Law must be read together, not in isolation

Shankar Ram Asnani

KUCHING: Dissenting parties arguing that the amendment to Article 16 of the Sarawak Constitution is flawed must read it together with other Articles in the State’s supreme law, senior lawyer Shankar Ram Asnani said.

“If you look at Article 6(4), it said if you become a member of Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN), you have the right to be chief minister. But you can’t become chief minister through the process of naturalisation.

“This is where Articles in the Constitution must be read in harmony and not in isolation. The same goes for the hypothetical case of Putri and Leila, this is a vicious cycle.

“They have completely taken the wrong approach,” he said during a video interview with local portal DayakDaily recently, in response to the hypothetical arguments made by several quarters in using the case of Putri and Leila.

Shankar said the intention of the amendment to Article 16 of the Sarawak Constitution is clear adding that what is important is the ancestral connection for one to be eligible to be a DUN member.

“When you read it together you will know it is meant to protect Sarawak. If you protect Sarawak for the sake of Sarawakians, it shouldn’t be misinterpreted.

“We can see better ways to tighten it further; language is flexible and it can be interpreted in many ways and even in mischievous ways.

“The intent here is that the state government is clear about confining it (DUN) to Sarawak roots. We mustn’t miss that,” he said.

He challenged proponents of the hypothetical arguments to take their theory to court as it is the only way to put it to the test.

“If anything, the proponents of all these strange theories – challenge it in a court of law. Don’t just talk outside the DUN.

“Take a challenge, take a legal challenge if you believe in your Leila and Putri argument, come to court. That is the best thing to do,” he said.