Presentation on theme: "By. The rule of law ensures that the individuals’ rights are protected by the same set of law. Rule of law implies that no arbitrary power could be exercised."— Presentation transcript:
The rule of law ensures that the individuals’ rights are protected by the same set of law. Rule of law implies that no arbitrary power could be exercised to interfere one’s liberty. According to the rule of law, law should be general, prospective, capable of being obeyed, relatively constant and regularly and fairly administered.
The basic meaning of rule of law consists of three parts. Firstly, the rule of law means law is supreme and is contrary to arbitrary power. This means that, every person in a society is governed by law including government officials and law - enforcement officials. Secondly, everyone should be equal before the law, regardless of their race, class, wealth, gender, nationality, religion and social status. Every accused people should be entitled to have a fair trail. Thirdly, the law should be published and available to all. It should be made according to open procedure. In addition, in today’s society, the rule of law also means free and democratic election should be held. Human rights and fundamental freedom will be guaranteed by law. There are freedom of travel, religion, thought… etc.
Besides, it also means that the duty of the government and public authorities need to comply with the fundamental constitution and to act in a manner consistent with law. Under the rule of law, everyone will have an effective means to regress against administrative decisions. Also, there would be judicial independence, natural justice and judicial review of legislation and protection of the independence of legal profession. Without the rule of law, a state lacks the legal framework necessary for civil society to flourish, adequate checks on the executive and legislative branches of government and necessary legal foundations for free and fair electoral and political processes.
Rule of law is the spirit behind obeying the law, however, rule by law is an action of obeying the law. There is written statement to specify what we should and should not do according to rule by law. But, on the other hand, there is no such a statement for rule of law, because it is a spirit, not an action. When compared, rule by law is more formal than rule of law. Rule of law is in a higher level than that of rule by law since the citizens need to bear this spirit in mind in order to improve the society by following just a written statement.
Sense of duty is developed from the spirit of rule of law. If a person have the spirit of rule of law then naturally, he or she will have the sense to make contribution to the society. Since it is a strong intention to serve the society as a member of the society, we should bear in mind that we all have the responsibilities to make our living environment better. We also need to ensure that the rule of law is properly established and carried out. And we should be assertive and speak against the arbitrary power without any doubt. Moreover, we need to take up the responsibility to build up the atmosphere of this spirit and spread it over into society.
There are various agents at school: principal, teachers and students, social workers, clerical, staff, janitors. Everyone has her/his duty. Students, as a socializing agent, at school, should have the responsibility to serve the school. In general, our duty is to assist the school to achieve its goal and to develop its theme. We also have the duty to raise civil and moral awareness of other students.
To be specific, we, as a pupil have the duty to speak against arbitary power. When something happens which is against the rule of law, we should take actions to express our opinion, raising out the fact that things happening around us are not in the right track. For example, if two of our classmates are accused of breaking school rules, one of them is allowed to defend for herself but not the other, this violates the principle of “Equality” of rule of law. We should inform her of her rights and help her to fight for it.
Also, we have the duty to create an atmosphere of co-operation within the school so as to make school policy and school events successful and effective. We can help the school by raising other’s awareness of the goal and the spirit of the school activities. For example, inter-class competitions should be held fairly without cheating, freely expressing our opinion in school magazines, reminding our classmates of good behavior and good thinking…etc. Surely we are going to have an enjoyable school life if all students observe the school code and work under a spirit of rule of law.
Elaborate on the way how the spirit of the rule of law can be exemplified in school life. With reference to the meaning of the rule of law, we conclude that its ultimate goal is to provide a legal basis for the respect of human dignity. However, when it comes to the spirit of the rule of law, the physical legal basis may not be that important as the legal basis is already deeply planted in one’s mind. Though the physical rules are capable of restricting one’s behavior, the spirit of the rule of law aims to guide one’s behavior by sharing a general moral standard within a community.
What makes the spirit of the rule of law beneficial to everyone is that it allows order in a community, and minimizes conflict between one another. For example, it is obviously the duty of the cleansing staff to maintain a clean environment at school. However, what are the consequences if every student keeps on littering and leaving the staff to do the cleaning? It is surely impossibility to have a tidy and beautiful school campus unless a huge number of cleaners are hired.
Therefore, it is the responsibility of every one to keep clean at school. As every student has the spirit of the rule of law, they have a strong intention to help in establishing a clean environment. In this case, there is no need to set up any rules to punish any offenders. Hence, no one would be assigned to carry out the rules and no one would be punished. A harmonic atmosphere is thus created inside school.
To perpetuate the rule of law in HK is to make the idea and spirit of the rule of law a continuation in the society. The way to achieve this goal is to educate our next generation. Education in family, education at school or education through the mass media are the possible ways.
Through education, we promote the meaning of rule of law. We introduce the importance of the Basic Law and the sense of duty to students, and we encourage them to put into practice these ideas in their daily lives. Also, we teach them to have a sense of respect for the rule of law and willingness to perform their duties.
Schools should follow the rule of law. Every student is treated equally before the school regulations and teachers. No arbitrary power should be exercised. For instance, when students grow up to 18 years old they should vote in the public elections, they should also explain the importance of voting to the lower form students. By doing this, the lower form students would understand more about this activity and understand that as a member in HKSAR, they should participate in public affairs, and when they grow up, they would exercise their rights as citizens of HKSAR and vote in election.
As higher form students, we can hold competition such as poster design and slogan design competition, exhibition about ‘Rule of Law’. By doing this, both higher form students and lower formers can understand the idea of the rule of law better.
Part Two A study of a local social issue
Law to enforce pay cuts By Cannix Yau (HKiMail) THE Executive Council has decided amid vehement objections from civil service unions to impose an unprecedented pay cut on Hong Kong's 180,000 civil servants through legislation. Secretary for the Civil Service Joseph Wong announced yesterday that the Exco had decided to adopt a pay cut in line with the pay trend survey, effective from October 1. Top-tier civil servants will see their pay reduced by 4.42 per cent, middle-rank civil servants by 1.64 per cent and lower ranks by 1.58 per cent.
Exco members last Wednesday endorsed findings from the survey and put the pay cut proposal to representatives of the civil servants, who had until last Friday to air their views. Describing the pay cuts as ``reasonable and fairly mild'', Wong said the government would implement the pay cut through legislation to avoid possible ``time-consuming'' court battles. The proposed Public Officers Pay Adjustment Bill will be gazetted on Friday and tabled in the Legislative Council next Wednesday. Wong said legislation was the only means to achieve salary cuts as civil service contracts did not have specific clauses that allowed wage cuts. “There would be a very high chance for the government to lose in a litigation,” he said. The pay cut will save the government HK$3.1 billion over a full fiscal year. The government's fiscal deficit in the year to March was HK$63.3 billion and the government hopes to balance the budget by “There would be a very high chance for the government to lose in a litigation,” he said.
The pay cut will save the government HK$3.1 billion over a full fiscal year. The government's fiscal deficit in the year to March was HK$63.3 billion and the government hopes to balance the budget by Wong said the decision was made after taking into account all the relevant factors, including the reaction from civil servant groups. “The decision has struck a balance between the views of civil servants and the interests of the community at large,” he said. Chief Secretary for the Administration Donald Tsang, who was confident that lawmakers would pass the bill, said civil servants “should realise that in times of economic difficulties and a huge budget deficit, they should share the burden with the public”. But Hong Kong Civil Servants' General Union chairman Felix Cheung was disappointed with the decision. The union was seeking legal advice on possible court action and would reach a decision within a few days.Lung Wing-fat of the Model Scale I Staff Consultative Council said he would seek members' views. “I have yet to talk to our members to see if they would like to take the government to court,” he said. 30 May 2002 / 12:33 AM
Wong spurns bid for arbitration on pay cuts SECRETARY for the Civil Service Joseph Wong has rejected a civil service group's call for arbitration to defuse the pay-cut dispute. Wong yesterday dismissed its proposal that a committee of inquiry be set up as another civil service group reluctantly agreed to the pay cuts. And in another blow for civil servants at a meeting last night, six unions failed to garner support from representatives of the eight political parties to resist the government's plan to back the cuts of 1.58 to 4.42 per cent with legislation, or to push for the appointment of an ombudsman. The parties have not reached a consensus on either issue. The arbitration idea was raised by the Senior Civil Service Council on Sunday to stop the government from enacting pay-cut legislation. The council, representing 110,000 members of the Chinese Civil Servants' Association, the Senior Non-expatriate Officers Association and the Association of Expatriate Civil Servants, said it would agree to any ruling by the committee.
But Wong said there was no basis for such an inquiry, which would have no binding effect on either party. “The first point is, there is no basis for the Chief Executive to consider setting up a committee of inquiry,'' he said. “The Chief Executive would not agree to set up a committee of inquiry if the matter already falls within what we call a settled public policy. “The second point is... the conclusion of the committee of inquiry is not binding unless both sides agree.” Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Employees Association, which represents 43,000 civil servants, said after a meeting with Wong that it had “reluctantly” agreed to the pay cuts. “As the pay cut is in line with the pay trend survey and the existing mechanism, also in view of the public pressure, we have no choice but to accept the pay-cut proposals,” association chairman Chan Che-kwong said. But he stressed that the association still opposed the introduction of legislation to implement the cuts. 29 May 2002 / 01:40 AM
From this social issue, we can see that it has fulfilled the spirit of rule of law. In the plan of civil service pay, it has clearly stated that every government’s officials, up from the Chief Executive down to the street sweepers should follow this plan and have the pay cut.
According to the rule of law, we should stand firm against any arbitrary power. In this case, the legislative council has fulfilled this spirit. Since, this plan will even affect the Chief Executive, the highest policy-making official in Hong Kong. However, the legislative council still can clarify and stand firm for their stance. They are not scared by the dynamism of the Chief Executive. Besides, under this plan every government’s officials need to have the salary cut no matter what their posts are. This indicates that everybody is equal under the law. And once more time it has fulfilled the spirit of equality in the rule of law.
Despite all voices against the recent government’s proposal on salary cut, the Secretary for the Civil Service Joseph Wong Wing-ping has volunteered to receive less pay to support the move. Mr.Wong’s decision is undoubtedly unusual among Hong Kong employees at the present’s adverse economic climate. However, his act has fully exemplified the sense of duty of a HKSAR citizen.
It is comprehensible for the reluctance of the civil servants to the salary cut, but how can the government resolve the financial crisis without the support from SAR citizens, especially the public servants? Having enjoyed the prosperity in the past, it is time for unity between the government and its people to fight for a better future. Although the slash of salary may not have an immediate result on the economy, the civil servants should be faithful to the government and themselves. They should consider its long-term effect and cooperate with the authority.
Some civil servants urge that their opposition to the salary cut is beneficial to every employee since private companies may also employ the same salary standard. However, private companies used to have their own paying system according to the demand of the market, which the government is not very sensitive to. Their claim certainly does not stand and it also gives an impression that they have abused the sense of duty for their own interest.
According to Article 100 of the Basic Law, “Public servants serving in all Hong Kong governments, including the police department, before the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administration Region, may all remain in employment and retain their seniority with pay, allowances, benefits and conditions of service no less favourable than before.” The government has right to adjust the salary level of the civil servants as long as the level is not less than that before 1 st July 1997.
Otherwise, if the civil servants do not agree with this they ought to organize demonstration to express their disappointment. Does demonstration help? There is still doubt. But one thing which can be sure is that it will cause social confusion among the general public. People begin to reserve their trust to the civil servants and their services. Surely no one wants the stability of our society to be upset. Nevertheless, why the civil servants are so reluctant to obey the law although there is no deprivation? Is that the kind of the sense of duty which they want to show us?
How do we think about this issue? Surely, no one is willing to have their salary cut, but by considering the present economic circumstances, we think that it’s necessary and reasonable to have pay cut on employees, including public servants.
At these days of economic downturn, the government is facing huge fiscal deficit, wages of public servants a large proportion of government expenses. If the proposed cut of between 1.58 to 4.42 per cent is enforced, it can save $3 billion a year, which will help to reduce the deficit problem. As the servants of the public, they have to duty to share economic problem and to pass this difficult time with all Hong Kong citizens.
Secondly, the private sector is generally having their salary cut, at ranges, which is much higher than the proposed. It means that the wages of public servants are much higher than the market level. Deflation occurs this years, which means that the actual amount of their wages is much higher. Thirdly, the cut is legal as long as pay was not below the pre-handover level. Under article 100 as stated in the Basic Law, public servants serving in Hong Kong may remain in employment and retain their seniority with pay, allowances benefits and conditions of service no less favourable then before.
Moreover, setting a law to rule the cut in salary of public servants may avoid many arguments that might happen in the future, as law is the supreme way to solve any problems. If no law is set, the government official will oppose the cut in salary and have a long-term argument, which would certainly waste a lot of money and time. But if this law is clearly stated, any disputes can be settled efficiently by referring to the law. In conclusion, we strongly support the act of the Hong Kong Government.
Herby Cheung Margaret Chung Margaret Ng Karen Wong