For my son, when he grows up, this site will be my legacy for him. The decisions his mother and I made for him, to understand them, to learn from them and to lead a life without prejudice and to succeed in it on his own merit.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Scholars without a ship to sail

Scholarships are now granted to deservingly straight A's students. Automatic if you scored 9 A's. The government decision to approve or agreed to such conditions are not out of any analysis or foresights planning, but was done out of public pressures. Students, non-bumi's especially, have been getting the raw deal from the many stories one heard from friends and relatives.

Question:- Do our government have to bow to pressures before deciding on the most logical and feasible thing to do?

Another question:- Didn't our government or leaders appoint qualified ministers to cast in the most workable solutions to our nation's education system and criteria for scholarship's award?

I tend to think, wait, or am I really allowed to anyway, that a minister is there just to look good and make ceremonious appearances, giving grand speeches, presenting datas or solving issues on ad-hoc basis. Any projects or implementation must derive some publicity to make their tenure look good instead of setting in place long term solutions.

I simply have to make it on my own and continue paying my taxes for what it's worth. Maybe that same minister is wearing a gold watch that I indirectly and unwittingly paid for.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Kissing footprints

Does A Tun-ship, etc., have legal immunity?

By Bluesyworms Jazzyworms


As rumours about Samy Vellu's and now Musa Aman's Tun-ship circulated over the Net, another old issue regarding the title itself started to circulate as well. The 'myth' that a Tun-ship carries with it a legal immunity have been debated over the Net for years. No one really knows whether it is true or false.

My Opinion

As far as I know, a Tun-ship does not confer on to the holder any sort of immunity from any criminal nor any civil charges. They do not have any automatic diplomatic immunity. The police can still take action towards them if they park their car in the middle of the highway for no justifiable reason. They can't just barge and trespass into other people's property. They have no authority over any civil servants. And the recipients still have to pay taxes.

In short, their rights are just like any other Malaysians. The same goes to other titles like Tan Sri, Datuk Seri, Datuk, Dato, Pehin etc etc etc ...

It is just a title, you get a fancy medal and the only privilege accorded is a free entry to use the VIP room at KLIA etc. If you still don't believe me, then please go to this official government website regarding the Agong and the titles confered by His Majesty. Read and be enlightened;

Regarding Other Titles

If the recipient is a 'Tun', you call him/her 'Yang Amat Berbahagia'. If it is a Tan Sri or a Datuk, you call him/her 'Yang Berbahagia'. Generally the wife for a Tun will be called 'Toh Puan'. I said 'generally' because if the recipient is a hereditary Dato' or you receive a Datukship from Terengganu, normally the wife will be addressed as 'Toh Puan' too. Yes folks, there are titles that are hereditary in Malaysia, just like some of those English Lords with their 'Baron' and 'Duke' titles. The current Prime Minister, Dato' Seri Najib Razak is one of them. He is the 'Orang Kaya Indera Shahbandar' of Pahang that carries the hereditary title Dato'. His eldest son will automatically get the title after his death. Yeah I know I know, once I didn't know about these hereditary 'Datukship' too. You can close your open mouth now ....

A Tan Sri's wife is called 'Puan Sri'. A Datuk Seri's wife is called 'Datin Seri'. And a Datuk's wife will be called 'Datin'. Please be aware that only IF the recipient is a woman, then her husband has no title altogether, though you can call him a 'Toh Puan', 'Puan Sri' or 'Datin' if you are bold enough. Just make sure there is a 1Malaysia Clinic nearby. On second thought ... never mind.

So is it a Dato' or a Datuk? Again, generally, a Dato' normally is a title given from a state. A Datuk on the other hand is a title you get from the Agong and Federal Government. Hence the difference in spelling.

Tun and Tan Sri however, are given exclusively by the Agong and Federal Government.

Anyhow, back to the topic. Now is there any legal immunity given to these titles? Nope!! There is none.

Highest Civilian Title in Malaysia

Some may argue that because 'Tun' is the highest title of the land, therefore there must be such immunity. There are two contradictions with this argument. First, as I have mentioned above, I found no such privilege nor any written law that supports this argument.

Second, is the fact that 'Tun' is not the highest title of the land. The highest title in Malaysia is the Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa [SP] which ironically does not carry any namesake whatsoever. Here is the list of all Federal Titiles awarded according to priority.

You can see that both the titles that carry the title Tun, ie Seri Maharaja Mangku Negara [SMN] and Seri Setia Mahkota [SSM] are ranked 4th and 5th respectively. Not even a third placing ....

Tunship above the Sultans and Agong?

We must remember that even the Sultans can be sued via special provisions according to the Federal Constitution. It is therefore impossible that a person carrying the title 'Tun' can be immune from the law. Are these people above the Sultans and Agong?

Case Law?

To further prove that a Tun has no legal immunity is the legal case of Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim v Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad [High Court number S4-23-15-2006; Appeal Court number W-02-609-2007]. Though Anwar Ibrahim failed in this case so far, none of the judges be it in the High Court nor Appeal Court cited legal immunity confered on a Tunship as the reason for dismissing the case. In fact this case proved that a person having the title Tun can be sued.

How Did The 'Myth' Start?

1. Limited number of recipients.

- A Tunship is confered via two titles, the Seri Maharaja Mangku Negara [SMN] and the Seri Setia Mahkota [SSM]. At any one particular time, only 25 people are allowed to receive the SMN title and another 25 people receiving the SSM title. Hence there are only a maximum of 50 'Tuns' around at any particular time. If the maximum number has been reached, the only way to award another Tunship is to wait for any one of the 50 recepients to, well ... die.

Hence, because of these limited numbers of recepients, the chances of any of them being charged legally is 0.000002 percent out of 26 million Malaysians.

2. Lack of courage by the enforcement agencies

- Majority of the recepients are still or was holding a high ranking position in Government. Some are or were Judges, Ministers, Parliament Speakers, IGP, AG etc etc etc.

If these people are still holding such a position, it is very unlikely that they will be legally charged with anything. They may be the top man in these agencies, so no one dares go against the 'boss'.

If they are retirees or not a civil servant, the majority of these people are usually too 'well connected' to those walking the corridors of power in Malaysia. Hence most of the time no agencies nor private individuals dare to persecute or legally sue them for anything for fear of adverse repercussion.

It is really more a question of courage rather than the so called 'immunity'.

3. Custom

- In the old days, before Merdeka, most of the people holding these titles are usually related or connected to the Sultans or Istana themselves. They may be a cousin 5 times removed from the Sultan, or one of those high ranking families that work in the palace for generations. Most of the titles are hereditary and as I said earlier, limited to those related to the Sultans or connected to the Istana via being a palace official. Hence even if you are only a Datuk, it is very unlikely in those days that you will be prosecuted for anything without the Sultan's consent. Having a title means in short, you are legally immune unless the Sultan says otherwise.

But since the formation of Malaya, later Malaysia, the government decided that some form of titles should be created or allowed to be given to palace outsiders, similar to the British Royalty. This is also needed because the title Agong was also just created as the new sovereign of the Federetaion of Malaya, later Malaysia. You can read here;

Since then many things have changed, and the palace does not have much of the authority nor immunity it had in the past, save only to an extent the Sultans themselves. Today even a palace official can be legally prosecuted or face a civil suit.

However, the Malaysian mindset somehow are still trapped in those pre-Merdeka days when it comes to these titles. Many still believe that a Tunship, some even thinks a Datukship, confers on the receipient legal immunity.

Malaysians are obsessed with titles

Why the need for the title then? What benefit can you get? Surely there must be a reason why so many Malaysians want it?

Well, lets face it. Most in our society today only respect three things. Money, power and if you are white. Yes folks, that's the truth. If you go to a high class restaurant in KL wearing tattered clothes, unless you can show either of these three things, you'll be thrown out to the streets. Money is easy to show, but how about power? That's where the 'titles' come in. Only those who have 'power' and are 'connected' can have these titles. Only then the restaurant will give you their first class treatment. Doesnt matter if you are a bankrupt Tun or Datuk, many will still view you with awe.

What about being 'white' you asked? Well to sidetrack a bit, to most Malaysians if you are white, ie caucasian, that automatically means you have money and power. Doesn't matter if you are actually a hillbilly redneck with no money whatsoever, Malaysians will still think you are rich, educated etc. Sad but true.

Back to the topic, this obsession with titles among Malaysians are so bad that for example, you can see some Malays even use the title Haji or Hajjah as a form of a title. I don't find Muslim scholars in Arab countries using it as often as us here. Even the renown Islamic scholar Dr. Yusoff Qardhawi does not use it.

Some Malaysians are even willing to buy these titles. If they can't buy it allegedly from the Sultans or government, they buy it from the Sulu Sultan, which confers the similar title of Datu' or Datuk. That title cannot be used in Malaysia, but no one really cares. Just a few days ago the nation was shocked when a Sabahan even superimposed his picture and allegedly claims he was conferred the title 'Sir' by the Queen of England. He has now claimed it was from the government of Papua New Guinea ... sigh ....

Having a title means prestige in Malaysia. It opens doors to many things, like getting your children in that famous school. Police respond to an emergency much quicker. Your dealings with the banks will be much easier. Malaysians put more weight on your opinions. They listen more to you. Even if you talk nonsense!! The higher the title, the better it is.

So far through my experience, that's what I see. Having such titles really do smooth things out. Another sad but true scenario ....

Yes, there are problems associated with having such titles as well. The pressure, the expectation, the constraints .... But that's another story. Generally, Malaysians still are obsessed with these titles.


Unless someone can prove legally that a Tunship does have legal immunity, I stand by what I wrote here. To me, a Tunship does not have any legal immunity whatsoever. They still pay taxes etc. Whatever 'immunity' they have come from other external reasons, not the Tunship itself.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Good public relation

Our ministers here don't ever answer your questions. All they do is justifies what they do and tell you what happened. If you question them more, they will lash back at you for being so persistent.