A hard look and spelling out the consequences of the disclaimer found throughout the Attorney General’s Chambers website.
If you go to the Attorney General’s Chambers website and scroll to the bottom, you will find this curious notice:
Whilst every care is taken in the preparation of the information contain in this web portal and blog; no warranty, express or implied is given by the Attorney-General or the Government of Malaysia as to the completeness and accuracy of the information given and the Attorney-General and the Government of Malaysia is not responsible for any errors or omissions which may occur. In no circumstance will the Attorney-General or the Government of Malaysia be liable or responsible for any damages whatsoever, including without limitation, special, indirect, or consequential damages arising out of or related to the use or reliance of the information contained in it, whether by action in contract or tort or otherwise howsoever.
Copyright Reserved 2008 – 2010 Attorney General’s Chambers.
This disclaimer is found on every web page in the AG’s website. It contains the standard grammatical error, poor drafting, and lack of literary flair that is necessary to all government notices and public statements, so we are in no doubt that we are reading a Malaysian government notice or statement at first glance. Crap English is the Malaysian government’s house style (and some parts of corporate Malaysia), in case you didn’t know.
What stirs comment about the disclaimer is the necessity to have such a disclaimer on an official government website at all.
What is the fundamental purpose of a government website? They are set up for the purpose of disseminating official information, which has the privilege of being assumed accurate, true, and so, reliable. The public is entitled to rely on the information provided on those websites.
If the government cannot attest to that, then the website is useless! It is a waste of money because it cannot perform its fundamental purpose. They are better off running a pornographic website because at least that will bring in some serious income for the rakyat.
Now let us consider the AG’s disclaimer more closely.
What it tells us is that the AG and the Government of Malaysia (GOM) do not warrant (i.e., vouch for) the “completeness and accuracy of the information given.” If that is not bad enough, they tell us that both of them will not be “responsible for any errors or omissions which may occur.”
So the AG and GOM have set up this website purportedly to keep us informed but will not be responsible for errors on their website; who is then responsible if not them?
A further example is this: Say you click on the FAQ tab. You want to read up about a question they have answered. Now why should I believe this when the disclaimer lurks just beneath the answer?
Another one: Why should I believe the picture I have culled from the website is an accurate representation of the AG? I thought our AG was far better looking than the gentlemen in the picture below. I mean, look carefully, even his spectacles are senget (not straight). That is not fitting for our AG. How can we have an AG where something is not straight about him?
I really thought our AG looked like this (or at least should, just imagine how much more stylish and handsome our AG would look when arguing bail applications in the Subordinates Court, where he is most comfortable):
Since the disclaimer envisages errors and omissions throughout the website, our AG could very well be Tom Cruise! Who knows? It could be true. Maybe they just haven’t updated it yet.
What this disclaimer demonstrates to us in micro is how the AG and GOM do not take responsibility for their own work or the information they disseminate.
They are so insecure and unsure of themselves that they have to disclaim even standard information, i.e., who is the Attorney General, who are its officers, their branch addresses, etc. Basically everything. This is the culture of not taking responsibility that it is so prevalent and ubiquitous in the GOM that our AG disclaims all the information on his website!
This is confirmed when we look at the second sentence of the disclaimer. It states: “[i]n no circumstance will the Attorney-General or the Government of Malaysia shall be liable or responsible for any damages whatsoever …” What they do here is emphasise again that they will not and never be liable to members of the public who suffer as a result of relying on such information. This is like smashing handfuls of salt after ripping a huge wound open across our faces.
So what is the point of the AG’s website if the entire website is disclaimed? It is a complete and utter waste of time if the information cannot be relied on to be true and accurate. The AG should either close down the website or remove the disclaimer. He cannot have both.
But can we expect anything else from the AG’s website when the AG himself has been known to provide dodgy information? Was this AG the same chap that participated in forcing Nallakarupan to incriminate Anwar? Wasn’t this the same AG that brought in evidence to his trial that was then ruled inadmissible after that? Hey, it’s the same AG that swapped the leading prosecutors for the Altantuya trial on the pathetic excuse of the judge and DPP playing badminton together! And it is the same gentleman that permitted the use of a doctored photo filched from an anonymous website to prove Malaysia’s case over Batu Puteh! I could go on but I’m sure you have more important things to do than read about the highlights of his career, especially if you just ate.
The presence of a disclaimer on the AG’s website would rank it lesser in terms of credibility than a premium pornographic website. The latter generally does not disclaim all the information on its website and is particularly concerned about providing us with the truest and most transparent of sort of information.
The present AG’s history and career development appears to have influenced the content and integrity of the website because we cannot even trust the information there due to that formidable disclaimer. Is it any wonder we don’t trust the AG and can’t trust the government?
They don’t even trust themselves to give us accurate official information!
But enough criticism for now. Let’s instead help our AG make his website better. Forward to him your favourite premium pornographic websites (which I’m sure you never checked out but were rudely recommended by your wayward friends who shall remain unnamed and somehow saved the entire email reference) and some foreign government ones (but only if you have the time) to his e-mail.
Ask not what your AG can do for you; instead ask what websites your AG should check out.
Oh yeah and by the way: Whilst every imaginable care is taken in the meticulous preparation of the opinion above, or whatever the heck is uploaded into this web portal and blawg; no warranty, express or implied is given by me as to the completeness and accuracy of the opinion I have given or expressed and no way am I imaginably responsible for any errors or omissions which may occur, by whatsoever means (even if it is by your own imagination), or for whatsoever reasons. In no circumstance will I be liable or responsible for any offence taken, any indigestion, or any damages whatsoever, including without limitation, special, indirect, or consequential damages arising out of or related to the use or reliance or mere reading of the opinion, suggestion or direction contained in it, whether by action in contract or tort or otherwise howsoever wheresoever whensoever which-soever by whomsoever do dare imagine. Phew!)
Author’s Note: Note that the Chief Registrar’s of the Federal Court website contains the exact disclaimer. Who do you think drafted it first?