On the 8th of November, close to a hundred participants attended a lecture by Emeritus Professor Shad Saleem Faruqi, an expert in the Malaysian Federal Constitution. The lecture is one of the two-part series organised by CNBM, to raise awareness and understanding of our national context in which we bear witness and engage society. By seeing the nation through the eyes of an expert in the constitution, citizens and communities are able to build bridges better with others.
Professor Shad lectures at UiTM, and is visiting professor to several other public universities, and describes himself as a devoted Muslim formerly from Pakistan but now a Malaysian citizen by way of naturalisation. He has authored nine books and sits on multiple fellowships, institutes and boards in Malaysia.
At the lecture, Professor Shad lined out the purpose of Constitutions as a national document, the history and negotiation process of the Constitution of Malaya, its strength and weaknesses,
Some of the key points include that the Federal State musters overwhelming strength over the State; emphasis was given to superior courts rather than the lower courts which deals with 80% of cases; strong centralisation of governance; the inclusion of Islam as the religion of the Federation; the role of Rulers; and multilingualism. He also discussed procedural and substantive laws.
An excerpt from the session:
Constitutions contain a mixture of political, economic and philosophical ideals. It also reflects the values and vulnerabilities of the nation: it’s dreams, it’s demand. It is also full of conflicting forces - an example being the demand for liberty which pulls away from the demand for order and stability. In such a way, the Constitution is not an ideal document.
The series will conclude with a third session in 2016, and materials may be made available on the CNBM website. END
For more information on CNBM, visit http://bit.ly/citizensnetworkMY