The Malaysian Constitution.

Haris Ibrahim asked a very valid question on how can you consider your self to be a Malaysian when you don’t know the contents of the Malaysian Constitution? I for one, like the majority of Malaysians would complain about our rights, the Law, the system, the government but  have little inkling what the Malaysian Constitution is or how it has evolved over the years.

Thankfully for the web, we can now get an instant idea about the Malaysian Constitution through Wikipedia. There are alsocopies available on line.

While I am making it a point to learn more about the Malaysian Constitution, I also did some research on the Constitutions of other countries and I found out some rather disturbing comparison.

The American Constitution was enacted in 17 September 1787 making it the oldest surviving constitution in the world. Since it was enacted, 223 years ago, the American Constitution was amended a total of 27 times.

The Japanese Constitution which was enacted on 3rd May 1947 was never amended throughout its 63 years history.

For a closer comparison to Malaysia, the Constitution of Indiawas enacted in 26 January 1950 and is the longest written constitution of any sovereign country in the world totalling 117,369 words in English, containing 440 articles in 22 parts and 12 schedules. The Indian Constitution was amended a total of 108 times in its 60 years history.

Coming closer to home, the Singaporean Constitution was enacted on 9th August 1965 and has been amended only a total of 5 times.

In comparison, the Malaysian Constitution was enacted on 27th August 1957. It contained 15 parts and 13 schedules, much less than the Indian Constitution but the Malaysian Constitution has been amended more than 700 times in 53 years.

What’s utterly disturbing to me is the frequency of the amendments. Malaysia really top the world for amending its Constitution.

Malaysia 700 times in 53 years (13.208 times a year)

India               108 times in 60 years ( 1.800 times a year)

USA                  27 times in 223 years (1.211 times every 10 years)

Singapore         5 times in    45 years (1.111 times every 10 years)

Malaysia is amending its Constitution as frequent as 13 .2 times a year while India is doing it about twice a year. USA and Singapore amends that Constitution once every ten years.

This leaves the question of what is a Constitution? If it is a legally binding Law, then the frequency of the amendments in the Malaysian Constitution gives the impression that the Law is not legally binding as it can be changed 13 times a year or a Law is amended every month for the past 53 years.

The frequency of the amendments made to the Malaysian Constitution should serve as a wake up call to all Malaysians to learn more about their country’s Constitution and what the politicians are doing to the Law.

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