Friday, February 20, 2009

A Nation Of Inept Lawyers

Hantu Laut

'Law' is a system of rules. Most of us know that.There are many types of law.Let us not get into details. The sheer enormity of the number of laws in existence would put many simpleton like you and me in a state of quandary.That's why we need lawyers to interpret the law or rather the rule of law.That's why you need the services of a lawyer when you are in trouble with the law.They are the experts with the know-how to defend and protect your interests in criminal or civil cases brought against you.

Different lawyers interpret the law differently.That's why you have good lawyers and bad lawyers.Than you have what the Malays called the 'lawyer buruk', people like me who are not trained in law but self-trained in making my own interpretations for the kicks of it.Than at the bottom of the pile you have the trained and seemingly learned 'lawyer buruk' who went to law school and came back none the better and none the wiser. This group would fall into the 'half-past-six' category.

Many of you would have probably heard of Lord Acton, the British historian and politician and one of his famous quotes "Power tends to corrupt, absolute power corrupts absolutely".

The corruptions of power were not only confined to the highest office but exists almost every where in this country, including little flies in many government departments, who become little napoleons with that little power that they may have.Than you have those with unlimited power like the Speaker of the Perak Legislative Assembly who sacked the menteri besar appointed by the Sultan.

Can the speaker use his arbitrary power to suspend those assemblymen for such long period.Is his vast arbitrary power the result of a badly written rules or was it tailored for the British system which we inherited in essence but not in spirit.

The Perak political crisis has attracted multitude of the learned, the half-baked and the buruks, making different interpretations of the law. It has raised more questions than answers.It has created more confusion than revelation of the mechanics of the law.

It is just amazing how diverse and contradictory the legal fraternity can get with their
interpretations. Below are some of the comments made by people you would expect to know the subject well. These are professionals. Read them and see whether you came out better informed or more fucked in the head.

1.The Perak Crisis:
Two options for Barisan Nasional, say lawyers

Suspension of MB, Exco can't be legally challenged: Bar Council

3.Perak speaker erred,

4.The Perak Crisis: Action is treason, says Zahid

5.Bar: Go back to the people

6.Perak Speaker has suspension powers, says legal expert

As Lee Kuan Yew, himself a lawyer, said in one of his New Year's messages many years ago when he was still prime minister that the very bright and intelligent ones go for medicine, engineering and architecture while the not so bright would probably go for law.

Was he trying to be modest or was there truth in his message?


Anonymous said...

It is true what LKY said because our education system tend to stream the brighter ones into science stream. After their UPSR (std 6), those with better results are usher into the better class which is Science centric. After PMR (form 3) those with a few As are all put into Science classes and the lower than average are streamed into Arts or Commerce. There is no choice. It is very difficult for Science students to go into an Art class and Art classes are where the worse disciplined students are and the most hassled and least motivated teachers are. After SPM (form 5), again the better results students go for Science classes and the poorer ones go into Arts/Commerce classes.

Is it any wonder that our country being governed by Arts Graduates and administered by Arts Graduates in civil service comes out second class?


kittykat46 said...

Hantu Laut,

It is the law.

I used to get very upset over what I saw were very unfair actions by BN-aligned Speakers. My more knowledgeable lawyer friends just shook their heads gloomily and said its very difficult to overturn a Speaker's ruling in the House.

The aggrieved person/parties is free to challenge it in court, but its an uphill battle against the rules.

Fact is, in the Westminster Parliamentary system, which Malaysia still mostly adheres too, within the four walls of the House, the Speaker IS the JUDGE.

Whether the Speaker acted properly is less of a legal issue - that is an issue for the Court Of The People - The Ballot Box.

But I wouldn't advice BN to reach for the Court of The Ballot Box right now anywhere in West Malaysia - the results may not be pretty.

Anonymous said...

When will it all end? I'm just Joe Public and the way I see it there's just too much lawyering in the country. Nothing is moving because we are all politicking with lawyering.

Pity our nation.

Ever Onwards said...

Dear Hantulaut,

I see that you are in conciliatory mood now? The "inept lawyers" are no longer those who disagree with your own one-sided personal interpretation of the law? You are trying to adopt a more balanced perspective now? If all these are true, then good for you!

What is clear is that the Sultan has no right to remove Nizar, at least not in the disgraceful way that this was done. On the other hand, the Speaker has every right to suspend Zambry and members of his false cabinet, and the suspension cannot be challenged. Emergency rule, you say, is "legal," but it demolishes its own so-called "legality" if it is used to protect the illegal and the illegitimate! Even members of the BN think that the law courts (in which BN will likely lose) is better than emergency rule.

The legitimate Perak government is in limbo now, and the state has ceased to have an effective government. The best solution to this stalemate is for fresh elections to take place, so that one side will emerge with a stronger mandate. As I have said before, BN need not worry, if they are really all that good. In fact, I think their chances in an election are better than if this and other related matters were brought to the law courts.

Anonymous said...

Ever Onwards,

Tak payah la...he won't mentioned the obvious....
The core of democracy which is to let the people decide is not the core to maintaining status-quo....

donplaypuks® said...

Firstly, the Perak Speaker suspended, not sacked, the MB. He acted within his powers but can be challenged in Court.

Secondly, the Speaker can be voted out when the State Assembly convenes. This is a political game and nothing new. During the Firaun era this type of Emergency rule and back-stabbing was rife!!

As to the state of our laws and lawyers' interpretations, UMNO/BN has to take 100% of the blame.

After all, they have been ruling the country without interruption for 50 years, since Independence in 1957.

If we have have hlf-past six lawyers, judges, Law Ministers and AG's this is the most severe indictment of our half-past six national education system. Who is to be blamed if all States do not have an uniform clear Constitution? Lawyers or our (useless) political Ministers?

Anonymous said...

Always work with conscience then the law will be applied.

" Cowardice asks: Is it safe? Expediency asks: Is it politic? But Conscience asks: Is it right? "
William Punshon

Hantu Laut said...

Dear All,

It may be true the Speaker has wide powers and can suspend errant members but that does not free him of blame if he acted in bad faith.

Believe me, the Speaker has acted in bad faith and nobody has total immunity as far as the law is concerned.

He may be assemblyman for Pakatan but he is speaker of the house, not speaker for Pakatan. The speaker can be anybody appointed by the assembly, not necessarily he must be an assemblyman.

You and I can also be the speaker if chosen by the assembly.

I know he was suspended, I used the word sack to show the gravity of the sentence, 18 months that's as good as being sacked.

Anonymous said...

"A good man would prefer to be defeated than to defeat injustice by evil means."
*** Sallust (86 BC - 34 BC), 'Jugurthine War,' 41 B.C.

" I decided not to let my past rule my future so I decided to change my present in order to open up my future. "
*** Dr. Ana M Guzman

SM said...


BN is getting a dose of its own medicine.
In this case the Perak Speaker's actions are against them.
Now they know how it feels when the Speaker treats them unfairly!