In conjunction with Human Rights Day on 10 December 2019, Hakam urges the government to expeditiously fulfil its manifesto promises in respect of human rights reforms.
There is no doubt that the government has achieved praiseworthy progress on the human rights front. Some of these include:
- lowering the voting age to 18
- automatic voter registration
- abolishing the Anti-Fake News Act 2018
- amending the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012
- creating the environment for a relatively freer press
- appointing independent and credible judges to key positions in the judiciary
- tabling the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) report for debate in Parliament for the first time in 19 years
- establishing a parliamentary Select Committee on Human Rights and Constitutional Affairs and a parliamentary Select Committee on Gender Equality and Family Development
But the Pakatan Harapan government was elected on 9 May 2018 by an electorate which expects more substantial human rights reforms and cementing of the rule of law. It has been one and a half years since the government was elected into power, yet there is much more that needs to be done.
Hakam hereby urges the government to quicken its pace and to steadfastly carry out the following human rights reforms in Malaysia:
- Establish an effective Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC)
- Abolish the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma)
- Abolish the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015
- Abolish the Prevention of Crime Act 1959
- Abolish the Sedition Act 1948
- Abolish the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984
- Abolish the National Security Council Act 2016
- Abolish the death penalty in all forms and
- Enact a freedom of information act
There will no doubt be forces which will resist such reforms. But all of these reforms are promises which were made in the Pakatan Harapan manifesto. The government must be bold and resolute in fulfilling the same.
Rest assured that civil society and many segments of the rakyat will be behind the government in carrying out such reforms.
Lim Wei Jiet is secretary-general of the National Human Rights Society (Hakam)