Two Wrongs Do not Make it Right: Di bawah tempurung penjajah siapa? 

I read with great disappointment and shock the views of Dr. Wan Azhar Wan Ahmad, Senior Fellow/Director at the Centre for Syariah, Law and Political Service, IKIM – shock and disappointed if this is reflective of the current thinking among not a few of the pro-Syriah Law Muslim scholars (The STAR, Tuesday, 18 September, 2007:N47). At best, it reflects the critical anti-colonial thinking of Prof. Ahmad Ibrahim and at worst, a prejudiced and skewed exposition of the current and former Chief Justice (CJs) of Malaysia. [It is a Malaysianized discourse no doubt, but alas, it does not reflect any of the “intellectual universality” that it claims to manifest].


The assertion based on an earlier presupposition that the Malaysian Common Law is a system of law that should be based on “ethical, moral and legal values shared by the followers of he major religions” “self-contradicts the presupposition of a subsequent claim: “For a common law system in our pluralistic society to become manifest, the basis should be Islam and arguably to a lesser extent, Malay custom.” Such claims are untenable in a truly Malaysianized discourse if the level of critical thinking is truly Malaysianized – i.e., thinking MALAYSIAN and acting MALAYSIAN, in that it takes into serious consideration the fabric of this pluralistic nation that remains ever volatile and segregated even after 50:44 years of independence.


If Malaysia is indeed attempting to showcase a local effort, there was no attempt to cite case-studies of similar attempts in other nations under the aegis of the commonwealth nations. The fundamental values, notably the law of truth and equity codified in the corpus of the common law is universally pertinent in every legal system for it’s own sake – a judicial credibility and moral integrity that have to be transparent to the Malaysian public! [not much can be said in terms of such public confidence in our civil courts and judges at this juncture of our nation’s judicial history, I am afraid]. And if religions are what they claim to be (pro-humans and human dignity) since all profess that they are demi ALLAH/For GOD), and no matter how wide the gap due to the specific differences, the major religions cannot but support and embrace the universal moral and ethical values codified therein.


If our recent records of our local attempts at Malaysian common law, because “the basis should be Islam and arguably to a lesser extent, Malay custom” (as interpreted by certain intellects and judges) is anything to go by, then most critical-minded Malaysians (demi negara Malaysia) have our utmost lamentations, reservations and resistance. This is so when recent decisions showed little if not utter contempt for the supremacy of the Federal Constitution and its noble intent to protect the constitutional freedom of religion of ALL Malaysians, irrespective of creed or race.


Such skewed interpretations guiding the recent history of judicial decisions inform the public that kita masih di bawah tempurun penjaja colonialime dalam negeri. If the local enterprise called Malaysian Common Law is indeed acclaimed to be noble in its decry of British colonialism, but its ironical practice of internal (called it reversed) colonialism does not make such a project any laudable. In fact, two wrongs do not make a right. Its other names are: betrayal of trust, injustice, constitutional “assassination,” and blatant violation of semangat Rukunegara.


                                                                                                Jojo M. Fung, SJ

                                                                                                September 19, 2007.


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