KUALA LUMPUR, June 24 — Malaysians care little for obeying international human rights laws and have no qualms over the matter when dealing with countries that would present economic benefit, said a recent survey on global attitudes to human rights in 24 countries.
In the survey titled “The Age of Impunity?” led by global research firm Ipsos, almost half of Malaysian respondents said that while the country should take into account human rights laws, it should not do more than just consider it.
At 46 per cent, Malaysia’s proportion of those who thought a country should do little to heed such laws was the highest among all countries polled.
Malaysia also has among the highest proportion of respondents who said the country should just ignore those laws — at six per cent.
Meanwhile, just 22 per cent of Malaysian respondents said the country should never break those laws, while 12 per cent said the laws can only be broken in extreme circumstances.
In comparison, 38 per cent of all respondents across the world said that the laws should never be broken, and just 22 per cent said they can just be taken into account.
Poland tops the list, where a whopping 58 per cent of respondents said such laws should never be broken.
The new Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration has recently backed out of signing the Rome Statute for International Criminal Court, and has also refused to ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Icerd) due to pressure from ethno-religious groups.
This comes as 39 per cent of all Malaysian respondents said they felt the government would deal with any country regardless of their human rights record.
Only 27 per cent of the total said they believed that Malaysia will only deal with countries with good human rights track record, even if it harms the country’s economy.
In comparison, around half of the respondents from countries such as Sweden, Great Britain, Poland, and Germany said their governments will only deal with countries with good track record.
This comes as Malaysia continues to strengthen its economic deals with China, which came under international scrutiny for open persecution and oppression against the Muslim minorities especially, the Uyghur ethnic group.
The survey polled over 17,000 adults in 24 countries. According to it, Malaysian respondents are among the countries where the national sample is more urban and educated, and earning more, and are not representative of the whole country.
It was done in collaboration with the Policy Institute at King’s College London, and the US-UK Fulbright Commission.