This June our “Father of Independence” will be honored by the Honorable Society of the Inner Temple in London, in conjunction with its 400th Anniversary celebration this year. The secretary of the Malaysian Inner Temple Alumni Association S. Radhakrishnan said that last November, the benchers of the Inner Temple agreed that some form of commemoration should be commissioned to honor Tunku abdul Rahman as one of its former students. Prior to this , the Inn had honored its former student, like the former English prime minister Clement Atlee and even Mahatma Gandhi , who was called to the English Bar at the Inner Temple in 1891, was also honored by the Inn.
So, for this commemorative event in our nations history in having our Father being honored by the Inn, I’ll like to publish a small part one of the Tunku’s last work, that is his interview with K. Das. (This interview between K. Das and the Tunku was one of the last and most personal interview by our “Father of Independence” before he dearly departed for his people. Now he is back with Allah and he is watching over his children of his beloved nation, “Malaya”. Thanks to authors and writers like Kua Kia Soong, the interview between K. Das and The Tunku has been compilid and edited in to a book so that the honor of our “Father’s” last words of wisdom will not be lost forever.:
K.Das: How would you define the rule of law?
Tunku: You must observe the law, respect and uphold the law, that is how it is supposed to be. To respect the rule of law, you don’t have to be a lawyer. We know the rule of the law is suppose to provide justice and so on. We know all that, but there are certain questions that have to do with justice and fair play.
K.Das: The way I understand it, the rule of law is the rule by laws which observe the principles of natural justice.
Tunku: That is the main thing-natural justice.
K.Das: If you go beyond that, it is only legality.
Tunku: That’s right. To free the people of the world, we look toward natural justice to provide us with protection and to give us freedom to do certain things within the law, not outside of the law because there are so many penal codes, laws that tell you where you go wrong, what is right and what is wrong. If you go and pinch somebody’s money, you know you are doing wrong. If you go and crack somebody’s head, you know that you are doing wrong but all that is within common knowledge of all men and so it is within that rule of law that you can do anything you like. But of course in countries which we call ‘democratic countries like ours’, the people are supposed to be free to follow their way of life, to follow their religion, customs, habits and traditions.
K.Das: New education and so on. For example, this man- when he was interviewed by Tan Chee Khoon- says that capital punishment for drug trafficking is not too severe. He said, “Well, they know what they are doing so they can hang.
Tunku: When I first became Prime Minister of this country, I had a discussion with the British government and the Chairman of that group was Lord Hare. I said to Lord Hare, “Whatever you do, you cannot stop this opium habit and drug habit, you can’t do it. The only thing you can do perhaps is to provide them with a medical certificate. With this certificate, you are allowed to take opium.”
He replied, “You see, I agree with you Tunku, the only thing is that the UN has decided on this particular band on the drug habit.”
But I said, “They know you can’t stop it, his trafficking will go on. The same with prostitution, they decided against prostitution but can they stop it? It is the oldest profession in the world. But they could not stop it. Why don’t they regulate the profession like in France? They had massage houses in the old days where all the girls are examined medically so that they can be certified to be free of disease and so on. . . but to stop it, you know you cannot. Why do they want to mess things up like that? I am particularly against the punishment of death for drug possession.
Secondly, there re certain kinds of drugs like ganja (marijuana). Ganja is a drug that they take everywhere in the Middle East, in India, Pakistan and so on. When I played golf in Pakistan, in Islamabad, all those bushes around the golf course were all full of ganja. They grew wild everywhere. So to punish people in possession of ganja with death is too severe when you can grow it in the backyard. You must know how to prepare it, you cannot pack it up and take it just like that. It won’t be any good. When the Pakistan caddy produced it from his pocket to taste, it was in a slab, black in colour, like belacan (prawn paste)).
K.Das: I think the death sentence for drug trafficking is too severe and besides, it does not work.
Tunku: It does not work, that is the point. Why not register the drug addicts?
K.Das: In fact, I want to go further and suggest that if you register them, the drug traffickers will lose out because they have nothing to sell.
Tunku: Yes, they lose out.
(This interview can be found in the book K. Das & The Tunku Tapes on page 134-136)
With love and honor,
T.A.R. Vijaya@ the Patriot
Ps: One might think it’s about an issue that does not concern them. No doubt that even some religions considers it to be a holy sacrament but the truth is if the authorities come knocking on your door to take one of your own family members away for an offence that even the Tunku deems as unjust to jail, then don’t blame anyone but yourself for not standing up for democracy, equality and freedom. As children of this nation, we should stand up “In The Name Of Our Father.”