DURING a pandemic, when lives are at risk, the people would want nothing more than the government to protect them. To its credit, the government has acted swiftly and made tough decisions to protect the people from Covid-19.
But the government can only act within the remit of the law. And it must uphold the rule of law, where everyone is equal before the law. This includes ministers and parliamentarians.
If a minister does an act in breach of restrictions under the movement control order (MCO), then he can expect to be penalised – and in like manner – just as anyone else would be.
The rule of law gives society a predictable and ordered life. It promotes justice and individual freedom and provides a shield against the arbitrary exercise of power.
The people are more likely to obey laws – even if burdensome – if they accept that the law is fair and applies to all.
If what is needed to stop the spread of COVID-19 is the people obeying the laws, then the people must be satisfied that the laws are fair, necessary and have been fairly and properly applied and enforced.
This is key to dealing with the pandemic. It is a way of maintaining the people’s confidence in the government and their compliance with the laws.
Even without a pandemic, this is imperative.
And who knows, MCO violations involving activities in nightclubs and pubs may not continue to record the highest number of offences. – September 15, 2020
Hafiz Hassan reads The Malaysian Insight.
* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight.