KUALA LUMPUR: There are only four commissioners currently serving in the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) as five have stepped down after completing the maximum two terms.
As of Tuesday (April 27), Datuk Mah Weng Kwai, Prof Dr Nik Salida Suhaila Nik Salleh, Datuk Loke Yim Pheng, Datuk Godfrey Gregory Jaitol and Jerald Joseph had each completed two terms of three years each.
All five started their tenure as Suhakam commissioners in 2016, serving first to 2019 and then from 2019 to this year.
Under Section 5(4) of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) Act 1999, a third term is not permitted.
The Act states that a member of the commission should hold office for a period of three years and is eligible for reappointment once for another period of three years.
The remaining four commissioners who completed their first term from 2019 to this year and are eligible to serve for one more term, are chairman Tan Sri Othman Hashim, Datuk Dr Madeline Berma, Datuk Seri Mohd Hishamuddin Md Yunus and Datuk Prof Noor Aziah Mohd Awal.
The replacements for the other five have yet to be announced.
Suhakam commissioners are appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the recommendation of the Prime Minister in consultation with an appointment committee chaired by the Chief Secretary to the Government.
Earlier, Joseph announced his departure as commissioner in a statement on social media.
"It has been an amazing experience defending Malaysia's good practices and pushing for change where we have failed.
"It took me to all corners of Malaysia including prisons, Immigration depots, stateless villages, indigenous villages, urban poor housing and many more.
"There is much for us to do to ensure human rights belong to all, not just to some," he said in his statement.
Joseph extended his gratitude to those he had worked with over the years.
"It is only possible for good change if we continue working together for a better Malaysia.
"It was my absolute privilege to give to our beautiful Malaysia.
"I look forward to continuing serving Malaysia and our world for human rights whenever needed," he said.