Suhakam disappointed annual report not debated in Parliament

PETALING JAYA: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has expressed its disappointment that its 2019 annual report will not be debated in Parliament this year.

It said the report, which was tabled earlier in Parliament on Nov 4, highlights serious human rights issues in the country that require urgent action by the government.

It said also said that the report contained recommendations relating to the rights of the vulnerable communities including the indigenous peoples, women and children, victims of human trafficking, refugees and asylum seekers and workers.

Suhakam noted that Section 21 of its enabling Act, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act 1999, does not specifically mention that the report has to be debated in Parliament.

However, it said it was crucial for the report to be debated in Parliament as this would allow parliamentarians to discuss human rights issues and propose possible solutions to them.

Suhakam said its annual report was debated in parliament for the first time on Dec 5 last year and hoped that the practice would be continued this year and in future.

“Suhakam also urges the government to recognise the importance of human rights issues as part of the government’s regular affairs, especially in parliamentary debates, ” it said in a statement on Tuesday (Dec 1).

De facto-law minister Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan had told the Dewan Rakyat that the government had no plans to allow Suhakam’s annual report to be debated in the House.

Takiyuddin said the annual report was submitted as a statute paper instead and kept on the desk of every MP.

In its report, Suhakam said that it investigated 783 complaints from the public last year, with the complaints touching on the right to nationality, degrading treatment, equality, arbitrary arrest or detention, and the right to native customary land among others.

Suhakam was established by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act 1999 which came into force in April 2000.

Its functions include promoting awareness relating to human rights, advising the government, and inquiring into complaints regarding infringements of human rights.

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