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.