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(From New Straits Times (Malaysia))
Byline: Roger Tan
THE concept of the rule of law, which is the fourth guiding principle of our Rukunegara, can be explained in many ways. But perhaps it is best explained and summed up in the words of Thomas Fuller, who said more than 300 years ago, "Be you never so high, the law is above you." Those words were quoted by Lord Denning, the most celebrated English judge of the 20th century.
It was in a case brought by one Gouriet in 1977 when the Attorney-General refused to give him consent to institute relator proceedings to injunct the Union of Post Office Workers from boycotting all postal communications between Britain and South Africa as such actions would constitute a criminal offence under the Post Office Act 1953. When the Attorney-General argued that his discretion was absolute and not subject to judicial review, Lord Denning had this to say, and he said it acerbically: "What is to be done about it? Are the courts to stand idly by? Is the Attorney-General to be the final arbiter whether the law should be enforced or not? "It is a matter of great constitutional principle. If the Attorney-General refuses to give his consent to the enforcement of the criminal law, then any citizen in the …