Suhakam refutes Zahid’s claim that it agreed to Pota

The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) today rebutted claims that it had given the green light to the Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota), saying that Putrajaya had never consulted it before tabling the law.

Suhakam said that it had issued a statement on November 28 last year, merely to support the government’s efforts in combating terrorism and extremism, including the threats posed by Islamic State (Isis).

“The Commission’s position has not changed,” it said in a statement today.

“In that statement, the Commission once again reiterated that any amendment or promulgation of new laws; i) must be made after meaningful consultations with relevant stakeholders; ii) drafted in adherence to international human rights standards to be effective; and, iii) shall be accompanied by appropriate safeguards to protect human rights.”

It also noted that it had issued a letter to the Home Ministry on March 12, urging Putrajaya to allow the Commission to be consulted and express its views on the Bill, with the aim of ensuring that the proposed law was aligned with human rights provisions.

“While the Commission expressed its support for the passage of a proposed anti-terror Bill in line with human rights principles, and subject to recommendations which may address concerns about the Bill’s impact on human rights, the Commission once again maintains that it was not and has not been consulted on the legislation,” the Commission said.

The contentious Bill was passed in the Dewan Rakyat after nearly 15 hours of debate with 79 votes for and 60 votes against in the wee hours of April 7.

Suhakam said that it issued yet another statement following that, to express its regret that the law had been approved by the august House, despite the lack of consultation with the Commission and uncertainties in several of its provisions.

“The Commission further explained that due to the seriousness of the Pota’s measures and the need for proper oversight, it shall be making full submissions to the government in accordance with its statutory mandate.

“The Commission also called on the government to be committed to upholding its international human rights obligations and urged for a revision of the Act, with full and meaningful consultations with all stakeholders, including the Commission,” it added.

Although Suhakam continued to support any legal measures to counter elements of terrorism and extremism, it stressed that any such laws must be in line and in full compliance with human rights principles.

Suhakam refutes Zahid’s claim that it agreed to Pota
17 April 2015 – TMI


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