Dear members of the Bar, pupils-in-chambers, NGOs, academics, civil society activists, law students and friends,
Events of the past year have increased the interest of Malaysians in constitutionalism. Following these events, the impact of constitutional law in our society is being felt on an unprecedented scale today.
It is therefore an opportune time for civil society to engage in further discussion on the provisions of our Federal and State Constitutions. Many of these provisions are being tested for the first time in the courts of law, and of public opinion. Jurists and laypersons alike have weighed in, calling on us at times to have a “first look” at our Constitutions, and at other times, demanding a re-think. Many in society, including lawyers, have sought a greater understanding of the Constitutions.
The Bar Council recently established the Constitutional Law Committee to meet the growing demand for answers to questions regarding the Constitutions. I have been tasked to chair the Committee. This Committee seeks to embark on initiatives to raise the level of awareness of our Constitutions, as well as to promote constitutionalism and the rule of law in the country.
The Committee is holding its first meeting on Friday, 19 June 2009 at 3pm at the Bar Council Building to discuss and “brainstorm” ideas to achieve the aims of the Committee. You are invited! We would like to receive input from a wide range of civil society personnel including NGOs, academics and law students on how we may contribute to society, and we would like to hear your views.
Some have asked if expertise in constitutional law is required. Some have said that they have little knowledge regarding our Constitutions. These considerations are not relevant, though also precisely why the Committee has been established.
Constitutional law is fun and exciting. Importantly, the Constitutions are OUR documents binding our peoples and our nation. It is our duty to empower our citizens to claim ownership and uphold the Constitutions. No prior knowledge or expertise of our Constitutions is necessary to do this. Where required however, we will facilitate your learning.
As this is a new Committee, you are in a position to drive and shape its direction. Do not lose this opportunity. We wish to hear from you and work with you. So, please sign up today (we could use more members!) here. It will be an experience – trust me.
We hope to see you at the meeting. Do not miss out on this new “adventure” with the Bar.