Sunday, November 15, 2009

An Evening With My Constitution

Last Friday evening, I was at the launching of MyConstitution Campaign at Bar Council: -

1. Got exhilarated over Edmund Bon's speech (plus i never thought lawyers could look that hot!);

2. Got inspired and teary-eyed over the panelists' take on what constitution means to them; and

3. Got excited being surrounded by people from a different school of profession ( I ain't lawyer, darling) and students (gee, suddenly i felt young by 15 years - really).

Though the launching was delayed by a good 25 minutes (guess KL - Putrajaya Maju Highway was choc a bloc that afternoon), everything went on smoothly after that, it was enjoyable and memorable i don't think anyone was complaining, especially when we got to this part - The Forum on "Conversations on the Constitution: What is the Federal Constitution" with 5 interesting gentlemen, namely Professor Abdul Aziz Bari, Tuan Haji Sulaiman Abdullah, Professor Shad Saleem Faruqi, Associate Professor Azmi Sharom and Malik Imtiaz Sarwar and Madam Ambiga Sreenevasan as the moderator.

Let me share with you some of the points that really touched my heart that evening.

Constitution is indeed our 'undang-undang dasar', a manual, a written memorandum from the people to the government, outlining their wishes. It usually marks the beginning of a nation, serves as major pillar to the nation, hence it is something that needs to be protected by the people (Prof. Abdul Aziz Bari).

Constitution is even more important to 'golongan marhaen', as it fights totalitarian and promotes democracy. It ensures fairness and decency are the rules of the game, uphold the highest value of judiciary. It protects us from militarianism (remember May 13 Incident) and ISA, where reasons cannot speak. It must be sustained and defended. We should all give meaning, live and action to our Constitution. With everyone having their rights as citizens to this nation, the role of opposition in any government includes keeping the government honest (D.R. Seenivasagam vs Dato' Abd Rahman Talib) and providing an arena to expose the sins of the government (Tuan Haji Sulaiman Abdullah).

Constitution should not be a model of supremacy but a model of constituency. One ought to strive to be constitutionally literate and perhaps, one ought to look at Tunku Abdul Rahman's speech for our Independence Day here, especially this part, to see what our forefathers had wished for this beloved nation: -

"At this solemn moment therefore I call upon you all to dedicate yourselves to the service of the new Malaya: To work and strive with hand and brain to create a new nation, inspired by the ideals of justice and liberty — a beacon of light in a disturbed and distracted world. High confidence has been reposed in us; let us unitedly face the challenge of the years. And so with remembrance for the past, and with confidence in the future, under the providence of God, we shall succeed".

(Prof. Shad Saleem Faruqi)

When one is constitutionally literate, one is able to analyse issues, within its context in the constitution, rationally, thus paving a clear path for them to be tackled (Asso. Prof. Azmi Sharom)

Constitution is about 'our right to be left alone' and about containment of power of 3 branches namely executives, legislative and judiciary.By allowing them to happen for far too long, we are responsible for politicisation of the governance and desecration of our constitution. Constitution should be the 'barometer' of Right and Wrong. It is universal and offers hopes to everyone it protects (Malik Imtiaz Sarwar).

It was indeed an enlightening evening and made me realise that we should start opening our eyes to our rights given in our Constitution. It's all about liberty and justice. It's all about integrity and democracy.

I don't have to go further to simplify the importance of knowing our rights. Imagine this. Your boss seems to be well liked by all. Come to work, he fails to guide you, make pacts with clients and use any personal info he has on you to intimidate you. He never seem happy with everything you do. Not because you didn't anything. It's simply because he feels that by making a non-issue into a big, annoying issue, he could hold you by the neck. Can you tell me if you'd be happy working for him? Do you think you'd stay put? Do you know what you can do to stop his nonsensical way of management (of fear)? Do you know whose responsibility it is to ensure that every employee must be provided with a conducive working environment?

Well, this is only at a level where you are working. Apply the same scenario at national level. Can you see how detrimental it could be to you, personally and to our country, largely?

Please check out Perlembagaanku website. The first Rakyat Guide is out now and I must say how impressed i am. I have the car sticker on, my Little Angel has the button on his school bag. get yours today ok!

Let's live, give meaning and take action to Perlembagaanku. Know your rights, love thy country!


Oscar the Grouch said...

Glad to hear that you took time to attend.

I was supposed to be there, but prior engagements dictated otherwise.

We could have met up for coffee.

Next time, perhaps ...

Fi-sha said...

Dear Mr Oscar The Grouch

I was actually looking for you, trying very hard to look at the name list :)

It was a great evening listening to those panelists, especially Prof Shad Saleem Faruqi and Tuan Haji Sulaiman Abdullah.

Witnessing the launch was an emotional experience for me.It felt like coming home...finally.

Looking forward to next time...