Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has attacked a new so-called ‘religion’ he dubs “human rightism [sic]” whose “core beliefs are based on humanism and secularism as well as liberalism.” He has painted these as threats to Islam.
The next logical step for the PM is to tender Malaysia’s resignation from the United Nations, because that body is the leading promoter of human rights worldwide.
Malaysia has acceded to the United Nations Charter, the fundamental document of membership in the UN, which declares that its members “reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small”.
The UN is the promoter of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which cover freedoms of speech, freedom of religion, equality and brotherhood amongst humankind, the right to life, liberty and security of person, equality before the law, to be presumed innocent before being proven guilty, the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, the right to education, and other threatening principles.
More scandalously, Malaysia has for all this time been participating in the meetings of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and has submitted national human rights reports to this body, thereby acknowledging and submitting to its authority. Malaysia has even been a member of this Council and sat in judgement upon other nations.
Leaving the United Nations is a bold move, but Najib is famed for his resolve, and must have the courage to back up his convictions. He has the historic opportunity to be the first Malaysian Prime Minister to address this ‘new’ threat that has been hanging over us since 1948, when the Universal Declaration was signed.
The Prime Minister has been forthright in admitting that he himself has been swayed by this new ‘religion’ of ‘human rightism.’ At an international law conference in September, 2012, Najib announced:
“We have annulled the three Emergency proclamations which have led to a more human rights friendly legal environment and we repealed the three controversial laws – the Internal Security Act, Banishment Act, and Restricted Residence Act.”
“We will also repeal the Sedition Act and promised the rakyat a better right to freedom of speech and expression, and amended the Printing Presses and Publications Act.”
It is no surprise then that those stalwart champions of the faith in PERKASA and the right-wing of Umno have been condemning these moves, in particular, the loss of the ISA.
Despite his complicity in promoting human rights in the past, Najib now appears to have achieved a new clarity.
Unless he has been engaging in shameless hypocrisy and political opportunism to present by turns, a liberal face to the international community, followed by an alarmist message to stir unfounded social anxiety amongst Malaysian Muslims, Najib has only one clear course to establish his commitment: Malaysia must exit from the bastion of human rights that is the United Nations.
-Yin Shao Loong is the Research Director of Institut Rakyat