I took this excerpt regarding 'Who am I' from my Professional Practice Paper for my Masters degree, which is my final paper for me to graduate with an Islamic finance qualification. In that PPP, I need to relate how my business has anything to do with Islamic finance. I am now trying to kill 2 birds with 1 stone by writing this PPP and writing this blog post (Read why here).
Before I continue, the rules in Malaysia regarding lawyers advertising their service is that I cannot say I am good at what I do. I cannot even solicit for business or tell of the victory that I have achieved in courts or other places. This will be very bland and matter of fact. Here is my story :
Going to the very basic (as this is an academic paper), I was a student during my secondary school years of Sekolah Menengah Agama Persekutuan which was a full boarding school in which Arabic language were taught and a must for all students to pass before we can pass high school. I took my law degree at the Universiti Kebangsaan
(National University of Malaysia) after passing my matriculation between 1994 until 1998. Again, Arabic is a must-pass subject and we were also taught the syariah aspect of the law which include the basic syariah law, Islamic criminal law, Islamic commercial law (muamalat), Islamic judicial law, Islamic evidence law and rules of syariah court in Malaysia. Through these subjects, I have managed to understand the basic regarding Islamic commercial law, which is the basis for Islamic finance and the backbone of how Islamic finance products from the basic saving accounts to the complicated sukuk are made today. Malaysia
When I graduated from Universiti Kebangsaan
, I practiced as a lawyer in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, as a criminal lawyer. I also managed to obtain a certificate as a syarie lawyer which is required of all lawyers who wanted to practice the syariah law in any state in Malaysia . The hierarchy and separation of law in Malaysia Malaysia between conventional law and syariah law is such that all states in are allowed to manage their own qualification for someone to practice syariah law in the court of that particular state. Some have their own judicial panel to allow lawyers to practice in that particular state syariah courts, some require those who applied to take exams and some interviews their candidate. Malaysia
In my case, Negeri Sembilan (at that particular time) does not have an examination for syarie lawyer to pass to practice. They conducted interviews by a panel of syariah imminent persons which is chaired by the mufti of Negeri Sembilan and anyone who passed the interview will be issued a syarie lawyer certification and allowed to practice in the syariah court of Negeri Sembilan. I managed to pass that interview and I practiced as a syarie lawyer for 2 years in Negeri Sembilan, even when I have moved my practice to Bandar Sunway, Selangor.
In 2001, when I opened my practice in Selangor, my firm’s objective is to corner the real estate market which was the sunrise business at that particular time. As the real estate business is closely tied with the retail banking business, we also targeted banks as our clients. We send out our legal firm profiles, set up appointments, take the bankers for lunch or dinner, struck deal between bankers and developers so that they can benefited from each other and do all the things within our ambit as a lawyer to market ourselves.
The real estate market at that time was recuperating from the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis and the banks were still in the process of consolidation. Banks' staff morale are still fragile and well-known banks were 'eaten' up by smaller banks. From more than 20 banks, Malaysia were left with 11 (or was it 10) local banks. Even banks from around Asia which has branches in Malaysia consolidated themselves. We had many opportunity to market ourselves.
Other than just concentrating ourselves on real estate and banking, I still nurture myself to be able to handle a few other type of law. As this post is getting longer, let me continue that in another post....