The end of constitutionalism in Malaysia

BY GREG LOPEZ
– 24 JANUARY 2014POSTED IN: MALAYSIA


Clive Kessler has an explosive article in The Malay Mail Online.
New Mandala readers, especially those in governments that hold on to the view that the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) is capable of ensuring that Malaysia remains a stable political unit based on the precepts of the will of the people and the rule of law may want to read this article carefully. It is a lengthy article, with the key conclusion reproduced here.
One can conclude only one thing.
That the Federal Constitution and the key ideas of Malaysian democratic constitutionalism have been “hijacked.”
That there has been, and it has suffered from, what we may call a process of Constitutional “grand larceny”, of illicit appropriation for improper purposes. A process whereby Malaysian citizens, at the mass or “wholesale” level, have been deprived of the Constitutional basis of their “personhood”, or core identity, as citizens of a modern democratic nation.
That is to say, something quite antithetical to the historic understanding of the Federal Constitution and contrary to the agreements that were reached between those who made the Federal Constitution possible, as a living and growing “national social contract”, has been substituted for it —— and is now being promoted and falsely justified in the name of a “purloined” constitutionalism.
Malaysia’s original, founding Constitution is now being dismantled, and its core democratic principles set aside, not by any coalition of avowed, explicit critics but by those who, so to speak, have seized the “title deeds” to the Federal Constitution and who now like to parade in the purloined mantle of its august and majestic authority.
This has been the work and achievement, as I and most of us can only view it from the sidelines —— I do not know what role the Malay rulers and their advisers may have played in this, and I have no interest in groundless, unscholarly speculation —— of those whom we may term the new Malay “political royalists”: the royalist theoreticians and ideologues, the rhetorically agile doctrinal innovators and quasi-jurisprudential proponents, of a post-modern yet still traditionalistic “Malay state”, supported in their cause by the local champions, in local political and cultural terms, of an Islamo-Malay political system.
See more here.