WEBINAR: COVID-19 and the Rule of Law with Emeritus Professor Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi

April 15, 2020

Date: Saturday, 18th April 2020

Time: 3PM MYT | 7AM UTC | 8AM London


Organized by: Islamic Renaissance Front & Islam & Liberty Network


Register at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/webinar-covid-19-and-the-rule-of-law-with-emeritus-professor-datuk-dr-shad-tickets-102801644486


The COVID-19 pandemic that we are facing right now is, without doubt, a threat to human lives. So far, to this day, there are already more than 5000 confirmed cases in this country with more than 83 deaths. Of course this number pales in comparison with many other countries such as Spain, Italy, Germany, or France; but the point is still, protecting the lives of people should be the utmost priority of the governments wherever they are. But unfortunately, whether intentionally or not, the measures adopted  may also pose a significant threat to the rule of law which is the basic principle of a liberal democracy.

We have seen numerous restrictions on mass gatherings, physical movement, right to carry on business and profession and social distancing. These measures, aimed at curbing the spread of the virus have, unintentionally suspended liberties, conferred unlimited powers, weakened the mechanism of check-and-balance and opened up the space for corruption. This definitely has a detrimental effect on our society since resources could be siphoned into the pockets of the government’s cronies, leaving the poor and the marginalised without proper care in terms of food, healthcare and protection. An example of this phenomenon was during the Ebola outbreak in Western Africa, where it was estimated that USD 6million were lost to “fake custom bills, over billed supplies, and payment to non-existent workers”.

In this country, countless workers have lost their jobs, businesses are crippled, average Malaysians are unable to service their loans, and all this has led the people to seek state support in order to recover from the damage caused by the epidemic. And since there won’t be money for everyone, and the system of determining who should be helped is flawed; this will definitely open the field to influence-peddling and corruption. So, whether we like it or not, respecting the spirit of the rule of law will depend on the decision makers’ ‘sense of democracy’ and their willingness to show fidelity to the principles and the methods of the rule of law which is something that cannot be taken for granted. This requires us and civil society to remain vigilant, to be constructively critical so that the functionaries of the state will not overstep their powers, use them for extraneous purposes, and excessively impede human rights and freedoms in response to the deadly COVID-19 epidemic.


About the Speaker

Emeritus Prof Datuk Dr Hj Shad Saleem Faruqi was the Holder of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Chair at the Faculty of Law, University of Malaya. He is currently the Holder of the Tun Hussein Onn Chair at the Institute of International and Strategic Studies Malaysia (ISIS); a Member of the Judicial Appointments Commission; a Fellow of the Academy of Sciences Malaysia; a former member of the post GE-14 Institutional Reform Committee and the MA63 Committee. He is an Emeritus Professor of Law at Universiti Teknologi MARA, Shah Alam. He has also served as a Visiting Professor at USM, Penang; as Associate Professor at UIAM; and an Adjunct Professor at New England University, Australia. He is the author of ten books including Document of Destiny: The Constitution of the Federation of Malaysia; Reflections on Life and the Law; Media Law & Regulations in Malaysia and Our Constitution. In four and a half decades in the law he has authored more than 600 articles in journals, periodicals and newspapers. He has done many national and international consultancies including the drafting of the Constitution of the Republic of Maldives in 1992.



300-315PM:  Introduction by the Moderator, Ehsan Shahwahid

315-345PM:  Presentation by Emeritus Prof Datuk Dr Hj Shad Saleem Faruqi

345-415PM:  Discussion

415-430PM:  Concluding remarks by Ali Salman, CEO, Islam & Liberty Network


Organized by: Islamic Renaissance Front & Islam & Liberty Network