(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): The meeting in Parliament House of political parties, NGOs and interested Malaysians on prison reforms will now be held on Wednesday, March 3, 1999 at 10 a.m. after the Mammoth Anti-Toll Protest Public Rally at Bukit Jalil Stadium on February 26, 1999.
Considerable interest have been generated by the proposal to convene a meeting of political parties, NGOs and interested Malaysians on prison reforms in Parliament House originally planned for Tuesday, 23rd February 1999, together with requests for it to be held after the Mammoth Anti-Toll Protest Public Rally at Bukit Jalil Stadium.
I will send a personal invitation to the Director-General of Prisons, Datuk Omar Mohamad Dan to attend the meeting in Parliament House on March 3, and I hope he would be able to give an overall report as to why the Malaysian penal system has fallen so far short of the minimum internatonal standards for the treatment of prisoners in the prisons in Malaysia.
The Director-General of Prisons should respond to my statement that the Malaysian penal system has violated the "Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners" adopted and proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 45/111 of 14 December 1990 as well as the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners adopted by the First United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders 1955 and approved by the United Nations Economic and Social Councils in 1957 and 1977.
I hope the Director-General of Prisons will also be able to have a dialogue at the meeting, exchanging views and answering questions about the Malaysian penal system, both with regard to its present philosophy and practices.