Friday, February 22, 2013

It Is Not My Deed - But When Is It Yours?

Funny things do happen, and often do especially here in Malaysia where everyone is supposed to 'boleh' (can do)

Even In law, you are responsible for whatever you have signed in a document whether you have read it or not. The only exception is where you are able to plead non est factum (Latin for 'it is not my deed').

For example, you had been negotiating to buy Ah Chong's bungalow and the document that you had signed was supposed to have been a sales and purchase agreement but what you had actually put your signature to was a deed to send you to the moon in a flying wheelchair or something like that!

We have to have some kind of strict rule to one being bound by whatever he has signed, otherwise it would be difficult for any commercial transaction or intercourse to proceed.

Or the business or affairs of state for that matter, if someone is to be held responsible or accountable.

If not, anyone can just deny anything with which he is not happy about.

But some people have different ideas.

Some people say that when you sign a document in 'good faith' without reading it, then it is your subordinates who had prepared it who are are responsible though you are the one who should have the final responsibility for the project or plan or whatever for which the document had been drawn up to which you had in 'good faith' put your august signature to.

Of course, they don't tell you what is 'good faith'. Does 'good faith' mean just trusting your subordinates and signing blindly because it is not nice not to do so?

They don't define what this good creature 'good faith' is. They can't, because if they did that, then how on earth would that serve their purpose? Ministers are busy cretins, oops, creatures! They don't have the time for useless minutiae.

They are always busy cutting ribbons here and there. Officiating the opening of one toilet after another or something of that august kind lah.

They just bantai (whack it) lah. Where got time to read what? Some more ah, we pay these fellows to prepare the documents and they should be the ones responsible what?

Of course, this is a nice way to never be responsible for anything you do or gave instruction to do in the first place, nor be held accountable for it. You are the minister after all, not any ordinary cretin, like you and I.

If anything goes wrong, it is always someone else's baby!

The kid is not my son, she says I am the one, but the kid is not my son... like Michael Jackson insisted.

Of course, where it involves ministers it is called ministerial responsibility.

Only, this is Bolehland style Westminster parliamentary democracy for you.

And its forebear is the man the call by many names.

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