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Tuesday, 28 May 2013


PROHAM welcomes the Chief Justice’s statement when he reminded Judges to uphold the value of human rights as enshrined in the Federal Constitution in his address to the Judges at the 47th Malaysian Judges’ Conference held on May 25, 2013
Proham, reiterates that all human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated and hence, it is the duty of the state regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms.
When this is breached, it is the courts that every citizen will look to for a remedy.  Therefore, the judiciary must provide the check and balances aimed at preventing abuse of power to the detriment of a free society.
Proham strongly affirms that only an independent judiciary is able to render justice impartially in protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms of the individual. The public must have confidence in the ability of the judiciary to carry out its functions in an independent and impartial manner.
Issued on behalf of Proham by Datuk Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari (Proham Exco) and Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria (Proham Secretary-General)
May 28, 2013


PROHAM expresses its concern over another death in custody, this time of N.Darmindran and calls on the government to hold an inquest to determine the cause of death. The recent case also highlights the string of custodial deaths over the years and this has tarnished the public confidence in the police force.

PROHAM urges the government to review its decision not to implement the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission recommended by the Royal Police Commission set up to enhance the operation and management of the Royal Malaysian Police.

The Royal Police Commission had also recommended that upon detention of a suspect, any investigation should be completed within 24hours and in normal cases any extension is to be an exception. In the circumstances, remand application should be limited to cases where investigation cannot be completed within 24hours of the arrest.

In cases like the arrest of Adam Adli and recent arrests of politicians Chua Tian Chang, Tamrin Gaffar and political activist Haris Ibrahim, investigation can be completed within 24hours without further remanding the suspects; a mere recording of a statement maybe sufficient. Evidence in cases of sedition can be obtained by other investigations and not by incarcerating the suspect for a period of seven days.

In the circumstances PROHAM urges the police not to resort to remand applications for suspects in cases like sedition, road accidents and other cases where incarcerating the suspect for seven or fourteen days does not in any way contribute to the successful investigation to charge any suspects.

Issued on behalf of Proham by Datuk Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari (Proham Exco) and Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria (Proham Secretary-General)
May 28, 2013

Thursday, 23 May 2013


Five Proham members and 11 friends of Proham met on May 21, 2013 evening to discuss and reflect on GE 13 and subsequent developments from a human rights perspective.
Proham recognises that there is an increased awareness of the importance of general elections based on the historical high voter turnout. This is indeed encouraging and it is also important to note that overall GE 13 was conducted in a peaceful environment.
Proham congratulates the Barisan National for securing 133 parliamentary seats to form the Federal government and the Pakatan Rakyat for securing 89 seats and a higher percentage of the popular vote compared to the BN. We note that securing higher votes does not correspond to a similar percentage of the seats in parliament.

Size of Constituencies
The variation of votes between some urban and semi-rural and rural is very diversity. One could accept the rational for the small size of voters in a Federal Territory like Putrajay which is only 15,798. However, the example of two other parliamentary seats in urbanized Selangor is more difficult to reconcile, were the variation among the constituencies differ.  

A comparison of voters indicate two large a variation between urban, semi-rural and rural constituencies.  In Sabak Bernam (P 92) there are 37,390 registered voters as compared to Kapar (P109) which has 144,369 voters. This variation is too great within a very urbanised state like Selangor.
Therefore when the EC and Parliament carries out the delineation exercise in the later part of this year, there should be a propionate balance between urban and rural constituencies in terms of number of voters. There must be greater public engagement on this matter.

Election complains
Proham notes through media highlights that there are many complaints of phantom voters, election fraud and misconduct. In this context, all parties who are unhappy with any matter pertaining to the conduct of elections should use the appropriate formal channels to file elections petitions so as to file the legal recourse and determine the truth of these allegations.

Citizens right to peaceful expression of dissent
Proham also recognises that it is within the fundamental right of citizens to express their unhappiness though peaceful assemblies. Proham therefore calls on the Police to exercise greater discretion in not insisting for the 10 day notice as these are peaceful assemblies and in the past the Police have responded positively even at shorter notice.  The 10 day notice requirement is viewed as excessive by international human rights standards.

In addition the call for a People’s Tribunal to gather evidence, enhance greater transparency and accountability is consistent with democratic freedoms. Active citizen’s engagement and participation will enhance good governance and ensure greater involvement of citizen’s movements at the grass-roots.
Use of Sedition Act inconsistent with PM Najib’s promise to repeal this act

Proham views with concern the use of the sedition act to criminalise speeches in peaceful assemblies. The arrest and detention of Adam Adil for 5 days can be viewed as stifling legitimate dissent in a peaceful way and violation of fundamental liberties. The continual use of the Sedition Act is not consistent with Prime Minister’s earlier promise to repeal it.
Furthermore the detention of 18 protestors outside the Jinjang Police station on May 22, 2013 in showing solidarity for Adam Adil is further sign of an emerging hard state suppressing human rights. Proham, therefore calls of the Inspector General of Police to recognise the place for peaceful expressions as a fundamental human right.

Strengthening Parliament and enhancing parliamentary democracy
In the light of the GE 13 results, with no political grouping securing a 2/3 majority in parliament and a stronger representation of the opposition, it is proposed that Parliament be strengthened though the establishment of parliamentary select committees including one for human rights.

It is also our wish as citizens that parliamentarians from both sides of the political divide will operate in a by-partisan way for the common good of the nation.
In this context too we propose that the Suhakam annual report and all major findings be discussed in Parliament especially the Suhakam National Inquiry Report on the Land rights of the indigenous people of Sabah, Sarawak and the Orang Asli’s of Peninsular Malaysia.

Appointment of Suhakam commissioners
Proham echoes its earlier call on the Federal Government for the timely appointment of human rights commissioners as their term ended on April 23, 2013. Proham strongly feels that a non-functioning SUHAKAM is detrimental to the needs of the nation namely to ensure that there is no infringement of human rights and if any to take immediate steps to remedy the same.

In this context Proham calls on the Federal Government to take the speedy action in ensuring the appointment of the new commission with immediate effect.
National Reconciliation Agenda

The recent call by Prime Minister Najib for a National Reconciliation Agenda is timely. Proham calls on the Federal Government to institute a participatory mechanism for maximum consultation with all communities and groups.
In this context, Proham, calls on all Malaysians to exercise caution and maturity in the use of words and expressions in speech or writing which are not consistent with national harmony and reconciliation. We have great cultural and religious traditions which promote moderation and tolerance. This must be the benchmark of Ministers in the cabinet and by elected members of parliament and also public officials. The leaders must be role models for behaviour which is consistent with reconciliation and harmony.

In addition, Proham recognises that National Reconciliation must be built on the foundation of Inclusive Development for all Malaysians and Human Rights, benchmarked by compliance to international instruments and consistent with the Federal Constitution.
In this context, the ratification of the UN Conventions for civil and political rights; the UN convention for Economic, social and cultural rights and the UN convention for the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination is most essential. This act will definitely shift the discussion from political rhetoric to be firmly anchored in a strong commitment for structural and institutional transformation of Malaysian society which is urgently needed after GE 13.

Issued on behalf of Proham by Tan Sri Simon Sipaun (Chairman) and Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria Secretary-General) May 23, 2013