UM Law Constitution Bulletin

October 2018
Editor's Note

Welcome back to our constitutional voyage.
In this issue, we have reorganised and renamed the sections in our previous two issues. “Rays and Rains at Home” highlights local news supported with views. As Malaysia sails into uncharted reforms, we catch the “Winds of Change”, signposting institutional and legislative reforms. In the quest for international adventure, “Tides and Turbulences Abroad” informs on the constitutional climates that our fellow nations are weathering. In the rough seas of law, it is pivotal to look forward. “Breaking At Dawn” looks at emerging scholarships while “On The Horizon” announces upcoming events. Readers are reminded to click on the links in blue and yellow.
This initiative would not be a fulfilling exploration if not for the guidance and assistance from my sailors – Emeritus Professor Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi, Dr Sharon Kaur, Dr Janet Chew and a few committed and excited second year law undergraduates from UM Law. Having said that, we are certain we are not the sole travellers on this journey. If you would like to point us to constitutional developments, warn us that we have been mistaken and heading into a storm, or simply share with us on how we can steer this Bulletin better, please write to us at
Thank you.
James Low
Rays and Rains at Home
Death Penalty to be Replaced with Minimum 30 Years' Imprisonment
  • 15 seconds and RM1,975 to end a life – RM38 to RM41 a day to house an inmate or RM2.4mil a day for the total prison population.
  • Rethinking the Death Penalty – Senator Liew Chin Tong, who has been directly involved in the abolishment campaign since 2011, shared his thoughts.
  • Should the Death Penalty be Abolished? – Revisiting the paper authored by Dato' Mah Weng Kwai back in 1981 on the basis for punishment in general, the function and rationale of capital punishment and the arguments for and against the abolition of the death penalty.
Federal and State Governments Can Sue Citizens for Defamation
  • Lawyer Syahredzan Johan said wrong to rely on section 3 of the Government Proceedings Act 1956.
  • Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohd Hanipa Maidin said no government should be given the right to sue its people for defamation.
Three Judges from Previous Panel to Deliver Judgement in "bin Abdullah" Case
Two Stateless Children Citizenship Approved

The two applications were approved by virtue of Article 15A of the Constitution by the Home Ministry.
PM to Appeal over Appointment of Former Top Judges

Despite the Federal Court’s refusal to answer the questions in the challenge by the Bar, Tun Dr Mahathir is appealing against the dismissal of his case by the High Court on the same issues.
Is the Port Dickson by-election ethical? | Newsflash by R.AGE
Winds of Change
The Role of Dissenting Judgments in the Malaysian Judicial System – The Right Honourable Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Malaysia Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima Richard Malanjum delivered the 17th Tan Sri Ahmad Ibrahim Memorial Lecture on 19 October 2018 at the International Islamic University Malaysia.
Prospects for Malaysia Baru: Constitutional Change Without Changing The Constitution – Public lecture given by Professor Andrew Harding in the Jeffrey Cheah Distinguished Speaker Series at Sunway University on 3 September 2018
The Constitution at a Crossroads – Emeritus Professor Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi commented on current constitutional issues.
Appointment of Judges
  • PM: Parliament will choose
  • Bar: Parliament must stay out of judges’ appointments
  • Ambiga: Parliament shouldn’t interfere in appointment of judges
  • Gurdial: Who should appoint judges?
Constitutional Amendments
  • Constitutional Amendments Needed to Limit PM, MBs and CMs Tenure to Two Terms
  • Two-Term Limit Not for Sabah and Sarawak
  • Raising Judges' Retirement Age to 70
  • Bar: Prioritise Other Steps to Reform the Judiciary
MA63 Steering Committee Established
Liew Vui Keong, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, announced that the Sedition Act 1948 will be among 117 laws that are sought to be abolished, amended or reintroduced. 
Tides and Turbulences Abroad
Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh Confirmed to the Supreme Court of the United States
Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Sacked Over Alleged Assassination Plot as the Nation Edges Toward Crisis

The UK Supreme Court: Bakery’s Owners’ Refusal to Bake a Cake Supporting Same-Sex Marriage Not Discrimination
The Supreme Court of South Africa: Criminalisation on the Private Use of Cannabis Unconstitutional

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Prohibits Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation Discrimination Ahead of Olympics 2020
The Supreme Court of Pakistan Began the Hearing of Asia Bibi's Final Appeal Against Her Death Penalty for Blasphemy
ECHR Ruled That Insulting Prophet Muhammad Not 'Free Speech'
Second Referendum of Brexit
Breaking At Dawn
Nick W. Barber, The Principles of Constitutionalism (Oxford 2018)
Tom Ginsburg & Aziz Huq, How to Save a Constitutional Democracy (Chicago 2018)
Rex Ahdar, Research Handbook on Law and Religion (Edward Elgar 2018)
On The Horizon
We are delighted to announce that our Constitutional Law Lecture Series (CLLS) is back!
A new
Conversations on the Constitution Series (CCS) will also be organised to provide an opportunity for the wider community to engage with leading experts on important and vital Constitutional issues. The Conversation series is meant to be informative, interactive and thought provoking. Each Conversation will bring together a panel of academicians, lawyers, legislators and key influencers who will offer their insights into contemporary Constitutional challenges and respond to questions and comments from the audience.

Organised by Chooi & Company + Cheang & Ariff in partnership with the Faculty of Law, University of Malaya, the seventh Lecture in the CLLS will be held on 22 November 2018 and the first Conversation in the CCS will be held on 13 December 2018. 

The details of the first Conversation in the CCS are as follows:
Date and time: 13 December 2018 from 5.30 pm to 7.30 pm

Venue: Faculty of Law, University of Malaya

Topic: Strengthening Parliament’ 

Her Excellency Vicki Treadel
Dato’ Ariff Yusof
YB Hannah Yeoh
Dr Michael Jeyakumar

The details of the seventh Lecture in the CLLS are as follows:

The Asian Law Institute (ASLI) at the National University of Singapore Faculty of Law will host the 16th ASLI Conference in Singapore on 11 and 12 June 2019. The broad theme of the 2019 conference is The Rule of Law and the Role of Law in Asia. The deadline for submission of abstracts is 3 December 2018.
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