Louis Cheah Beng Poh

1. Louis was one of the three founders of Arifin & Partners.

2. He was with Arifin & Partners from 1 January 1977 till 31 December 2017, when he retired from legal practice.

3. Louis was a St John’s Institution, Kuala Lumpur boy; a Sultan Ismail College, Kota Bharu collegiate; and a University of Singapore graduate, the predecessor of the National University of Singapore.

4. He was “A man of all seasons”.

5. Louis was: –

a. the Secretary of the Bar Council in the 1980s;

b. a member of the Selangor Children’s Spastic Society;

c. a very active Rotarian of the KL ROTARY Club Di Raja which he joined in the 1980s and he served the club in various capacities as a Youth Service Director, a Vice President and was its Secretary for two (2) or three (3) terms;

d. the legal adviser of the Rotary Foundation Malaysia, now known as Yayasan Kelab-Kelab Rotary Malaysia, from the early 1990s till 2004;

e. a legal adviser to the Selangor Turf Club;

f. an accredited Malaysian Golf Association referee; and

g. a Secretary of the Outward-Bound School, Lumut.

6. He was also very active in his beloved club, the Kelab Golf Negara Subang.

7. Most interestingly, Louis had the “honour” of being the first defendant in the case of Pendakwa Raya v Cheah Beng Poh & Ors. Cheah Beng Poh & Ors. V Pendakwa Raya [1984] 2 MLJ 225 where Louis and 41 lawyers were prosecuted by his “Singapore U” classmate, Mohtar Abdullah (a future Attorney General) for having taken part in an unlawful assembly in a public place without a licence.

8. Louis started his legal career when he commenced his pupillage in Shearn Delamore under his pupil master Douglas G Rawson, a Scotsman in 1970, of whom Louis took the trouble to visit his pupil-master at his home in Scotland when he was setting his son, Patrick up into university in September 1994.

9. He was admitted as an Advocate and Solicitor of the High Court of Malaya on 18 December1970 and spent more than six (6) years in Shearn before founding Arifin & Partners.

10. He was a very good friend of the late Ronald Khoo, the former senior partner of Shearn Delamore and the former Chairman of the Selangor Turf Club.

11. Louis met his lovely wife, the late Mary Cheah (who was the late Ronald Khoo’s secretary till he passed away) in Shearn.

12. Mary Cheah was a constant persona of Arifin & Partners.

13. For this reference, I had to ask Tang Woh Heng (the firm’s consultant), Mastura Ma’sud (my partner) and Louis’s old and personal friends “what have I missed out about Louis”?

14. We all agreed that Louis was a wonderful man.

15. A man who:-

a. was charming;

b. was humorous, always full of jokes – some placid and some “dirty” – but mostly the latter;

c. was always obliging to his friends and also his partners in Arifin & Partners – which Tang, Mas and I can attest to;

d. loved the law;

e. read so much (I had the honour to “inherit” six “big” boxes of his books from his beloved son);

f. loved poems, especially “love poems” (his collection of a rare set of “Nanushka” poems are now with Mas); and

g. practised law and never treated the law as a “business”.

16. His friends and his staff in Arifin & Partners loved and adored him – one his oldest friend (Allen Cheong who knew him since 1970) told me in a Whatsapp message – “I have never met anyone who had so many friends and who was more loved by all than Louis”.

17. He was always ready to do pro bono work for the less fortunate.

18. Both Louis and Mary were blessed with their only child, Patrick.

19. Patrick was Louis’s joy.

20. Louis took care of Patrick, nurtured him and loved him more than anything else in the world.

21. Not many people would know that Louis’s late father was the Badminton Association of Malaysia (“BAM”) Secretary and Thomas Cup team manager from 1949 to 1967.

22. Louis’s late father missed Louis’s graduation in Singapore because of the Thomas Cup.

23. Louis vowed to Patrick that “he would not miss Patrick’s graduation for anything in the world” which was to be in June 1997.

24. There was to be no repeat for Louis for Patrick “like his dad”.

25. However, by then Louis had suffered a massive stroke at the height of his career on 4 February 1997.

26. But thanks to Louis’s good friend, the late Professor John Joseph Bosco, a leading figure in the field of clinical haematology in Malaysia, who was then the Head of Medicine in University Hospital, Kuala Lumpur; Louis survived.

27. Professor John Bosco made arrangements to transfer Louis from Tung Shin Hospital to the University Hospital immediately upon seeing his condition.

28. I remembered the incident vividly because I had rushed to Tung Shin Hospital to see Louis when I first found out that he had suffered a stroke.

29. Professor John Bosco got a team of University Hospital’s neurologists headed by Professor CT Tan to attend to Louis and Professor John Bosco and his wife, Professor Gracie Ong who was also with the University Hospital then took good care of Louis.

30. Louis’s recuperation took a long time.

31. According to Professor Gracie Ong, Louis booked a stadium in Shah Alam to “practise” his driving skills to get himself back into the mode of driving.

32. Patrick told me that “Dad worked super hard to be able to fly over for my graduation … he had to learn how to walk, talk, write etc … then worked hard to board the plane to Scotland” and happily for both father and son, Louis made it to Patrick’s graduation.

33. Such was the determination of Louis to get on with life after his stroke.

34. Personally, Louis and Mary were always very caring and thoughtful of my welfare, especially when I first started in Arifin & Partners as a pupil.

35. I miss Louis very much and I constantly think of him and I “see” him every day in the office because we have his “Notice of Passing” in the STAR newspaper laminated and fixated in Arifin & Partners’s message board.

36. “Thank you” Louis for blessing us from the “above” and keeping us well and safe.

POSTCRIPT, I wish to thank: –

1. Louis’s old and dear friends – Dato’ and Datin Beh Lye Huat, Tay Chong Chim, Allen Cheong, Professor Gracie Ong, Tay Kwok Peng and Chris Wong;

2. Ms. Shanti Mogan of Shearn Delamore;

3. Louis’s son, Patrick; and

4. of course, Tang and Mas in Arifin & Partners;

for the additional information provided to me.

Written By,
Steven CF Wong