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Published: Thursday November 4, 2010 MYT 2:55:00 PMUpdated: Thursday November 4, 2010 MYT 5:48:22 PM
PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Bar has joined the call urging the Sarawak government to remove its entry ban on Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) official Jannie Lasimbang, a Sabahan.
The ban was imposed on Jannie following her entry into the state on a fact-finding mission on Sarawak’s Penan community in 1994 and 1995.
Section 66(1) of the Immigration Act 1959 allows Sarawak to restrict a citizen’s entry.
Malaysian Bar vice-president Lim Chen Wee said Malaysia cannot afford to have such negative development as Suhakam is being scrutinised by the Geneva-based United Nations' Sub-Committee on Accreditation (SCA) of the International Coordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions.
"There has already been much focus on Sarawak, what with the issue of the Penans, the illegal logging of native customary land and other encroachment on the rights of the orang asal there," said Lim in a statement Thursday.
"Restrictions faced by Jannie put Suhakam in jeopardy of being kicked out of the 'A' status league," he added.
Earlier this year, the SCA expressed concerns regarding the introduction by the Government of key performance indicators (KPIs) on Suhakam, saying it was "without precedence in the protection and promotion of human rights."
Lim said Jannie is one of four members of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples appointed by the UN’s Human Rights Council and her expertise would have given credibility to the comprehensive national enquiry Suhakam was planning to undertake.
"There should not be any 'no-go'areas for Suhakam," said Lim, pointing out that the Federal government had established the commission as provided for in the Federal constitution.
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