Constitution AND Constitutionalism


Since I entered the academic world, most of my subjects given to teach were related to Constitutional Law. I taught Constitutional Law I and II to Bachelor of Law students and Introduction to Government and Politics to Foundation students.I have a soft spot for Constitutional Law maybe because I am also an admirer of Malaysian most respected Constitutional Law Scholar, other than the fact that sometimes I am amaze at how our Constitution was drafted. 

I was given the chance to work with a person I respected the most, he is like a father to me. We sometimes were given the task to draft exam questions together. Of course, he had it all edited again what I had submitted hahaha. But I learnt a lot from him. To this day, I remember what he told me when I went to him for advice on some personal problems. "_____, when your back is pressed against the wall, that is when you know you had to fight" Which I did. 

Throughout my teaching years, I had always reminded my students, if you ever write "The Federal Constitution was enacted...." then I will certainly fail you. Because our FC was never enacted, unlike other Statutes that were enacted by the Parliament or State Legislative Assemblies. Our FC was drafted by the Reid Commission. I remember learning about the Reid Commission as early as in Form 5 but it all only made sense when I was in my Foundation. That was the time when I really paid attention to the lecturer's explanation about Reid Commission. Amazing isn't it because the FC was drafted for Malaysia(Malaya at that point of time) but none of the drafters were actually from Malaysia...

Another point that I am amazed of is the fact that we were advised by the Queen to draft a written Constitution to be our guidance when everybody knows in UK they have an unwritten Constitution. Irony isn't it? 

I also find it amazing that our Chapter of Human Rights in the FC was named as Fundamental Liberties. Of course, there were reasons why it had been named that way. And I only did some research about that when one of my students asked me about it and that get me into thinking too hahaha. So basically speaking, our fundamental liberties is not absolute. Hence, the term fundamental used. I agree and concur. Sometimes when you give too much freedom it can lead to chaos. Imagine giving your children total freedom in what they say and what they do. Without guidance and good command, can they really turn into a noble human being? I doubt it. We had seen what the teenagers nowadays had turned into because the parents (the controller) are too soft on them.

Constitution is like the fundamental guidance and basis for a country. I am glad that Malaysia has one. However, respect for the Constitution is another story.

This is where the subject Constitutionalism comes in. You can have a perfect Constitution, drafted by brilliant legal scholars and experts, but at the end of the day, what do you get when people couldn't care less about it?

That is why Constitution and Constitutionalism must co-exist. The people must learn to accept that these two co-exist. You must not only have the law, you must also respect the law. And it is not fair to blame that the law is oppressive if you did not learn to accept the law in the first place. You cannot deny the fact that law is important for the human kind. Can you imagine how our life would be if there is no law? If I am angry at you, I can just kill you. Someone from your family would then kill me. Then Mr H would want to pay revenge, he will find you and kill you. Someone from your family would then kill Mr H. Then where will all this end?

This is also one of the purpose of court's punishment and sentencing that we teach to law students. To respond to the anger of the society. You can't just take matters into your own hands. After all, we are not God.



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