(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.
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.
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