by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General, MP for Tanjung and Assemblyman for Kampong Kolam, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Friday, 12.12.1986:
DAP calls for a Constitutional Review Commission to examine how the basic principles of the Constitution, like the doctrine of the separation of powers, Independence of Judiciary, fundamentary liberties, have stood the test of time in the past 30 years
The Supreme Court’s decisions in the contempt proceeding, Lim Kit Siang vs Dr. Mahathir Moahmed, re-enunciating the fundamental principles of the Constitution on the doctrine of separation of powers and the Independence of the Judiciary has come most timely at a time when these principles have come under sustained attack from many quarters.
The Lord President, Tun Salleh Abbas’s judgement enunciating the court’s role in the Malaysian Constitution bears repetition:
“The courts have a constitutional function to perform and they are the guardian of the Constitution within the terms and structure of the Constitution itself; they not only have the power of construction and interpretation of legislation but also the power of judicial review – a concept that pumps through the arteries of every constitutional and adjudication and which does not imply the Constitution over both. The courts are the final of the Constitution over both. The courts are the final arbiter between the individual and the State and between individuals inter se, and in performing their constitutional role they must of necessity and strictly in accordance with the Constitution and the law be the ultimate bulwark against unconstitutional legislation or excesses in administractive action.”
Next August 31 will be the 30th National Day and 30th anniversary of the Malaysian Constitution, and the repeated constitution amendments have seen the various fundamental principles in the merdeka Constitution being chipped or eroded away. Certain constitutional amendments have clearly violated these fundamental constitutional principles, upsetting in a grave degree the vatious checks and balances designed to ensure a democratic government and the Rule of Law.
Pronouncements by various important government leaders seem to indicate that this trend to violate these fundamental principles in the Merdeka Constitution would be continued by making use if the four-fifth majority of the Barisan Nasional in Parliament.
The DAP calls for the establishment of a Royal Constitutional Review Commission to review the workings of the Malaysian Constitution in the past 30 years, and in particular to study how the various fundamental principles of the Constitution, like the doctrine of the separation powers, the Independence of the Judiciary, the sovereignty of Parliament, fundamental liberties enshrined and guaranteed in the Constitution, the Rule of Law, Federal/Statements relations; had stood the test of time in the past 30 years.
There is a need for the country, on the eve of our 30th year of nationhood, to return to the roots of the Constitution framed in 1957, and subject all the principles of the Constitution, and the major institutions of the system, like the two Houses of Parliament, the Cabinet, the Judiciary, to a in-depth study to consider whether we have deviated from our original intentions and purposes, and if so, to make recommendations to restore the spirit and real meaning of our founding fathers of the Constitutions.