Malaysia a ‘pariah state’, MP says after European Parliament slams rights abuse

The European Parliament has passed a resolution on Malaysia that called for the withdrawal of the controversial National Security Council Bill 2015 and for the repeal of the Sedition Act 1948. ― File pic
The European Parliament has passed a resolution on Malaysia that called for the withdrawal of the controversial National Security Council Bill 2015 and for the repeal of the Sedition Act 1948. ― File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 19 ―Malaysia risks being stuck as a “pariah state” if Putrajaya fails to address the concerns that the European Parliament has expressed about Malaysia’s worsening human rights situation, a DAP lawmaker said today.

The European Parliament passed a resolution on Malaysia Thursday that called for the withdrawal of the controversial National Security Council (NSC) Bill 2015 and for the repeal of the Sedition Act 1948, noting a spike in the number of people facing charges or arrest under the colonial-era law.

“If nothing changes in the immediate future, Malaysia risked being stuck as a pariah state as claimed by former Prime Minister [Tun Dr] Mahathir Mohamad,” Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim said in a statement.

“All these concerns expressed in the European Parliament resolution on Malaysia are not new. The opposition and civil society in Malaysia have long been fighting an uphill battle against a regime apathetic to the voice of the people.

“Elected representatives and civil rights activists have been incarcerated, and subjected to various abuses by the government in this struggle. The EU resolution only highlights the gravity of the problem at this juncture,” the opposition MP added.

Civil society has criticised the NSC Bill that grants the NSC, chaired by the prime minister, overarching powers to declare a state of emergency in any area the council considers a security zone, as well as powers of search and arrest without warrant. 

The European Parliament also called for the repeal of the law prohibiting sodomy, noting that the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community is criminalised under anti-sodomy and anti-crossdressing legislation and faces arbitrary arrest, as well as assault.

“Parliament reaffirms the EU’s strong commitment to the Malaysian people, with whom the EU has strong and longstanding political, economic and cultural ties, but deplores the deteriorating human rights situation in the country,” the European Parliament said in a statement Thursday.