‘Rule of law must reign supreme’
KUALA LUMPUR: Democratic states must ensure that the rule of law is embedded into their nations as this will help to maintain order while underpinning economic wellbeing.
Former England and Wales Lord chief justice Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd said many nations had benefited when they maintained the independence of its judiciary.
He said nations that ensured that their judiciary functioned independently from the executive had withstood great turbulances in their history.
He said this was possible with support from other national institutions, such as the legislature, public prosecution service, police and intelligence services, which helped to protect and strengthen the rule of law.
“It is universally accepted that each state should be subject to the
rule of law; that the executive government should be ruled by the law and subject to it.
“The rule of law requires compliance with and implementation of law made by a legislature within an accountable democratic process, legal certainty, prohibition of arbitrariness and abuse of power, access to justice before independent courts and equality before the law,” he said at the Chancellor Tuanku Muhriz Lecture titled “Whither the Rule of Law” at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in Bangi.
Thomas said he chose this title for a lecture as he believed there was a misconception among some members of society that the rule of law was becoming less important.
While admitting that some segments of society in the United Kingdom had taken the rule of law for granted, he said efforts should be
made by governments to ensure that the rule of law was embraced by all segments of society in the process of nation-building.
The Chancellor Tuanku Muhriz Lecture Series feature luminaries who share their knowledge and experiences in public affairs, good governance, integrity and law.
The lectures are held to honour Yang di-Pertuan Besar Negri Sembilan Tuanku Muhriz Tuanku Munawir, the UKM chancellor, for his contributions in corporate governance and his outstanding dedication in upholding higher education.
This year’s lecture coincided with Tuanku Muhriz’s conferment of the Honorary Fellowship of Aberystwyth University, Honorary Doctorate of Law by the University of South Wales and Honorary Fellowship by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Chancellor Yang Di-Pertuan Besar Negri Sembilan Tuanku Muhriz Tuanku Munawir (centre) and UKM Vice-Chancellor Professor Tan Sri Dr Noor Azlan Ghazali (right) with Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd at the third instalment of the Chancellor Tuanku Muhriz Lecture Series at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in Bangi yesterday.