Abide by the law to reinforce national stability

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  • Looking back at the establishment of the 2008 Constitution, we can see that Myanmar’s democratic journey is almost a decade old. Yet, its foundational principal of the rule of law is still surrounded by hesitation and trepidation.
    Even now, society needs to be reminded to strengthen and support the rule of law and be educated on it. We have not made much progress in that regard. The people have become numb to the notifications and directives published over the years but are still largely clueless on the context of the law, have misunderstandings, or fear the law as a weapon wielded by those in office.
    On close inspection, laws are rules to implement peaceful coexistence between people and communities and ensure their sustainability, development, coherence and fairness. The law is direct and explicit on what is right and wrong, and what should be done or avoided. It also clearly illustrates the penalties for breaking the law.
    The law administers equity, freedom and justice without discrimination. Therefore, it goes without saying that no one is above the law, and any citizen who respects human rights and impartiality would abide by it.
    This, of course, encompasses not just the general public, but also the government institutions and private organizations residing in the country. The administrating government and the administrated public both need to have their own sense of responsibilities and accountabilities. Only then will society be governed with the rule of law.
    The people need to grasp the fact that they cannot simply explain away transgressions by stating they did not know or understand existing laws. Likewise, it is the government’s duty to ensure every citizen is literate on enacted laws and respectfully adheres to them.
    The government and their numerous agencies and departments must do their best to regularly educate the people on the laws, bylaws, regulations and directives they have enacted or issued, and ensure their services are clearly communicated to the public.
    The government needs to have certain restrictions on their authority for there to be strong rule of law. In other words, it must not become a totalitarian government. Furthermore, they must be free of corruption, have a transparent administrative system, promote the basic entitlements and rights of the citizens, ensure the stability and security of the whole society, and strengthen public faith and trust in the judicial system.
    For decades, our country has lived through a complete reversal from the key requirements mentioned above. Authority was placed above the law, bribery and corruption were rampant, government accountability was non-existent, human and civil rights standards dropped abysmally, and the justice system was looked down on.
    It comes to reason that those holding legal authority and the general public need to practice responsibility and accountability to proliferate the rule of law.
    A vital ingredient to a democratic system, the rule of law must be strengthened by repealing or amending existing laws to be coherent with the modern era, and new ones must be legislated to meet the needs of the people.
    In conclusion, the citizens and institutions of the nation must comprehend and adhere to the living laws to strengthen our justice system and safeguard the benefits of the nation and its people.
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