The writer is currently a first year undergraduate reading LLB Law at the London School of Economics. This personal statement was part of this student’s successful application to LSE, Queen Mary University and University of Nottingham for Law.
The ambition to provide the poorest man a wealthier life is a noble one, but defining it by racial preference is Malaysia’s shameful mistake. Affirmative action, favouring its 68.6% Bumi population has provided property purchase discounts and permitted reservations into state universities, the civil service and public share offerings via the New Economic Policy since the 1970s. This contravention of equal protection enshrined in Article 153 of the Federal Constitution precipitates institutional socioeconomic segregation. Being a beneficiary by virtue of race prompts me to question its fairness towards my non-Bumi compatriots who virtually hold a second-class citizenship.
I witnessed the rise of Bersih, a democratic protest whereby its 150,000 members expressed concerns about balancing the need for special privileges with minority rights within the Malaysian Constitution. I was appalled that the freedom of protesters to question Article 153 was criminalised under the Sedition Act with allegations of seditious tendencies and exciting disaffection. This ambiguous and subjective definition grants the executive discretion for arbitrary enforcement, as with the onerously regulated media and removal of the Attorney-General and Parliamentary Accounts Committee chairman investigating the siphoning of 700 million USD from Malaysia’s developmental fund 1MDB sitting in private accounts of its chief officers. The power to exercise judicial reviews in Marbury v Madison has been limited by abuse, eroding the credibility of the court to independently uphold the rule of law that Bingham implies is of democratic importance. Montesquieu promotes that a despot emerges when the three institutions of the state are under executive control and in this quasi-democracy which inherited English common laws, the public now fear its manifestation. The protection against exploitation of the written constitution and human rights is what led me to law.
Former Prime Minister Mahathir justifies Article 153 in ‘The Malay Dilemma’ by referring to years of discrimination during the colonial era. Intrigued by when affirmative action should be limited, I compared the Equality Act in the UK that legally protects people against preferential treatment with Malaysia’s practice of utilitarianism. Although the greatest good is for the greatest number, a review should be insisted when it compromises the universal basic rights of equality. The World Policy Journal reports that millions of non-Bumi migrate or deviate from government sectors to avoid prejudice forced through structural disenfranchisement. Hence, I refer to Portia in Antonio’s trial, that this conflict of law and equity should be resolved through considerations of mercy and fairness in its administration. Whether it is criminal, constitutional or property, law holds a significant role in the protection of human dignity, one that should not be subverted for personal gain.The misuse of power, compounded by lack of freedom, calls for a nobler form of justice. I aspire to learn how lawyers challenge legal decisions and push the judiciary to interpret the law contrary to one amended by the powers that be.
My debating experience has exposed me to similar social, political and economic illnesses which occur between persons and governments. Learning to construct and destruct arguments while defending unorthodox stances through discourse is important but what I look forward to at university is to practically address these problems with legal interpretation. Being a Central Bank scholar gives me a platform in its legal department to practice this knowledge and advocate constitutional liberalism whilst attempting to review and mend draconian laws in the future.
Some Malaysians can withstand the lack of transparency, judicial power and equal rights while others feel defeated. Studying law will aid me prevent the loss of confidence in it and contribute to society by upholding the protection of civil liberties.
DISCLAIMER: The personal statements on this site are strictly meant as a starting point to give an idea of how successful personal statements look like. There is no surefire formula to writing good personal statements. COLLEGELAH IS STRICTLY AGAINST PLAGIARISM OF ANY KIND. UCAS employs a plagiarism check system that checks applicants’ work against other published writing so please DO NOT PLAGIARISE.