Raja Aziz, Steven Gan, Dr. Nasir Hashim and G Rajasekaran join the Round Table Conference on Suhakam Report 2001 on Sunday to exercise “oversight” over Suhakam neglected  by Parliament for two years

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya,  Friday) Raja Aziz Addruse, former Bar Council Chairman and former  HAKAM President, Steven Gan,  Malaysiakini chief editor, Dr. Nasir Hashim of Suara Warga Pertiwi  and MTUC Secretary-General G Rajasekaran will join the “Round Table Conference on Suhakam Report 2001 – Human Rights or Wrongs”  on Sunday to exercise the “oversight” over Suhakam in the discharge of its statutory role to “protect and promote” human rights which had been  neglected by Parliament for two years.  

Other panellists at the Round Table will include  HAKAM President, Ramdas Tikamdas;  former Bar Council Chairman, Zainur Zakaria; Centre for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC) coordinator Collin Nicholas; SUARAM Executive Director, Cynthia Gabriel; Women NGOs representative, Irene Xavier and   Concerned Citizen Group Coordinator, Charles Santiago.  

The Round Table Conference, to be held at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (upstairs) on Sunday, 23rd June 2002 (10 am to 1 pm) will provide a forum to review and assess Suhakam’s performance in its two years of existence, whether in the protection of fundamental human rights like the liberties of the person, freedoms of speech, assembly and association; how it had  fared in dealing with various controversial issues like the Internal Security Act arrests, the Kesas Highway Assembly, the Kampong Medan racial attacks, the suppression and denials of press freedoms; erosion of academic freedoms of university students and lecturers; the grievances of plantation workers and migrant workers.  

It will also be an opportunity to examine the efficacy of Suhakam in the promotion of  human rights whether in ensuring a stronger legal system, improved rule of law and strengthened independence of the judiciary; a better functioning electoral system; greater awareness and implementation of economic, social and cultural rights; improved linkage between human rights and development or the ratification by the government of international human rights covenants, instruments and standards.  

The Round Table Conference on Suhakam Report will also review and assess Parliament’s performance of its oversight responsibilities over Suhakam,  as a Parliament which fails its cardinal duty  to provide the fullest back-up to Suhakam by mainstreaming human rights and holding  the Government to account for grave breaches of human rights constitutes a major flaw in the system of protection and promotion of human rights and  should be a major concern of the NGO community and civil society.  

I have received complaints that it has not been possible for members of the public to get or buy copies of the latest Suhakam Annual Report 2001, not even from the Suhakam office itself.  

This does not speak well for the efficiency, accountability or transparency of Suhakam.  

As a public service, DAP is prepared to make copies of the Suhakam Annual Report 2001 available at RM20 a copy, and those interested should contact Ms Nancy Wong or Ms Yong (Tel: 03-79578022; Fax: 03-79575718; Email: [email protected]) for delivery at the Round Table Conference on Sunday.

As admission to the Round Table Conference  is by invitation only, those interested should register themselves by Saturday 1pm.  


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman