines harassment
– It is high time Malaysia legislates against it

In Mohd Ridzwan bin Abdul Razak v Asmah Binti HJ. Mohd Nor (Kuala Lumpur Civil Suit No. 23NCVC-102-12/2011), the Defendant alleged that the Plaintiff had sexually harassed her at their workplace.

The Defendant alleged that numerous vulgar and harassing words were uttered to her and they included the following:

– kalau nak cari jodoh cari yang beriman, solat, you kena solat istikarah .. . bila you solat istikarah, you akan mimpi you berjimak dengan orang tu! (If you’re looking for a partner, look for someone pious. You will need to pray. When you pray, you will dream of having sex with that person!)
– you ni asyik sakit kepala saja, you ni kena kahwin tau … you nak laki orang tak? (You’re always having a headache. You need to get married, you want someone’s husband?)
– you nak jadi wife I tak? I banyak duit tau. (You want to be my wife? I have a lot of money).

The Defendant filed a complaint against the Plaintiff to the company and a committee of inquiry was set up to investigate the complaint.

The committee found that there was insufficient evidence to warrant disciplinary action to be taken against the Plaintiff, but a strong administrative reprimand was given.

Aggrieved, the Plaintiff sued the Defendant for defamation and the Defendant counterclaimed for tort of sexual harassment.

The High Court dismissed the Plaintiff’s claim and allowed the Defendant’s counterclaim. She was awarded with RM100,000 in general damages and RM20,000 in aggravated and exemplary damages.

The Plaintiff appealed against the judgment to the Court of Appeal (Court of Appeal Civil Appeal No. W-02(NCVC)(W)-2524-10-2012).

The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal and held that what the Plaintiff did amounts to the tort of intentionally causing nervous shock.

The Court of Appeal however fell short of declaring that there is tort of harassment in Malaysia.

Dissatisfied again, the Plaintiff filed an appeal with the Federal Court. Unfortunately for the Plaintiff again, the Federal Court (Federal Court Civil Appeal No 01(f)-13-06/2013 (W)) dismissed the appeal.

The Federal Court added:

[39] After mulling over the matter, we arrived at a decision to undertake some judicial activism exercise and decide that it is timely to import the tort of harassment into our legal and judicial system, with sexual harassment being part of it.

The introduction of the tort of harassment is a significant improvement to our laws. Victims of harassment and cyberbullying now have an easier avenue to obtain redress from our Courts.

In my earlier article Bread & Kaya: Cyberstalking, harassment … and road rage, published in July 2014, I said that we do not have specific laws to govern harassment, and hence it is difficult to determine whether an act amounts to harassment without a legal definition.

Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 criminalises certain forms of harassment, but it must be an electronic communication which is obscene, indecent, false, menacing or offensive in character.

But as we can see, harassment comes in all sorts of forms.

Furthermore, there had have been complaints that industry regulator the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) is selective in prosecuting cases. Not all complaints are acted upon.

Before the Federal Court decision, it was tougher to seek legal redress as there were no reported case laws holding that there is tort of harassment in Malaysia. When the Court of Appeal delivered the decision of Ridzwan, it equated an action for tort of harassment as tort of intentionally inflicting nervous shock.

Such equation is significant because the threshold to succeed in an action for nervous shock is high. A victim needs to prove that he or she suffered some form of psychiatric illness or injury. Normally, this would need to be proven by a doctor, and a victim may not see a doctor immediately.

Further, a victim of harassment does not necessarily suffer such a medical condition. Harassment normally causes distress, annoyance, humiliation or annoyance.

In Malcomson Nicholas Hugh Bertram v Mehta Naresh Kumar (2001] 3 SLR 379, the Singapore High Court defined harassment as the following:

For the purposes of this application I shall take the term harassment to mean a course of conduct by a person, whether by words or action, directly or through third parties, sufficiently repetitive in nature as would cause, and which he ought reasonably to know would cause, worry, emotional distress or annoyance to another person.

This is not intended to be an exhaustive definition of the term but rather one that sufficiently encompasses the facts of the present case in order to proceed with a consideration of the law.

It would be interesting to see how far the tort of harassment could help victims of stalking, harassment and cyberbullying.

The common form of online harassment and cyberbullying nowadays is to set a mob of netizens against a person, or what is known as cyber-lynching.

Many have become victims of such cyber-lynching, and they may not have a legal redress as the attacks are not done by a single person – they could be shared by thousands of people and acted upon by numerous vigilante netizens independently.

Victims would have a hard time finding the perpetrators, and the legal costs would be prohibitive.

It is high time for Malaysia to legislate against harassment.


First published on Digital News Asia on 28 June 2016.

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