Monday, January 25, 2016

45% slash of Human Rights Commission budget indicate importance of Human Rights and Justice in Malaysia?

Malaysia's 2016 Budget will be reviewed and amended later this month. So, Prime Minister Najib can do the right thing for human rights...

Malaysia's Human Rights Commission budget was slashed from RM10 million to RM5.5million for 2016. This is unacceptable - and Malaysia needs to show that its commitment to Human Rights is ever increasing not faltering. 

If anything, in Malaysia the budget for human rights need to be increased, or at the very least maintained..

There have been so many human rights issues - and we need an independent and fearless National Human Rights Commission...

OF course, the effectiveness of a Human Rights Commission depends on the Human Rights Commissioners appointed...

The present Commissioners terms will be ending very soon - and, hopefully our new HR Commissioners will also be strong and committed to Human Rights... If we get bad HR Commissioners, then it will SUHAKAM as it was - no more SUHAKAM as it is under the chairmanship of Hasmy Agam. [More likely than not, PM Najib may appoint weak persons to be HR Commissioners, who will be slow to be critical of government, police, etc ... We wait and hope for the best.

Now, that the Budget is being reviewed - the Suhakam Budget need to maintained at RM10 million or increased...

You want to save money - well, seriously consider cutting our Member of Parliament's allowances ...or maybe, let us cut down the number of Cabinet members...


'Budget review to see minor cut in operating expenditure'

Bernama     Published     Updated   

The recalibration of Budget 2016 to reflect the current economic climate will see “a minor cut” in the operating expenditure and shelving of non-priority development projects, Treasury secretary-general Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah said.

“There will be no salary cut for government servants. We want to make sure service delivery remains intact. So, we do not compromise on service delivery,” he said in reference to the proposed reduction in operating expenditure.

Mohd Irwan spoke at a press conference after opening the RM23.8 million second phase of the swimming pool and hostel of the Labuan International School last night.

Prime Minister and Finance Minister Najib Abdul Razak is scheduled to present a recalibrated Budget 2016 on Jan 28.

Mohd Irwan said that as far as development expenditure was concerned, non-priority projects like purchase or transfer of land could be delayed.

Priority projects will go ahead

However, priority projects such as the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail and the Pan-Borneo Highway would go ahead as planned as these projects would spur economic growth and benefit the people in the long run.

“We are not going to cut even a single sen (from these allocations) and these projects will go ahead as scheduled.

“For the Pan-Borneo Highway project, the federal government has discussed with the state government of Sabah to select capable and qualified Sabahan contractors to construct the project on the Sabah side and local contractors in Sarawak to construct the Sarawak portion,” Mohd Irwan said, adding that in Sabah, the link would be stretched to Tawau.

“This will bring benefit to Sabah and Sarawak, with new cities and towns established. People living along the highways can start business. It will create more employment and improve people’s income. It will spur economic growth in the two states,” he said.

Mohd Irwan said projects with a high multiplier impact on the economy would not be halted as the government was looking at pro-growth or sustaining growth to ensure that more income could be generated.

He did not rule out the possibility of projects listed under the 11th Malaysia Plan affected by the recalibration of the budget being implemented eventually.

“If the oil price goes up, it is a bonus. So, whatever we have projected under the 11th Malaysia Plan, we may rethink to implement.

“The rakyat-centric projects with high contribution to the people’s happiness and well-being will certainly be given priority for implementation,” he said.

“However, if the oil price goes down (further), the government will need to ‘tighten its belt’ again,” Mohd Irwan added.

Suhakam funding slashed in Budget 2016

Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) chairman Tan Sri Hasmy Agam says the commission will be in deficit by next November as its funding for 2016 has been reduced by almost 50%. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, November 16, 2015.Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) chairman Tan Sri Hasmy Agam says the commission will be in deficit by next November as its funding for 2016 has been reduced by almost 50%. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, November 16, 2015. 
The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) is expecting to run on deficit by November next year after its funding was slashed by almost 50% in Budget 2016.
Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Hasmy Agam said in Budget 2015, the commission was allocated some RM10 million for operations, which has been reduced to RM5.5 million for next year.
"The current budget allocation will see the commission in deficit by November next year in just meeting fixed overall costs.

"This is without taking into account the commission's fixed expenses or the expenses for its programmes, which may result in an earlier deficit situation if  no additional funds are secured," he said in a statement today. Hasmy said Suhakam had met with Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan to consider the impact and implications of Budget 2016 on the commission's ability to carry out its core functions, which was to protect and promote human rights in the country.
He said the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act 1999 (Act 597) required the government to provide the commission with adequate funds annually to enable it to discharge its functions under the Act.
"Suhakam has carried out this statutory mandate diligently and to good effect for the past 15 years by setting its priorities according to a legislatively defined mandate and with sufficient budgetary allocations from the government through Parliament.
"This has resulted in the commission maintaining its 'A' status by the International Coordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions (ICC), among others.
"While recognising that the current economic downturn creates a context of reduced finances available to the public sector, the commission is concerned that its statutory functions may be rendered almost meaningless, or the exercise of its powers substantially limited, if it does not have the financial means to operate effectively."
He said Low assured Suhakam's budget allocation would be reconsidered so as to place human rights on the government's list of top priorities.
He expressed hope that Parliament could guarantee an adequate level of funding to the Commission to protecting its independence, especially now that the the Commission is undergoing its re-accreditation process as a National Human Rights Institution at ICC.
"The lack of such funding erodes the effectiveness of the commission and undermines the principles upon which National Human Rights Institutions are formed.
"This is important amidst concerns being expressed, both at home and abroad, that human rights is not being given the priority it deserves." – November 16, 2015.

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