God made humans to be rational or to use our brains and our heads for logical arguments and developments. Nonetheless, he also allowed and configured an emotional dimension within our hearts to express compassion and emotion for others and their related predicaments.
But, sinful or imperfect man, through the vehicle of emotions has also learned to manipulate the feelings and emotions of potential victims, and to seek various ways to take advantage of the other.
Man, however, learns to use and abuse other men (and women) for various purposes. The dignity of every human person must be regarded and established as the right and privilege to be treated as an end in themselves, and not just as a means to someone else’s means. We cannot be Machiavellian about this value of human dignity.
When I was in my final year at university, just before we all left our residential colleges to go home, a girl who, as my college-mate, asked me to be a witness for a meeting with another college-mate guy who had chosen to have a relationship with the girl with the promise of marriage.
Apparently the boy misled the girl and had recanted upon that promise, and the girl felt her dignity violated and stolen from her. This was their final meeting and the boy did not change the course for his future actions. He already had a girlfriend he knew from his school days, whom he went on to marry.
At least the boy and girl in that relationship were above 21 years of age and modern values believe that, “what two consenting adults do is no one else’s business”. While, even this value does not make pre-marital sex right in the eyes of all religious systems, to many faith practitioners the value of sexual abstinence is an out of date value. Instead, it is believed such human freedom is fundamental freedom of human rights. That too they call, Merdeka or independence of choice.
Justice must be ‘seen to be done’
But, how can we redefine ‘statutory rape’ when one above 21 has sex with a minor, which is clearly defined by our laws to be anyone below 16 years of age? These are not two consenting adults; in fact, they are not even adults under our law. Even within the legal system itself we have numerous contradictions about the different age limits for driving, for responsible action and the age for voting.
For a fact, however, even within the Islamic faith system and culture, to marry a child below 16, the person still needs the approval of some responsible and related elder; and that is, if the girl has achieved puberty. For teenagers, both the boy and the girl need their parents’, or elder’s approval for the marriage. So, why was not such consent a requisite for this case of statutory rape?
Therefore, why did the judges simply ignore the lack of rational choice capability by the child, which is already protected and preserved by all faith-systems, in their decision-making related to the under-aged girls in both cases?
In my view, all these judge have demonstrated their incapability for basic rational application and interpretation of the law and must seriously be considered deranged, and therefore must be dismissed for courting with injustice. Justice must not only be done but must also be seen to be done. In this case, it was neither.
After all, in our judicial system with the blind Lady of Justice, who sees no person as different but makes choices of right or wrong based on the written law and not on the colour of the skin of the actors, or their skill sets, or their future economic value. The law, in cases of statutory rape, is just that: it means by definition rape under the statutes of the law of this nation.
No judge can overrule the parliament which made the law. Therefore, there is only one way ahead, in my mind, for the fundamental failure of these judges; they must be dismissed for their non-rational minds and their non-compliance with the law of the land.
Otherwise, we are courting injustice to grow and nurture more through such cases of progressive reinterpretation based on personal interpretive preferences. That is what is called rule by law, and not rule of law.
My first memory of such a publicly evident incident and a clear abuse of the law was the case of the Malacca Menteri Besar who deemed to have his “1515 vision.” That was also the time when Dr Mahathir Mohamad was selling his 2020 vision to the nation.
But, rather unfortunately, the then prime minister with the 2020 vision also lost his 2020 clarity and become partisan to ensure that the whistleblower went to jail for merely screaming “fox, fox” just like the village boy of old.
But poetic justice of the eternal kind has rewarded the so-called victim of that illegal arrest and jail sentence with the current appointment as Penang chief minister and he continues to strive like none other for eternal causes, even if he is saddled with failures of policies and problems of the past.
Even then when he decried with his scream, “of foul play over the statutory rape issue,” with the girl’s mother and grandmother in tow, it was considered seditious. Today, the chief judge also screams subjudice when ordinary people cry foul over this “injustice in Malaysia.”
Honourable parliament insulted and abused
When our judges court with injustice within the hallowed halls of their jurisprudential authority, it is time for the Malaysian people to rise up and say, “enough is enough”. We know better and should not tolerate such courting with injustice by any powers that be. Even our honourable parliament is already insulted and abused by these judges.
Therefore, this is my call to all members of parliament and state assemblypersons in Malaysia: “How can you, as elected representatives, stand by and see injustice take place only because we can afford to see the wrong done to such simple and ordinary girls, who could be our younger sisters or daughters? Have we no conscience? Or, are we are merely male chauvinistic inhumans who espouse one theory for self but another theory for others?”
Come on Malaysia, help the victims’ parents to put pressure on the governance system in Malaysia to correct this mistake, or let us please be prepared to face the wrath of a people who will not tolerate such courting with injustice.
Once. while on a study visit to America, much before the full dawn of the internet worked age, the US Department of Justice website was hacked and the new abused formal title read “Department of Injustice”.
We now have the Federal Court always sitting in Putrajaya but it cannot act like a government department. The Federal Court is the highest court in the nation and they must uphold the law and cannot court with injustice.
Today it appears as if it was a stranger who was raped, tomorrow it will be your neighbour, and one day it will be your own underaged daughter. Then it will be too late; come on Malaysia, we must say, “no” now, or forever hold our tongues when it is already too late. May God continue to have mercy on Malaysia.
KJ JOHN was in public service for 29 years. The views expressed here are his personal views and not those of any institution he is involved with. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org with any feedback or views.