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Rabbit holes and rabid politics

"Sliding down a rabbit hole is a breeze; but climbing back out is a major battle."
Kate Morton, Australian author

The journey of political science, from the conversion of Roman Emperor Constantine, in 325 CE, the findings of Augustine of Hippo, Thomas Aquinas, Niccolo Machiavelli, Jeremy Bentham, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jean Jacques Rousseau, right up to the works of John Rawls in the 1970s (A Theory of Justice), is a rewarding exercise in stirring concrete with eyelashes.

The trite theme of peace, partnership, prosperity – and national unity – is a veritable rabbit hole where the glaring contrast and conflict between ‘say what I mean, and mean what I say’ is pathetically peppered with shady and shoddy semantics – a government monopoly.

‘Rabbit hole’ is defined as a complexly bizarre or difficult state or situation conceived of as a hole into which one falls or descends. Obviously, there are dedicated professionals tasked with building effective one-way rabbit holes.

Rabbit holes are the bane of citizens for the outrageous benefit of elected officials. Obviously, there are many things to hide, and many, many things that must remain hidden.

Rabbit holes are embarrassingly evident in law courts where facts, the written law, case law, principles of law, the upbringing and training of lawyers and judges clash like a cacophony of music produced by carpenters with saws and hammers.

Our courts of law are becoming echo chambers of doubt, confusion, inconsistency, and uncertainty when questionable judgments beg for the application of Article 162(6) Federal Constitution (judicial power to amend pre- and post Merdeka law). The betrayal is outrageous.

A cursory reading of Article 42(2), among other things, state that “. . .any power to remit, suspend or commute sentences . . . passed by a court-martial or by a civil court . . .” There is no mention of a pardon for a sentence imposed by a criminalcourt.

Do judges and lawyers consider this bizarre omission that festers in Article 42(2)? Can the Interpretation Act 1948/1967 (Act 388), section 4 (Grammatical variations, gender and number), offer any sunlight without inflicting scathing sunburn?

Did the Reid Commission close this obvious rabbit hole in Malaysian jurisprudence? The maxim of law that covers this bizarrely complex point is ‘expressio unius est exclusio alterius’ (Latin), meaning ‘the expression of one thing is to the exclusion of the other’.

This Latin adage simply means that if criminal courts are not mentioned, then, it is not contemplated, and therefore must be excluded from a plain and literal reading of the Federal Constitution. The Golden rule or the Mischief rule don’t apply to a written constitution in an effort to fathom the drafters’ intent.

Miles Kington, writing in Punch, amusingly alarmed the legal fraternity that “judicial precedent is a trick that has been tried before, successfully”. Two former prime ministers can attest to this irony.

The illusion of judicial independence transforms into a delusion when considering the appointment of judges as a government practice and policy under constitutional fiat. Voter election of judges portrays political maturity entrusted to a responsible citizenry.

Undeniably, judicial independence has become a rabbit hole that advances western norms. How long more will government front this farce? The rakyat are no longer an institution of ignominious ignoramuses.

Anglo-American jurisprudence employs the adversarial system while its European counterpart adopts the inquisitorial system where truth-finding based on facts and established principles of law are assiduously sought. Case law is authoritative but not binding.

India introduced (PIL) public interest litigation initiated sua sponte by judges, or by people who were not directly affected by some wrongdoing. PIL puts locus standi on ice as it did judicial activism.

Malaysia is yet to promulgate laws that are relevant to its local culture and politics. We are still mightily beholden to outlandish laws that places local logic on steroids. Our rich local culture is being impoverished by western values and beliefs. We cannot be original?

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department oversees the Law and Institutional Reform (LAIR) agency. LAIR seldom examines the rabbit holes that were dredged up in the Federal Constitution since 1957. LAIR’s work is top secret?


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