From the Selangor Times 6 July 2012. Ask Lord Bobo is a weekly column by LoyarBurok where all your profound, abstruse, erudite, hermetic, recondite, sagacious, and other thesaurus-described queries are answered!
Lord Bobo, what is a “commissioner for oaths”? It sounds very grand but I understand that all they do is sign photocopies of documents to make them certified true copies. What else do these commissioners do? I’m considering my career options, and looking for a career involving monotonous tasks that I can attend to in between writing poetry, and bring in a steady income stream. (Walt Whitman, via email)
On a scale of 1 – 10 on the power scale, a commissioner for oaths ranks a big Zero.
Unlike a police commissioner, commissioner of census, federal lands commissioner, or commissioner of law revision – who are all in command of many highly competent and intelligent men and women of rank, and do important stuff for the nation, a commissioner for oaths has only his chops, record book, badge, and trusty signing pen at his command, and sits around waiting for customers a lot.
It is a position often given to retired civil servants, current government officers entrusted to administer oaths, or very ambitious lawyers. As his powerfully sounding title suggests, he has the power to administer oaths.
Although he is most famed for administering oaths when someone affirms an affidavit, and taking and receiving statutory declarations (a sworn statement), he can do other things too depending on his underlying role.
If he is also an advocate and solicitor, he can receive acknowledgments of married women when it is required by law, receive acknowledgments of bail and bail-bonds, administer oaths for justification for bail, oaths for examination of witnesses by way of interrogatories, swearing of executors and administrators, as well as any persons in any court action. A public officer or any other person can only administer oaths for justification for bail, and swearing of executors and administrators and of witnesses in a court action.
Aside from that, a commissioner would have long thoughtful discussions with the despatch or customers who seek his services, eat a fair deal of unhealthy food, sit on his rapidly expanding posterior due to the lack of exercise, and grow pretty cynical about life.
He would however cultivate the awesome ability to burst-sign something like 60-70 pages per minute for about 10 minutes. That is not an ability to be looked down upon. Not many humans or even wonder-monkeys can do stuff like that.
As for career options, you’d best keep that day job, even if it is writing poetry no one reads. His fee is just RM4 per affidavit and RM2 for each copy of affidavit (not sure why since he has to sign it the same way with the same ink as the first. It’s not like he can just dot the rest since he gets a lesser rate). It’s also RM2 per exhibit and RM1 for each copy of the exhibit.
A commissioner for oaths gig however would suitably complement a food stall business like nasi lemak or various kuih.
Take note however that you cannot affirm the awesomeness of the food you are selling. That’s a flagrant conflict of interest. So keep it fragrant.
A friend of mine entered into a sale and purchase agreement to sell a condo about 10 months ago, and didn’t engage a lawyer. He got his two per cent downpayment, then signed the agreement, and never got the rest of the money. Apparently the buyer paid 8% to the buyer’s lawyer when the agreement was signed, but my friend hasn’t received this. Also, he’s just realised that the copy of the agreement that the buyer’s lawyer gave to him was incomplete, and is wondering why it’s taking so long for the sale to go through. He can’t get the buyer on the phone, and when he calls the buyer’s lawyer, 8 times out of 10 he’s told (after some suspicious background whispers) that the lawyer is not around, and the times that he managed to get the lawyer on the phone, he was promptly cut off with a “I’m busy, I’ll call you back” which predictably is never followed by a return call. What can he do? (In Limbo, via email)
There are LoyarBurokkers and there are buruk lawyers – please note that these are very very different people.
Unfortunately, despite the undoubted awesomeness of many lawyers who tirelessly and honestly advise their clients and do selfless work to champion human rights and justice, there are also many unscrupulous lawyers who are masters of the darker arts of lawyering.
These no-gooders not just bend the law, some even break the law, or ignore its very existence.
Anyway, without knowing the specifics of your friend’s case, it is difficult for Lord Bobo or our minions to give specific advice. A good port of call would be the Malaysian Bar’s “Complaints and Intervention Department”.
The people there are able and willing to help members of the public who experience difficulties when dealing with lawyers (not a rarity).
They can be reached by dropping by No. 15, Leboh Pasar Besar, 50050 Kuala Lumpur, calling them on the telephone at 03 2050 2160 / 2159, or sending an email to [email protected]
Have a question for Lord Bobo? Call on His Supreme Eminenceness by emailing [email protected], stating your full name, and a pseudonym (if you want), or tweeting your questions by mentioning @LoyarBurok and using the hashtag #asklordbobo. What the hell are you waiting for? Hear This, and Tremblingly Obey (although trembling is optional if you are somewhere very warm)! Liberavi Animam Meam! I Have Freed My Spirit!
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