How do the ‘Rule of Law’ and Separation of Powers’ really work?

In the last few weeks we have been hearing the phrase ‘the Rule of Law’. It is time to examine this and another related concept, the ‘Separation of Powers’. If we do, we will encourage our nation rulers to work better, work more effectively, and work to produce justice. Rule of Law The concept of Rule of Law is easy to understand.  You needn't be a lawyer to know what it is: you can ...

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Gerrymandering: Destruction Of A Democracy-101

Is every vote of equal strength? Does every vote, cast at any part of the nation, possess the same effect? Let’s use the 2018 General Elections (GE-14) as an example. The Kapar parliamentary constituency [P109] represents one seat in parliament. The Putrajaya constituency [P125] also represents one seat. What is the difference? Kapar had, in GE-14, 124,983 voters. Putrajaya had 27,314 voters. So, comparing apple-to-apple, for a single parliamentary seat, Kapar had 4.6 times ...

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The deathly silence of dissent in our courts…

Dissent means disagreement between judges.  In a case comprising, say 3 judges, a dissent occurs when one judge distances himself or herself from the other 2 on grounds of legal principle. A dissent is not without its uses.  It may limit the majority decision in some way.  Or the dissent may bear a seed of a wonderful legal point waiting to germinate at some future time. A brilliant lawyer will water ...

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Is Any Former Prime Minister Immune From Criminal Prosecution?

A recent spate of social media messages argue that the former prime minister Najib enjoys absolute immunity from criminal sanction. The messages refer to an article by Mr Charles Hector, entitled: ‘Najib – Cannot be charged for crimes as a public servant until law is changed?’ Now, did Charles say the former PM was immune from any criminal prosecution? In 2016, Tun Mahathir sued Najib.  Mahathir alleged that there had been ...

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Does The AG Need To Be A Malay Or A Muslim? Does He Have To Advise On Syariah Law?

The nation is trundling towards a calamitous constitutional misunderstanding.  Someone has to do something about it and set matters straight. Let us identify what is happening. A debate has begun to rage.  It concerns the identity of the person who should be the next Attorney General.  It is about constitutional provisions regarding what characteristics the Attorney General should have—and whether the current nominee, Mr. Tommy Thomas has them. Two conflicting ideas At the heart ...

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Reconsider status, role and appointment of Attorney General – Amend the Constitution!

The provisions of the Malaysian Federal Constitution - which regulate the powers of the AG  are in a mess. Urgent reform is imperative. The starting point in understanding this mess is Article 145 of the Federal Constitution. Under Article 145(1) the King ‘shall on the advise of the PM' appoint a person who is qualified to be a judge of the Federal Court to be the AG. It is the AG’s duty to advise the ...

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Time To Rebuild The Malaysian Judiciary

Legal History The electoral tsunami is over. It is now time to rebuild institutions of state, the foremost of which is the judiciary. Now that we speak of the judiciary, the first thought that springs to mind is the concept of Rule of Law.  That originated centuries ago.  The English Magna Carta (‘The Great Charter’), signed in 1215, was a turning point for the development of the Rule of Law. Two principles are ...

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