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The consent of the governed

The absence of the consent of the governed in government is the very definition of slavery. — Jonathan Swift, Irish satirist

One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws, explained Martin Luther King, Jr., for which there should be no retribution. Howard Zinn explained that protest beyond the law is not a departure from democracy; it’s absolutely essential to it.

Therefore, it’s absolutely essential for laws to be made by seeking the consent of the governed. Quasi-sovereignty of citizens is a satirically sinister joke like democracy!

The Malaysian Federal Constitution (FC) at Article 5(1) states that “no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty save in accordance with law.”That ominously means that an unfair or unjust law has the potential of depriving one of his life or personal liberty.

That’s a broad-brush stroke on the usually wrinkled and frayed canvas of human rights that needs discussion, debate and adjudication in a court of public opinion, certainly not a court of law.

People’s sovereignty is misplaced when government assumes an unassailable right to decide what’s good for them without transparent consultation. Meaningless laws passed by legislators without the consent of the governed is tyranny, if not an irony of democracy.

Americans challenge their government based on the no-nonsense preamble that clearly entrenches the People as those who ordained and established the Constitution through their representatives in Congress. Without batting an eyelid, some black-robed unelected officials of government declared that the Preamble to the US Constitution is not part of the written constitution!

In Malaysia, the consent of the governed is hardly mentioned in the FC except for its implied acquiescence that a general election be held every five years to give meaning and substance to voters’ consent.

Articles 113 to 120 (Elections), and...


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