DAP to move a censure motion in Parliament against Hamid Albar for his failure as Foreign Minister to ensure that Malaysia comply with our international commitments  to develop and implement a national action plan to promote and protect human rights


Media Conference Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(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 deaf ears. 

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.

(15/6/2002)


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman