Sunday, May 13, 2012

BERSIH 3.0 - Must be an INDEPENDENT inquiry - certainly not one led by former police chief

Now, when it come to BERSIH 3.0 and an INDEPENDENT investigation or inquiry, we have to acknowledge that the allegation of violation of rights is, amongst others, against the police, the government of Malaysia - Minister of Home Affairs, Minister of Information, Communications, and Culture Minister, etc, and also the DBKL (i.e. the Kuala Lumpur mayor and KL's Local Authority which is not a democratically elected entity but one that is appointed by the Federal Government), and as given these facts, any independent panel or inquiry must be independent of the Federal government. 

The suggestion of an independent inquiry headed by the former Inspector General of Police, as such, is absurd more so since the alleged violators of rights is also the police, prior to the event and on the day itself.

Malaysia has its own Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM), and that would have been the natural choice for the independent investigation and inquiry - and they, in fact, had also done previous similar inquiries involving the exercise of the freedom of peaceful assembly and protest - but sadly the government choose to instead set up some other panel. [It must be pointed out that the Human Rights Commission is made up of  government appointed HR Commissioners - and also the fact that even when they do come up with their report and/or recommendations in the past, this Malaysian government have failed to act on them. The same is also the respond of this BN government when it comes to findings and recommendations of even other Royal Commissions of Inquiry.]    

As such, when the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression Frank La Rue offered to be involved in the independent inquiry, it would be best for the Malaysian government to seize this opportunity and allow them to lead and conduct this inquiry. Malaysian lawyers also takes the same position.

Hopefully, our Malaysian government, currently the BN government led by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, will without FEAR allow such a body to conduct this independent inquiry...

More importantly, the BN government must commit to implementing the recommendations made by such independent inquiries... [History has shown that this BN government have generally not followed all recommendations of such bodies - even one's that have been appointed by the King...Let's hope that there will be changes...]

Bar Council to boycott panel, wants UN rapporteur instead
  • Hafiz Yatim
  • 8:02PM May 11, 2012
The Bar Council will not participate in the independent panel formed by the government to probe last month’s violence at the Bersih 3.0 rally.

The powerful body representing 14,000 lawyers nationwide wants a United Nations special rapporteur to head the independent panel instead of former inspector-general of police Mohd Hanif Omar.

NONE“Otherwise, the Bar Council will not participate in it,” said council chairperson Lim Chee Wee (right) at a press conference following an extraordinary general meeting of the Bar, called to discuss the police crackdown on the mammoth Bersih 3.0 rally on April 28.

“The Bar prefers a UN special rapporteur to oversee the running of the panel and if this is complied with, then the Bar Council will reconsider its participation.”

He said the independent panel formed lacks any legal framework as it is ordinarily found in a royal commission of inquiry or the Malaysian Human Rights Commission of Inquiry (Suhakam).

“It does not have such features as legal immunity for itself or any participating persons involved in the proceeding. By immunity I mean immunity against defamation,” he said.

“Secondly it lacks the legal power to call or subpoena witnesses or call for the production of documents. Under these constraints, the panel has limited utility.”

1,300 lawyers at EGM

A total of 1,270 members attended the EGM to condemn the police’s heavy-handed use of force on Bersih protesters and without giving them ample time to disperse.

A total of 939 voted for the resolution while 16 voted against.

Lim also pointed out that the existing panel does not have any legal standing as it has no powers to summon witnesses to testify before the panel, unlike a royal commission of inquiry.

He said Hanif had also made adverse comments on the Bersih 3.0 rally, describing some of the protesters as communists seeking to overthrow the government.

According to Lim, it was not proper for the government to appoint Hanif to chair the panel as he had espoused such biased views.

“We do not even think Hanif is appropriate to chair the panel. We think the most appropriate person to chair it would be the retired Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Steve Shim,” said the Bar Council president. 

On Sunday, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression Frank La Rue offered to be part of the independent panel. - Malaysiakini, 11/5/2012, Bar Council to boycott panel, wants UN rapporteur instead

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