MACC is asked to explain the detention of an attorney in a strata management dispute

Lawyers for Liberty says that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission has exceeded its jurisdiction by arresting a lawyer acting for a stratified properties management corporation’s management company in several civil cases.

Lawyer Lai Chee Hoe, who was brought to the MACC headquarters in Putrajaya for questioning, told his story in a press briefing organised by LFL Tuesday morning (June 11, 2010). He was held for three days, from June 4 through 6, at MACC Headquarters in Putrajaya.

When they came to my office to question me in Kuala Lumpur on the 4th of June, they didn’t tell me what they were looking into but told me that they were investigating members of a Management Corporation which was my client.

“After I had been questioned and handed over documents related their investigation, a notice was given to me to go to MACC Putrajaya to be further questioned.

After a few more hours of questioning at Putrajaya I was issued an arrest warrant at 9pm and sent to a prison cell at midnight.

He said: “I was not informed of any reason for my arrest other than the fact that my client was under investigation.”

Lai was freed on 6 June after posting bail for RM20,000. He had to adhere to several conditions, which were verbally communicated by a MACC official at the time.

Lai said that one of his conditions was to not hold any press conferences related to the issue with his client and the MACC actions against him.

Officers also told me to stop acting on behalf of my client. “As of today, I’m still representing them”, said Lai. He is the principal of Chee Hoe & Associates a law firm that has a reputation for managing disputes under Strata Management Act 2013 with expertise.

He said that his client had engaged him since 2020 to handle a civil case relating to a strata conflict in Ara Damansara in Petaling Jaya where recent court orders in his client’s favour were issued earlier this year.

Lai was never a part of either the joint management group or the management corporation for the strata property.

LFL revealed that Irwin Lo was also questioned by MACC about the same client, despite the fact that Lo’s client’s case had already been resolved in his favor.

Lo spent several hours at MACC Putrajaya giving his statement after being asked to submit all documents related his client’s case.

After being questioned for several hours by two officers, a third entered the room of interrogation but refused to identify himself when I asked.

“This officer used a more confrontational, sarcastic voice when he interrogated me.

He told reporters that he and the other lawyers were working for a client’s ‘personal gain’ before leaving.

Zaid Malek, director of LFL, said that the conditions Lai was given for his release were clearly a threat to him in order to make him abandon his client.

He said that it was international law for lawyers to be free from intimidation and harassment by any government or agency. Then he demanded an explanation immediately from MACC on why they had been reprimanded or questioned while performing their official duties.

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