Legal Side of Politics

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Coat_of_arms_of_Malaysia.svgThat is essentially what Constitutional Law is about – the legal side of politics. As a result, we need to be critical in our thinking of the problem. The only way to understand Consti is to be fully aware of politics.

That’s essentially what Johan taught us today in the introduction to Consti. I like him and he is passionate about the subject. He is also very philosophical in his approach and is thoroughly grounded in Constitutionalism. However, he is tardy – late to class each time today.

Unlike the other modules, the reading list for Consti is fluid and dynamic. Not only are we encouraged to read legal texts, we are also encouraged to read the mainstream media, alternative media, as well as papers put out by certain real NGOs.

We were asked to ultimately draw our own conclusions on the matter.

Also, I learned that the law professor at UIA who is currently facing suspension of whatever form, literally wrote the text-book on Constitution. Malaysian Constitution: Critical Introduction by Abdul Aziz Bari is a recommended text.

Now, that puts things in a whole different perspective for me. With all due respect, UIA has just alienated whole generations of law students in Malaysia, especially those who have been fortunate enough to study under him.

Ultimately, the function of the Constitution is to serve to limit the powers of the government.

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Worming the Void

I had my first introductory class to Contract today. Today, I felt that the law was quite cut-n-dried and it revolved around money. Contract seems to be rather boring once you can get past all the terminology and concepts but this is where all the money is.

This could be a result of the subject itself or possibly even the delivery. In contrast to yesterday, our lecturer seemed to lack passion on the subject and was literally telling us what we needed to know to answer the exam questions and the types of questions to expect.

This could be due to a lack of knowledge or experience, seeing that the lecturer only has a Masters, or it is simply because one cannot find anything to love about Contract law as it is seen as something that is largely money oriented.

Personally, while I think that Contract is probably easier to tackle than Tort, I will have to focus on both equally as they are both important to everyday business and life. Contract tries to address the issue of damages. It is not so much about liability.

Anyway, a friend of mine has asked me to blog about law with a focus on small businesses. On my part, I’ll just blog about what interests me as my legal knowledge increases, which would include things relevant to small businesses as well.

But today, I learned something interesting – it is perfectly legal to have a prenuptial agreement in Malaysia. The main issue of concern is Consideration but as long as that can be proved, that contract can be addressed through the courts.

I also learned that there is a time-limit on contracts. Once a breach is detected, one has to sue the defaulter within a reasonable time otherwise, the inaction is taken as a tacit agreement or affirmation of the contract.

Interesting.

It’s the People, Stupid!

I had my first law class today – Tort – taught by Prof Norchaya. It was a total eye-opener and I was thoroughly inspired in many ways.

She was so good that she had me thinking of switching my career to law. You see, I suffer from a Messiah complex – the need to save the world from itself. So, law would definitely be one of those ways to do it.

However, I am too passionate about building things to actually do it. But I will definitely integrate what I learn in law school with my engineering work and Tort is definitely relevant when it comes to finding solutions to convoluted problems, which is what engineering is all about.

Now, back to Tort class. After six fun-filled hours of discussing the basics of Tort, I learned a few things from Prof Norchaya.

Firstly, I learned how to be a better teacher. I already consider myself a pretty good teacher when it comes to delivering content and encouraging students to learn. However, she has shown me how I can actually inspire students to throw their mind, body and soul into a subject. I am humbled.

Secondly, I learned that Tort is about people – particularly people-people relationships whether they be individuals or groups. As a result, it can cover pretty much anything and everything, particularly that which is not covered by other specific laws.

Thirdly, I learned that ultimately, it is about justice and remedying any injustice without causing any further harm, which in itself, is not totally black-white because the liability is often shared and things can get super entangled when multiple parties are involved.

Anyway, that’s my basic take-away of the matter.

I’ll probably write more on the subject when I actually get to studying the details of Tort later. I do think that it is going to be interesting as everything is fluid and subject to personal prejudice.