Jurist Malaya

New Mandala readers interested in understanding and discussing democracy and its future in Malaysia should visit the Jurist Malaya Initiative. It is currently a depository of analysis by Associate Professor Rueban Balasubramaniam, as well as a platform to “discuss, debate and decide.”

There is a significant blind spot in Malaysian politics. Many believe that the main solution to our democratic deficit is political change.

This is a mistake.

Our history reveals that a major reason for the failure of democracy in Malaysia is that we have never had the benefit of the correct understanding of the ideal of the rule of law or legality as a principle of political legitimacy that shapes our legal and political culture; we have never interpreted our Constitution by reference to a sound understanding that ideal. History shows that a major cause of our democratic deficit is a legal-juridical and constitutional failure, not necessarily the absence of politically good intentions to respect democracy.

Unless we address this long-standing problem of legality, we will not produce a well-functioning democracy; correcting this systematic failure of legality is a precondition to the emergence of meaningful democratic politics in Malaysia.

– See more at: http://juristmalaya.com/about/#sthash.6cNYFssR.dpuf