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Tuesday, 9 December 2014

2014 new low for PM, says Suaram's report

The year 2014 represents a new low for human rights in Malaysia under Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s administration.

This was stated by the Suaram’s 2014 Human Rights Overview of Malaysia, which was released today in conjunction with the International Human Rights Day today.

“The new low was characterized by the increased repression on freedom of expression, assembly and association, detention without trial back into business as usual, free falling of international rankings on trafficking of persons and worst country for migrant workers and epitomized by the prime minister’s infamous about-turn decision on his public promises to repeal the Sedition Act at the UMNO General Assembly," the report stated.

Worrying six trends

The report also said that there are six major trends developed in 2014 that are worrying and warrant immediate actions from the government and the general public to halt their development.

The six trends includehate speeches, the PM’s giving in to the right wing, detention without trial, non-cooperation of the police, repression of civil rights and abuse of power over migrants.

Focusing on the issues that caused various public uproars, Suaram highlighted the increase of racial and religious hate speeches by right wing groups such as Perkasa and Isma and the non-involvement of the Government to curb such speeches.

“Despite their incitement of hatred and violence, these non-state actors have enjoyed a free reign in threatening and intimidating other racial and religious minorities with almost total impunity under Najib’s administration.

“This is in stark contradiction to the moderation that has been preached by the prime minister at international high profile meetings,” Suaram noted in the report.

Chilling effect of draconian laws

It went on to point out that with Najib's bowing down to the will of the right wing groups, the draconian Sedition Act was arbitrarily invoked to investigate or charge, or convict 44 individuals on various issues this year alone.

“The chilling effects of the Sedition Act have harmed freedom of expression, which is crucial for a functioning democracy,” it said.

The third trend, Suaram said, saw the return of “detention without trial in full force”, replacing the abolished Internal Security Act (ISA) 1960 with the Security Offences (Special Preventive Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA) and the Prevention of Crime (Amendment) Act 2013 (POCA).

Thus, Suaram pointed out that “more injustice is expected to take place under detention without trial in the coming years”.

The human rights NGO added the fourth trend highlights the fact that the police refused to be transparent.

The report also alleged the police and the government were not keen on the establishment of the Independent Police Complaint and Misconduct Commission.

They elaborated that the “institutional reform of the police force introduced under Najib’s administration has thus far failed to hold the police force accountable for corruption and abuse of power”.

Abuse of migrants

According to the Suaram’s, the fifth trend states the increasedattacks on the right to freedom of association of civil society and opposition parties.

The final trend in the report spoke about the terrible treatment of non-citizens in the country.

Malaysia was demotedto Tier 3 in the US State Department’s Annual “Trafficking in Persons” Report and its poor showing in the “Global Rights Index: The World’s Worst Countries for Workers,” where Malaysia was ranked alongside Laos, Cambodia, Qatar, North Korea, and Zimbabwe.

These six trends must be stopped and reversed, thus, Suaram calls for the government to put in place a National Human Rights Action Plan and carry out nation-wide human rights education program among other things.

Suaram also calls on the silent majority of fellow Malaysians to rise up and speak out against human rights violations.

“The silent majority cannot afford to sit idle anymore while watching the development of our beloved country being held ransom by a small group of extremists,” Suaram said in the report.

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