Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Parliament was told that the Suhakam Bill was based on the Paris Principles

Leave us to carry out our duties
Suhakam: We should be in control of our own finances

KUALA LUMPUR: Although Suhakam is supposed to be an independent body with control over its finances, there are certain civil servants who prevent the human rights organisation from carrying out its duties.

Under the Suhakam Act, the Government had to provide it with adequate funds to discharge its functions, its chairman Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman said.

"Parliament was told that the Suhakam Bill was based on the Paris Principles, meaning it should be an independent organisation in control of its own finances, but there are civil servants who feel otherwise," Abu Talib said when asked how
many copies of the newly-launched Malaysian Journal. on Human Rights had been printed and how they would be distributed.

(It cost RM28,000 to print 1,000 copies of the inaugural journal.)

"Our duty is not to make money but create awareness of human rights to all strata," he added.

The 231-page volume touches on modem public order policing, transforming rights, constitutionalism, apostasy and freedom of religion, origins of the Reid Constitutional Commission and social protection for children, he said.

The writers this time include human rights commissioner Datuk K.C. Vohrah, Just World president Dr Chandra Muzaffar, lawyers Datuk Dr Cyrus Das and Pawancheek Marican and academic Mohamed Azam Mohamed Adil.

Asked what was the point of educating citizens on their human rights when Parliament had yet to debate any of Suhakam's annual reports, he said: "The people will judge their MPs accordingly. Citizens have the right to choose their government.
The question is whether elections are free and fair."


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