Debate report, govt urged

Lively discussion: (From left) Suhakam commissioners Datuk Lok Yim Pheng, Prof Datuk Dr Aishah Bidin, Joseph, Datuk Mah Weng Kwai and Dr Nik Salida Suhaila Nik Saleh chatting at the release of the Suhakam 2018 Annual Report.

KUALA LUMPUR: The annual report of the Human Rights Com­mission of Malaysia (Suhakam) was tabled in Parliament on April 11 and the commission wants the Pakatan Harapan government to honour its general election manifesto promise to debate it.

Its acting chairman Jerald Joseph said the commission was accountable to Parliament and debating the report was provided for under the Suhakam Act.

Suhakam’s annual reports have never been debated in Parliament before and Joseph hopes the latest will be debated in the august House during its next sitting in July.

“How can Malaysians and Members of Parliament not be participating in issues of human rights of the country?” he asked reporters after the public release of Suhakam’s 2018 annual report yesterday.

Joseph said that for the report to be debated, a motion needed to be tabled by de facto law minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong.

“We are prepared to stand by whatever questions he needs for him to answer,” he said.

He said that in a good system, the report would be tabled and debated at once.

On a separate issue, Joseph said that Suhakam had asked the govern­ment to increase its annual funding from RM12mil to RM16mil.

Suhakam has three offices in Kuala Lumpur, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu, employing 85 staff members nationwide, he said.

Last year, the commission received a total of 1,180 complaints, an almost 50% increase compared to the previous year.

Out of the number, Suhakam decided that 131 of the complaints fell out of their jurisdiction.

Of the 1,049 complaints accepted by Suhakam, 581 have been completed while the rest are still being investigated.

Most of the complaints had dealt with the right to nationality, with 413 cases being registered and out of which the majority of were in Sabah.

This was followed by complaints on arbitrary arrest, detention and exile.


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