(Penang, Saturday): DAP
will move a censure motion in Parliament next week against the
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed
Hamid Albar, as the Minister
responsible for human rights, for his failure
to ensure that Malaysia comply with our international
commitments to develop and
implement a national action plan to promote and protect human rights.
In Parliament in December 1998, I had criticized
the government for failing to live up to its international commitments on human
rights, in particular the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (VDPA)
adopted by the 1993 World Human Rights Conference binding on the
171 United Nations member states, including
Malaysia, which attended it.
National plans of action for the promotion and
protection of human rights and the strengthening of national human rights
capacities is one outcome of the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights, and in
the past nine years, there had been steady progress on national action plans in
most countries, either adopting and implementing them or in the process of
developing the national action plans – except for countries like Malaysia,
where such a concept is still totally
alien to the government.
In December 1998, I had called on the Malaysian Government to formulate a national action plan for
human rights to mainstream human rights and to strengthen the institutions of
human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Malaysia, but it has fallen on
As a result, almost a decade after the VDPA, Malaysia is not only still without a national human rights action plan, there are no moves to develop one!
Although a Human Rights Commission was established in 2000, it is facing
a grave crisis of confidence and credibility as illustrated by the
100-day boycott and disengagement by leading NGOs in the fields of human rights.
In any event, Suhakam cannot make up for the absence of a national action plan
for human rights to lay down the framework for the enlargement of human rights
capacities in the country, including the introduction of human rights-oriented
changes in national legislation, the ratification of core human rights treaties
like the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and strengthening
the institutions of democracy and the rule of law.
Malaysia has been stranded in international
human rights developments as a country which is not even thinking about
developing a national action plan for human rights nine years after the VDPA –
for which Syed Hamid Albar should
bear full responsibility for this gross failure by Malaysia to live up to our
international human rights commitments as he has been Foreign Minister for some
three-and-a-half years and have done nothing in this direction.
There are other strong reasons why Hamid Albar, as the Minister responsible for human rights, should be censured for his failure to mainstream human rights but his failure with regard to a national action plan for human rights will the strongest ground for a censure motion to be moved against him in Parliament.