In Malaysia, members of the executive, legislature and judiciary take an Oath upon their appointment to the various high posts which they hold, usually swearing in the name of the Almighty to preserve, protect and defend our Federal Constitution.
If an inquisitive child of any age was asked to do the same, he or she would most likely first want to know the meaning and purpose of the Oath before even considering whether to do as instructed.
If asked to explain the Oath, I would say that it tells you what you must do, must not do and have to do.
As for what you must do, I would say this.
- You must administer the country without abusing your power, making sure that the rule of law is sustained according to the terms set out in the constitution.
- That means giving priority to fundamental rights, human rights obligations under the international conventions, and social justice, but without imposing your own personal religious beliefs and dogmas on others.
- As a top priority, you must when administering the country also make sure that the public is treated with candour, courtesy and fairness by all government agencies.
So, if politicians who have taken the Oath make statements in breach of their oath of office, the legal industry, the guardians of the rule of law, must take out an injunction to stop them from uttering such words.
Alternatively, it must direct the public to lodge a report with the appropriate enforcement agencies so that action can be taken under the penal laws of the land.
As for what they must not do, I will say that they must not legislate or amend the constitution in breach of its constitutional framework, and that no legislation must be enacted arbitrarily. Instead, all laws passed must prioritise reasonableness and proportionality.
Legislators must also refrain from legislating to make judges throw offenders into prison for non-violent crimes without first considering alternative options such as a fine, community service, or, in serious cases e.g. corruption, the confiscation of the property of the corrupt or corruptor, whether partly or wholly.
If asked what they must do, I will simply say that they must administer the country according to the purposes for which the public joined hands 66 years ago now to secure Merdeka on the terms and conditions set out in the licence so magnanimously given by the Malay Rulers and their subjects to the three branches of government – the executive, legislature and judiciary – under the terms set out in the Federal Constitution.
If all government leaders adhere to the above, Malaysia will surely be a successful and peace-loving nation which all Malaysians, irrespective of race or religious persuasion, will be able to call their home.
To all leaders of this beautiful nation, SELAMAT MERDEKA.
SELAMATKAN MERDEKA by doing the right thing per your oath of office and by observing the Rukun Negara.
The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.