Equality is giving everyone a shoe; equity is giving everyone a shoe that fits.
– Pembina native American chief
Indigenous communities have fully understood the ancient and the antiquated realities of equality and equity despite the disingenuous legalese that has encouraged and empowered a raging battlefield of bullies by de jure regimes enjoying a monopoly in socio-economic terrorism. Lack of police power by de facto indigenous communities is not a permanent setback.
The science of hermeneutics used in modern day legalese blurs distinctions. Government policies, however unequal and unjust, are forced into submission merely because it is written in a law that chokes and strangulates the truth representing what is fair and honest for one to suppose that justice has dawned.
The Malaysian Parliament has 222 seats: 56 for the Borneo Territories and 166 for Peninsular Malaya. The three equal partners do not enjoy the equal division of parliamentary seats between them. This warped sense of equality and equity is somehow contaminated by a cruelly devious method of constitutional calculation.
Should parliamentary representation of seats be based on population or size of land mass? Statistics say that Sabah has 73,631 square kilometres, while Sarawak enjoys 124,450 square kilometres totalling almost 200,000 square kilometres. Peninsular Malaya totals 132,395 square kilometres. The Thirteenth Schedule of the Federal Constitution (FC) is of no help.
A kampong in some remote part of the Borneo Territories with 780 resident denizens is equally eligible to representation in the state and federal legislatures as is the city with 1 million citizens. The Thirteenth Schedule FC (Articles 113, 116, 117) (Provisions Relating to Delimitation of Constituencies) is written in language void of any mention or reference to the principles of equity and equality despite section 2 of Part 1 claiming established principles.
But, whether Article VIII of MA63 means what it says and says what it means, it seems that the rakyat has accepted the fact that semantics and rhetoric have replaced the rule of law and any semblance of social justice. A high-wire act with no safety nets below, but the show must go on to entertain an expectant audience.
The Federal Constitution is severely handicapped when it comes to constituency allocation and allotment despite the strong language of Article 8 concerning equality, not equity. Article 8 tells the whole wide world that equality and equity mean the same thing. But every mother’s child knows otherwise!
Turning to the courts for resolution of election misgivings is fraught with awkward denials to judicial review as occasioned in Kerajaan Negeri Selangor v Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya  1 MLJ 459. Parliament will never make any law that aids the mission, vision and provision, not division, for equality and equity while comfortably resorting to the common law of England like we need the constant guidance from western values.
Equity and equality are subjected to weird arithmetic and outrageous junk science when it comes to calculating equal representation in the Malaysian Parliament between three equal partners. “In any architecture, there is an equity between the pragmatic function and the symbolic function,” observed Michael Graves. MA63 could very well be the symbolic function that confounds and contorts the primary issues.
“The difference between equity and equality is that equality is everyone get the same thing and equity is everyone get the things they deserve. Equity everywhere is worth fighting for,” said D.H. Lawrence using a common sense approach to the inevitable twists and interpretations attributed to Marxism, socialism and democracy.
Equality and equity seldom find traction, guidance, worth and value in any written fundamental law when the voice of the masses is muffled by that of the classes in any system whether led by one, a few, or the many. A mass evolution of ideas by a bloodless revolution may permanently install and entrench these virtues.
Equality and equity square off with the power of a Minister enunciated in section 30 of the Eleventh Schedule (Construction of enabling words) Federal Constitution which states that all such powers are conferred as are reasonably necessary for the enforcement of any act or proceeding. The burning question: are equality and equity reasonably exercised and are they necessary for the interests of all Malaysians?
Article 8(2) FC clearly and cogently states that discrimination against citizens on grounds of religion, race, descent, place of birth or gender are permissible only when expressly authorised by the FC. Equality and equity, and that “all men are created equal” left our shores eons ago.
The views expressed here are those of the columnist and do not necessarily represent the views of New Sarawak Tribune.