(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): Amnesty International’s 2001 annual
report released in London yesterday specifically named Malaysia as one of the
countries which used September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States to
justify harsh security measures resulting in more human rights abuses in the
country last year.
Suhakam, which has been vested by
Parliament with the statutory powers to be the Malaysian watchdog
to “protect and promote human rights” in the country should submit a
special report to Parliament on the
AI annual report, declaring its stand and stating where it agrees and where it
differs from the AI report.
It is a national shame and
embarrassment that the international human rights watchdog based in London
should beat Suhakam to an annual review of the human rights condition in
Malaysia – all because of the usurpation of the statutory powers and functions
of Suhakam by the Foreign Ministry in hijacking the Suhakam annual report 2001
when it should have been made
public after submission to Parliament at its last meeting two months ago.
This is one down for Suhakam and one up
for the Amnesty International, where the Malaysian Human Rights Commission whose
brief is only Malaysia lags behind Amnesty International, which covers some 200
countries in the world!
Suhakam is cause for another national
shame and embarrassment – as its annual report is also
later than the United States State Department annual survey on human
rights with a country report on Malaysia, which was released in March this year.
should be very concerned about the AI 2001 annual report about human rights
abuses in Malaysia for last year, or it would make nonsense of its establishment
of Suhakam to “protect and promote” human rights, and its concerns should
focus on the findings of the AI report, viz:
The AI annual report noted that the
government had been “dismissive” of various Suhakam reports and
would be a poor reflection on Parliament’s oversight role over Suhakam to
protect and promote human rights if it loses out to foreign and international
organizations like the AI in reminding the Government of its responsibility to
implement the Suhakam’s findings and recommendations. For this reason,
Parliament must insist at its next meeting that the government give a full and
detailed report on its responses and actions on all the recommendations which
had been made by Suhakam in the past one year.