The Book of Prof Shad.docx

In many societies professional athletes are bought

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In many societies professional athletes are bought and sold – sometimes at exorbitant prices – as if they were valued chattels. In sum, it can be stated that there are degrees of slavery. In order to honour the spirit of Malaysia’s document of destiny we need to look afresh at institutions and practices that approximate the abominations of the past. Historically, slavery arose as a result of the unwillingness or unavailability of local labour thereby necessitating import of economically vulnerable people from abroad. In many developed and developing societies like Malaysia such a situation is re-emerging. Enlightened measures are needed to outlaw old evils in new forms. 37
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3. PROTECTION AGAINST BACKDATED CRIMINAL LAWS – ARTICLE 7(1) INTRODUCTION At what point in time does an enacted law come into operation? Section 19 of the Interpretation Act provides that the commencement of an Act or subsidiary legislation shall be the date provided in the law or, where no date is provided, the day following the gazetting of the law. Most of the time when an enactment provides for its commencement, it provides a date or event in the future. Most laws are prospective (forward in time) in their application. But it is not uncommon to come across legislation that is enacted with retrospective operation - with effect from a date earlier than the date on which it is enacted. Backdated laws Retrospective legislation is gravely objectionable because it imposes a new complexion on events that have already taken place. A backdated law can validate illegalities or invalidate acts that were legal at the time they were committed. It can criminalise what was innocent at the time of its commission. This is a fundamental departure from the principle that no one should be prosecuted, punished or held liable except for a distinct breach of a known, pre-existing law. For the above reasons many legal systems forbid retrospective legislation. But it is justified in some circumstances. In times of war or crises, public officials often commit wrongful acts to safeguard national security and public interest. In the UK during World War II, the Home Minister ordered many detentions that were later adjudged to be ultra vires (beyond his powers). To protect the minister against a torrent of civil suits, Parliament enacted the Arthur Jenkins Indemnity Act 1952 and gave it retrospective effect to the time when the wrongful acts were committed. Sometimes there is need to grant retrospective recognition to marriages or to the legitimacy of children; to confer status, awards or degrees; to validate illegal contracts or flawed transactions. Often, sales tax statutes are given effect back in time in order to prevent or punish hoarding of goods.
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