KUALA LUMPUR, March 1 ― Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) raised today Tun Arifin Zakaria’s human rights record after the former chief justice was appointed to lead a royal inquiry on mass graves and human trafficking in Wang Kelian.
The human rights group pointed out that Arifin had made many unconstitutional decisions during his tenure that ran counter to human rights, such as upholding the Sedition Act 1948, upholding PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy conviction, and advising the King to appoint then-Chief Justice Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif and then-President of Court of Appeal Tan Sri Zulkifli Makinuddin as additional judges to keep them in office beyond retirement age.
“It is thus clear that there are valid concerns about the former CJ's track record in human rights and constitutionalism,” LFL adviser N. Surendran said in a statement.
“It is crucial that there is the fullest confidence in the RCI (royal commission of inquiry), both among the Malaysian public and internationally, as the Wang Kelian incident has regional implications.
“Hence, it is important for Tun Arifin Zakaria to now state his stand over these past decisions and actions that are a cause of public concern in light of this appointment,” he added.
Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday announced the RCI to investigate the 2015 gruesome discovery of over 100 mass graves containing the bodies of what was believed to be Rohingya refugees, together with detention camps near the Malaysia-Thai border in Wang Kelian, Perlis.