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Does PAP high-flying Murali have time for Bt Batok residents?

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By: 永久浪客/Forever Vagabond
The new candidate Murali Pillai for the Bukit Batok by-election is a high-flying lawyer from the heavyweight Rajah & Tann law firm.
The Singapore based law firm is said to be the largest law firm in Southeast Asia with over 300 lawyers and fee-earners. It has practices in banking, competition, corporate governance, corporate finance, dispute resolution, information technology, infrastructure, insolvency, insurance, mergers and acquisitions, shipping, telecommunications and trade. Its clientele ranges from multinational and Fortune 500 corporations to high-tech enterprises (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rajah_%26_Tann_Asia).
Mr Murali himself is a partner in Rajah & Tann and personally heads the law firm’s Commercial Litigation Practice department with over 100 lawyers reporting to him (http://www.straitstimes.com/politics/what-you-need-to-know-about-lawyer-murali-pillai-paps-candidate-for-the-bukit-batok-by).
Rajah & Tann’s website described him (http://www.rajahtannasia.com/k.murali), “He (Murali) has a financial, commercial litigation, employment law and arbitration practice dealing with a wide spectrum of matters. He also advises financial institutions on contentious regulatory matters. He is repeatedly pitted against senior counsel. He was cited in The Legal 500 Asia Pacific as ‘a titan in the courtroom’.”
Asialaw Profiles described him as ‘sharp, concise, extremely competent, and gives well-considered and thorough advice’ and he ‘strikes up brilliant rapport with clients’. Clients have also commended his ‘competency, fantastic turnaround time, and commercial approach’.
Rajah & Tann also added, “With his team of top-performing colleagues, his commitment is to provide his clients with timely, business oriented and cost-effective solutions.”
No doubt, Mr Murali must be a very good lawyer with many clients. Following is his resume described on Rajah & Tann’s website:
Experience
Murali has argued several landmark civil and criminal cases in the Supreme Court of Singapore. He has also been appointed as arbitrator in both international and domestic disputes. Highlighted below are several of his cases.
Financial services work
• Acted for private banks in several High Court cases where clients had alleged mis-selling, breach of contractual and tortious duties, etc. against the banks.
• Acted for a bank in an action against a mortgagor, whose committee, appointed under the Mental Disorders & Treatment Act, claimed that the mortgagor acted under undue influence and did not have the capacity at the time to carry out the mortgage.
• Acted for a bank to recover substantial amount of money paid out to third parties by reason of a fraud on the bank.
• Advised several banks on regulatory requirements in relation to the anti-money laundering and international sanctions issues.
• Advised a bank on the local issues arising from action by the US authorities in the US Federal District Court pursuant to the US PATRIOT Act.
• Acted for an insurer to recover a substantial amount of money paid to a policyholder by mistake.
• Acted for a life insurer against a policyholder in a case involving serious allegation of forgery.
Employment, fraud and directors’ disputes
• Acted for multinational companies in employment matters which require enforcement of restrictive covenants.
• Acted for several financial institutions in employment issues arising from the departure and recruitment of senior employees involving issues of enforcement of post-termination restrictive covenants and banking secrecy.
• Advised and acted for a telecommunications company in a claim against one of its ex-retail executive for breach of employment contract in wrongfully misappropriating 106 handsets over a sustained period of more than 2 years.
• Acted for the Singapore subsidiary of a leading Japanese manufacturing company listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on the termination of the employment of a long-serving employee amidst allegations that the company had failed to make Central Provident Fund contributions to the employee.
• Acted for a life insurer against its financial director in an action where it was alleged that the life insurer provided a false reference check maliciously or, in the alternative, negligently.
• Acted for a multi-national company in its action against its former director for breach of fiduciary duties and recovery of assets purchased using company funds.
• Acted for a bank to recover substantial amount of money and assets from an employee who defrauded the bank.
• Advised and acted for the Singapore branch of a Hongkong-based bank to effect a claw-back of a sign-on bonus following the departure of a senior management employee.
• Advised the Singapore branch of a popular regional restaurant on the potential liability of both the company and its director arising from a raid conducted by the Ministry of Manpower at its central kitchen, and subsequent investigations carried out by the Ministry of Manpower in relation to the company’s employment of foreign workers.
Commercial disputes
• Argued for the recognition of the common law tort of harassment for the first time in Singapore.
• Acted for a director and shareholder in a High Court claim involving issues of breaches of fiduciary duties and conditions in a distributorship agreement.
• Acted for a minority shareholder against a listed company, the majority shareholder, in a minority oppression case.
• Argued for the Law Society of Singapore before the Court of 3 Judges for the admission of video and audio recordings surreptitiously taken by a private investigator as substantive evidence. This case is the leading Singapore case on the treatment of entrapment evidence.
• Acted and argued successfully for a former Director of Commercial Affairs Department accused of committing Criminal Breach of Trust. This was a special case stated (the 1st in more than 30 years then) before the Chief Justice on the evidential treatment of representations made to the Attorney-General Chambers.
• Acted for the biggest ready-mixed concrete company in Singapore both at trial and at the Court of Appeal against claims arising from the 2007 ban by the Indonesian government against the import of sand into Singapore.
• Acted for the executors of the estate of a well-known personality in a probate matter where allegations of malfeasance on the part of the executors were raised.
• Acted for a purchaser in an aborted deal for shares in a company that was to be listed against the vendor who sued to complete the deal in a well-publicised trial as well as its ensuing appeal.
• Acted for a statutory board in an action involving the issue of whether promissory estoppel can arise over state land.
• Acted for a systems and equipment integration company in arbitrations involving complex engineering disputes arising from a turnkey project with its suppliers.
• Acted for a listed company against its joint venture partner in an international ICC arbitration concerning disputes arising from a sewerage and waste treatment plant project.
• Acted for a former Member of Parliament charged with offence of criminal breach of trust as an agent, the most serious white collar offence in the Penal Code. His client was acquitted without entering a defence. The acquittal was upheld on appeal too.
• Acted for a statutory board to resist a judicial review application by a temple requiring the board to offer a piece of state land.
• Acted for a listed company in a judicial review application against the Commissioner of Buildings to quash his decision issued against the company.
Memberships / Directorships
• Fellow, Singapore Institute of Arbitrators
• Member, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, UK
• Member, Law Society of Singapore
Publications
• Contributor to 2 chapters dealing with Scheme of Arrangement and Judicial Management in Law and Practice of Corporate Insolvency, published by LexisNexis, 2014
• “Legal Systems of Asian Countries on Debt Collection”, Financial Law Journal, 10 Feb 2014.
• “A Parent Company’s Responsibility to its Subsidiary’s Employees”, Law News, Rajah & Tann LLP, July 2012.
• “The Duty of a Stockbroker to its Client”, Law News, Rajah & Tann LLP, Aug 2011.
• “Battle of the Forms: When a Third Entrant Wins”, Law News, Rajah & Tann LLP, Apr 2011
• “Can Entire Agreement and Exclusion Clauses Cure Misrepresentations”, Law News, Rajah & Tann LLP, Jan 2011.
• “The Court’s Disapproval of Expert Shopping”, Law News, Rajah & Tann LLP, Nov 2010.
• “When Must a Party Elect Between Contractual Termination and Common Law Repudiation”, Law News, Rajah & Tann LLP, Sep 2010.
• “Examining the Opt-In Nature of the Electronic Discovery Practice Direction”, Law News, Rajah & Tann LLP Jun 2010.
• “Beneficial Owner of Property Can Claim for Foreseeable Economic Losses in an Action for Negligence”, Law News, Rajah & Tann LLP, Jun 2010.
• “Withholding Key Information During Negotiations May Constitute Misrepresentation”, Law News, Rajah & Tann LLP, May 2010.
• “Financial Crisis Does Not Render Contractual Terms Commercially Absurd”, Law News, Rajah & Tann LLP, May 2010.
• “Oral Representations May Supersede Written Quotations in Business Negotiations”, Law News, Rajah & Tann LLP April, 2010.
• “Revisiting the High Court’s Revisionary Jurisdiction to Enhance Sentences in Criminal Cases” (2009) 21 SACLJ135.
• “Threshold test for anti-suit injunctions”, Law News, Rajah & Tann LLP Dec 2009 (4).
• “Parties may be permitted to construe contractual provision in a way inconsistent with its syntax, Law News, Rajah & Tann LLP, Aug 2009 (3).
• “Bona fide intention when exercising rights under ‘break’ clauses in lease agreements”, Law News, Rajah & Tann LLP, Mar 2009 (6).
• “No discretion to exclude Evidence Act”, Law News, Rajah & Tann LLP, Feb 2008(2).
• “Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters to be Provided in More Instances”, Law News, Rajah & Tann 2007 (7).
• “A Profound Change in The Duty to Inform a Patient of Risks”, Law Lines, Rajah & Tann, Dec 2004 (6).
• Contributing Editor to Singapore Civil Procedure 2013, 2007 and 2003.
• Contributor to 2 chapters dealing with Scheme of Arrangement and Judicial Management in Law and Practice on Corporate Insolvency published by Butterworths (2005).
• Contributor to Money Laundering Terrorism and Financial Institutions publication by Civic Research Institute, Inc. (2004)
With such an active legal career and so many legal papers to publish, the question Bukit Batok residents have to ask themselves is that does Mr Murali have time for them should he be elected as Bukit Batok MP?
Being an MP is a privilege and a full time job
A former British MP, Tessa Munt, who used to work 100 hours a week (14 hours a day) in her MP job has this to say (http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/being-mp-privilege-full-time-5266028), “How can MPs find the time to have jobs on the side when there is so much to do! And more to the point, why do they want to?”
“Being an MP is a vocation and a public service. It’s an honour and privilege. It is a full-time job. We have a unique opportunity to help change things locally and nationally and to help people who don’t have a voice,” she added.
She said that if MPs want to earn big money, they should not enter Parliament and “squander the fantastic opportunity” given to them by those who voted for him or her.
“The people you represent should be your priority,” she added. Despite working 100 hours a week as MP, she did not complain. She explained, “I love my job.”
Another British MP, Stephen Doughty, has also argued that being an MP is a full-time job (http://www.stephendoughty.org.uk/stephens-view-from-westminster-column-why-being-an-mp-is-a-full-time-job-2).
“I can wholeheartedly say that being an MP is absolutely a full-time job,” he said.
“I’ve listened to arguments put forward by those who maintain it’s not a full-time role, and that there’s ample time for MPs to take on second jobs (and second salaries), but I simply can’t understand how this can be the case, either practically or morally.”
“I find some of the arguments being put around, that MPs should be able to earn huge amounts in addition to their salaries, through paid directorships and consultancies, quite extraordinary.”
“The idea that these paid roles help make better laws is a diversion. Supporting a local charity as a patron is one thing – being paid thousands of pounds for advising a foreign government or an oil company is quite another.”
“It’s this sort of thing that brings the reputation of our political system down… In my view, MPs should be dedicated to the service of their constituents. People need to know that when they vote, they are electing someone who will represent them directly, and not be swayed by what they may owe to the interests of others.”
Meanwhile, PAP Murali has told the Bt Batok residents that they can only get a $1.9 million infrastructure upgrade if they vote for him.

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