(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): The Foreign Minister, Datuk Syed Hamid
Albar should stop his improper and unlawful interference with Suhakam by
illegally withholding or censoring Suhakamís
second annual report to Parliament.
Suhakam Commissioner Zainah Anwar
yesterday confirmed that the Suhakam annual report 2001 had been submitted to
the Foreign Ministry and would be presented to Parliament when Hamid gives the
In requiring Suhakam to first submit
its annual report to Parliament to the Foreign Ministry for authorization before
it is presented to Members of
Parliament, Hamid had committed two illegalities Ė firstly, in causing Suhakam
to contravene the Suhakam Act in failing to submit its second annual report to
the last Parliamentary meeting as required by the Suhakam Act
and secondly, in unlawfully interfering with
the Suhakam annual report to Parliament which is not provided for in the
Although Hamid as Foreign Minister is
the Minister responsible for human rights and whose portfolio embraces Suhakam,
it does not make the Suhakam subordinate or responsible to the Foreign Minister.
The fine distinction between Hamid
being the Minister responsible for Suhakam but where Suhakam is not responsible
or beholden to the Minister so as not to undermine its statutory independence
must be jealously observed, or Suhakam will forfeit public confidence in its
credibility, legitimacy and integrity.
There is no objection to the Suhakam sending an advance copy of its annual report to Parliament to Hamid as the Minister responsible for human rights, not to allow Hamid to have a say to edit the Suhakam report, but to enable Hamid to present an accompanying government report to Parliament on the Suhakam report in particular where the government is directly referred to, whether with regard to human rights abuses or violations or recommendations such as for the ratification of international human rights treaties and covenants.