Three recent incidences display that human rights and fundamental liberties are under threat. The suspension of the printing permit of the weekly ‘The Heat’ by the Ministry of Home Affairs; the issues surrounding the rights to peaceful assembly against rising prices and the raid by Islamic religious officials on The Bible Society and confiscation of Bibles are trampling religious liberty issues.All three incidences pertaining to media freedom, peaceful demonstrations & religious freedom have negative implications for citizens’ rights in a democratic society governed under the Federal Constitution. The actions have been carried out by civil servants employed by the Federal or state governments.
It is the duty of the Prime Minister as head of the Federal government and a Menteri Besar in the case of state agencies who must provide political leadership in addressing these concerns. The authorities under their jurisdiction must be held accountable to public officials who are elected by the people.There is a need for political leadership which can transcend political parties in a by-partisan tradition in the best interest of the nation so as to ensure that Malaysia is a nation that will truly embody democratic freedoms and inter religious harmony.
Tolerance to alternative views, enlarging democratic space, protection of minority religious and cultural rights are essential components of human rights & good governance. These are election pledges made by all the major political parties through their election manifestos during the GE13.In addition, Malaysia preaches moderation globally and has made international commitments to upholding human rights at the United Nations especially during the Universal Periodical Review. We must practice this within Malaysia and not allow certain individuals whether within the administration or society to undermine national unity, peace and harmony.
It is in this context that the silence of the Prime Minister and his Cabinet is really unfortunate and is further undermining human rights and good governance.Proham therefore calls on all political leaders in public office, senior civil servants, and civil society leaders including religious leaders to work together in building a better Malaysia for all.
We have started 2014 on a bad footing trampling human rights; however as Malaysians we must rise to defend the Federal Constitution within the democratic tradition.Proham calls on the Prime Minister to take immediate steps to strengthen human rights and fundamental liberties put a stop to officials who are violating human rights and hold them accountable for their actions. In addition what is urgently needed is the long term formulation of the Human Rights Action Plan which is long overdue.
Issued on behalf of Proham by:Tan Sri Simon Sipaun, Prof Datuk Hamdan Adnan, Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam, and Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria (Proham Secretary General)
Jan 5, 2014