PETALING JAYA: The country’s human rights commission has warned the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government to engage with the public in formulating laws especially in the proposal to table three bills related to race relations.
The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) said it was concerned that three bills – the Anti-Discrimination Bill, National Harmony and Reconciliation Commission Bill and Racial and Religious Hatred Bill – that minister in charge of Islamic affairs Mujahid Yusof Rawa said would be tabled in October, had not gone through any consultation with the public.
“Despite the new government’s claims of commitment to openness and transparency that are central pillars of effective governance, the PH government, not unlike its predecessor, has not demonstrated any step to institutionalise a framework for meaningful public engagement in law-making,” said Suhakam chairman Razali Ismail.
He said although the three proposed laws were the right approach to deal with extremist sentiments, there was little information about their contents.
“Whether the proposed laws will include active measures to remove the existing causes of discrimination in Malaysia, such as racial discrimination in the education sector is uncertain,” said Razali.
Razali reminded the PH coalition of its pledge to improve Malaysia’s human rights records, saying any laws tabled must not only take into account public feedback but also reflect the country’s “national character that will shape who the people of Malaysia are and what they stand for”.
“Suhakam hopes that this new Government will not carry forward the negative past practices to ignore the need for stakeholder and public consultations in a democracy, and rush through legislation in Parliament,” said Razali.