PETALING JAYA: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) is denying allegations that its public inquiry into the disappearances of Pastor Raymond Koh and Amri Che Mat was an attempt to punish the police.
In a statement on Wednesday (April 24), vice-chairman Jerald Joseph said Suhakam adhered to procedures when releasing its reports of the inquiry.
"With respect to the principles of transparency and accountability, the contents of each of the inquiry reports have been made public and accessible to members of the public and the media upon the conclusion of each inquiry," he said.
Joseph added that there is no provision in the law that requires that the police be provided with an advance copy of the findings.
"In this regard, Suhakam has not acted extraordinarily in its release of the reports on Pastor Raymond Koh Keng Joo and Amri Che Mat, and to claim that the Commission is attempting to punish the police or provoke reactions from the public and the establishment is far-fetched," he said.
"Suhakam, throughout the course of the public inquiry – and indeed with regards to all the work we do – has acted without fear, favour, malice or prejudice in our attempt to uncover the truth in a matter that is of great public interest and is integral to the exercise of democracy in Malaysia," he added.
Joseph called upon the authorities to implement without delay the recommendations made by the Panel of Inquiry and for the findings of the inquiry to be made public.
"Suhakam also wishes to reiterate and clarify its position on the status of acts deemed draconian," he added.
Joseph also voiced Suhakam's disappointment at the Home Ministry's decision to amend rather than repeal the Peaceful Assembly Act, Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma), Prevention of Crime Act 1959, Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015, Printing Presses and Publishing Act 1984 and Sedition Act 1948.
"Although the global situation concerning terrorism warrants the need for the government to enact new legislation to maintain public tranquillity and eliminate any imminent hostility that may jeopardise the nation, the legislation itself must not be repressive nor should it deny the basic rights enshrined under the Federal Constitution," he said.
He proposed that the Ministry provide a detailed report on the progress of the status of these laws to all members of the task force, stating that as a member of the task force, Suhakam was never informed of the progress of its outcomes.
On Saturday (April 20), former chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail said Suhakam wanted to provoke reactions from the public and the authorities by making its report on the two missing activists public.
He told news portal The Malaysian Insight that that the public inquiry was a desperate attempt to get answers on the two missing individuals.