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