Monday, November 5, 2012

Your Responsibility To Know The Constitution

Ironically, I discovered Malaysians don't know what is Constitution, even though our Supreme Law of the land can be found in a printed form, unlike the UK's uncodified version.

I attended many Constitution / Human Rights workshop, seminars and sharing sessions, and I met many interesting people in which they are from different social category in this society. When they were asked about the understanding of Constitution, funny but sad enough to acknowledge that, the education of the Constitution is a failure.

"Apa ni? Boleh makan kah?"

"Constitution? Is it something like Bersih?"

"Oh Perlembagaan tu maksudnya Raja kan?"

"Oh this is Rukun Negara!" (obviously he is referring to Keluhuran Perlembagaan)

A short article could not express a detailed explanation on the Constitution as it is the most basic but supreme law of the land. Basically, Constitution confers and divided the powers from top to toe, from Yang Di-Pertuan Agung to the people. It created many creatures such as the Government (Executive), the Court (Judiciary), the Parliament (Legislator), Attorney-General, and etc. It governs the operations of this federation and distinguish the powers between the federal and states.

Thus, why it is important to know the Constitution?

The answer is short and simple, your rights are governed under the Constitution! Your rights to life, sleep, movement, speech and even rights to eat chicken rice, are housed under every articles laid down in the Constitution.

I am not going to write lengthy and boring essay but I would use some questions to lead your mind to the supreme Constitution:-

a) Do you actually know that your Malaysian nationality is not granted by issuing an IC to you? It is actually the Constitution says so! - Article 14

b) As a Peninsular citizen, do you know Sabah & Sarawak state government have the power (discretionary) from blocking your access into the states?

c) Do you know you can't be detained for more than 24 hours unless you are remanded?

d) Do you know that your fundamental liberties (including right to eat chicken rice) can be taken away if the Constitution be amended with 2/3 majority in the House? (Parliament)

e) Is Malaysia an Islamic or secular state? (to me it is not important to know)

Anyhow, the Bar Council Constitutional Law Committee is active in promoting Constitution to everyone and anyone. Do not think the Constitution is only for lawyers and law students.

Start from today. Equipping yourself with some knowledge on the Constitution. Well if the book is maybe too thick for you, alternatively you may choose to download the Rakyat Guide prepared by the Constitutional Law Committee in an understandable and simple manner, for the benefits of all.

There will be more workshops coming on for the MyConsti campaign run by the Committee. It is absolutely free and conducted by some humor and interesting (young & handsome/pretty) practicing lawyers. Something you wish not to miss out.

I will be sharing more info from time to time!

A video on the Constitutional Peasant (watch the citizen and the King, funny enough!)
Credit to Bar Council Constitutional Law Committee for sharing this video.

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