Suhakam should not only study the Terengganu PAS hudud law but also all Federal laws which are against justice and  violate human rights  like the recent election law amendments


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya,  Friday) At the meeting with the Suhakam Chairman Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, Abu Talib stressed that Suhakam is not pro-government, pro-Opposition or pro-NGO, but pro-human rights. 

During the meeting, I referred to his recent statement on Tuesday that Suhakam is keen to look at the Terengganu PAS hudud Bill  as there have been reports that it is unfair to women. 

Abu Talib was quoted as telling the media that Suhakam would look into human rights for women in Terengganu if the PAS state government successfully implemented hudud law in the state which discriminates against women. 

He said the proposed Bill had been brought up by a member of the commission for discussion at Suhakamís fuil board meeting on Monday.  However, as the Bill has not been tabled yet, the commission would wait and see before taking any steps. 

I commended Suhakam for wanting to study the proposed Terengganu hudud law from the standpoint of human rights and women rights, but stressed that Suhakam must extend its interest and oversight to all laws, particularly Federal laws which violate the elementary notions of justice and human rights, like the recent Elections (Amendment) Bill passed by both Houses of Parliament in April. 

Under the new election law, important human rights concerning the holding of free, fair and clean elections have been undermined, such as the quadrupling of the election deposit of a candidates from the present RM5,000 to a maximum amount of RM20,000, which is completely irrelevant to  the cancer of the Malaysian electoral process - the politics of money. 

Such a measure discriminates against the poorer strata of Malaysian society, which comprise the overwhelming majority of Malaysians. There are also other retrogressive provisions which are not designed to make the Malaysian electoral process free, fair and clean but to forestall effective checks and balances to achieve this objective.

These are areas of human rights violation which had been ignored by Suhakam.  What Suhakam should do is to establish a new Working Group on Federal and State Legislation to monitor all Bills before they are presented to the various legislatures for debate and enactment, with Suhakam reporting on Bills which threaten human rights with proposals how they could be made human rights-compliant.    

(14/6/2002)


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman