KUALA LUMPUR, June 1 — The Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) asked the government today to remove the “unnecessary procedures” for the tabling of its annual report in Parliament, saying this would enhance the agency’s independence.
The commission noted that the report intended for Parliament’s consumption currently must be presented to the Cabinet for executive approval before it may be presented to the legislature.
Removing the bureaucracy would also allow the commission to expedite the tabling of the report and give the document a chance to be debated in the first session of a new parliamentary term for the first time in 16 years, it said.
“These administrative requirements can affect the independence of Suhakam, a vital condition for the effectiveness of every national human rights institution.
“Specifically, Suhakam must seek prior approval from the Ministry of Finance, and the Economic Planning Unit and Implementation Coordination Unit (ICU) of the Prime Minister’s Office, before the report can go to parliament,” it said in a statement.
Stressing that Parliament also shares in the responsibility to promote, protect, respect and fulfill Malaysia’s human rights obligations, Suhakam then urged the lawmaking body to reconsider its previous request for a select committee on human rights.
Under the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act 1999, Suhakam is obligated to prepare and table an annual report on its activities, actions and recommendations on rights topics.