Najib should comply with the Paris Principles and consult Opposition and civil society on appointment of Suhakam commissioners to include distinguished personalities like Param Cumaraswamy, Raja Aziz, Zainur Zakaria, Ramdas Tikamdas, Chandra Muzaffar and Dr. Chen Man Hin
Media Statement (2)
by Lim Kit Siang
(Ipoh, Saturday): DAP calls on the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who has taken over the ministerial responsibility for Suhakam, to have full regard of internationally-recognised principles concerning the status, powers and functioning of national human rights commissions embodied in the Paris Principles endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993, and to comply with the Paris Principles by consulting the Opposition and civil society on appointment of Suhakam commissioners.
One of the fundamental features of the Paris Principles calls for an independent appointments procedure which is transparent and consultative with civil society groups in the country to maximize the likelihood of committed and active appointees to the commission.
Today is the expiry of the two-year appointment of the second batch of Suhakam commissioners under the chairmanship of Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman, and from all indications, there is likely to be a short interregnum where the Suhakam will be in limbo with no Suhakam commissioners as Najib is still in the process of finalizing the new batch of appointments.
Such an interregnum with Suhakam in a limbo with no Suhakam commissioners does not speak well for government efficiency and forward-planning but is tolerable and acceptable if it is to usher in a new phase for human rights protection and promotion in the country starting with the appointment of a third batch of Suhakam commissioners who command undisputed public confidence for their commitment to the cause of human rights.
Najib should comply with the Paris Principles and consult the Opposition and the civil society on the appointment of new Suhakam commissioners to include distinguished personalities like Param Cumaraswamy, Raja Aziz, Zainur Zakaria, Ramdas Tikamdas, Chandra Muzaffar and Dr. Chen Man Hin.
In the past four years, Suhakam and its various reports had been treated with contempt by the Foreign Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, who had been assigned to be responsible for Suhakam. Parliament had also failed in its duty to oversee the Suhakam in its statutory responsibility to protect and promote human rights.
There should be a new beginning with Parliament giving top priority to Suhakam reports and functions – with a wide-ranging debate on human rights once a year centred on Suhakam’s annual report.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman & Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor