Sunday, 27 December 2015

On the issue of greeting "Merry/Happy Christmas" by Muslims in Malaysia - 2015

I finally got the light bulb moment on this issue. I finally know why God allows this issue to not die. It is so that I, and Christians in Malaysia, will VISCERALLY understand Islamophobia and the hurt Muslims feel whenever a sick mad person calling himself/herself a Muslim blows up/shoots at/kills civilians and the entire Muslim community is looked upon suspiciously. 

I find it annoying and hurtful that there are people who see kristianisasi (the supposedly overt and covert efforts by Christians to convert Muslims to Christianity) everywhere, some bordering on the paranoid delusions of a conspiracy theorist. 

But in that annoyance and hurt, I forget that there are also many many Muslims (usually minority in non-Muslim countries) who live under the daily suspicious stares and accusations by their less-enlightened non-Muslim neighbours and fellow citizens just because they wear a hijab, or grow a beard, or pray in a mosque. That must hurt. That must be frustrating. And now I know how it feels. Deep in my heart, I now know how it feels. How it hurts. And an inkling of how scary it can be - I'm speaking generally and painting with a broad brush.

It's not easy being a minority. You never have as many supporters/friends as those in the majority. 

To those who wished me "Merry Christmas" or a variant of it, I thank you. You have no idea how much it means to me this year. 

To those who didn't, it's ok. No hard feelings. We are all busy people. I myself usually don't send out holiday/birthday greetings (unless I have time, or the particular mood strikes). 

But to those who actively tell Muslims to not wish Christians "Merry Christmas" or a variant of it, I say this to you: I wish that one day you will understand how hurtful you have been, and when that day comes, I hope you will believe that I have forgiven you on this day, 26th of December 2015. Because I have. 

An early "Happy New Year 2016" to all. 

Saturday, 19 December 2015

What annoyed me about STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS - yes, there are minor [[[SPOILERS]]]

I went as early as I could because I didn't want to get it spoiled for me. Not that the spoiler was anything big. Any viewer who has seen the 6 movies could see the twist coming. It wasn't anything big, just "oh c'mon" moment. Nowhere near the gravitas of the reveal at the end of EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. 

What annoyed me the most about this movie (no. 7 in the saga that would have 9 in total) is the [[[LAST CHANCE TO LOOK AWAY BEFORE I SPOIL]]] fact that the 2 main characters know how to use a lightsaber almost as soon as they pick it up. 

That goes against the logic of the saga. Luke had to learn a bit under Obi-Wan, then a bit more under Yoda (training not completed, that's why he lost to Vader in the first fight); and only after further training by Yoda did he manage to properly fight and defeat Vader. Anakin's story was the same. He had lots and lots of midi-cholrians, but that only allowed him to pilot the pod-racer well (like how Luke could pilot and shoot from an X-Wing well). Anakin had to learn (from Obi-Wan) lightsaber skills between episodes 1 and 2. That took time. 

But our new heroes, Finn and Rey - all they had to do was pick up a lightsaber, and voila, they can hold their own when taking on Kylo Ren (the bad guy who was obviously trained for some time, and who has considerable control of the Force - he could stop a blaster fire mid-blast, something no one else could do before in the saga). Yeah, this annoyed me a LOT. Finn and Rey should have been cut to pieces by Kylo Ren in seconds. 

JJ Abrams started this whole "change the logic of the saga" thing with STAR TREK. There, it was the transporter. In the series (and movies before he took over), transporter technology only worked within a reasonable distance (planet to starship, or starship to starship). Not during warp. But we forgave that change because he rebooted the series and made it abundantly clear that it's a different universe in the opening sequence when Kirk's father died. Ok, so that change of saga logic can be swallowed. 

But Star Wars 7 is not a reboot. You can't just explain away Finn and Rey's lightsaber skills by implying that purely by having a lot of midi-chlorians they immediately know how to use a lightsaber. It does not gel.

And this is what annoyed me the MOST about the movie.

As a movie, it works - I'll give you that. It brought in key elements from episodes 4, 5, and 6 and nicely packaged them together. 
BB-8, the robot, is brilliant. 
Rey is an amazing character. She is played marvellously. 
Finn, not so much, but good enough. 

So that's my rant. 
I guess I'm a Trekkar. Always will be. 

Saturday, 17 October 2015

On Free Speech, and its limits

I have always believed in FREE SPEECH. But my understanding of free speech is, to my horror, vastly different from that of rabble rousers. They think free speech means one can speak the most vile, untruth and uncouth things. That is not free speech. At the very minimum, free speech does NOT permit you to yell "Fire!" in a crowded theatre when there is no fire. Truth should be the ultimate check to free speech. 

However, not everyone is disciplined (or smart) enough to seek the truth. Many prefer indulging in innuendoes, spreading chain-mails (now emails, and Facebook and Twitter status updates), and plain gossip. That's human nature. That's the state of how we humans are, generally. Even amongst the educated, the learned, the ones who should have devoted their minds to pursuit of the truth, this lapse into our baser human nature happens — sometimes on a daily basis. 

But more than truth, being civilised means being gentle and polite. And there is a difference between objecting or protesting in a civilised manner, and doing so in a less than civilised manner. I will not name examples, but here's how you can spot the difference: Look at people who are passionately opposing a view. Imagine yourself being the object of their passionate opposition. Do you feel threatened, physically or mentally? If yes, then they are a rabble rouser. They are abusing free speech. 

Because free speech, no matter how offensive, should always be grounded in the truth, and should never degenerate into threats of (or actual) violence. 

I hope you now understand what I mean when I say, "I have always believed in FREE SPEECH."

Sunday, 20 September 2015

An Officer of the Court

Being a lawyer means being an officer of the court. My first duty is always to the court, to the law. To the proper administration of the law. To be part of a system which attempts fairness day in and day out. It's a dance. A dance between the lawyers, the court, and officers from government agencies — making sense of life via the prism of the law. 

For true believers, we still believe in the system, the purpose of the system, and that this is better than the alternative of anarchy and raw power. Because that's what will be if there is no law — the weak will be bullied, and the strong will dictate. Right and wrong become mere words, mere labels.

I didn't know Anthony Kevin Morais. From what I hear and read about him from people who knew him, he was a decent fellow. A hardworking fellow. A good person. A good person who was horrifically murdered most likely because he was doing his job. That was it. He died because he did his job. 

That should not be. 
That's just sick. 

I am extremely sad because his murder was wrong. 
Particularly wrong. 
Particularly foul. 
Particularly ominous. 

May his soul rest in peace. 

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Antara Kuning dan Sawo Matang

Matahari kian pudar,
Sang bulan kian menyerlah,
Desas desus kini berkata,
Yang datang hanya berciri sama.

Adakah kita benarnya berbeza? 
Tangan, kaki, bukankah sama? 
Darah merah semua pun ada, 
Hanya kulit sikit tak serupa.

Dalam hati adanya cinta,
Cintakan benar, tulus dan nyata;
Bukan bohong, dusta dan derma,
Bukan bodoh, bukannya kita.

Cukuplah! Cukuplah! Hai keyboard warrior, 
Kamu bukan pendeta kita;
Kamu hanya biul dan hampa,
Tukarlah siaran, Astro kan ada.

- by Jason of Melaka

Of Dogs and Walks

If you're going for a walk, 
Watch out for dogs; 

For they bark and they sneer, 
And they don't drink beer;
Which is what you might do, 
After a walk or two;

For dogs will be dogs, 
And cogs will be cogs, 
And cogs that don't work, 
Are like dogs refusing to work;

When dogs bark a lot, 
They make such a fuss;
Your ears begin to rot, 
And maybe you might cuss;

So wear what you will, 
When you go for a walk, 
Care not for the dog, nor the bark or the cog;

Walk as you will, 
And talk as you must;

For dogs that bark with a shrill, 
Are definitely unjust. 

- by Jason of Melaka

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Haze 2015, a letter to the Minister, Natural Resources and Environment, Malaysia

26 August 2015

To: Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar
Minister, Natural Resources and Environment
aduannre@nre.gov.my

Cc: Director-General
Department of Environment’s (DOE)
aduan_k@doe.gov.my

Dear Datuk Seri,

This morning, I happened to read your comments as reported in The Star Online at http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2015/08/26/KL-to-discuss-haze-with-Jakarta-Wan-Junaidi-to-meet-his-Indonesian-counterpart-over-smog-problem/ where you talked about trying to tackle the HAZE issue this year, 2015.

Here’s a tip: DON’T BOTHER.

I don’t care anymore about the haze issue. It is a yearly issue. It will continue to be a yearly issue – of that I am sure as I am sure that the sun will set today and rise again tomorrow.

This stupid haze issue has been with us since before the KL Commonwealth Games, in 1998. It magically cleared up during the games though.

But I’ve had it with TALK year after year about trying to “solve” the haze issue. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that this issue will never be solved.

So my ADVICE to you is: DON’T BOTHER. Spend your time on more productive work. Because I believe neither you, nor anyone else, will be able to solve the haze issue. We Malaysians will just have to live with it.

And that’s all I have to say about that. Good day to you.

Jason Kay

Melaka

Monday, 13 July 2015

Saving Malaysia from the idiots, hypocrites and cowards.

Sometimes it feels as if we're all heading for the cliff in a runaway car, and we are bickering about what we should listen to on the radio. I'm sad because I see ‎Malaysia heading that way right now.

We Malaysians have to ‎focus.

Stop letting the idiots, hypocrites and cowards set the agenda. Hold them up to a higher ‎standard .

Hold yourself up to the highest standard your better self wish for you to have.

We can still save Malaysia, one day at a time.

Let me just quote Obama on this. His words ring true for us now in 2015:-
"We’ve got some enormous challenges out there. ... But we’re not going to be able to do it if we are distracted. We’re not going to be able to do it if we spend time vilifying each other. We’re not going to be able to do it if we just make stuff up and pretend that facts are not facts. We’re not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers. ... We do not have time for this kind of silliness. We’ve got better stuff to do. I’ve got better stuff to do. We’ve got big problems to solve. And I’m confident we can solve them, but we’re going to have to focus on them — not on this."
- Transcript of Obama’s remarks on his birth certificate issue on April 27, 2011
http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2011/04/27/transcript-of-obamas-remarks-on-his-birth-certificate/

Jason Kay
Melaka
(initially posted on Facebook on 05 June 2015)

Monday, 15 June 2015

Law for the Layman, part 1, Interpreting the Law – by Jason Kay, Melaka

These are a series of short articles introducing basic legal concepts to the inquisitive lay person. Law is both an art (at the higher levels) and a science (at its core). There is no mystery to it. If you are curious about how lawyers think, do read on.

Part 1: Interpreting the Law

The classic lesson on how to interpret laws is the hypothetical “No Vehicle in the Park” law.

Assume that there is a law stating that no VEHICLE is allowed in the park.

It naturally follows that if a vehicle goes into the park, then there would be a breach of this law attracting sanctions (usually this would mean a fine, but it could also include a term of imprisonment).

Simple enough so far?

Now, this is where the lesson begins: How would you argue for/against (a) person(s) charged with “using a vehicle in the park” in contravention of the clear law stating that there can be “no vehicle in the park” for these 7 separate scenarios.

1. Adam drives his car through the park to save on commute time.

2. Garbage trucks coming into the park daily to empty the trash cans placed in the park.

3. An ambulance with an emergency case cutting across the park because it is the shortest way to the hospital.

4. Policemen on motorcycles riding through the park in hot pursuit of robbers who ran into the park.

5. Children riding their bicycles in the park.

6. A mother pushing her baby in a pram in the park.

7. Trishaws ferrying tourists on a scenic tour of the park.

A lawyer would ask 2 questions.

First question: Is it a vehicle? (i.e. the car, garbage truck, ambulance, motorcycle, bicycle, pram, and trishaw). If it is, go to the next question. If it is not, stop here because there is no contravention of the law.

Second question: Is there a valid reason for allowing the “vehicle” into the park even though there is a clear law against having vehicles in the park? Putting it in a different way: Should there be exceptions? If yes, why, and when?

If you can see the differences in the 7 scenarios and present a coherent argument that would justify your conclusion consistently, you are one step closer to thinking like a lawyer.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

#9 | Things I Learnt This Week (That I Want To Share) #9

1. CHRISTIANITY | ETHICS | MEDICAL ETHICS
“God did give us reason. He gave us minds in order to understand the world, to understand options and to make real decisions. He didn’t give us reason to create our own world and to create our own authority structures and our own conception of morality. 
Here’s a book [Proverbs] that talks a lot about the use of one’s mind, the use of one’s reasoning, the observation and coming to conclusions based upon those observations. But the whole point of that wisdom we are to gain is that we understand ourselves by living in a world we didn’t make and living within a moral order that someone else, namely God, has put into place. 
That’s the proper context for our reason to be exercised. God’s given fish the ability to swim, but they need to swim within water.”
The Science of Life

2. LIFE | WOMEN 

A poignant and wonderful short animation on a woman's life.

Sidewalk (Official Version) - [VIDEO]

3. LAW | PRISON | REHABILITATION 
"It isn't every day that prison officials would call up a journalist to help seek the release of a prisoner, whom they feel has transformed himself into a model citizen."
Hope within the prison walls - Wong Chun Wai

Curated by,
Jason Kay
Melaka
06 June 2015

Friday, 22 May 2015

#8 | Things I Learnt This Week (That I Want To Share) #8

1. LAW | SYARIAH | HUDUD

This is an excellent quote. 
"I have said this before and I wish to say it again: God’s laws are perfect, but when men are called to draft the laws and push them through the legislative process, then they become man’s laws. This means that we as a civilised community must scrutinise and deliberate these man-made laws carefully before allowing them to come into effect. We owe it to Muslims to craft laws that are just and that can be implemented fairly, and to do that, we cannot exclude the community from providing their views.
...
Never again must we be led like sheep by those who use God’s name to hide their own incompetence and ignorance."
The price of a human life - Zaid Ibrahim

2. SEX | EDUCATION | RAPE

Understanding the concept of informed consent before engaging in sex, using tea as an analogy.

Sex, consent, tea

3. PRODUCTIVITY

Priming yourself for great work.
"The “Meez,” as professionals call it, translates into “everything in its place.” In practice, it involves studying a recipe, thinking through the tools and equipment you will need, and assembling the ingredients in the right proportion before you begin. It is the planning phase of every meal—the moment when chefs evaluate the totality of what they are trying to achieve and create an action plan for the meal ahead."
How to Spend the First 10 Minutes of Your Day

Curated by,
Jason Kay
Melaka
22 May 2015



Thursday, 30 April 2015

#7 | Things I Learnt This Week (That I Want To Share) #7

1. SELF-HELP
"Paradoxical as it may sound, to stop resisting that which we cannot control is the only choice we have, but it is also one we must actively make in order to transcend our limits."
Control, Surrender and the Paradox of Self-Transcendence: Wisdom from a Vintage Scandinavian Children’s Book

2. RELATIONSHIP
A very interesting exercise. You will be enlightened, and have a good time.

36 Questions on the Way to Love

3. GEOGRAPHY
Nations of the World - with lyrics - Animaniacs

Curated by,
Jason Kay
Melaka
30 April 2015

Saturday, 25 April 2015

#6 | Things I Learnt This Week (That I Want To Share) [The VideoEdition] #6

I've been so tired these past 2 weeks. And a bout of flu to top it. Have not been reading much. So watched a few videos, and... 

1. Cute Karate Girl

2. Megatron Misses Shia

3. You Are Not Alone - Michael Jackson 

JK
25 April 2015

Saturday, 11 April 2015

#5 | Things I Learnt This Week (That I Want To Share) #5

1. SCIENCE

This piece is phenomenally good. It explains the scientific method. If you read only one thing this week, this should be it. 

Why scientific truth may hurt - Adam Rutherford

2. MALAYSIA | SOCIETY | NEP
"My mother and the women of her generation sold off their gold jewellery to raise money for the party. Now materialism and self-interest have crept in. ... The Malays were really down at that time. We were prejudiced against. There were very few Malay doctors, lawyers and bankers. ... Believe me, the NEP was really needed. Tun Razak wanted to bring up the Malays so they wouldn’t feel that they were of a lower class. His emphasis was to educate the Malays. Today, you have Malays in all sectors. Tun Razak did not foresee that the NEP would be abused. He expected those who enjoyed the privileges to share it with the community. Instead, some have used it to benefit themselves and their families."
- Tan Sri Khalid Ahmad Sulaiman 

3. REASON | THINKING | LOGIC
"The gullible rarely believe they are gullible and the closed-minded don’t believe they are closed-minded. ... Gullibility, carelessness and closed-mindedness are examples of what the US philosopher Linda Zagzebski, in her book Virtues of the Mind (1996), has called ‘intellectual vices’. Others include negligence, idleness, rigidity, obtuseness, prejudice, lack of thoroughness, and insensitivity to detail. Intellectual character traits are habits or styles of thinking. ... If we care about the truth then we should care about equipping people with the intellectual means to arrive at the truth and avoid falsehood. Education is the best way of doing that."
Intellectual character of conspiracy theorists – Quassim Cassam 

Curated by,
Jason Kay
Melaka
11 April 2015

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Open letter to Pakatan Rakyat about the POTA vote in Parliament inApril 2015

The records show that when the vote was taken at 2:25am, 26 of your Members of Parliament (MPs) were not present. 

I am very angry with the MPs who were absent. I am very angry with your lack of discipline.

Let me put it plainly: An MP is Member OF Parliament. An MP’s job is to ATTEND Parliament when it sits and debate bills before they become law. MPs are the filter before bills become law. If MPs do not attend Parliament when it is in session, it is called “being absent” or “ponteng”. 

If you cannot attend because of an emergency, I understand. Explain honestly/Apologise, and we will move on.
But don’t give excuses like a boy caught smoking behind the school hall. 

You know when Parliament will be in session. It’s not a mystery. 
You know debates can last late into the night. 
You know the other side will try to “mobilise” their people if they don’t have the numbers to carry the vote. 
But it does not give you an excuse not to try. That is what the people who voted for you expect from you.

What I expect from you NOW.

1. Produce a list of the 26 MPs who were absent and their reasons for being absent. 

2. Start an attendance list immediately - to be taken every day Parliament is in session of all your MPs and it is to be posted on your respective websites with clock-in and clock-out hours. Update it daily. And do it for your ADUNs as well.

3. A CONTRITE APOLOGY from ALL the MPs from the 26 who did not attend and who do not have good reasons like, “I was in the hospital/in surgery” or “I was dead.” Don’t even try to give me “official business” as a reason. Your “official business” comes FROM your position as an MP. Do you job as an MP first (i.e. attend Dewan Rakyat sittings). Schedule your “official business” AROUND your attendance at Parliament.

If you can’t/don’t do the 3 things listed above, I’m voting BN at the next GE. 
And I’m telling everyone I know to do the same. 

Clear enough?

Jason Kay 
09 Apr 2015

Absent Pakatan MPs must apologise – Jason Kay, April 09, 2015

Monday, 6 April 2015

The curse of connectivity

I used to have random conversations with strangers, on buses, trains, and at bus stops. That was before the cellular phone became smart and allowed us to connect to our distant (and not so distant) and close (and never seen in real life) friends and family. 

We used to know our neighbours, and the gossip. Now we're more interested in causes half way around the world that in no way would affect our day-to-day lives. 

Yes, the internet can bring different people together if they have a common cause/interest. But it can also, and has, put up walls between those nearest to us, those at the dinner table, those whom we love and care about deeply. 

Connect and be productive. 
But don't forget to be human and say, "Good morning," to those around you. They exist too. 

Jason Kay
Melaka
06 April 2015

Sunday, 5 April 2015

#4 | Things I Learnt This Week (That I Want To Share) #4

1. HEALTH | HUMAN RIGHTS

93% is a huge number.
"An unpublished study conducted in 2011 by the University of Malaya's department of preventive medicine in Malaysia found that 93 percent of Muslim women in Malaysia have undergone the procedure. ... The cutting that occurs in Malaysia ... falls under type IV of the WHO's classification system - the least invasive type, typically done without removing flesh. Malaysia's highest religious authority issued a fatwa, an Islamic legal edict, in 2009 making the cutting procedure required for all Muslim women, unless "harmful". ... The fatwa poses a dilemma for medical professionals caught between their unwillingness to violate WHO guidelines, and parents who feel pressure to have their daughters cut."
Female genital cutting in Thailand's south
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia-pacific/2015/03/female-genital-cutting-thailand-south-150309083458995.html

2. MALAYSIA | POLITICS | SOCIETY

Zan Azlee interviews Ibrahim Ali - March 31, 2015
http://english.astroawani.com/malaysia-news/5tahun2020-malaysia-too-young-form-bangsa-malaysia-ibrahim-ali-56782

3. SCIENCE | PERSPECTIVE

The visuals are stunning, the music apt... but it's the subtitles that brings it all together to remind us who we are, and how little we are.

The Known Universe by AMNH
http://youtu.be/17jymDn0W6U

Curated by,
Jason Kay
Melaka
05 April 2015

Saturday, 4 April 2015

On Hudud - yes, I’m finally writing something on it (sorta)

1. I have read the Malaysian Bar President's press statement of 20/3/2015 titled "Hudud is Unconstitutional, Discriminatory and Divisive". I agree with it.

2. I have read the letter/article by Fatihah Jamhari titled "Answering the Malaysian Bar on the hudud". I disagree with the analysis.

3. I have read the keynote address of the ex-Chief Justice, Abdul Hamid Mohamad, given at a seminar titled, "Implementation of the Islamic Criminal Law (hudud, qisas, ta'zir) in Malaysia - Prospects and Challenges" on 01/4/2015.

He was the judge who wrote the decision in the Federal Court case of Latifah Mat Zin v. Rosmawati Sharibun [2007] 5 CLJ 253. He has expanded on that judgment in this keynote address.

I am glad that he has highlighted salient points on the issue, which I will reproduce here. They elegantly go to the heart of the matter.

They are (the very important parts are in bold):-

3A. 'Do not misunderstand and think that "criminal law" is under federal jurisdiction, while the "Islamic criminal law" is under the jurisdiction of the state. The Constitution only allows the State Legislature to enact laws for offences committed by persons professing the religion of Islam against the precepts of Islam, even then if it is not in respect of matters included in the Federal List, that is, "criminal law".'

3B. 'Before Merdeka there was no "religion of the Federation". In fact, the Malay Rulers objected to UMNOs proposal to make Islam the official religion of the Federation. ... religious matters which fell under the jurisdiction of the states were limited to family law. In most states, there were no Syariah courts then. It was under those circumstances that provisions regarding criminal law and offences against precepts if Islam were enacted. Thus, criminal law is placed under federal jurisdiction."

3C. 'Both the Federal Parliament and the State Legislative Assembly may not make law with regard to matters under the jurisdiction of the other.'

3D. 'offences that have existed in the Penal Code since 1936 and in force when the Federal Constitution was enacted, for example, causing of death to others, theft, robbery, rape and causing injury to other persons, necessarily fall within the words "criminal law" used by the drafters of the Constitution. If not, what else is "criminal law"?'

3E. 'among the hudud offences, there are "criminal law" offences provided for in the Penal Code while others are not. ... For example, adultery, accusing another person of committing adultery and offences associated with consumption of alcoholic drinks. It is arguable that such offences are not "criminal law".'

3F. 'if hudud punishments were to be imposed for federal offenses, it can only be done as a federal law, that is, as criminal law, not as "offences relating to precepts of Islam"

... Parliament may choose whatever punishment for any criminal offence, including punishments in accordance with Shariah. The law would apply to Muslims and non-Muslims. As criminal law it is under the jurisdiction of the Civil Court. Civil Court has jurisdiction over Muslims and non-Muslims. ... This situation may be compared to the law on Islamic banking and finance and takaful.'

... 'it should be emphasised that the federal criminal law must apply to all Muslims and non-Muslims because it is a general and not a private law and offenses provided for in the State List. If it is made applicable only to Muslims, it contravenes the provisions of Article 8 of the Constitution because it is discriminatory on ground only of religion and therefore unconstitutional, null and void.'

... 'with regard to offenses that are not provided for in the Penal Code or any other federal law, but have already been provided for in the Syariah Criminal Law Enactment States, they may be made hadud offenses under state law if the existing obstacle is removed. The obstacle is not a constitutional obstacle but an obstacle by federal law that limits the punishments that could be provided in the state law and given jurisdiction to the Syariah Court. That law is the Syari’ah Court (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act, 1965. If the Federal Government is willing to amend the act to allow the State Legislature to impose hudud punishment, the State Legislative Assembly may make such a law. As the law is a state law under List II of the Ninth Schedule (State List) it applies only to Muslims and falls under the jurisdiction of the Syariah Court. There is no constitutional issue here.'

3G. 'If we do that, the effect will be that some hudud offences would be a federal criminal law that applies to all Muslims and non-Muslims and tried by the Civil Court. Besides, there will also be hudud offences which are under the state law that only applies to Muslims and administered by Syari’ah Court. Should we have such laws? I leave it to you to answer for yourself.'

3H. 'In Malaysia, any law made must be in compliance with the Federal Constitution. ... if the State Legislature makes it applicable also to non-Muslims, the law is unconstitutional, null and void. Syariah Court has no jurisdiction over non-Muslims. If the State Legislative Assembly makes a law to empower the Syariah Court to try non-Muslims, the law is also unconstitutional, null and void.'

3I. 'we often hear people saying that such offences will only be made applicable to Muslims. It is only partly right. ... with regard to federal criminal offenses, such offenses are not personal law or offences relating to the precepts of Islam" ... It is a public law. That's why prosecution is done by the Public Prosecutor, on behalf of the country. ... if the law imposing hudud punishments for criminal offences under federal jurisdiction apply to Muslims only, it is inconsistent with Article 8 of the Federal Constitution and, therefore unconstitutional, null and void.'

3J. The speech then goes into a discussion of Article 76A of the Federal Constitution and how it impacts the Syariah Criminal Code (II) Enactment 1993 (Kelantan) as well as the Syariah Criminal Code (II) (1993) 2015 Enactment. The discussion is excellent.

3K. He then suggests 2 possible 'solutions' within the existing framework of the Constitution. But he is emphatic when saying,

'Whether the first or the second option is chosen, it is not a satisfactory solution. From the legal and administrative perspective, it will create new problems that did not exist before. Do not blame the Constitution for it. The Constitution does not envisage such things. It clearly divides the jurisdiction over criminal law and jurisdiction over offences against the precepts of Islam. The problem arises when the State Government tries to take over the legislative power over criminal offences that lie under the Federal jurisdiction. That is the root cause of the problem.'

3L. His conclusion is sagely, and full of humility. I reproduce it in full here:

'With respect, on the issue of hudud, I find that there is a lot of confusion regarding the law and the implementation. We should be able to differentiate the discussion regarding the law and discussion regarding the implementation. What we are discussing now is the implementation. We are not questioning the law. To raise issues that should be considered in the implementation is not challenging the law. Caliph Umar Ibn Al-Kattab suspended the implementation of hudud during a famine. No one accused him of challenging hudud and challenging Gods law. He only decided that, in that situation, at that time, it was not suitable, indeed it would lead to injustice if the application of hudud were to be continued. So, he suspended its application. Remember, hudud is only a means, not the end. The end is justice. Something similar happened in Pakistan in our time. When the Hudood Ordinance was enacted in 1979, the offence of rape was made a hudud offence. Subsequently, there were cases of injustice to victims of rape who became pregnant as a result of it and who could not produce the required number of witnesses ending in being convicted for adultery. In 2006, the offence of rape was removed from the Hudood Ordinance and placed under the Penal Code again and tried by the Civil Court, until now. I am aware that my speech may disappoint many people. But, if you want to hear my honest opinion about the reality from the perspective of the Constitution and the law, that is it. Borrowing the words of Imam Abu Hanifah, "This is only my opinion. If there is a better argument follow it.I would add, If there is a better argument, I too will follow it.'

4. I urge you to read his speech in full. It is a wise analysis of the issue.

Jason Kay
Melaka

04 April 2015

Saturday, 28 March 2015

#3 | Things I Learnt This Week (That I Want To Share) #3

1. SCIENCE | TEACHING
Teaching Evolution to Students Who Tell Me They’ll Pray for My Soul

2. CITIZENSHIP | MILITARY
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: U.S. Territories (HBO)

3. FUNNY
What If Superman Was Adopted By The Waynes

Curated by,
Jason Kay
Melaka
28 March 2015

Saturday, 21 March 2015

#2 | Things I Learnt This Week (That I Want To Share) #2

spent last Saturday at the Malaysian Bar AGM 2015 - http://jasonkaykl.blogspot.com/2015/03/thoughts-post-malaysian-bar-69th-agm-in.html
So, here's the second edition of #tiltwtiwts

1. POLITICS | ISIL | USA | SAUDI ARABIA 
"I find it remarkable that Saudi Arabia, which borders Iraq and is controlled by a multi-billion dollar family, is demanding that U.S. combat troops have ‘boots on the ground’ against ISIS. Where are the Saudi troops? With the third largest military budget in the world and an army far larger than ISIS, the Saudi government must accept its full responsibility for stability in their own region of the world. Ultimately, this is a profound struggle for the soul of Islam, and the anti-ISIS Muslim nations must lead that fight. While the United States and other western nations should be supportive, the Muslim nations must lead."
- Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont (Independent senator), 06 March 2015

[One of the biggest lessons from George W. Bush’s follies in Iraq was that outsiders can’t remake the Middle East. ... The United States is not going to fight the Saudis battles for them. The days of the Bush cowboy diplomacy are long gone. ... the leaders of the region must take responsibility for their own problems. There is no good reason for American men and women to fight and die in a war with ISIS. ... the Saudis have more than enough military capacity to take on ISIS if they wanted to. ... If the Saudis want a ground war, they should be the ones who lead the fight against ISIS.]

Bernie Sanders Blasts Saudis For Demanding U.S. Troops On The Ground To Fight ISIS

2. LAW | DEATH PENALTY
“Nowadays the death penalty is inadmissible, no matter how serious the crime committed. It is an offence against the inviolability of life and the dignity of the human person, which contradicts God's plan for man and society, and his merciful justice, and impedes the penalty from fulfilling any just objective. It does not render justice to the victims, but rather fosters vengeance. For the rule of law, the death penalty represents a failure, as it obliges the state to kill in the name of justice.”
- Pope Francis, 20 March 2015


3. CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY (CSR)

How Ricoh Returned 90,000 Photos to Victims of the 2011 Tsunami in Japan

4. CONFLICT RESOLUTION - commentary

To "bury the hatchet" is an American Indian custom at the cessation of rivalry. Malaysians should consider creating a new custom by having roti jala (a type of pancake) with curry over drinks and a smile after an argument. We are, first and foremost, a people in love with good diverse food. 

Curated by,
Jason Kay
Melaka
21 March 2015

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Thoughts post-Malaysian Bar 69th AGM in 2015

I spent yesterday in a room full of highly opinionated lawyers. Not because I'm a masochist, but democracy needs to be exercised.

It entailed travelling to KL with the Melaka group (we left at 7:50am), 8 hours plus at the AGM, 1 breakfast, a light lunch at 3:45pm, and dinner at 7pm before the journey back; and reaching home just before 10pm. 

Was it worth it? 
Yes. 

Dissatisfaction needs an outlet. What I witnessed yesterday was ample opportunity given to those who disagreed - specifically those who disagreed with the stand (course of action) taken by the President - to air them in a civilised manner. And this was repeated for all the other motions, save for the-one-that-could-not-be-discussed. Except during a few instances of rambling or needless repetition, everyone who wanted to speak had a chance to speak. 

In the end, it came down to for, against, or abstention. I have been at the Malaysian and Malacca Bar long enough to know that the debate/comments during these meetings can be frank and piercing. The wheat will be separated from the chaff. It's like cross-examination times two, with a healthy dose of humour.

I am proud of the traditions I saw being honoured yesterday. 
And I am glad the Malaysian Bar is what it is: cantankerous, idealistic, and meticulous. 

Jason Kay
Melaka 
15 March 2015
#MBarAGM

Friday, 6 March 2015

Things I Learnt This Week (That I Want To Share) #1

Oversharing has become a curse with social media available 24/7. This realisation hit me hard over the CNY 2015 break. Our minds are stretched and moulded by reacting, rather than contemplating; by sound bytes instead of reflecting in context. 

So I embark on this project: One post, at the end of each week, of the things that caught my eye, and engaged my mind, curated, for your consideration because I think they are worth your time. 

It is not altruism. It's me disciplining myself to look for the wheat and let go the chaff. Since I'm already benefitting from it, there is no harm sharing my discoveries with you. And so I do. Do drop by once a week, and hopefully, you won't be disappointed. 

=============

Things I Learnt This Week (That I Want To Share) #1
#tiltwtiwts

1. SCIENCE

"experiments show that when people’s beliefs are threatened, they often take flight to a land where facts do not matter. In scientific terms, their beliefs become less “falsifiable” because they can no longer be tested scientifically for verification or refutation.
...
With the disease of bias, then, societal immunity is better achieved when we encourage people to accept ambiguity, engage in critical thinking, and reject strict ideology."

Why People "Fly from Facts"


2. LAW

I've always been fascinated with Qisas (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qisas) and Diyya (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diyya) in the death penalty discussion. I am generally anti death penalty, but I still don't have the answer to this excellent pro death penalty point: "If you oppose the death penalty, you are really just saying that no matter what horrible things a man does to another/other human beings, you guarantee him the most precious thing he has, his life." [If you can identity the source of this point, please let me know so I can credit it accordingly.]

Even the late Karpal Singh, a staunch anti death penalty lawyer, did have a different view in cases of child rape - http://www.thesundaily.my/node/140082

We may not have the stomach for an eye for an eye taken literally - http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/05/eye-for-an-eye-iran-blinds-man-who-carried-out-acid-attack

But the slap on the wrist sentence given to Anders Breivik http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anders_Behring_Breivik offends me greatly. 


3. FUNNY | SOCIETY | LAW

Jim Jefferies - gun control


Curated by,
Jason Kay
Melaka
06 March 2015

Sunday, 25 January 2015

The "Allah issue" in Malaysia, a comment (as at Jan 25, 2015)

This is a decent recap and epilogue to the "Allah issue" saga. 

For me to write anything of length is a waste of time. So I'll keep it short. 

1. It would seem that there is indeed a difference with how the word "Allah" can be used in Peninsular Malaysia as opposed to Sabah & Sarawak. Legally, I can see how this is possible. Sabah & Sarawak has a special position in the Federation of Malaysia. This point, therefore, makes sense. 

2. The point about Article 4(4) Federal Constitution is also valid, i.e. "proceedings for a declaration that a law is invalid on the ground mentioned in Clause (3) ... shall not be commenced without the LEAVE of a JUDGE of the FEDERAL COURT; and the Federation SHALL be entitled to be a party to any such proceedings, and so shall any STATE that would or might be a party ..."

Procedurally, the argument that there was a flaw in the Catholic Church's suit is sound. The other pending cases would probably fail for this reason as well. 

3. Unfortunately, the issue is still stuck in limbo. We are certain that "Allah" cannot be used by the publication "The Herald" and that the 10-point solution has not been rescinded. That's it.

Here's the cheeky possibility: What if the Catholic Church applies for a permit to publish "Herald 2"? Issuance (if any) of the permit will most certainly contain the same condition that the word "Allah" cannot be used. The Church then files another suit in court, this time following the proper procedure. The court is again asked to decide. We're back to square one. 

So, would the Catholic Church in Malaysia do that? 
Part of me hope it does. I fervently believe with my intellect that Christians have a historical, linguistic and theological right to use the term "Allah". 
Another part of me hope it doesn't because there has been an "undisclosed understanding" that has been reached on a "gentlemen basis" and that "understanding" will be kept hereon forth to maintain the peace, and the unique Malaysian way of life. 

4. Lest we forget, Christians in Malaysia still have churches. We can still worship freely. We are not being persecuted to the point where we are killed, unlike in other parts of the world. This is a blessing. 

The only legal impediment we have is that we are not allowed to carry out the Great Commission fully. But then, we are to render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. We have never questioned the wisdom of Article 11(4) Federal Constitution. 

We can still, within our slightly limited capacity, be the salt and light for Malaysia, as is our duty. 

If you wish to read further:-  
for "The Great Commission," see http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Commission
for "Render unto Caesar," see http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Render_unto_Caesar

And that's all I have to say about that.
Life has to go on. 

I wish you well. 
I wish you peace. 

Jason Kay 
Melaka
25 Jan 2015

Monday, 19 January 2015

New Year, same old.

I didn't notice it's already passed the half-way point of January 2015.
Time flies (or rather, time flies when you're old). 

The news still carry more doom and gloom stories instead of positive, uplifting ones. Politicians still say things that make you go, "huh?" And people can still pleasantly surprise you, or shock you - depending on your luck.

What worries me at the start of 2015 is that we Malaysians still are focusing on the unimportant things/issues while overlooking the serious/important ones because our gaze has been purposely shifted to the unimportant by others, or because we prefer to waste our time with the unimportant things (because they're easier to understand and/or more dramatic than the important things/issues).

We can't keep doing this and be oblivious to the eventuality that we are destroying ourselves in the long-term. We can't be that dumb. 

Surely. 

My (late) New Year resolution?
  • Don't be dumb - (because I am not dumb)
  • Don't get hoodwinked.
  • Exercise.
Seems achievable, no?
:-)