Sometime ago I wanted to open an account with a Singapore stock broker. If you want to trade SGX shares then it is better to open a trading account in Singapore compared with trading through a Malaysian stock broker. It will be slightly to much cheaper trading this way.

I then proceeded to get the forms from a Singapore stock broker which happened to be Kim Eng Securities Pte Ltd. When you call the Kim Eng helpline they will probably get your local address and offer to send you the forms by mail. To open the account faster you can ask them to email you the forms.

Filling out the forms is the easy part. After that you will have to confirm your identity and the fact that it is you who signed the application form(s) to their satisfaction. To this end in their instructions to you, they will suggest that you get the forms attested and witnessed by either one of the following.
A Lawyer, Commissioner of Oaths, A Notary Public or the Singapore Embassy. Well, in Malaysia, only one of the four parties mentioned by Kim Eng Securities will be able to attest and witness your forms and that is the Notary Public. I personally tried all the other three and found out that both the lawyer and the commissioner of oaths do not have the authority to attest signatures on forms which are used by entities located outside Malaysia. A lawyer can certify a document as a true copy but not attest to signatures on foreign forms. A Commissioner of Oaths on the other hand is not allowed to even sign off documents as certified true copies much less attest to signatures. The Singapore Embassy wiil not attest signatures on forms other than those relating to statutory bodies in Singapore. Singapore private organizations will not have their documents attested by the Singapore Embassy in Malaysia. So that leaves us with only the Notary Public.

Now, another tip is, When you give documents to a Notary public to be notarized, avoid giving documents other than the specific form which is designated to be signed by the Notary Public, that is, give him only the one with the word Notary Public below the space where he/she has to sign to notarize the document. If you provide any other related signed forms then your charges will increase exponentially. A simple small round paper seal stuck on your form will be charged even for pages with mere explanatory notes related to the application. In my case my total cost came up to $235/- which left me flabbergasted. So much to pay just to open a trading account which by the way is f.o.c. in Malaysia. It appears that personally going to Singapore by bus or train would have been slightly cheaper and it can also double as a holiday trip.
So this is how a common lawyer recoups the time, effort and cost of getting the right to notarize documents.

I stay at the end unit of a row of terrace houses. The layout of the two long row of houses have each row facing a road and their backs facing one another. Consequently there is a common long walkway at the back in between the two rows. Apparently some of the residents have had instances when burglars broke into their units possibly because of the dark and secluded walkway. One of the owners ( I shall call him ‘R’ ) residing at a corner unit then decided to have gates installed at both ends of the two rows. I became aware of this issue when a circular requiring owners to indicate their agreement to have such a gated area was given to me about a year earlier. I indicated on the form that I agreed with the idea provided that the proposed gate is the same as the one already fitted to our neighbors in another separate row of terrace houses which was made out of steel bars. Being the owner of one end unit, one side of the two gates would have to be bolted to my kitchen back wall and the other end bolted to my back neighbor’s kitchen wall. ( kitchens are normally located at the back of the houses.)

Sunday 27th Mar 2016 around 9.30am, ‘R’ called me and told me that he was ready to have the gate installed at my end. I then inquired ‘inter alia’ on the issue of ‘ how were the local council workers going to clear the drains once the back walkway was effectively gated’. He said that it would be easier to talk (explain I presume) in person. As we were neighbors although not next to one another I agreed to go to his corner house to ‘talk’.

He showed me the big stack of long metal hollow bars commonly used to fabricate window grills and two contract workers fabricating the gate. I then proceeded to enlighten him that my preference was for the same type of gate as mentioned earlier above. i.e. the type using steel bars already installed by our neighbors. He started telling me about his deeds in helping some of our neighbors in the past. I also pointed out ,what to me are weaknesses in the type of gate selected by him which was already installed at the back of his house. He then responded by saying that I should have mentioned my preference earlier. To which I pointed out that I was not consulted. He then told me that the type of gate I preferred was in fact cheaper than his own type. Of course I then asked why it was not chosen instead. Without answering my question, he then told me that he paid cash to the one of the contract workers when the worker’s wife was sick. Not knowing how that was related to the gate issue, I just smiled and kept quiet. I proceeded to mention other weaknesses in the current design of the gate.

Then suddenly he raised his voice, started berating me and clearly in anger insinuated that I was merely giving all kinds of excuses and was not willing to pay my share. He then further alleged that I was not co-operative because he was an Indian. He also said that he was a psychologist and I guess it meant that he knew what I was up to, whatever that was.  He then turned away and in a hurried manner moved to re enter his back door all the while spouting loudly .Seeing his anger which seemed to be getting out of control, I turned around and began walking away at the same time dryly saying ‘ok in that case I am not going to pay’. Before I could walk far he turned around came back and confronted me again. I then told him that it is better to talk some other time because he was clearly very angry. He then seemed to cool down a bit. I finally said I will think about it, that is whether to pay or not since clearly I was not in favor of his type of gate. He then called the contract worker to talk to me whilst he went back into his house.

The worker then suggested to look at the type of gate I was interested in which was located next to my house some distance away. For some reason a young boy, most probably his son was sent by ‘R’ to accompany me and the worker to keep tabs on what we discussed. The worker then expounded on the features of both types of gates. I tried to explain why I preferred the steel bar type and he did his best to refute my opinions. Finally getting nowhere I told the worker that I would think about the issue and he left with the young man.

There was no explanation on the issue of local council workers clearing the drain and no reason why the cheaper type of gate was not adopted. Further more the worker and R himself agreed that the type of gate I preferred was in fact cheaper than the current type. Why did he decide on the current type I am not sure. I have some ideas but it is only my opinion, no concrete evidence. However what I am sure of is that talking with him is quite unnerving. I am not entirely certain that no bodily harm will come to me if I persist with my questions and line of reasoning. For the time being I am going to ignore his actions and let him carry on as he wishes. At least I learn t something new. Just because a person is supposed to be a psychologist, do not expect them to be well controlled temperamentally. Never judge a person by his profession!