PETALING JAYA: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has put forth a definition of human rights defenders, two days after the deputy prime minister called them “wolves in sheep’s clothing who protect criminals”.
Suhakam chairman Razali Ismail said such individuals were people who work towards the realisation of rights and freedoms contained in the Federal Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other human rights instruments through non-violent means.
“The efforts of human rights defenders contribute to positive societal change and play an important role in the establishment of the rule of law.
“They certainly cannot be said to be defending crime syndicates and criminals,” he said in a statement today.On Tuesday, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had slammed those who objected to the amendments to the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (Poca) passed in the Dewan Rakyat last week.
Zahid, who is also the home minister, said those who defended human rights were the biggest opponents of the amendments.
“We know that the amendments will be manipulated by so-called people who are defenders of human rights.
“But they are actually wolves in sheep’s clothing who are protecting criminals,” he added.
However, Razali said human rights defenders played a fundamental role in guaranteeing and safeguarding democracy and the rule of law in Malaysia.