Malaysia Bagus News
Malaysia Bagus News
PETALING JAYA: When 54-year-old odd-job worker lost her husband and had trouble making a claim with the Social Security Organisation (Socso), she sought the help of the Bar Council’s Legal Aid Centre.
She won her case and was awarded RM10,000 in costs incurred in the case last year but then Lam Kun Tai learnt a painful truth – she could not get the money.
She did not know the centre was entitled to keep the RM10,000 costs awarded.
The Kuala Lumpur Legal Aid Centre decided to give Lam only RM1,193 of the RM10,000, retaining the remainder.
Lam, who works as a part-time dishwasher at a restaurant, said the RM10,000 would be useful to her as jobs are harder to come by after the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I would like the entire amount to help me during my hard times now,” she said. Even her lawyer, Manimagalai Gowin, thinks she should be given the full amount.
She hoped the centre would give the entire amount to Lam as she was in need of the money. “She is a contract worker and from the B40 lower-income group.”
In a landmark ruling, a woman whose marriage was not registered under civil law was recognised as the surviving widow by the court and deemed entitled to Socso pension.
Lam fell under the category of “dependent” as the widow of her late common law husband Leow Teng Song. Leow was a supervisor who died on Nov 16, 2015. She has four children.
Lam was awarded RM10,000 in costs.
Manimagalai said her client had won the case in both the High Court (in 2017) and Court of Appeal (last year). She was entitled to RM5,000 in costs from each court.
She said the Kuala Lumpur Legal Aid Centre had decided to only give Lam RM1,193 out of the RM10,000, retaining the remainder.
Lam is not educated and her eldest son is a special needs child, who is dependent on Lam, the lawyer said.
She said Lam earns about RM60 each time she helps out at weddings and birthday functions.
“Since her husband’s death in 2015, Lam has been fighting the battle with Socso.
“The Covid pandemic has had its effects on her and she only eats one meal a day.”
Manimagalai urged the national legal aid committee to review their policy which states that money won in costs will go to the centre.
“They should review such policies in the interest of justice.”
Reporters is contacting the legal aid centre for comments.
JUSTCLICK & CONNECT