Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) notes with concern the reported success of the Home Ministry in its Key Performance Index (KPI) in 2017 and call for human rights and civil liberties to be an integral part of the Key Performance Index outlined by the Home Ministry.
Despite the reported success in achieving its KPI, the Home Ministry has repeatedly failed to address key issues of concerns in relation to human rights and civil liberties under the Federal Constitution. In tandem with its key success, the Ministry in 2017 has:
- Failed to address the cases of enforced disappearances of Amri Che Mat, Raymond Koh, Joshua Hilmy and Ruth Hilmy;
- Oversaw the sharp increase in arbitrary detention under the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (POCA) with 142 minors reportedly detained under POCA;
- Failed to answer and address for the arrest and detention of Ang Kian Kok despite the Minister’s awareness of his case in Parliament;
- Failed to address the issue of custodial death with new addition of at least 8 reported death in police custody, 2 in navy detention center and countless more in prisons and immigration detention in 2017;
- Failed to address the right to health in prison in spite of repeated recommendations by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM);
- Failed to curb the rampant practice of chain remand where individuals are detained for prolonged period of weeks if not months through legal loopholes;
- Interfered into The Star and other news agencies and curtailing freedom of expression;
- Banned more than 50 publications with no good cause;
- Oversaw and championed the continued existence of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA) in Parliament and failed to implement the working group to provide oversight on SOSMA;
- Barred the entry of internationally recognized human rights defenders including Han Hui Hui and Adilur Rahman Khan in 2017
- Failed to address the rising issue of human trafficking in Malaysia;
- Failed to address the scandal of the Wang Kelian death camp with new allegations of cover up.
With the abovementioned failures and shortcoming in mind, it is difficult for any reasonable and sensible person to describe the Home Ministry as excellent in discharging its duties as the executive body overseeing the enforcement agencies in the country.
SUARAM calls for the Home Minister, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to take into account the human rights violations perpetrated by the Home Ministry directly or by the enforcement agencies that it has oversight over and rethink the ministry’s KPI in line with international human rights principles and the civil liberties enshrined Federal Constitution. If the Home Minister holds a genuine intent to reform and improve the Ministry, a consultation with civil societies and relevant statutory body should take place before the formulation of any KPI. SUARAM and other stakeholders are willing and happy to engage with the Ministry
SUARAM would also like to remind the Home Minister and the Home Ministry that Malaysia will be up for the 3rd Universal Periodic Review later in 2018 and the failures of the Ministry to uphold human rights in the abovementioned areas would be scrutinized by members states of the United Nations.