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Crackdown on false advertising and claims of disease prevention

November 26th, 2012 · No Comments


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By T.S.Tan

Advertisers and advertising agencies will be brought to book if they ignore newly-introduced guidelines aimed at preventing “false and confusing advertising” and prohibiting advertisements on treatment of more than 20 diseases.

The Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism released the guidelines on October 22, 2012, following consumer complaints about misleading and unscrupulous advertising. According to the ministry, the move is intended to protect consumers from being misled and cheated.

The guidelines forbid any form of promotion of the diagnosis and prevention of serious ailments such as cancer, convulsions, diabetes, high blood pressure, impotent, paralysis and venereal diseases. They disallow false advertising related to the quality, quantity, standard, price and type of products and services.

Advertisers are now required to make their disclaimers distinct and easy to read and understand. They must also be able to substantiate their claims.

There have been complaints about untruthful claims about cures for diseases, low-budget tours that have hidden costs and shampoos that promise smooth, silky hair after a wash but do not produce the desired result.

The guidelines came in the wake of a recent amendment to the Consumer Protection Act 1999. Errant advertisers face a maximum fine of RM50,000 or a prison term of up to three years. Advertising agencies can be fined up to RM100,000 for the first-time offence and RM200,000 for subsequent infringements.

In enforcing the guidelines, the Advertising Committee on the Prevention of False and Confusing Advertising has been set up. It is composed of officers from various ministries, officials of consumer groups, representatives of advertising associations and academicians.

The guidelines come in the form of a handbook prepared by a committee following the amendment of the Consumer Protection Act 1999, disclosed the Minister of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yacoob.

The guidelines mainly cover false or misleading advertising in print and electronic media. They also refer to the unethical use of the halal logo.

Advertisers are advised to have proper approval from relevant authorities. The parties concerned include manufacturers, local or foreign, service providers and ad agencies, big and small.

A example of misleading advertising is when a T-shirt is promoted with the claim the it is made of 100 per cent cotton. However, it turns out that the item is mixed with other materials.

Advertisers are warned in advance before the crackdown begins from January 1, 2013. They may need reliable copywriters, scrupulous marketers and, more importantly, high professional standards and business ethics.

→ No CommentsTags: -==Legal Tips==- · Malaysian Law News

The difficulties of hiring lawyers in the face of new challenges and prospects

July 27th, 2012 · No Comments

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I am happy to share with you the below article which was recently published at Praxis (July to Dec Issue 2012). (Praxis is a magazine published by Malaysian Bar for their Members).

By Eddie Law

This article is to analyze the challenges faced by law firms in hiring lawyers and to suggest some practical solutions that law firms could consider to overcome such challenges.

Hundreds of vacancies for lawyers exist in local law firms. Sought-after are lawyers with at least two or three years’ post qualified experience (PQE). This is because these mid-level lawyers have a certain level of competency in technical skill but their salaries are not too high. These lawyers are therefore “hot cakes on the shelves” in the current legal career market.

Throughout my years of recruitment experience, I have noted that many law firms have experienced difficulties in hiring suitable lawyers, especially the mid-level lawyers, regardless of the size of the law firms. Among the reasons are:

1. Shortage of mid-level lawyers

Many lawyers with three to five years of PQE contemplate over their career directions and question whether private practice is really their “cup of tea”. Besides, many career options are open to this group of lawyers, e.g. working abroad, going “in-house”, setting up a small boutique venture, staying at their current firm with the hope of being promoted to partnership in the near future or moving to another firm to take up another area of specialized practice.

Inevitably, the market for mid-level lawyers is competitive. The acute shortage is evident when “pushing factors” prompt the lawyers to leave their posts.

A strategy to maximise resources is for law firms to map out a plan to retain these lawyers by producing “pulling factors.” These “pulling factors” include the creation of more promising career prospects for their lawyers, e.g. law firms should put forward clearly their expectations and promotion plans. Lawyers with many years of service will therefore know what they need to accomplish in order to be made partners of the firm. This will definitely boost the strong sense of belonging and give the lawyers a sense of career security. With a clear and transparent KPI system, lawyers will understand that their promotion is not based on the “whims and fancies” of the boss.

2. Employer branding
[Read more →]

→ No CommentsTags: eLawyer · Law Firms & Internet · Legal Management

Clients can seek compensation from Bar Council for lawyers’ dishonesty

June 7th, 2012 · No Comments

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This article is extracted from www.elawyer.com.my/blog

By TS Tan

A client can seek compensation from the Malaysian Bar Council for any financial loss due to his lawyer’s dishonesty. The redress comes in the form of a grant from the Advocates and Solicitors Compensation Fund, which was established in 1978.

A claimant can apply for compensation after his lawyer’s misappropriation of money or the client’s loss involving money held from an estate or for a real estate closing. Negligence is however not considered. So far, claims as small as RM178.20 and as large as RM468,012 have been settled.

Under Section 80 (8) of the Legal Profession Act 1978, a claim may be entertained provided certain procedures and conditions are complied with. For instance, a prerequisite is that the lawyer concerned must be first struck off the roll before a client submits a claim.

Claims should be made within 21 days from the date of the Bar Council’s notice of a list of disbarred lawyers published in newspapers. Applications for compensation can also be submitted within six months or a period not exceeding two years after a financial loss is discovered.

A claimant is required to submit two forms – A and B – given by the Bar Council Secretariat or downloaded from its website (www. Malaysianbar.org.my). Form A is for the report of a financial loss caused by a breach of trust by an advocate and solicitor who is a member of the Bar Council. A claimant uses Form B to apply for compensation, providing full details of the claim and attaching relevant documents.
[Read more →]

→ No CommentsTags: -==Legal Tips==- · Law News · Malaysian Law News · Malaysian Lawyer

An overview of career options for lawyers in Malaysia

April 10th, 2012 · 40 Comments

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By Eddie Law

After securing places in law schools, students should reflect over the career landscape open to them. For instance, do you know your legal career options upon graduation?

Graduates should chart their career path in a number of sectors, each of which can be promising. Get an overview and analyse the options available such as the following:

1. Private Practice

Practising law in a legal firm is the most traditional career choice. A newly qualified lawyer must graduate from a law school or university that is recognised by the Legal Qualifying Board.

Thereafter, a graduate is required to undergo nine months of pupillage (or known as “chambering”), during which he/she will read in a senior lawyer’s chamber. During this period, the pupil will only be receiving an allowance (as opposed to salary). Currently, the range of allowances vary from RM1,500 to RM2,500 per month for those attached to law firms in Klang Valley.

Upon completion of the pupillage, you will be called to the Bar and become a full-fledged lawyer to practise law. Like many peers join law firms, you will hold the position of Legal Assistant or Associate with a starting salary of RM3,000 to RM3,500 per month in Klang Valley.

After three to five years, you may be promoted to become Senior Legal Assistant or Senior Associate. When you work with a relatively small-sized law firm, you may be made its partner at this stage. In most reputable or large law firms, you will only be admitted as a Partner after you have acquired at least seven to eight years’ post- qualifying experience (PQE).

In general, there are two types of partnership in Malaysia: salaried or equity partner.

As a salary-earning partner, you are not entitled to profit-sharing of a law firm. In reality, you are an employee (as opposed to an owner) of the firm, which will pay you a monthly salary plus a discretionary year-end bonus.

On the other hand, an equity partner is a co-owner of the firm where you will get a fixed percentage of the profit-sharing of the firm’s total net profit. Sometimes, you are required to buy its “shares” and can “sell” them when you decide to leave the partnership. In some situations, you will be given the “shares” (or “points”) for free; you may not sell or transfer them when you leave the partnership.
[Read more →]

→ 40 CommentsTags: Chambering

A valid case for law reform

April 2nd, 2012 · No Comments

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By TS Tan

Commonsense tells us that there is need to review old laws that were enacted during the British colonial era or soon after the country’s independence. The move is necessary not only to ensure justice in the changing world, but also to remove irrelevant provisions that were once considered pertinent or important.

A case in point is the replacement of the Internal Security Act 1960 by two new security laws announced by Datuk Seri Najib Razak late last year. The Act was introduced to combat Communist insurgency and maintain national security.

The Prime Minister rightly felt that it was time to increase civil liberties and protect human rights, including the freedom of assembly. It was a calculated move with some risks, but it was widely welcomed by people from all strata of society.

Even the Deputy Minister of Finance, Datuk Donald Lim, has called for a review of the Bankruptcy Act 1967 which was amended in 2003. The changed included the increase of debt from RM10,000 to RM30,000 for bankruptcy proceedings and the rise in the borrowing ceiling of an undischarged bankrupt from RM100 to RM1,000.

The Act, which was based on English law, was amended to allow bankrupts “a second chance.” However, they still have to waiting for five years before they are permitted to apply for a discharge from bankruptcy. During this period, they cannot leave the country, open a bank account or conduct any form of business. Thus, the restrictions prevent entrepreneurs from starting with a clean slate.

Many Malaysian laws were implemented before or soon after independence in 1957. They include the Betting and Sweepstake Duties Act 1945, Bills of Exchange Act 1949, Married Women and Children (Maintenance) Act 1950 and Registration of Marriage Ordinance 1952. Of course, most of them were later revised in order to be in sync with modern needs and norms.

One of the most controversial laws is Section 377 of the Penal Code which deals with sodomy. Opposition leader Datuk Anwar Ibrahim called it “archaic” in a BBC interview, sparking an uncalled-for uproar.
[Read more →]

→ No CommentsTags: Criminal Law

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