As a colony of the British, Malaya inherited the tradition of appointing Justices of the Peace (JPs) from among its prominent individuals and community leaders. Despite the title’s honorary nature, JPs were bestowed with significant public roles, from mediators in charge of the maintenance of peace, to sitting as lay magistrates in minor cases. In Penang JPs consisted not only of wealthy and well-respected public figures, but also personalities who have contributed immensely to the state. Nevertheless, with no new JPs having been appointed since 1990, their historical status and functions risk being ignored.
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