This article was previously published on The Malaysian Insider (and was the one that upset Perkasa and Utusan).
Lord Bobo, I read that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has said that “Allah” is exclusive to Muslims. Does this now end the argument once and for all? After all, he’s the King! (Denis Elvis Cantona, via email)
His Supreme Eminenceness has said, written, breathed, sweated, and farted a lot about this issue in recent weeks. Your question only serves to prove that you haven’t been paying attention. So we will do our national duty and spell it out again here, in clear, concise, and (hopefully) thick-skull penetrable terms.
Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy. Malaysia is not an absolute monarchy. The rulers must abide by the Federal Constitution, and cannot disregard it willy-nilly or Milli Vanilli.
If a decree by a ruler goes against the Federal Constitution, it is not legally binding. As we said in a previous column in relation to the Sultan of Selangor’s decree, “The decree of the Selangor Sultan prohibiting the use of the word ‘Allah’ has no force of law. Zero; nada; zilch.” — to be clear, that means none whatsoever.
Another point to reiterate is that, as we said, “not following the titah of a constitutional monarch cannot by any stretch of the imagination be considered treasonous.” Of course those imaginative fellas at Perkasa have called for some people to be investigated for treason for suggesting exactly that.
Lord Bobo wishes that Perkasa could harness their undeniable active imagination and excess energy into something useful, but it seems their expertise is coming up with ludicrous statements. In this case, and with most cases involving them, they have no idea what they are talking about and are spouting absolute nonsense.
So, wonder no more. Lord Bobo hopes that the above comprehensively brings an end to this particular issue. (Yes, we are optimists at heart.)
Dear Lord Bobo, I’ve recently sold a condo and I have received all of the purchase price owing to me via my lawyer Mr XYZ (amounting to RM2,000,000.00). I was under the impression that I would also get an additional sum of interest for the period during which the lawyer held the sum as stakeholder. However, my lawyer tells me he is keeping this as “admin fees”. Is this legal? If not, what can I do? He doesn’t even want to tell me how much the interest is. (JC Loo, via email)
This is not the first time His Supreme Eminenceness is hearing about lawyers overcharging. (Of course, we assume you have paid your lawyer his full scale fee for the transaction, and not asked for and obtained a discount!)
The answer is simple — your lawyer is trying to pull a fast one on you. Your lawyer cannot unilaterally decide to keep the entire interest earned on the stakeholder sum as “administrative fees”. He is required to account to you for any interest or income he has earned as a result of holding the sum for you.
At the same time, he may be allowed by the Bar Council Rulings to charge “a reasonable fee pursuant to the Sixth Schedule of the Solicitors’ Remuneration Order”. Ordinarily, if you have paid the full scale fee for the sale and purchase transaction then most lawyers would not charge any fee for holding the sums in fixed deposit. (But we suspect you didn’t actually pay the full scale, did you? Naughty, naughty!).
You may want to speak to him one last time to ask that the money be accounted for and paid to you in full, before proceeding to lodge an official complaint, which you can do by contacting the Advocates & Solicitors Disciplinary Board.
Although Lord Bobo already knows your question before you even knew you had a question, as a practical display of your true desire to have your query answered, His Supreme Eminenceness has graciously allowed you to communicate your questions by either emailing [email protected] or tweeting your question, mentioning @LoyarBurok and using the hashtag #AskLordBobo. Now, what the hell are you waiting for? Hear This and Tremblingly Obey (although trembling is optional if you are somewhere very warm)!