Firstand foremost, rule of law is one of the branch of Constitutionalism. Rule oflaw encompasses the basic principles of equal and fair treatment of all people before thelaw which actually guarantees the basic human rights1. (“The rule of law explained”,2018) The rule of law require thesupremacy of law including all law to meet a certain minimum of standards for aninstance protection of civil liberties. Professor A.V Dicey developed conceptof rule of law that comprises three concepts of principles. Firstly, no oneshould be punished except for a conduct which represents a clear breach oflaw. Secondly, regardless of ranks and status , everyone areequal before the law.
Thirdly, rights and freedoms are best protected underCommon Law rather than Bills of Rights. As a whole, rule of law is a principlethat tells everyone in this world that no one is above the law and everyoneshould be treated equally. Laws are made to maintain public order in the societyand also to provide a harmonyenvironment for the people2. (“The rule of law explained”,2018)InMalaysia, the FC encompasses theapplication of rule of law and the principles of rule of law by A.V Dicey.
Art 4 of the FC is the basis of Malaysian rule of law where the purpose of theconstitution is to establish rule of law. The second principle laid down by A.VDicey which states that equality before the law regardless of ranks and status,this principle states that all the people regardless of their ranks and statusin the society, all of them are bound by the law and all are equal before thelaw. This principle applies to not only to the citizen but it also applies to the government and the government must givetheir respect to the law. As a whole, no one is above the law including thegovernment. Everyone must be governed by law and all people is subjected to beequal before the law. In Malaysia, Art 8 of the FC governs the rights to equality of the citizen and non- citizen. Art 8(1)of the FC states that all persons are equalbefore the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law.
Art 8 can be recognized in the case of Public Prosecutor v Tengku Mahmood Iskandar3.In this case, having regard to the merit of the offence committed by theaccused, the lower court replaced a severe punishment for a lesser severepunishment for the accused as the status of the accused as the Prince of stateof Johor had been taken into the account . The High Court stated that the decisionof the lower court was in contrary with the provisions of Art 8 of the FC whichstates that all persons are equal beforethe law.
This indicate that there isonly one law in the country to which all citizens are subjected to or bound to.Every citizen, regardless of his official or social status, all are under thesame responsibility for every act done without legal justification.Itcan be said that the Malaysian Constitution is more towards equity4rather than equality. Art 8 of the FC is applicable to everyone and notonly to the citizen of Malaysia, this includes non citizen too.
However, theissue here is that the rights provided under Art 8 of FC is not absolute. This is due to thefact that there are various discrimination that are exempted from Art 8. All of these exceptions areprovided under Art 8(5) of the FC. The exceptions are such as provisions regulating personal law, provisionsrestricting employment in establishments established by certain religiousgroups , provisions protecting the well being of the aborigines , provisionsprescribing residence in appointment or election for state offices , provisionsin the state , and provisions restricting the enlistment in the Malay Regimentto the Malays.51The rule of law explained. (2018).
Lawteacher.net. Retrieved 22January 2018, fromhttps://www.lawteacher.net/free-law-essays/public-law/explain-the-rule-of-law-public-law-essays.php2 The rule of law explained.
Retrieved 22January 2018, from https://www.lawteacher.net/free-law-essays/public-law/explain-the-rule-of-law-public-law-essays.php3 1971 MLJ 1284 Equity: the quality of being fair and impartial5 Mukhlis. (2018). Article 8right to equality and its exceptions. Slideshare.
net. Retrieved 22 January2018,