Low: NGOs encouraged to engage with government to solve human rights issues

Minister in the Prime Minister’s department Datuk Paul Low delivers a speech during the Suhakam forum in conjunction with World Human Rights Day, Kuala Lumpur December 8, 2016. ― Picture by Choo Choy May
Minister in the Prime Minister’s department Datuk Paul Low delivers a speech during the Suhakam forum in conjunction with World Human Rights Day, Kuala Lumpur December 8, 2016. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 — Non-governmental organisations (NGO) are encouraged to engage with the government to solve the issue of human rights, says Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan.

He said when he first became minister, the first thing he found was that very few NGOs did research with the government and there was a serious lack in engagement with the civil society group.

“I did try to change the government culture engaging the civil society group and we have a lot to do about it.

“The first thing to do is constructing engagement and have a dialogue where we should be open to listen to other views but it takes times,” he said during the speech of the ‘Human Rights Awards Ceremony 2016’ here today.

Low said apart from the engagement, the government should bring the NGOs who had social skills and passion to help the government solve the human rights problem.

Meanwhile, six recipients who have shown unwavering dedication to advancing human rights in Malaysia were honoured in that ceremony.

Among the recipients of the awards are Mydin Mohamed Holdings Berhad for Business Entity Award category; Malaysia Handicraft Development Corporation (Government Agency Award); and Dr Madhusudhan Shammugam for individual award who formed the Teddy Mobile Clinic for providing free medical care to the homeless in Kuala Lumpur.

The introduction of the awards is part of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) efforts to promote human rights and honour the contribution made by extraordinary individuals, groups, organisations and the media (print, online, broadcast), government agencies and business entities.

It is also to promote active involvement among the various communities and societal actors in the promotion and protection of human rights in the country.

Also present were Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail and its former chairman, Tan Sri Musa Hitam.

The awards were held in conjunction with a forum, ‘Human Rights in Malaysia: Towards A Developed Nation Status’ at the Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations. — Bernama

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