New Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi needs to do differently on human rights

Press  Statement
Chow Kon Yeow

(Penang, Tuesday): In conjunction with International Human Rights Day 2003 tomorrow, the DAP Human Rights Bureau want to impress on new Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on the needs to commit his new administration to promoting human rights in the country. 

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has inherited from Tun Mahathir Mohamed a government with a mixed record on human rights, which is not one to be proud of. 

In the past 22 years, while the government should be commended for the economic and physical growth of the country, we also see the repeated abuse of institutional and legal mechanisms to restrict basic human rights. 

This includes political intimidation and detention without trial under the Internal Security Act, restrictions on freedom of expression, association and assembly and the assault on judicial independence and press freedom. 

We take the opportunity of the International Human Rights Day to call on the Prime Minister to do things differently on human rights in order to promote good governance and a vibrant civil society and political culture in Malaysia. 

We note that a major challenge that remains unresolved is the slow government response to the major issues that touch on fundamental liberties. 

We therefore commit a wish list to the new Prime Minister for him to address with full political will. 

  1. Ratification of international human rights instruments
  2. Review of the Human Rights Commission Act 1999 with the aim of increasing SUHAKAMís effectiveness
  3. Review and repeal all legislations incompatible with human rights
  4. Repeal the Internal Security Act
  5. Ensure the right to freedom of association and peaceful assembly
  6. Foster free expression in the Malaysian media including keeping the internet from censorship
  7. Promote judiciaryís ability to carry out its core function with independence
  8. Promote womenís rights and end gender discrimination
  9. Ensure basic rights of minority Malaysians including their rights to mother tongue education
  10. Promote greater adherence of human rights standard among the governments of Asean countries.



* Chow Kon Yeow, DAP Human Rights Bureau chairman and MP for Tanjong