Abdullah should set  a three-month deadline latest by November 20 to announce government action on Suhakam report on Kesas Highway inquiry and findings of  widespread police violations of human rights


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang
 

(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): It is most outrageous that more than two months after the publication of the Suhakam public inquiry report on the Kesas Highway gathering and findings of widespread police violations of human rights, the parliamentary secretary to the Home Ministry, Datuk Seri Abu Zahar Isnin could inform Parliament  yesterday that the committee set up by the Home Ministry to look into the Suhakam findings is still studying the matter - giving no indication as to how many more months or years would be needed and showing total indifference and unconcern on important issues of police credibility,  professionalism and accountability.

Before the Suhakam report on the Kesas Highway inquiry was made public on August 20, copies  had been sent to the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, Minister in the Prime Ministerís Department, the Inspector-General and the Attorney-General and there can be no acceptable excuse why the government is taking such an inordinately long time to take the necessary follow-up action based on the Suhakam findings.

The indefinite delay on government action on the Suhakam inquiry findings is most unsatisfactory and unacceptable, especially as the Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, had said early last month that the police had completed a detailed study on the Suhakam inquiry report. (New Straits Times 9.9.2001)

The  first Malaysian Human Rights Day  organised by Suhakam on 9th September 2001 was used to justify further government  procrastination on the Suhakam inquiry findings when Abdullah announced the establishment of a Cabinet Committee comprising various  relevant agencies and departments to submit a report on the Suhakam findings to the Cabinet.

On 13th September 2001, New Straits Times reported that the Cabinet Committee on the Suhakam inquiry report, headed by Abdullah, has  established a technical sub-committee jointly chaired by the Minister in the Prime Ministerís Department, Datuk Dr. Rais Yatim and the Secretary-General to the Home Ministry, Datuk Aseh Che Mat.

This technical sub-committee would focus on the findings of widespread police violations of human rights at the Kesas Highway gathering last November  and would complete its work and submit its report to the Cabinet Committee at the end of last  month.

As the technical sub-committee headed by Rais and Aseh would be dealing with the substantive parts of the Cabinet Committee deliberations, there is even lesser reason for the inordinate and indefinite delay on the part of the government in announcing its decisions and follow-up actions on the Suhakam inquiry report.

Abdullah should set  a three-month deadline latest by November 20 to announce  government actions on the Suhakam inquiry report on the  Kesas Highway incident.

In its deliberations, the Cabinet Committee should direct the Inspector-General of Police to tender public apology for the widespread police violations of human rights at the Kesas Highway last November,  prosecute the police personnel responsible for human rights violations  and ask the Attorney-General to withdraw all charges  pending in court against members of the public  in connection with the Kesas Highway incident.

(23/10/2001)



*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman