(Penang, Wednesday): Parliament committed a grave
dereliction of duty last year when the first Suhakam annual report was tabled in
Parliament without any parliamentary debate, attention or notice, and Parliament
owes an apology to the Malaysian people and nation for its failure to provide
strong “back-up” to
Suhakam to “protect and promote” human rights by giving serious
consideration to Suhakam reports and recommendations.
On Monday, the delayed Suhakam annual
report 2001 was tabled in the Dewan Rakyat and it is hoped that Parliament would
not commit a second grave dereliction of duty by again ignoring the Suhakam
report and failing to mainstream human rights issues in Parliament by
discharging its “oversight”
responsibilities over Suhakam.
Last week, I announced that DAP will move a censure
motion in Parliament against the Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar,
as the Minister responsible for
human rights, for his failures to ensure that
Malaysia complies with the international commitments to promote and
protect human rights.
MP for Tanjong, Chow Kon Yeow, in charge of
the portfolio of human rights among DAP MPs, will be responsible for the
censure motion but DAP is prepared to suspend the censure motion if there is a
full debate on the Suhakam report in the current meeting of Parliament.
the tabling of the Suhakam report on Monday, Chow has submitted a motion to
debate the Suhakam report to the Speaker, Tun Mohamad Zahir Ismail,
but as he would not be able to comply with the requisite 14-day notice
for such motion, he has also written to the Deputy Prime Minister and the
Parliament Whip, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to seek his agreement
to set aside the Standing Order so that the motion to debate Suhakam report
could be brought up for a full deliberation by MPs.
If Abdullah agrees, then a Minister will have to move a motion under
Standing Order 14(2) to enable the
Dewan Rakyat to proceed to debate Chow’s motion out of the regular order.
wish to call on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad
to give his personal attention to schedule a special parliamentary debate
on the Suhakam Annual Report 2001 to ensure that
Parliament does not commit a
second grave dereliction of duty in again ignoring the second Suhakam annual
report and failing to discharge its “oversight” responsibilities over
This can be done in one of two ways:
the Dewan Rakyat setting aside the Standing Orders to give priority to
Chow’s motion out of regular order to debate the Suhakam report to enable
Parliament to discharge its “oversight” responsibilities over Suhakam or the
government itself moving a motion to enable a Parliamentary debate on the
Suhakam report, making Chow’s motion redundant.
DAP is prepared to accept a parliamentary debate on the second Suhakam
report based on a government motion.