The dramatic budget cut of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) is proof that the government lacks political will to empower Suhakam, said Suaram executive director Sevan Doraisamy.
“The Malaysian government cannot in good conscience claim that they hold human rights and civil liberties in high regards when it is not reflected in the budget allocation for Suhakam,” he said in a statement today.
Suhakam’s budget allocation has been slashed from slightly over RM10 million this year to RM5.5 million for 2016.
This is almost a 50 percent cut in budget, Doraisamy said, which would make it difficult for Suhakam to conduct its daily operation and public campaigns.
He urged the government to review the budget allocation for Suhakam and to provide it with more powers in a manner that reflects its status as a national human rights institution.
If the government does not do so, Suhakam would have failed to comply with the Paris Principles, Doraisamy said.
This, he explained, would eventually lead to a downgrade of the human rights commission from its current ‘A’ status by the Paris Principles.
The Paris Principles are a list of stipulations for national human rights institutions that were adopted by the United Nations.
“This downgrade would only add to the ever growing list of human rights violations by the Malaysian government and further shame Malaysia in its commitment to uphold human rights and democracy,” lamented Doraisamy.