Call for another day of
parliamentary extension as it will be triple injustice to Suhakam, human
rights and Parliament itself if Parlaiment is not prepared to give serious
attention to the 2003 Suhakam Report by holding a special debate
Media Conference Statement
by Lim Kit Siang
(Parliament House, Monday): The thick Suhakam 2003 Report was tabled in Parliament this morning and it is not possible for any MP to have the time to read and study it.
Parliament will be doing a triple injustice, to Suhakam, human rights and the institution of Parliament itself if MPs do not give serious attention to the 2003 Suhakam Report by holding a special debate on its views and recommendations in the discharge of its statutory duty to promote and protect human rights.
Although the Minister in charge of parliamentary affairs, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said last week that the Cabinet had decided that there will be no debate on the Suhakam annual report, but that MPs could speak on it during the forthcoming debate on the first 2004 supplementary estimates, I call on the Cabinet to reconsider its decision and to agree to extend Parliament by one more day to have a special debate on the 2003 Suhakam Report for at least three reasons:
Firstly, not to commit the triple injustice to Suhakam, human rights and Parliament;
Secondly, the first 2004 supplementary estimates is not a proper venue to raise the Suhakam annual report. Although three days are set aside for the debate, it is only one day during the general policy debate of the supplementary estimates that the Suhakam report could be referred to, as debate on the other two days would be in committee stage and would be confined specifically to the votes and items being sought from the House. Furthermore, even if MPs speak on the Suhakam report on the first day of the policy debate, there will be no proper reply as there is no provision for the other Ministers apart from the Finance Minister or his representative to reply in the winding up of the policy debate on the supplementary estimates even though their portfolios are the subject of debate.
Thirdly, to demonstrate the political and parliamentary will for reform and modernization to make the Malaysian Parliament a “First World Parliament”.
DAP MPs will be seeking an appointment with the Suhakam Chairman and Commissioners to discuss the 2003 Suhakam Report.
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader,
Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor & DAP National Chairman