Dr Mahathir weighs in on the rule of law

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad

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1. It is said that there are individuals who are above the law. Okay. Let us assume that there are such individuals. But these individuals cannot do things on their own. They need others to take the necessary action.

2. These individuals are not privileged to be above the law. If they have carried out instructions that are against the law, they should be charged. It does not matter if they are government officials. There is no law that says that government officials can do things that are against the law. They cannot.

3. Supposing they have been instructed by an individual who is said to be above the law and the instruction is to commit a crime, such as stealing or murdering someone, they should refuse to do it. If they do it, then they will be committing a crime. And they should be charged with committing the crime, tried in a court of law and sentenced.

4. But I believe that there are officials who have carried out orders by a person who is said to be above the law, but the officials have not been charged for committing a crime.

5. This is wrong. If these individuals are treated as if they too are above the law, then no one is safe for offending a person who is said to be above the law.

6. Incidentally, the Malaysian constitution or Malaysian law provides no provision for anyone being above the law. But we do know that those in a position of authority behave as if there are such persons. Certain actions taken by persons in a position of authority indicate that they subscribe to the idea that there are individuals who are above the law and that if they carry out instructions by said individuals, it is not illegal.

7. We need to have this perception clarified. We have to know who these individuals are and what law they are said to be above. In the first place, are there individuals who are above the law? If there are, what is the limit of their privilege? Is it total, meaning they are free to commit even murders or robberies? Or is it limited? If limited, what is the limit?

8. If they commit the action through another individual who is not above the law, is the individual immune to the law as is the person who gave the instruction?

9. We need to be clear about these things. The Attorney General needs to explain the content of this law, which is not written but is apparently subscribed to by those in a position of authority.

Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad
Aug 4, 2022


Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was the fourth and seventh Prime Minister of Malaysia. The above commentary is taken from Dr Mahathir's official Facebook page and edited for clarity.