Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said yesterday that the Cabinet was informed on Wednesday of the Suhakam report on widespread police violation of human rights at Kesas Highway last November against peaceful protestors, and that the police and the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim are going through the Suhakam report.
Abdullah said: "We should be able to discuss the report in a day of two."
The usefulness of such study becomes moot however when the Prime Minister has swung into a political offensive against the Suhakam report without even reading it, repeatedly attacking it as being biased, influenced by Western thinking and not in the interest of the nation.
Is it possible for the police and Rais to come out with a sensible and level-headed response to the Suhakam report when the Prime Minister has condemned it out-of-hand, suggesting that the authors of the Suhakam report and those who are impressed by its findings as the latest instalment batch of “anti-national” elements in the country, even if it includes in its ranks another former Deputy Prime Minister and former top judges?
The Suhakam report on widespread police violation of human rights at Kesas Highway last November is the latest “black eye” for police professionalism.
The government and the police should send out a clear message that they would not countenance the police violating human rights while discharging police duties to maintain law and order and for this reason, the police should accept the Suhakam recommendation that it conduct its own investigations to determine which of their personnel had used excessive force and guilty of human rights violations.
In this connection, what is so heinous or anti-national about the Suhakam
findings and recommendations, such as:
Is Mahathir suggesting that these Suhakam recommendations to promote and protect human rights, uphold the rule of law and ensure police professionalism in the country are all influenced by decadent Western thinking?
If so, is Mahathir also suggesting that the establishment of Suhakam itself and the enactment of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act 1999 by Parliament were also the product of Western thinking and out of the motive to please the West - when they should be a reflection of growing maturity of the Malaysian political development and process in recognising the central place of human rights in good governance?
Those who accuse Suhakam of being influenced by Western thinking in applying international instead of local standards of human rights are making an outrageous claim that there are Malaysian human rights which are distinct and separate from universal human rights. Can they spell out these distinctive Malaysian human rights, and do they include the right of the police to abuse and violation universal human rights?
In actual fact, they are exhibiting their ignorance of Section 4(4) of the Human Rights of Commission Act which specifically provided that Suhakam should have regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 to the extent that it is not inconsistent with the Federal Constitution - and the Federal Constitution does not provide for any rights to the police to abuse and violate human rights.