Chancellor Tuanku Muhriz Lecture 2018 & Aberystwyth University Visit to Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

 


Event:
Chancellor Tuanku Muhriz Lecture 2018 & Aberystwyth University Visit to Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

Date:
3rd December 2018

Venue:
Dewan Canselor Tun Abdul Razak, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia


On the 3rdof December 2018, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (“UKM”), in collaboration with Prifysgol Aberystwyth University with the support of the Inns of Court Malaysia (“ICM”) held the 3rdChancellor Tuanku Muhriz Lecture at the Dewan Canselor Tun Abdul Razak, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. The event was graced with the eminent presence of His Royal Highness Yang Di-Pertuan Besar Negeri Sembilan Darul Khusus Tuanku Muhriz Ibni Almarhum Tuanku Munawir, Chancellor of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and Duli Yang Maha Mulia Tunku Ampun Besar Negeri Sembilan Darul Khusus Tuanku Aishah Rohani Bingti Almarhum Tengku Besar Mahmud as well as The Right Honourable Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, Chancellor of Aberystwyth University.

The event commenced with the singing of the national anthem as well as the Anthem of Negeri Sembilan Darul Khusus followed by a multimedia presentation titled “D.Y.M.M. Tuanku Canselor Bersama UKM”, proceeded with the royal address by HRH Yang di-Pertuan Besar Negeri Sembilan Darul Khusus, Tuanku Muhriz Ibni Almarhum Tuanku Munawir. In his Royal address, His Royal Highness eloquently placed emphasis on UKM’s aspiration to curate, generate and share knowledge for the benefit of the Malaysian society’s wellbeing. His Royal Highness further stresses that UKM should always strive to sustain its role as the repository and conduit of knowledge, as well as the generation of new ideas for the socio-economic development of society.

Since its establishment in 18 May 1970, UKM has endeavoured in realizing the educational and intellectual aspirations for the development of the nation. In line with this aspiration, The Chancellor Tuanku Muhriz Lecture series was initiated. The lecture acts as a platform for leading luminaries to share their knowledge and experience, especially in public affairs, good governance, integrity and law.

The event was followed by the Introduction of the Royal Distinguished Speaker by the Vice-Chancellor of UKM succeeded by the eminent speaker, The Right Honourable Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd with his lecture titled “Whither the Rule of Law?”. Lord Thomas began by clarifying the potential misunderstanding of the title and clarified that the title was in regard to the inquiry to the state of the rule of law and not the degradation of the rule of law and whether the doctrine of separation of powers is still being upheld in our contemporary society.

Lord Thomas rightly emphasised that nations that had ensured that their judiciary functioned independently from the executive had “withstood great turbulence 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.

Lord Thomas reinforced his message by quoting Alexander Hamilton, a founding father of the United States, who had stated that “the Judiciary branch of the proposed government would be the weakest of the three branches…” thus highlighting the necessity of every institution and segment of society to uphold the rule of law, even in non-state institutions.

Lord Thomas proceeded to draw upon recent examples of the state of the rule of law; namely in the affairs of the United Kingdom’s exit of the European Union or as it is commonly known as ‘Brexit’, where the Supreme Court last considered the terms of article 50 in December 2016 when it examined whether the government alone or parliament had the authority to initiate the UK’s exit from the European Union. The Supreme Court ruled that the Government could not initiate Brexit without the consent of Parliament, keeping the Government in check via Parliamentary approval.

Another example Lord Thomas eloquently raised was concerning a gag order placed for a court case whereby a Parliamentarian had disregarded to adhere to a gag order by the courts and had inappropriately revealed the identities of the parties of the case in Parliament. Although Parliamentarians enjoy the prerogative to deliberate on any topic, the orders of the court must be uphold and adhered to even in Parliament.

Lord Thomas was relieved to hear other Parliamentarians denouncing the actions the said Parliamentarian in respect for the rule of law. Lord Thomas stressed that all three branches of government, especially the executive and legislative must cooperate and work closely with the judicial branch to uphold the rule of law as the judiciary was not the only institution tasked with upholding the rule of law.

In this era where newer professions face newer problems, the rule of law is more difficult to be discerned, and thus more vigilance must be present in state-institutions as well as non-state institutions, especially in institutions where newer avenues of technology have yet to be regulated under the law much like the Financial Industry’s ubiquitous emergence of digital currency.

Lord Thomas concluded his lecture byjudiciously reminding that “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.”

The event ended on a high note with the commencement of the Royal Luncheon followed by the departure of His Royal Highness Yang Di-Pertuan Besar Negeri Sembilan Darul Khusus Tuanku Muhriz Ibni Almarhum Tuanku Munawir and Duli Yang Maha Mulia Tunku Ampun Besar Negeri Sembilan Darul Khusus Tuanku Aishah Rohani Bingti Almarhum Tengku Besar Mahmud.

 

Report contributed by Isaac Foo Kang Wen
ICM Editorial Board Subcommittee

 


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