Suhakam: Human rights not a threat to religion

Suhakam chairman Razali Ismail reiterates Suhakam’s willingness to work with the government in moving forward on human rights issues.

PETALING JAYA: No society can proudly call itself multiracial if it shuts its doors to non-discrimination, says Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) chairman Razali Ismail.

Speaking during Suhakam’s Human Rights Day celebration here today, Razali said he understood that certain quarters might be worried their rights would be eroded.

“We should not be concerned because the rights, those which were alleged would be gone, are clearly enshrined in our Federal Constitution, and will continue to be preserved.

“Human rights are also often mistaken as a threat to religion and I think this perception should be corrected.

“Islam is a religion that prioritises self-worth and dignity, and those are actually being fought for in human rights,” he said, amid the intense opposition to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) by Malay groups and political parties.

Thousands joined a massive rally yesterday in the nation’s capital to voice their objections against ICERD.

Razali said there were many ways to protect the country, and repeated Suhakam’s willingness to work with the government on human rights issues.

“I will openly state again today that we want to be a valuable partner of the government in moving forward.

“We want to be effective to provide advice and recommendations to the government, even though we may at this time disagree on some issues.

“And so, I wish to applaud all of you today for showing your commitment and dedication in standing up for human rights,” he said.

Razali said Suhakam would remain committed in ensuring human rights in Malaysia are protected based on the country’s Rukun Negara and Federal Constitution.

“This cannot be disputed, although there are certain groups which try to relate Suhakam and human rights as a western concept that goes against religion. This is not smart.

“This is shallow-minded or perhaps there could be other motivations behind this argument. If we want to defend self-worth, which is taught in Islam and other religions, then we must also learn from what is happening outside the country,” he said.