Suhakam says didn’t take unusual steps with report on missing pastor, activist; not out to ‘punish’ cops

Joseph said Suhakam chose to release the information directly to the public instead of providing advance copies to the authorities in the interest of transparency. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Joseph said Suhakam chose to release the information directly to the public instead of providing advance copies to the authorities in the interest of transparency. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, April 24 — The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) said there was nothing extraordinary in how it released its inquiry findings that concluded “enforced disappearance” in the cases of pastor Raymond Koh and activist Amri Che Mat.

It also pointed out that the inquiry on the abductions was not unique, but the ninth in the commission’s history, Suhakam vice-president Jerald Joseph said in a statement today.

“Suhakam, throughout the course of the PI [public inquiry], and indeed with regards to all the work we do, has acted without fear, favour, malice or prejudice in our attempt to uncover the truth in a matter that is of great public interest and is integral to the exercise of democracy in Malaysia.

“To claim that the commission is attempting to punish the police or provoke reactions from the public and the establishment is far-fetched,” said Jerald in the statement.

Joseph also said the commission chose to release the information directly to the public instead of providing advance copies to the authorities in the interest of transparency.

He said the findings of the two missing cases had to be disclosed due to the public nature of the inquiry, and called for the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government and relevant authorities to expedite the implementation of the recommendations in the findings.

“With respect to the principles of transparency and accountability, the content of each of the inquiry reports has been made public and accessible to members of the public and the media upon the conclusion of each inquiry,” he said.

Suhakam also reiterated its position that it considered several security laws to be “draconian”.

These are the Peaceful Assembly Act (APA), the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA), the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (POCA), the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015 (POTA), the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) 1984, and the Sedition Act 1948.

He said that while Suhakam was part of the task force to review these, it was not informed of the progress or outcomes of these.

“[Suhakam is] disappointed by the ultimate decision to amend, rather than to repeal, the aforementioned laws.

“In the interest of transparency, Suhakam proposes that a detailed report on the progress of the status of these laws be submitted to all members of the task force,” he said.

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