Malaysia: Suhakam: Govt must double human rights efforts

PETALING JAYA: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia or Suhakam has criticized the government for the absence of recommendations on the issue of business and human rights during its presentation at the second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the United Nations office in Geneva.

Suhakam chairman Hasmy Agam said this was an “emerging and equally important area” which should have been noted.

Hasmy said that the absence of recommendations on the issue showed the lack of recognition by government leaders in promoting human rights.

“This demonstrates the lack of recognition by state actors (leaders) on the role and obligation of business entities in promoting and protecting human rights.

“While the Commission concurs with the positive comments from a number of (UN) member states that Malaysia has shown some progress in the field of human rights, it is of the view that critically constructive comments and recommendations would have served as valid and useful reminders to the Malaysian Government of the need to redouble its efforts to promote and protect the human rights situation in the country,” said Hasmy in a statement issued today.

However, despite being critical towards the government for their lack of effort in promoting greater human rights, the former ambassador praised the Malaysian administration for its presentation at the second UPR dialogue session.

He said Suhakam is looking forward to the outcome of the UPR report on Malaysia which is scheduled to be released on Oct 31 in Geneva.

“We hope the report will underscore the government’s commitment in promoting and protecting human rights.

“We believes that the dialogue session was a great success on the part of the government, but we feel that a more focused and in-depth deliberation of the human rights situation in the country would have been more beneficial to Malaysia as it undertakes measures to fulfill its commitments to further improve the human rights situation in the country,” Hasmy added.

Hasmy who attended the UPR session as an observer said about a 100 member states had offered various comments and recommendations on the issue to Malaysia.

“It was an interactive dialogue where hundreds of member states lauded Malaysia for its achievement in promoting economic, social, and cultural rights particularly poverty eradication and access to education and healthcare.

“Positive comments were also made on the Government’s move to repeal several preventive detention laws including the Internal Security Act (ISA) and Emergency Ordinances,”

“Only a few had expressed concern regarding the Government’s recent amendments to the Prevention of Crime Act (PCA) that are retrogressive and inconsistent with human rights principles,” Hasmy said.

Hasmy also added that Suhakam welcomed the recommendations posed by the UN member states on issues related to rights of women, children, migrant workers, refugees and asylum seekers, indigenous peoples, trafficking in persons and the abolition of the death penalty.

The UPR session is currently ongoing and is a mechanism to review the human rights practices of all the state in the world. The UPR is held once in every four and a half years and is expected to end on Nov 1.