When Malaysians needed the Human Rights Commission(SUHAKAM), Najib's Barisan Nasional-UMNO government saw fit to ensure that there will be no HR Commissioners when so many rights to a free and fair election were allegedly being violated. Yes, as of 25th April, no HR Commissioners - why could the term of the old HR Commissioners be extended, or a new batch appointed to ensure that Malaysians will still have SUHAKAM to be yet another avenue where persons in Malaysia to go to complaint about rights violations.
The last batch of SUHAKAM HR Commissioners did fare well taking up a lot of issues, and promptly making necessary statements on issues of human rights including the freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly, police brutality, etc ... most like was a 'thorn in Najib's back' - unlike many previous batches of HR Commissioners, filled with a majority of 'fearful', passive persons sufficient to ensure that they never came out much against the government and/or actions of public servants...In the last batch, being of much smaller number, there were fortunately many who truly were 'human rights defenders', who were able to ensure that SUHAKAM behaved not like a 'government entity' but more like a National Human Rights Institution. The result was that more and more persons lodged complaints believing that there is hope...not just a futile exercise of complaining to 'toothless' tigers.
I would not be surprised if Najib now appoints a bunch of more passive...'less brave', less true HR Defnders as HR Commissioners - and SUHAKAM may once again end up being a 'toothless', pro-government body - and human rights once again is forgoten.
My hope, though, is that Najib and this BN government does the needful and appoint true HR Defenders to be HR Commissioners... persons with a history of upholding the cause of justice and human rights without fear or favour...and this should be done soonest...
The BN government, sadly have been eroding democratic space....freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
The Peaceful Assembly Act, as we all see now, is most draconian and erodes away the right to peaceful assembly even further.... Now, the need for 10 days notice(when people have something to express, it certainly is done immediately - not after 10 days). Then, there is that additional requirement of getting explicit permission from the people that own/control the place where the assembly is to be held. In 1998, the REFORMASI protest/s in KL really did not have any 'organisers' - now, the new Act requires some person to 'organize' it, when in reality many peaceful assembly are impromptu response of the people with really no 'organisers' per se. Word goes around - and people gather and protest...
There has been so much more erosion of rights and freedoms during the BN-UMNO rule of Malaysia, and I need not elaborate for we all know this.
Now, what we need to do is to call Najib to immediately appoint SUHAKAM HR Commissioners and make sure they are people with a history of standing for Human Rights, not a bunch of fearful 'yes-persons' who would be very slow to act against the government, the police, etc....
See also:- No SUHAKAM HR Commissioners since 25th April when the term of the 2010-2013 Commissioners expired
Wednesday May 22, 2013
79 complaints lodged but zero Suhakam commissioners
By SHAILA KOSHY
KUALA LUMPUR: The number of complaints lodged with Suhakam is piling up but no inquiries can be held as Suhakam is still without commissioners.Suhakam secretary Rodziah Abdul said the Complaints and Inquiries Division had received 79 complaints between April 26 and May 20.Of the 79, 59 pertained to the 13th general election and the remaining 20 were split up as follows – freedom of expression (1), education (2), migrant workers (2), unrelated to infringement of human rights (10), and others (5).“The operational machinery of Suhakam continues even without the commissioners, including communicating with the agencies involved,” said Rodziah in an interview.“However, only commissioners can decide whether an inquiry is necessary as they are the governing body of Suhakam.”Of the 59 complaints on GE13, she said 22 related to indelible ink.“We will communicate with the Election Commission after we have assessed whether there are merits to the complaints.”Asked whether commissioners could be expected soon, she replied: “To date, we haven’t been informed about any new appointments or re-appointments.”It has been 26 days since chairman Tan Sri Hasmy Agam and six commissioners ended their three-year tenure on April 25.This is the second time Suhakam has been left without commissioners.The last time, there was a 45-day gap between the leaving of the Suhakam team led by Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman on April 23, 2010, and the appointment of the team led by Hasmy.While the appointments are made by the Prime Minister under the Suhakam Act, he does so from a list of candidates proposed by the Suhakam Selection Committee chaired by Chief Secretary Datuk Seri Dr Ali Hamsa.It is understood that the committee has met twice and shortlisted candidates for the Prime Minister to consider.- Star, 22/5/2013, 79 complaints lodged but zero Suhakam commissioners