(Petaling Jaya, Friday): Suhakam
Chairman Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman should explain whether Suhakam under him had
contravened its parent Act in improperly and unlawfully
repudiating its April 11 decision last year that the Internal Security
Act (ISA) arrests of the reformasi six, Mohamad Ezam Mohamad Nor, Hishamuddin
Rais, Chua Tian Chang, Saari Sungib, Badrulamin Bahron, were violations of
fundamental human rights and demand for their immediate release.
visited the Suhakam website and found that on its press statement page
(http://www.suhakam.org.my/press_statement.htm) its press statement of April 11, 2001 (“4-11” statement) has
been taken down. There was the
Suhakam press statement on “Medical Treatment of Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim”
dated 31 May 2001 and the press statement on “Equal Rights For Women” dated
24 July 2001 but the most important press statement which had been issued by
Suhakam in the past two years, viz. that the ISA is a violation of fundamental
human rights, is conspicuously
absence of the “4-11” statement of Suhakam on the Suhakam website is
a matter of grave concern and the question must be asked whether it is
tantamount to a repudiation - or repudiation-to-come - of the “4-11”
the Internal Security Act is “a fundamental human rights violation”
with its detention-without-trial provisions.
would urge Abu Talib to clarify whether he would adhere to the “4-11” Suhakam decision or is he trying to
get two-thirds of the Suhakam
Commissioners to rescind the “4-11” decision and give Suhakam’s
blessings to the ISA.
7 (4) of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act 1999 provides that
members of the Commission “shall use their best endeavours to arrive at all
decisions of the meeting by consensus failing which the decision by a two-thirds
majority of the members present shall be required”.
a statement after a special Suhakam meeting on April 11, 2001
following the arrests of the reformas activists, Suhakam said that the
arrests under the Internal Security Act, which allows indefinite detention
without trial, violated fundamental human rights and called for their immediate
release. It said that if the detainees had committed any offence, they should be
charged and tried in an open court.
the statement, Suhakam said there were initially signals that the government was
"slowly but surely being sensitized to human rights issues and is
taking concrete steps to ensure that its concern for human rights is
translated into action." It said the formation of Suhakam a
year earlier was proof of the trend, adding that it was against this backdrop
that it “expressed deep concern over the present arrests”.