Malaysia’s Parliament debates Human Rights Commission report for first time

For the first time, the Annual Report of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) was debated by Members of Parliament in the Dewan Rakyat. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department for Law and Institutional Reform, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, stated that the purpose of the debate was to enable a mature discussion to strengthen human rights protection.

Azalina expressed the government’s belief in the importance of political commitment to not only table the Suhakam annual report but also debate and follow up with proposed solutions to address the issues raised. She said the government is confident that the debate session will provide an opportunity for all voices to be heard through their representatives.

The Suhakam Annual Report 2020, which was initially tabled in the Dewan Rakyat on May 25 without debate, consists of seven chapters detailing activities carried out throughout the year. The report also includes comprehensive administrative and financial reports on topics such as Orang Asli/Asal, human trafficking, refugees and asylum seekers, business and human rights, and Islam.

Azalina highlighted that various legislations had been amended for legal reform efforts to improve human rights, including the abolition of the mandatory death penalty and life imprisonment. The Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017 and the Evidence of Child Witness Act 2007 were also amended to provide more extensive protection for children. The government is considering further improvements and amendments to these acts in the next Parliament session.

As a testament to the government’s commitment to ensuring that human rights continue to be guaranteed and preserved, Azalina mentioned that the National Human Rights Action Plan 2.0 (NHRAP 2.0) is also under consideration. This plan would cover more comprehensive integration in various aspects, including education, health, housing, social services, and administration.

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Lee Shuyi

Lee is an expat writer living in Thailand. She specialises in Southeast Asian news for the Thaiger. When she's not writing, Lee enjoys immersing herself in Thai culture and learning Thai.

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