Suhakam should invoke its powers under the Suhakam Act 1999 to protect Suaram from continued government harassment and infringement of human rights in Malaysia


The Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) should invoke its functions and powers under the Suhakam Act 1999 to protect Suaram from continued government harassment and infringement of human rights in Malaysia.

Two days ago, Suaram said that Suhakam should intervene in the government’s continued harassment of the NGO’s parent company, Suara Inisiatif Sdn. Bhd as they had been continually persecuted by the government and its agencies since July 2012.

Suaram asked, among other things, that Suhakam take a stand on the Minister of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism, Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s overreaching powers in interrupting and influencing investigations by the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) and to acknowledge the normalcy of foreign funding to organisations in Malaysia.

“Suaram is gravely concerned on the overreaching powers displayed the Minister of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism, Ismail Sabri Yaakob in interfering and influencing the on-going CCM investigation on Suaram,” it said.

Global rights watchdog Amnesty International (AI) has rightly pointed out about suspicions over the timing of Putrajaya’s sudden interest in Suaram’s operations, noting that authorities began probing the NGO soon after it revealed that a close associate of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had sold Malaysian naval secrets to France.

AI said in a statement yesterday: “Amnesty is concerned that the recent government actions against SUARAM appear to be linked to the organisation’s legitimate work, in particular a corruption case which it has brought before the French courts.

“The government began these actions against SUARAM four weeks after the organisation disclosed new information from documents made available by the French public prosecutor’s office, which implicate Malaysian officials in the corruption allegations.”

The human rights NGO has been actively pursuing the Scorpene scandal in the French courts, in its campaign to expose government corruption in the multibillion purchase of the submarines in 2009 and possibly reopen the murder case of Mongolian model Altantuyaa Shaariibuu, which has been linked to the deal.

Amnesty said the harassment “appears to be a concerted, multi-departmental government campaign against SUARAM, one of Malaysia’s leading human rights groups”.

“The Malaysian government should respect SUARAM’s right as a human rights organisation to seek and receive funding, rather than abuse its power to intimidate human rights defenders.”

Suhakam should act under Section 4(1) (4) of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act 1999 which vested it with functions “to inquire into complaints regarding infringements of human rights” and Section 4(2)(3) empowering it “to study and verify any infringement of human rights”.

I also call on the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to call off the UMNO/Barisan Nasional war on the civil society and end all harassment and persecution not only on Suaram but other independent-minded human rights NGOs and news portals, like Bersih and Malaysiakini as this is totally inimical to word and spirit of his “Political Transformation” and pledge to make Malaysia’s the “world’s best democracy”, but also totally alien to the “new politics” recently advocated by Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah which envisaged a positive partnership of government with business and civil society to create a new governance framework.

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  1. #1 by Bigjoe on Sunday, 23 September 2012 - 6:04 pm

    Honestly its time to promote the idea that persecution of Suaram is an admission of guilt of Scorpene corruption and Altantuya murder.

    The more the go after Suaram, the more its admitting Najib’s is guilty. The message to be told one voter at a time..

  2. #2 by yhsiew on Sunday, 23 September 2012 - 7:06 pm

    ///I also call on the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to call off the UMNO/Barisan Nasional war on the civil society and end all harassment and persecution not only on Suaram but other independent-minded human rights NGOs and news portals, like Bersih and Malaysiakini….///

    Too late to make a U-turn now as the closet of skeletons is already prised open by these NGOs.

  3. #3 by sheriff singh on Sunday, 23 September 2012 - 10:34 pm

    SUHAKAM came in with a bang but really right from the outset it has been impotent and ineffective. It could have and should have done many things over the years but it has been proven and shown to be just another toothless, insignificant cat.

    Let us see what the current office bearers will do.

  4. #4 by monsterball on Monday, 24 September 2012 - 3:13 am

    When Mahathir can accuse Soros… a traitor…donating funds to help NGOs all over the world….you can understand how his umno B politicians mentalities and behaviors….all guided by the founder…to talk nonsense and get voters to vote FOR or AGAINST…since voting against corruptions and getting rid of double standards…him and his band of rouges and thieves will surely be defeated.

  5. #5 by Bigjoe on Monday, 24 September 2012 - 10:24 am

    Anuar Shaari comments that justify persecuation of Suaram with ‘jealousy of jews of our submarine’ to me is STARTLING.. It shows that UMNO/BN knows Najib is guilty of Scorpene corruption and linked to the murder of Altantuya and THINK NOTHING OF THEIR DUTY TO LAW, THEIR COUNTRY, THEIR RELIGION and BASIC DECENCY…

    His views clearly shows there are many in UMNO/BN who knows and think Najib is guilty of the charges and feel not only nothing wrong with it BUT willing to protect and help pervert justice and basic decency…Its INSTITUTIONAL PERVERSION..Its simply the basic breakdown of not only just law & order but also basic idea of society itself…Its basically one step short of cannibalism..

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