Malaysia Shafee has experience in heading Asean human rights body, says Anifah

    Putrajaya has defended the appointment of Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah to the Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), saying the Umno lawyer has vast experience in legal and human rights matters. – See more at:

    BY EILEEN NG | Published: 11 March 2015 11:00 AM

    Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said Shafee’s involvement in the grouping since the inception in 2009 gave him “an edge” in managing and heading the group, of which he is chairman.

    “He has institutional memory on issues that has and currently discussed by AICHR, on top of his current expertise and experience,” he told Kasturi Patto (DAP-Batu Kawan) in a written reply today.

    “This advantage is value added towards Shafee which will make it easier for him to help Malaysia to spearhead the implementation of various AICHR 2015 programmes and activities, among which is the AICHR five year working plan between 2016 and 2020.”

    Shafee was appointed to the chair this year and will hold the post for a three year term. He has been Malaysia’s representative to the group since October 2009.

    Anifah also said Muhammad Shafee’s vast experience made him wise in political dynamics and human rights at national and regional level. Besides that, he also understood his responsibilities towards the Malaysian government on such issues.

    Opposition coalition Pakatan Rakyat has criticised Shafee’s appointment, saying that it was astonishing and inappropriate, given his links to ruling party Umno, the “worst offender of human rights violation in Malaysia”.

    They said that the Umno lawyer should step down as it was “delusional” for the public to hope that he could‎ stand up to the Barisan Nasional (BN) government and its human rights transgressions.

    “It is a well-known fact that Muhammad Shafee Abdullah has close very relations with, and is an adviser to the ruling party,” said lawmakers Gooi Hisao Leung of PKR, Lim Lip Eng of DAP, and Dr Mohd  Hatta Ramli of PAS, in a joint statement last month.

    The lawyer has also come under fire for his continued attacks on opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar. – March 11, 2015.