AG’s plan to replace English text in Federal Constitution unwise, should not be made unilaterally says Senator

Senator Robert Lau

SIBU, Jan 13: The Attorney General’s Chambers planned move to replace the English text of the Federal Constitution with a Bahasa Malaysia translation as the authoritative text is not a wise move, says Bawang Assan SUPP chief Senator Robert Lau Hui Yew.

Lau in a statement today said this proposed change to the Federal Constitution on the use of language is a major decision that cannot be made unilaterally.

He reasoned that the use of English in the legal system is deeply entrenched in the legal system of our country.

“Landmark cases hinges on the the interpretations of the words in the Constitution and many a times on a single word. There are wide resources to draw on from the commonwealth countries, which all use English,” he added.

Lau further said that the whole reservoir of legal jurisprudence and case laws in
published law journals that have accumulated over more than a century in this country and
over several centuries in other commonwealth countries are also in English.

“One of the foundations of a strong legal system is the certainty of the law. Laws have to be unambiguous in order for it to be implemented fairly and properly. Uncertainty and ambiguity in the interpretation of written laws are bad for every stakeholder,” he argued.

As the legal system is an important element of an efficient business ecosystem, it is therefore crucial that the language in the legal system is the same as that used in the commercial world, he said.

The Malaysia Agreement 1963 and the Inter Government Committee (IGC) Report are also in English.

“These two documents form the backbone of the Federal Constitution in 1963. The proper
implementation MA63 and the IGC Report also requires correct interpretation of the words
in these documents,” he said.

Thus any change to the federal constitution must not be done without the express consent of the Sarawak people through the State Legislative Assembly, he added. — DayakDaily