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Civil wrongs

"The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them."

– Ida B. Wells, founder of the NAACP

Civil wrongs invariably happen when civil rights are distorted and decimated in litigated cases. Civil rights are property rights within the scope and substance of Article 13 Federal Constitution (FC). Property rights can be both corporeal and incorporeal declared the Supreme Court of Indian in Dwarkadas Shrinivas v. Sholapur Spinning &Weaving Co., A.I.R. 1954 S.C. 119. Tun Suffian, Lord President, quoted extensively from this Indian decision in Government of Malaysia v. Selangor Pilot Association [1975] 2 M.L.J. 66. The judiciary stood up and stood tall in upholding human dignity and decency without restraint and concern for an overreaching executive.

Civil wrongs wrought by a weak or pliant judiciary are immune from attack until a legislature overrules judgments that are not helpful, comfortable or palatable to the politics of the day. Judicial appointments by an elected executive, and not by the electorate, qualify as a civil wrong. Claimants of civil rights fail in the midst of rights because excessive law chokes common sense, logic, and ultimately the very essence of what is fair and just.

It has been said in Malaysian courts that legislation defers to the will of Parliament and not to that of the executive: Comptroller-General of Inland Revenue v. N.P. [1973] 1 M.L.J. 165 (High Court in Malaya), and Arumugam Pillai v. Government of Malaysia [1975] 2 M.L.J. 29 (Federal Court, Malaysia). Both these cases raised the issue of the right to property as provided for in Article 13 FC, but constitutional supremacy was subsumed by thorny legislation when judges wrestled with the letter of the law instead of ...


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