Reply from Insurance Company

I believe the insurance company has received my 800-words complaint letter. They emailed me yesterday stating they are investigating on the three rude people and they will inform me the result thereof after the completion of the investigation. I hope they stay true to their words because I am in no mood for jokes at the moment. 

My insurance agent also called me yesterday informing that they will reimburse every single cents that I have incurred for the medical bills. The RM2071.40 was rightfully mine after all, sorry to disappoint commentator Encik Fahizul. May I also remind you, Encik Fahizul, that the prerogative to moderate comments is ABSOLUTELY mine. Thank you very much. 

I am feeling much better. Thank you friends and clients for the  flowers, chocolates, cards and well-wishes. I am forever grateful to be blessed with so many caring family and friends in my life. Thank you, thank you.

Now, let me get back to work (yawn).


Insurance company from hell

(Updated on 27 May 2009 @ 10:46 a.m. Please click this link to read the forum on how impossible this giant corporation can be, told you they are so screwed! Thanks for the info from commentator Man)

My mentor, a senior partner in a renowned law firm, taught me a cardinal principle in practice: When your client is right, he is right. But when your client is wrong, he is right. I heed the advice until today, and Alhamdullillah, I have managed to stay out of trouble with my clients. At times (dare I hope) I feel that they might love me a little. 

But this may not be the case with your insurance company for they take people’s money and only honor your claim as and when they fancy doing so.

As fate would have it, I suffered from slip disc on Sunday. After enough emergency drama at home, I was admitted to the hospital and subsequently being subject to medical tests, processes of which are still foreign to yours truly (who have been blessed with robust health condition before). 

Below is an excerpt of my official complaint letter to Prxxxxxxxx.

“I had called Prxxxxxxxx and spoke to the following persons: Saravanan Vellasamy, Ms. Lou and Ms. Anis. 

Mr Saravanan was unable to answer my detailed enquiry but he kept insisting that the treatment could be dispensed off to outpatient treatment. As I was unhappy, I probed further namely: what are the types of the treatment that you, in your esteemed establishment, deem recoverable under the policy? As he kept beating around the bush, I told him to speak up as I will not tolerate his disconcertingly vague replies.

To my horror, this person shouted at me that if I don’t behave, he will hang up the phone. 

Now, if you could please enlighten me whether your personnel is allowed to speak to any of the policy holders the way Mr. Saravanan spoke to me? 

My second call was pick up by Anis, the first question she uttered to me was: “Apalagi yang Encik nak nih? Kan tadi dah berapa kali call?”

I was aghast with her manner, and I demanded to speak to someone else. I also asked for her prudential’s reference number and full name. She got scared and rudely passed the phone to one Ms Lou. 

Your Ms Lou, picked up the phone and asked this question (in her halting and poor English, if I may add): “Already 3 people cannot assist you, what do you want me to do?” She then proceeded to read out loud my entire policy without  listening to what I have to say. 

Ms Lou also said that I was not properly diagnosed by my doctor. I beg to differ Ms Lou’s unfounded remarks about Doctor Kxx because I have been properly advised by him as to my injury.

Please explain to me if Ms. Lou is indeed a registered medical personnel to gauge Dr. Kxx’s performances?

Challenged beyond my wits, I called my agent, Irexx Lxx, who subsequently asked the hospital to issue a letter to Hospital Alliance Services to explain as to why I need be hospitalised.

The hospital did as instructed, but your establishment took hours before they decided to decline my policy again.”

And that folks, is only a tip of the iceberg. This post is intended to remind that if you are anything like me at all – who gives standing instruction to your credit card company to pay your insurance, been paying for years and never once fall sick – you need to be aware of your policy. 

Hidden behind the finely (read: impossible to read) printed words is the clause that says the insurance company has an upper hand in literally everything. 

This is not about paying the RM2,071.40 hospital bill, this is about how your insurance company can swat you down like a fly. 

I have never sued anyone or anything in my individual capacity, perhaps I should do it to alert the public. Heck, what do I have to loose? My hard-earned RM2,071.40? That’s all there is to it, right?

But if I proceed to champion my rights, the public gets to know how nasty this giant corporation can be. I’ll see you in court, sir.

Lawyers: “Please do some soul-searching”

THE art of writing has always been a passion for me; being a lawyer a job. I keep the two apart for personal reasons. But at times – a certain fracas at the Brickfield’s police station comes to mind – this is not quite possible. Thus, I am forced to temporarily forgo the self-imposed delineation of roles. Therefore, at least for today, I am putting on my lawyer’s hat.

On 7 May 2009, five legal aid lawyers approached the gate of Brickfield’s police station requesting to see their clients, who had been arrested earlier for holding a candle light vigil for activist Wong Chin Huat. The police denied them access despite the detainees’ insistence to be legally represented.

Shortly after that, Brickfield’s OCPD ACP Wan Abdul Bahari, went on a rampage, shouting the litany of his warnings declaring that the gathering was “illegal”. A surreal nightmare then began when the five lawyers, including one journalist, were arrested.

This roughshod behavior of the police means only one thing: a transgression to the rules of law.

On a side note, Malaysiakini had captured the incident on video. This was subsequently uploaded on Youtube. I dare not continue speculating on the extent of damage this has done to my country’s image in the eyes of the world. Really, what is the point of fighting blatant stupidity?

Can someone please switch on the lights for Tuan Wan Abdul Bahari? Please?

Tuan, the right for detainees to be represented by counsels of their choice is enshrined in Article 5(3) of the Federal Constitution (FC) and sub-sections 28A (2) to (7) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC). Since I expect copies of these statutes to be within your disposal, I will refrain from reproducing it for fear of redundancy.

Exception to this right is crystallised in Section 28A (8) of the CPC, allowing the police to deny detainees access to legal representations in extraordinary circumstances. Bar Council’s Human Rights Committee Co-chairman, Andrew Khoo, added that the exception should be invoked when it is believed that the client may pass harmful information to an outsider via the lawyer, or hide evidence, such as in kidnap cases.

Clearly, on the night in question, the police invoked the exception because they had fancied doing so. 

I am also confused, Tuan: how does the sight of a group of lawyers (who went to see their clients) appear, to you, like an illegal gathering?

With all due respect Tuan, I suggest you read the Police Act, CPC and FC in its entirety. Not only the subsection(s) of your personal choice. Ignorance, Tuan, is never an excuse. And if I may add, don’t you think diplomacy is more effective than shouting?

The tyranny of the police force feeds like fungus on the social fabric of our country. To all intents and purposes it must be nipped in the bud, or we will risk the public losing faith in police force (if this doesn’t happened already!).

In the face of this hostility towards lawyers, a question asked by another lawyer, Azhar (Art) Harun, echoes in my head: “Who polices the police?”

But last Sunday, the online news portal reported the IGP’s reply towards the whole fracas : “Please do some soul searching.” If that’s your take, Sir, I rest my case – really. 

I end my post today with a piece of advice to the IGP: Polis Diraja Malaysia needs to be overhauled in all aspects of the law, morale platform and integrity included. While we are at it, perhaps we could also look into the possibility of setting-up a Royal Commission to police the police? 

EGM of the Malaysian Bar

Fellow members of the Bar and friends, 

I can weather jokes about lawyers at ease, but not the practical one done on our five members on Thursday, 7 May 2009, at Brickfields police station. 

The police intimidated our colleagues; 

The police shouted at our collegeues; 

The police stood in the line of justice preventing our collegues to represent their clients. May I also add that they are legal aid lawyers who are rendering free service to the society;

Of course, the police got drunk on power and arrested those five lawyers. 

I know some of you are busy charging the clients by hourly rate, but please vacate your diary on Friday, 15 May 2009, at 3.00 p.m. to attend the EGM. A quorum of 500 members is needed. 

But let us all throng MPPJ’s Civic Hall in solidarity to sober up the drunk police force. They disgust me. 

See whether they dare to arrest ALL of us. 

You may find the following links useful:

1) EGM’s addendum

2) The arrest

3) Bar Council President’s statement 

Death by Caffeine

(Click here for the online version on Malay Mail)

DON’T know about you, but I have many unfathomable addictions in my life. One of them is the copious amounts of coffee I consume daily.

So last Friday, as I was standing in line at Starbucks in Bangsar Village I, a sweet voice in front of the cashier stopped me cold from scrolling the handheld:

“I’ll have a tall, decaf, non-fat, flat latte, please,” said the lanky, pleasant-looking woman, probably in her early 40s, placing her order in a single breath.

Ah, just when I thought I would be minding my own business (which is not often the case).

“With a dash of vanilla, please,” she added while fishing for a wallet in the handbag.

And vanilla too? In her coffee? Curiosity now compelled me to find out more about her complicated drink.

My quick, nosy enquiry with the barista taught me a few lessons on Starbucks’ language. Let’s decipher her order, shall we?

Tall refers to the size of the beverage she wanted. Commercial coffee sold in modern day café comes in four types: short, tall, grande and venti… please don’t ask me to pronounce the last two names. Decaf means only a little caffeine exists in the drinks… honestly, why drink coffee then? Non-fat refers to the absence of fat in the milk added; gauging from her slender frame, she probably has never eaten anything “fatty” all her life. Finally, a flat latte is a very hot coffee without any foam. In other words, order this type only if you want to burn the tip of your tongue.

One question sprang to mind: what is it about coffee? I never knew it could be so adventurous. I began reading about coffee in earnest.

Records on the origin of the devilish little beans are aplenty. My favourite, however, is of an Arabian shepherd named Kaldi who found his goat dancing inexplicably around a shrub with red cherries. Determined to seek the cause of his goat’s euphoria; he tried some of the cherries himself. Kaldi then learnt about the “wake-up” effect the cherries had on his goat. Later on, monks at local monastery – in order to stay awake during prayers – exploited the instant stimulating effect the cherries had on Kaldi. Coffee was then born.

Caffeine in your coffee tickles the nervous and cardiovascular systems; it jolts the brain, sending you into an elevated mood. It takes the edge off fatigue and increases your awareness to the surroundings. The heartbeat, blood flow and respiratory system barrel along at an enhanced speed while the caffeine lasts. If consumed before sleep, it will turn you into an insomniac. All good news for the coffee addicts out there – at least for now.

Of course, the lab rats in health science won’t leave you alone. Medical research shows that dependency on coffee has an adverse effect on systolic pressure, paving way for hypertension in adolescents. If you insist on taking the dangerous elixir, you have to be prepared for the risks of getting a stroke or a heart attack.

Did I also mention that caffeine disrupts sleep patterns; causes tremors, nervousness, restlessness, irritability and even headaches? Blah, blah, blah…

Now that we know what coffee can do to us, what shall we order next?

I thought of plagiarising the immortal words of the late French diplomat, Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord, when I place my order at Starbucks tomorrow: “Coffee please… Make it black as the devil, hot as hell, pure as an angel, sweet as love.”

C’est la vie!

● Elviza Michele Kamal needs to check into a rehab centre for chronic dependency on caffeine. She blogs at

Government frees 3 Hindraft leaders

The Lady of Justice has a reason to smile today following the realease of three Hindraf trio and 10 other detainees under the Internal Security Act 1960 (ISA). Home Minsiter Hishammuddin Hussein says so in a press conference at Putrajaya. 

The 13 to be freed in a few days time are: Zulkepli Marzuki, Jeknal Adil, Azmi Pindatun, P Uthayakumar, M Manoharan, T Vasanthakumar, Zainun Rasyhid, Aboud Ghafar Ismail, Sufian Salih, Hasim Talib, Abdul Jamal Azahari Yusof Mohd Salam and Husin Alih.

They are six Malaysians, two Indonesians and five Filipinos. 

For live report click Malaysiakini, here

 *Wikipedia defines ISA as: “a preventive detention law in force in Malaysia. The legislation was enacted by Malaysian politicians after the country gained independence from Britain in 1957. In essence, it allows for the arrest of any person without the need for trial in certain defined circumstances. Malaysia is one of the few countries in the world whose Constitution allows for preventive detention during peacetime without safeguards that elsewhere are understood to be basic requirements for protecting fundamental human rights.”

(Picture stolen from Malaysiakini)

Krai, my beloved country

(Published in the Malay Mail. Click here for the online version) 

PAK Idrus, the ultimate apolitical blogger this side of the Cybersphere, once confided in me: “The weird thing about aging is that I found my childhood memories to be vivid in my head but I’d have no idea where I put my glasses five minutes ago.”

I know precisely what he’s talking about. Even though there’s a good two decades ahead before my reaching acceptable retirement age, I too have of late been recollecting my growing up years with stunning clarity (but please don’t ask me where my glasses are).

Like sitting on the 17th step of the Tangga Bradley (The Bradley Steps) in Kuala Krai, doing nothing more than simply staring out at the mocha-coloured water of the Sungai Kelantan as it flows hypnotically toward the hilir – end of the river.

Historians list the construction of the Tangga Bradley sometime between 1927-1929. It was named after the then Kuala Krai district officer Gerald Bradley, who reputedly was a very energetic man and cared deeply about the remote and vast territory spanning some 2,300sq km.

Kuala Krai town itself is 64km south of Kota Baru. The administrative district is notorious for its bouts of flooding at the end of each year when the monsoon causes the river to overflow its banks.

Tangga Bradley consists of a series of 79 concrete steps. Back at the time when I was growing up in Kuala Krai, I remember being in awe when told that people living in the vicinity of the river were able to forecast flooding in their areas – and how much time they had just by gauging the water level at the steps.

Tangga Bradley also served as mini jetty for those living along the embankments of the Galas and Lebir rivers. They travelled to Kuala Krai – the nearest town from their remote settlements – every Saturday in mini-boats and sampans. During these visits, they brought agricultural produce to sell in the nearby market, bought groceries and did their banking transactions. They never bothered with “trivial” thing like a wearing life jacket while boating along the river. They have never, as far as I know, done that until today. Life seemed so simple, nothing hanging around anyone’s necks.

From Tangga Bradley, I used to gaze at the few rumah rakit (“floating” houses built on rafts tied to the trees with thick ropes) bobbing up and down along the river. You could see from any step you stood or sat on, that the momentum of life was going full swing: pots and pans clanging against each other, sarongs and sheets flying in the river breeze from make-shift clotheslines, and agile children running and jumping from raft to raft. Their playground.

However, sometime in 1984, some ignorant despot of Kuala Krai thought that it would be a great idea to rewrite history and changed the name of the steps to, geddit, Tangga Krai. How imaginative.

I was baffled. I still am today. While every nation tries to conserve its historical sites, racing headlong to be on Unesco’s World Heritage List, we have erased an Englishman’s name from our history and replaced it with something so clinical. Duh.

French novelist Gustave Flaubert has an almost personal message addressed at us when he wrote: “Our ignorance of history causes us to slander our own times.”

So, sue me, but I wish upon that person who robbed me of a precious name and more, to a haunting “Krai” everywhere for the rest of his life.

● Elviza Michele Kamal is missing home and her stairway to heaven. She blogs at http://elviza.

Postscript: Friends, this article is adopted from my previous posting on 12 October 2008. Click here for the old version.