However, the Malaysian government stands out in the world as one of those not enthusiastic in supporting the 1998 Human Rights Year to promote greater human rights awareness and consciousness and this is why very few Malaysians know about 1998 as Human Rights Year or why the government has done virtually nothing to live up to its international commitments to promote the cause of human rights.
This is the same sorry state of affairs with the Malaysian Parliament.
In September last year, the Inter-Parliamentary Union adopted a special
resolution on the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights and called on all Parliaments and their members to take action
at the national level to ensure:
In the past two decades, the ratification of the international human rights instruments had continued to be the regular subject of DAP motions in Parliament but the Barisan Nasional government has refused to allow parliamentary time for debate. In the current meeting of Parliament, for instance, DAP MP for Teluk Intan, M. Kula Segaran has a motion referring specifically to the ratification of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights.
Even if the government is lukewarm about the 1998 Human Rights Year, the Malaysian Parliament should ratify the two International Human Rights Covenants as Malaysia’s contribution to the 1998 Human Rights Year.
1998 is not a good year for human rights, democracy and the rule of
law for Malaysia. A quick reading of the 30 articles of Universal
Declaration of Human Rights 1948 will highlight the recent grave violations
of human rights in Malaysia which are serious departures from the
universal principles of human rights declared half a century ago,
Malaysia is undergoing a multitude of crisis - not only the worst economic and political crisis in the nation’s history, the crisis of confidence in the judiciary and the system of justice, but also the crisis of human rights and democracy as well.
There is a political ferment for change for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance, which predated the political crisis generated by Anwar Ibrahim’s sacking from government and UMNO. Unfortunately, there are irresponsibe people who are trying to divert attention from the popular and legitimate demands for the restoration of human rights, democracy and the rule of law by claiming that the political crisis in the country today is “largely a Malay affair”.
Malaysians must defeat these irresponsible attempts to distort the unprecedented political ferment in the country into an racial issue for the demands for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance in Malaysia is not a racial question but an issue which should concerns all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or even party beliefs as it is an issue which concerns Malaysians as human beings.