Government must explain delay in
announcing the appointment of Suhakam commissioners
by MKula Segaran
(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): The government owes the Malaysian public and civil society and explanation as to why there had been a delay in announcing the appointment of the new batch of Suhakam commissioners.
Such delay does not reflect well on the commitment of our country’s new administration to human rights as it had resulted in a vacuum in Suhakam, which is supposed to be the bastion of human rights, notwithstanding that its track record thus far leaves much to be desired.
The present commissioners whose term had expired on Saturday were left in a limbo when they were not informed as to whether they would continue serving as commissioners or make way for fresh appointees.
The Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, under whose purview Suhakam now comes under, should quickly announce the new batch of Suhakam commissioners without further and inordinate delay so that there will be continuity in the statutory body.
More importantly, however, the appointment of commissioners should include prominent personalities from a cross-section of society who have a proven record of human rights advocacy. This is necessary to ensure that Suhakam commissioners can command the confidence of the public and effectively carry out their role to protect and promote human rights.
In addition, it is vital that human rights issues are vigorously debated in the upcoming session of the new Parliament, unlike in the past when the various reports of Suhakam on human rights abuses could not find their way into parliamentary debates.
* DAP Acting Secretary General and MP for Ipoh Barat M. Kula Segeran