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KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 20 ― The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) today reminded Putrajaya of its legal commitments to human rights, adding that everyone was entitled to basic human rights that are not restricted based on race or religion.
Suhakam also remarked Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak saying that his administration will uphold human rights but only within the confines of Islam was ambiguous and could affect how the country is viewed by the rest of the world.
“This may not only send a misleading message both domestically and internationally, but may undermine both Malaysia’s well-respected international position, particularly within the United Nations, and the work of the Commission which has tirelessly since its inception been pushing for the promotion and protection of human rights in the country,” Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Hasmy Agam said in a statement today.
Suhakam also noted that with the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam (CDHRI), all human rights outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) were in line with the Shariah teachings and the need to confine its practices to one religion no longer existed.
“For purposes of clarity, the Commission emphasises that the CDHRI guarantees many of the same rights as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), while at the same time affirming the Sha’riah as its source.
“Nevertheless, it is stressed that the 30 Articles of the UDHR are not contrary to the tenets of Islam.
Suhakam further noted that the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act 1999 provides legitimacy to the UDHR, making it a crucial component in Malaysia’s human rights practices.
Hasmy added that Malaysia’s being the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) chair this year and former member of the United Nations Human Rights Council meant that it had a responsibility to abide by the human right pledges made at the international level within state lines as well.
Suhakam was responding to Najib’s statement on Tuesday, when he said that that while his administration would uphold basic human rights in Malaysia, it will only do so within the context of the Islamic teachings of balance and wasatiyyah (moderation).
Najib also pointed out that Muslim Malaysia cannot defend the more extreme aspect of human rights, citing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transexual rights as example.