Four decades later, CJ pens foreword for constitutional law professor’s book

Author Datuk Shad Saleem Faruqi presents a copy of ‘Our Constitution’ to Chief Justice of Malaysia, Tan Sri Richard Malanjum, during its launch in Kuala Lumpur March 20, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Author Datuk Shad Saleem Faruqi presents a copy of ‘Our Constitution’ to Chief Justice of Malaysia, Tan Sri Richard Malanjum, during its launch in Kuala Lumpur March 20, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 20 — Chief Justice Tan Sri Richard Malanjum fondly remembers being lectured in law over 40 years ago by the country’s foremost constitutional law expert, Datuk Shad Saleem Faruqi.

Years after being Shad Saleem’s student, Malanjum has now written the foreword for Shad Saleem’s latest book on the Federal Constitution titled Our Constitution.

Malanjum, who was officiating the launch of the book on the Federal Constitution, spoke about his days as a law student in the 1970s in the Institut Teknologi MARA (ITM), or as Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) was then known.

“I still remember the first encounter with Prof Shad, not jurisprudence, but constitutional law. That was the first-year subject that you taught us,” Malanjum said at the book launch in Universiti Malaya (UM).

Malanjum also spoke of how Shad Saleem taught him the subject of jurisprudence in his final year of studies, where he said he was the only student left by then.

“Prof Shad used to lecture me whenever and wherever he’s free, whichever table available. That’s how I learnt my jurisprudence.

“Thank you Prof for making it possible, initially nobody like jurisprudence... And that’s why until today, he’s my teacher,” he added.

Chief Justice of Malaysia, Tan Sri Richard Malanjum, speaks during the ‘Our Constitution’ book launch in Kuala Lumpur March 20, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Chief Justice of Malaysia, Tan Sri Richard Malanjum, speaks during the ‘Our Constitution’ book launch in Kuala Lumpur March 20, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

Malanjum later confirmed to Malay Mail that Shad Saleem was his lecturer throughout his three years of study at UiTM for his law degree.

Shad Saleem, who is also a member of the Judicial Appointments Commission and a member of the Institutional Reforms Committee, is currently an emeritus professor in the UM law faculty as the Tunku Abdul Rahman Foundation chair.

Earlier in his speech, Shad Saleem also shared his “nostalgic” memories when he first started teaching law 45 years ago in ITM, where he recalled teaching Malanjum jurisprudence.

“I feel blessed that though he has reached a certain exalted position, he’s still by my side 45 years after we first met, writing a foreword to my book and being present at this occasion,” he said.

When commenting on the book, Malanjum said he had found it to be an “excellent guide for beginners”.

“He called it ‘introduction to the Constitution’, but maybe to us, it’s a textbook,” he said.

“I hope this book will find its way to all the libraries of universities, to all the government departments, to the civil service because they are the ones who make decisions that affect our lives, daily lives,” he later added.

Author of ‘Our Constitution’, Datuk Shad Saleem Faruqi, speaks during the book’s launch in Kuala Lumpur March 20, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Author of ‘Our Constitution’, Datuk Shad Saleem Faruqi, speaks during the book’s launch in Kuala Lumpur March 20, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

The paperback numbering over 300 pages will be available for sale at RM50, with the book of 36 chapters covering topics such as the Federal Constitution’s main characteristics, separation of powers, fundamental liberties, citizenship, the electoral process and the making of laws.

The book can be obtained from bookstores Marsden Law Books, Joshua Legal Art Gallery, Kinokuniya and MPH, or via Sweet & Maxwell Asia’s website.

Later when met after the launch, Shad Saleem confirmed that he is currently working on updating his previous book titled Document of Destiny: The Constitution of the Federation of Malaysia by taking into account new judgments and new laws over the years.

“It’s now 10-year-old. It needs to be updated, expanded, thoroughly revised so I am working on that.

“The judges keep the law rolling, moving, it’s impossible to keep a book the way it was, they keep on giving new decisions, we have to keep up with the judges,” he told reporters.

“The law is like a river, it keeps on flowing, it doesn’t stay still,” he added.

He said the Document of Destiny book of about 1,000 pages would cater to lawyers and judges, while the slimmer Our Constitution would be suitable for civil servants and the public.

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