Niki Cheong blogging

What is a statutory declaration?

Ever since Malaysia Today’s Raja Petra Kamaruddin made one implicating DPM Najib Tun Razak’s wife Rosmah to the Altantuya case (which the latter two denies), the term “statutory declaration” has become a buzzword.

Of course, the most current one (at the time of writing this post, that is) is when private investigator P. Balasubramaniam retracted the statutory declaration he made alleging that Najib had a relationship with Altantuya Shaariibuu. He did it just a couple of hours ago, at a press conference, according to my boss and Malaysiakini. The Star Online has since been updated.

In today’s The Star too, the two nominees to the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council accused of being involved in criminal activities will be asked to sign statutory declarations to prove their clear records.

What I want to know is, what exactly is a statutory declaration? The only time I’ve ever heard about it was when I asked my dad if I could change my name as a kid (Niki is not in my IC, sorry MyKad, by the way although my parents gave the name to me as a child) and he said I would have to go to court and make a statutory declaration.

I was at an age where I couldn’t even spell “COURT” let alone “STATUTORY DECLARATION”.

So after all this, I decided this morning to surf the Net a little bit to find out more, but it’s a bit difficult. I found lots from Australia and Britain (and I’m assuming it’s kind of similar since we have this whole Commonwealth thing going on) but not much in Malaysia. The only thing I did find was The Statutory Declarations Act 1960 on the Malaysian AG’s Chambers website although it was only as recent as 2006, so I don’t know if there has been any Amendments since. And as such, please don’t take this as the be all, end all, on stat decs (as I shall refer to them from now on). You might want to get a lawyer, who might know *cough* a little *cough* more than I do. :D

The Australian Attorney-General’s website defines it as:

A statutory declaration is a written statement declared to be true in the presence of an authorised witness.

In Malaysia (according to earlier mentioned Statutory Declaration Act 1960, a stat dec can be made in either English or Bahasa Malaysia. Any false declaration, which I assume the PI will be charged with later, is punishable under the Penal Code Code under the sections:

199. False statement made in any declaration which is by law receivable as evidence
200. Using as true any such declarations known to be false

Truth be told, I don’t know what the heck those sentences mean. But there will be punishment lah. In Australia, according to the info sheet provided by the AG’s Chambers, the penalty for making a false statutory declaration is 4 years in prison.

You know what, I still don’t know what the hell a statutory declaration is, when you can use it, and why one would use it. Maybe my mum should have allowed me to study law, after all.

1.16pm Malaysian time (+8 GMT)

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