LETTER | 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 in accordance with, and within the remit of, the law. Put simply, it must uphold the rule of law, where everyone is equal before the law. This includes ministers and parliamentarians.
If a minister commits an act in breach of restrictions under the movement control order (MCO), then he can expect to be penalised just as anyone else would be - and in like manner.
The rule of law gives the people a predictable and ordered life where justice and individual freedom are guaranteed and a shield against the arbitrary exercise of power is provided.
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 current 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.
For sure, the people - like a certain Lim Kit Siang - will not be demanding answers from the government whether the law has been fairly and properly enforced.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.