Suaram: 100 days enough for 21 urgent human rights reforms

(From left) Suaram chairman Arumugam Kalimuthu, director Kua Kia Soong, executive director Sevan Doraisamy, programme coordinator Dobby Chew and director Yeoh Seng Guan.

KUALA LUMPUR: Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) has listed 21 urgent priorities it expects Pakatan Harapan (PH) to implement in line with its goal of upholding human rights in the country.

Its adviser Kua Kia Soong said during the launch of the 20th Annual Human Rights Report for Malaysia 2017 that many of the legislative reforms could be implemented during the 100 day-timeline that the PH-led government had given itself.

“One most important and urgent reform that needs immediate attention is the right to life. Abolish the death penalty in the country and impose an immediate moratorium on all executions pending abolition, and commute the sentences of all persons currently on death row.

“Another would be to repeal laws that allow arbitrary declaration of emergency, torture, detention without trial and incommunicado detention, like the National Security Council Act 2016, Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012, Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015, and the Prevention of Crime Act 1959.

“It is also high time for PH to do away with race-based parties. How can the prime minister of the country be associated with a race-based party when he speaks for the interest of the country? There should be no justification for this,” said Kua.

He suggested that race-based policies be replaced with needs-based measures that benefit the lower income and marginalised sectors.

He also called for the implementation of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) and other recommendations of the Royal Police Commission to ensure transparency and accountability by the police and other enforcement agencies and minimise police shootings and deaths in custody.

Kua also called on the PH government to bring back elected local councils, resolve the conflict of jurisdiction between civil and shariah laws, democratise government-linked companies, prioritise the rights and livelihood of the Orang Asli, and ensure sustainable development and environmental protection.

“Many lawyers have pointed out that the repeal or review of our laws that violate basic human rights can be expeditiously accomplished within the first 100 days of the new PH government.

“Top priority must be given to overturning laws and actions which result in deaths and unjust incarceration,” he said.

Kua added that the Suaram report was published at a very apt point in time, marking a historic break after 61 years of Barisan Nasional (BN) rule.

“So after decades of subjecting BN to our monitoring and documentation, we hope the new PH government’s human rights record will be the subject of Suaram’s watch,” said Kua.