Among the Suhakam findings of widespread police human rights violations
The ball is now in the court of the government, in particular the Deputy Prime Minister cum Home Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as to whether they could pass the human rights test posed to them by the Suhakam inquiry report by accepting its findings, implement its recommendations as well as act on the report.
Suhakam itself, however, had not fully passed the test on its commitment to its statutory duty to “protect and promote” human rights” because of its eight-month inertia on the most serious human rights violations since its establishment in April last year - the Kampung Medan riots in March this year which claimed the lives of six persons with 78 others severely injured.
The Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad referred to the Kampung Medan tragedy in his 2002 Budget speech in Parliament last Friday when he said:
“Recently, the nation has been jolted by unprecedented acts of violence. The Kampung Medan incident has marred the unity that we have so painstakingly built up”.
Unfortunately, there has been no painstaking inquiry into the rampant human rights violations in the Kampung Medan incident.
The Kampong Medan tragedy in Petaling Selatan, Selangor represented the quadruple failures in nation-building, development planning, law enforcement and mass communications -but it is a greater tragedy that there had been a total lack of will to conduct a full and impartial investigation into the blatant and brutal violation of the human rights of a completely innocent, oppressed and marginalised community to ensure that there would be no recurrence.
Fair-minded Malaysians are both disappointed and distressed that some eight months after the Kampung Medan tragedy, Suhakam has not decided whether or how to discharge its statutory duty to “protect and promote” human rights, "inquire into complaints" and "study and verify" infringement of human rights with regard to this dark episode in the nation’s history..
Suhakam should not delay any further to institute a full public inquiry into the human rights violations in the Kampung Medan tragedy as it should be mindful of legitimate criticisms that it had been selective in its decisions whether to take up complaints and to hold public inquiries into human rights violations.
Malaysians had been unsparing in their commendation of the Suhakam for
its public inquiry into the Kesas Highway human rights violations but it
should realise that its inaction in the past eight months to hold
a public inquiry into a much more serious case of rampant human rights
violations in the Kampung Medan tragedy where six persons were killed
and 78 severely injured, when there was no a single fatality in the Kesas
Highway incident, is not only inexplicable, unsatisfactory but a blot on
the Suhakam record.
I call on the Suhakam Chairman, Tan Sri Musa Hitam, to give his personal attention to end the eight-month Suhakam inertia on the most serious human rights violations in the country since its establishment and to convene an urgent Suhakam meeting to institute a public inquiry into the rampant human rights violations in the Kampung Medan tragedy. Otherwise, the first two-year term of Suhakam might be associated with its greatest failure rather than its greatest success.