Suhakam alarmed by delay on ending repressive laws

PETALING JAYA: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has expressed shock at the government’s delay to abolishing the death penalty, the repeal of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 and the Sedition Act 1948.

Suhakam was also disappointed by the government’s failure to ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and noted that all peoples had a right to exist without fear of mistreatment or discrimination on the basis of race.

Suhakam said the government’s actions seemed to indicate “a regression in the commitment to advance and promote human rights for all Malaysians, as well as a lack of buy-in on matters related to human rights by enforcement authorities”.

Suhakam chairman Razali Ismail said the commission was “alarmed” that the government had sat on the abolition of the death penalty, despite the opportunity to do so, and several pronouncements of its intentions to do so.

Razali criticised recent police investigations into the organisers of a women’s march, on grounds of sedition and illegal assembly, noting that the government had announced that these were draconian laws intended to be repealed.

The statement said the government had accepted 184 of 268 recommendations at the recent Universal Periodic Review by the UN Human Rights Council.

The commission called for the government to take firm and effective approach in creating awareness of these issues and addressing them through efforts such as legislation, law reform, capacity building, education and training.