Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi urged to give serious Government commitment to Suhakamís annual report and recommendations

Press Statement
Chow Kon Yeow

(Penang, Thursday):  Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) chairman Abu Talib Othman last week criticized that MPs ďhave not seen it fit to debate its annual reportĒ tabled in parliament.

MPs are not debating the Suhakamís annual report because the government has not allocated parliamentary time for its debate. The annual report was merely laid on the table and the government had not seen it fit to have it debated with a specific motion.

Suhakamís annual reports are not given serious attention because the government is merely treating the body as a decorative showpiece for human rights and the government is not expected to seriously respond to its various recommendations made the past two years.

Abu Talibís criticism is timely as there is definitely a general lack of interests among Barisan Nasional MPs in Suhakamís report. However Opposition MPs, especially those from DAP have never failed to highlight human rights issues including the Suhakamís annual report in Parliament

For instance, on September 24 I took the government to task for not responding to Suhakamís recommendations to amend the Suhakam Act and also its proposal to formulate a National Action Plan on Human Rights.

It is therefore not enough for Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to respond to Abu Talibís criticism by merely stating that the government would respond if MP raised questions about human rights in Parliament.

The Deputy Prime Minister should instead make a serious commitment to respect Suhakamís role in promoting human right development and the first step is to ensure that at least two parliamentary days be set aside to debate Suhakamís reports.


* Chow Kon Yeow: DAP National Political Education Director and Member of Parliament for Tanjong