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Product liability in Malaysia
Since the public began to care about the interests of consumers, the government of Malaysia also pays more concern to the protection of consumer rights. The Consumer Protection Act 1999, also called as CPA, recognized on 15th November 1999 and is designed to protect consumers from defective product. This law has been provides the better safeguard about the benefit of consumers than those laws previously in force (www.kpdnkk.gov.my). In general, this law used to prevent the defect or dangerous product which will cause serious health risks or death.
According to the part X of the Consumer Protection Act 1999 (Consumer Protection Act 1999, 2006, p.55) there is describes the product liability in detail and explain in which circumstances that the manufacturer or seller could be sue for compensation. The part is recording the section 66-interpretation of dependant and producer, s.67-meaning of defects, s.68-liability for defective products, s.69-extent of liability for loss or damage, s.70-application of other written law, s.71-prohibition on exclusion from liability, and s.72-defences, each of this have carefully explain the legal responsibility in product liability.
In details, the Consumer Protection Act 1999 contain interpretation in section 66 describe that damage define bodily injury or death, or any damage to property, dependant has describe in the Civil Law Act 1956 [Act 67] which means who is cannot take care of themselves and need to seek help from others (registry.usm.my), producer means the persons who involve in the manufacturing process, and product means any products which including a component part or raw material. In product liability, meaning of defect in section 67 describes a product that cannot be used for the desired purposes or result in dangerous because of an error or imperfection (Goldring,J.,Consumer protection law,p.105). Liability for defective products in section 68 describes that any person who involves in product producing process has to held responsible for any injury or damage that caused by the defective products (www.cbi.eu). In section 69-extent of liability for loss or damage define that if any damage that is caused wholly or partly by a defect of a product, the liability of the producer liable for the damage will exclude the loss to the defective product or the damage is intended by the consumer suffering the loss or damage mainly for own private use or occupation (Burnett,R.& Bath,V., 2009). Application of other written law which under section 70 state that any damage any damage is caused partly by a defect of a product and/or partly by the fault of the person who suffered the damage, the Civil Law Act 1956 will have effect as if the defect were the fault of every person liable under this part for the damage caused by the defect. Besides, prohibition on exclusion from liability in section 71 describe that a person who has suffered damage caused wholly or partly by a defect in a product shall not be limited by any contract term, notice or other provisions. However, in section 72-defences there is define that a defendant may raise numerous defence to avoid any civil liability, a defendant also make allegations against the plaintiff or raise a defense to argue that even if the allegations against the defendant are true, the defendant is nevertheless not legally responsible.
For instances, currently many company in different industry has been implemented product liability prevention to avoid liability for any damage, harm, injury, cost or expense to any consumer such as the Hexa Analisa Sdn.Bhd. which is under Fibon group and selling electronic products. When the buyer found defective or unqualified products, Fibon will recall the product and give the appropriate compensation such as repair or refund the money (www.fibon.co.uk). Moreover, Steptoe & Johnson LLP as a multidimensional international company they are implement Consumer Product Safety Commission in order to prevent producing defective product or damage to consumer (www.steptoe.com).
Additionally, in Malaysia, the trial is not decide by the jury but the judge and the court does not has right to assign technical specialists to assemble with the judge and assess the evidence presented by the parties. Besides, a high court trial may need two to four years to proceed. According to Courts of Judicature Act 1964, also called CJA, this part provides a right of appeal to the court to appeal against a decision of a judge of the high court but the amount of the subject-matter of the claim should less than RM250,000 (www.kehakiman.gov.my). In addition, Malaysia has many senior counsels whose is expertise in this area such as Dato’ Cecil Abraham and Dhinesh Bhaskaran (www.iclg.co.uk).
Besides, many insurance company in Malaysia have been introduce the product liability insurance, this is specially to manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and anyone else whose are involved in the product design, manufacture or supply chain that has a responsibility in ensuring that the products does not cause bodily injury to anyone and loss to property. If the product does cause harm, the insurance company will bear all the costs and expenses of litigation incurred in the defence of a suit provided prior written consent of the insurance company is first obtained (www.tokiomarine.com.my). In Malaysia, there are many insurance company provide businesses this type of insurance policy such as Kurnia Insurans, AXA Insurance, and MAA assurance.
In conclusion, product liability has a profound impact on each country and each government also undertake different law to protect consumer from defective product or damage to property.
Laws of Malaysia Act 599: Consumer Protection Act 1999 (2001). Retrieved July 20, 2010, from http://www.kpdnkk.gov.my/akta/akta_perlindunganpengguna1999.pdf
Laws of Malaysia Act 599: Consumer Protection Act 1999 (2006). Percetakan Nasional Malaysia Bhd. Retrieved July 20, 2010, from http://www.scribd.com/doc/10962714/Consumer-Protection-Act-1999-Act-599
Laws of Malaysia Act 67: Civil Law Act 1956 (2006). Percetakan Nasional Malaysia Bhd. Retrieved July 20, 2010, from http://registry.usm.my/upu/Akta-Akta/Civil%20Law%20Act%201956.pdf
Burnett,R.& Bath,V.( 2009). Law of international business in Australasia. .). Published in Sydney by The Federation Press. Retrieved July 20, 2010, from http://books.google.com.my/books?id=GXHCkbxgpvgC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false
Goldring,J. (1998). Consumer protection law (5th ed.). Published in Sydney by The Federation Press. Retrieved July 20, 2010, from http://books.google.com.my/books?id=JqMD_8uyAskC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false
Fibon-A brand you can trust: Product Liability. Retrieved July 20, 2010, from http://www.fibon.co.uk/liability.htm
Consumer products/products liability. Retrieved July 20, 2010, from http://www.steptoe.com/practices-84.html
EU legislation: Liability for defective products. Retrieved July 20, 2010, from http://www.cbi.eu/download/mid_preview/414.pdf
Courts of Judicature Act 1964. Retrieved July 20, 2010, from http://www.kehakiman.gov.my/legislation/Court_Of_The_Judicature_Act.shtml
The international comparative legal guide to: Product liability 2006. Retrieved July 20, 2010, from http://www.iclg.co.uk/khadmin/Publications/pdf/893.pdf
Public liability. Retrieved July 20, 2010, from http://www.tokiomarine.com.my/product_commercial/prod_comm_liability.php