UM Law Constitution Bulletin

January 2019
Editor's Note

Dear Readers,

The first month of 2019 is just about to end and we have already recorded in our constitutional history a suit against the Chief Justice, an unprecedented resignation and… a twist. History was also written on another continent as the British House of Commons suffered its worst ever legislative defeat. Click on the links in yellow and blue to review recent constitutional developments locally and internationally.

From this month onwards, we will be having a new section called “Silver Bullets”. In this section, we will be inviting prominent members of the legal fraternity to answer a question related to a constitutional issue in 50 words. For this January, we are pleased to have Prof Shad Saleem Faruqi and Surendra Ananth sharing their thoughts with us exclusively. Do scroll down to Silver Bullets!

We wish everyone a joyous, harmonious and… sumptuous Chinese New Year!

Thank you.

Best regards,
James Low
Managing and Chief Editor
UM Law Constitution Bulletin
Rays and Rains at Home
Sangeet Kaur Deo, the daughter of the late Karpal Singh, has sued the Chief Justice, seeking a declaration that Chief Justice failed to protect and defend the integrity of the judiciary.

Chief Justice to file affidavit-in-reply.
The Throne
  • Sultan Abdullah is the new and 16th Yang Di-Pertuan Agong.
  • Sultan Muhammad V resigned as the 15th YDPA.
  • Three arrested for sedition over alleged insults on former YDPA.
  • Suhakam called on the PH Government to honour its word and promise to repeal the Sedition Act 1948.
The Dance
Silver Bullets
How reasonable it is to determine a person's independence in professional life through his/her personal conduct in social events?
One must distinguish between private social events and those that are officially organized and attended by many groups. Participation in the latter with propriety and moderation does not indicate lack of independence and impartiality. A judge is not a hermit and must remain in touch with the society where he adjudicates.
Emeritus Professor
Shad Saleem Faruqi
Holder of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Chair
University of Malaya
Determining what is reasonable often leads to both reasonableness to some and unreasonableness to others. When it concerns the personal conduct of professionals in social events, using judges as an example, it boils down to public perception. Only the man on the Clapham omnibus should dictate that perception.
– Surendra Ananth
Malaysian Bar Council Constitutional Law Committee
Winds of Change
Judicial Reforms
  • Ilham Centre Survey: Malays more receptive to Finance Minister than Attorney General and Chief Justice.
  • CJ: Consider community service as a form of punishment.
Local Council Elections
Civil Society Groups: Restore local council elections by 2021.
Poll Result

In the December 2018 issue of this Bulletin, we asked our readers on whether we should have local council elections.
100% of the votes cast was YES!
Death Penalty

Court of Appeal upheld death sentences on Chinese woman and Malaysian man.
Legislative Reforms
  • Government considering curfew for teens below 18 to prevent drug abuse
  • Government to table Bill to abolish Sedition Act 1946 in March.
Tides and Turbulences Abroad
Brexit deal voted down in historic House of Commons defeat.

May survived no-confidence vote.

Supreme Court of Pakistan: Acquittal of Asia Bibi, who was sentenced to death for blasphemy, upheld.

Supreme Court of Japan: Sterilisation law requiring people wishing to register a gender change to remove their original reproductive organs constitutional.

Supreme Court of Pakistan: Doctors’ strike illegal and an abuse of power.

Hungary: Opposition Parties challenged the constitutionality of “slave law”.
India: President Ram Nath Kovind assented to the 103rd Constitutional Amendment to reserve 10% in government jobs and education for economically backward section in the society.

Gautam Bhatia, Is the 103rd Amendment Unconstitutional? Indian Constitutional Law and Philosophy

Kuwait: Draft law to allow authorities to grant Kuwaiti citizenship to non-Muslims rejected.
Breaking At Dawn
Björn Dressel and Tomoo Inoue, ‘Megapolitical Cases before the Constitutional Court of Indonesia since 2004: An Empirical Study’ (2018) 4(2) Constitutional Review 157.
Mark Fathi Massoud, ‘How an Islamic State Rejected Islamic Law’ (2018) 66(3) The American Journal of Comparative Law 579.
Bruno Zeller, Leon Trakman, Robert Walters and Sinta Dewi Rosadi, ‘The Right to be Forgotten – The EU and Asia Pacific Experience (Australia, Indonesia, Japan and Singapore)’ (2019) 1 European Human Rights Law Review 23.

Adeel Hussain, ‘Muhammad Iqbal's Constitutionalism’ (2018) 2(2) Indian Law Review.
On The Horizon

The workshop will be held from 5 - 7 December 2019 in Melbourne. Interested scholars must submit their paper proposals, a list of bibliographical references and CV to Ms. Kathryn Taylor ( by 15 February 2019.
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