Wilfred Yap: Pause, think, decide before signing on the dotted line

Yap (in white shirt) in discussion with the elderly woman and her sister seeking his assistance and legal advice on her problem.

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KUCHING, Feb 3: It is of paramount importance to check, understand and know what a person is getting into before signing any contracts because they will become legally binding documents.

Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) Public Complaints Bureau (PCB) chief Wilfred Yap gave this advice after providing assistance to an elderly woman and her sister who was issued a letter of demand from a legal firm alleging that they owed RM130,000 but they were not aware of what was going on.

“And that if she did not pay up, her property in which she is currently staying would be transferred to the alleged creditor,” he revealed in a statement today.

Yap was also made to understand that the elderly woman had previously signed some documents at the ground floor of a legal firm at the request of her son who has since passed away but she did not know what she was signing and the content of what she was signing was never explained to her.

As the woman had lodged a police report on the matter, Yap has requested the police to conduct a proper investigation on the matter.
“To avoid problems, I would like to advise the public to be very careful before they sign any document.

“This is because the general legal principle is that the person signing the document is bound by its terms regardless of whether that person has read or understood it or otherwise,” he stressed.

Yap pointed out that when a document containing contractual terms was signed, then, in the absence of coercion, fraud or misrepresentation, the party or person signing it was bound and it was immaterial whether he or she had read the document or not.

“What if the document is in English or Bahasa Malaysia, but you don’t speak English or Bahasa Malaysia. The law is that the language barrier is not an excuse.

“Before anyone signs an agreement or contract in a language he does not understand, the onus is on him to ask someone who understands the language or to ask a lawyer about the content of the document,” he emphasised.

SUPP PCB is always ready to lend a helping hand to anyone facing problems or who come across problems of public interest but does not know how to deal with it.

Anyone requiring assistance can always call SUPP PCB mobile number at 016-7797688 or 082-246999 or visit the SUPP Head Office personally to request for assistance. -DayakDaily