JULY 2 — The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) finally welcomes its new commissioners. Former Universiti Teknologi Mara’s (UiTM) deputy vice-chancellor and Faculty of Law dean Prof Datuk Rahmat Mohamad was yesterday appointed as the new chairman of the Commission.
The others appointed as commissioners are Prof Datuk Noor Aziah Mohd Awal, Datuk Mohamad Nordin Ibrahim, Dr Chew Chee Ming, Datuk Mary @ Mariati Robert, Datuk Hasnal Rezua Merican Habib Merican, Nazira Abdul Rahim and K. Ragunath.
In a statement announcing the appointments yesterday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that the commissioners will serve for the term between 2022 and 2025 effective June 22.
The prime minister has called the appointments as “inclusive”. But unlike the immediate past commissioners who ended their term of office in April, the appointees announced yesterday do not include someone with a judicial background and experience.
Past immediate commissioners Datuk Mah Weng Kwai and Datuk Seri Mohd Hishamudin Bin Md Yunus were both former judges of the Court of Appeal.
There is therefore room for a couple of commissioners with judicial background and experience. Suhakam can consist of up to twenty commissioners. The term between 2006 and 2008 saw Suhakam having the most number of commissioners, that is 18.
Past commissioners with judicial background and experience have lent support to one of Suhakam’s statutory functions, that is to inquire into complaints about human rights infringements.
Section 12 of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act 1999 empowers Suhakam to act on its own motion to inquire into allegations of infringement of human rights, in addition to acting on complaints submitted to it.
With its new commissioners, Suhakam can no longer be in silent or mute mode. It must discharge its statutory functions without delay and without fear and favour.
It will be more inclusive to have commissioners with judicial background and experience.
*This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.