Call on Hamid Albar to stop his improper and unlawful interference with Suhakam by illegally withholding or censoring Suhakamís second annual report to Parliament


Media Statement 
by Lim Kit Siang

(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 green-light.  

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 Suhakam Act. 

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.

(1/5/2002)


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman