Suhakam calls for protection against workplace discrimination after tudung controversy

Source: Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 17 ― The freedom for workers to express their religions must be protected, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) said today.

“(The commission) counsels strongly that the freedom to manifest one’s religion or belief without discrimination must be protected in the workplace,” Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail said in a statement.

“While employment contracts can stipulate specific employment conditions, these shall not imply whether directly or indirectly discriminatory practices which may amount to a waiver of the right to freedom of religion and expression,” he added.

Suhakam was responding to ongoing debate on the purported practice by certain international hotel chains here barring Muslim female frontline staff from wearing tudung or headscarves while at work. Read more

Suhakam to probe reclaimed land project

Source: The Malay Mail Online

LUMUT, Sept 20 — The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) will be probing into reclamation works in Teluk Muroh, about 10km from here.

The reclamation project, which began last year, drew the ire of fishermen who claimed that it would destroy the environment and their source of income.

Gabungan Selamatkan Pantai Warisan Teluk Muroh, led by its pro-tem chairman Zulkifli Hamid, claimed that the fishermen were not consulted before the reclamation project began.

They also said the reclamation project has dramatically reduced the supply of shellfish in the area for about 117 Teluk Muroh fishermen.

After visiting the fishermen in the area yesterday, Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail said the commission would be launching an investigation. Read more

Suhakam chief: Rohingyas ‘stretching’ sympathy with street protest

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 3 — The Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) chairman had reportedly criticised the Rohingyas for taking to the streets to protest the unrest in Myanmar on Wednesday.

Singapore’s Channel News Asia quoted Tan Sri Razali Ismail as saying that the Rohingyas “shouldn’t have stretched” the sympathy they have by holding a street demonstration, which reportedly turned violent.

He said instead the protesters should have used the proper channel in “an orderly fashion”.

“There’s a lot of sympathy for Rohingyas here but they shouldn’t have stretched it … I wish they would make representation to the government in an orderly fashion. I do not think taking to the streets in a foreign country is the way out,” he said. Read more

Suhakam: Human rights defenders do not protect criminals

Source: FMT News

Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail –File pic

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. Read more

Ayer Molek lock-up still operating, Suhakam tells Nur Jazlan

Source: FMT News 

Pic from FMT News

PETALING JAYA: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) today maintained that the police lock-up it had said was in “deplorable” condition is in fact still operating.

It was responding to Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed who had rubbished Suhakam’s report on the matter, claiming its information was “outdated”.

Nur Jazlan had told news portal Malaysiakini that the Ayer Molek lock-up in Johor Bahru was closed on July 27 last year and its operations moved to Simpang Renggam, which was a newer prison.

This appeared to contradict a statement by Suhakam, in which its chairman Razali Ismail said a visit had been made to the Ayer Molek lock-up on July 31 this year.

In another statement today, Razali acknowledged that the Ayer Molek Prison had been closed and moved to Ulu Choh, Pulai, as pointed out by Nur Jazlan. Read more

Suhakam: Ayer Molek police lock-up deplorable, hazardous

Source: FMT News

PETALING JAYA: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has described as deplorable and hazardous the health conditions at the Ayer Molek police lock-up.

Suhakam chairman Razali Ismail based this on a visit to the lock-up in Johor Bahru on July 31.He said the Ayer Molek lock-up, and others in similar conditions, should be closed if the situation could not be improved.He said he found that all the cells at the lock-up were in extremely poor and dilapidated conditions.The conditions were so poor that they amounted to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, Razali added in a statement today.

Razali also noted a shortage of clean lock-up clothes and bedding.He said the cells were small, without adequate lighting or ventilation.The Ayer Molek police lock-up was formerly a prison which could hold 180 inmates. It was converted into a police lock-up in 2009.During the visit, Suhakam received complaints about the quantity and quality of food provided.

Read more

Unilateral conversion: Equal parental rights must be upheld

Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: The government should recognise the importance of both parents having equal parental rights regarding the religion of their children, says the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia(Suhakam).

In a statement today, the independent statutory body expressed its disappointment over the decision to withdraw a provision in the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) (Amendment) Bill 2016, which would have been an effective solution to the unilateral religious conversion of minors by a parent.

“It is our view that the amendment would have resolved interfaith custody conflicts between Muslim and non-Muslim parents, and established coherent standards for reconciling the principle of the best interests of the child with the constitutional rights of parents in the exercise of the right to freedom of religion,” said Suhakam chairman Razali Ismail.

The bill in question had included a new provision in regard to the religion of the child, with Section 88A(1) stating that if a parent converts to Islam, the religion of the children remains the same unless both parents agree to the conversion of their children. Read more

Suhakam chief: Minister should not have called for atheists to be hunted down

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 9 — The chief commissioner of the National Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) has censured a federal minister for calling on the authorities to clamp down and prosecute Malay atheists.

Tan Sri Razali Ismail called the suggestion inflammatory, and said that Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim as a Cabinet member should have been more careful when addressing a highly sensitive issue.

“I don’t think a Cabinet Minister should have said that,” Razali told Malay Mail Online.

“He shouldn’t have made a statement that would invite emotional argument,” he added.

But despite the criticism, Razali did not make his position on the issue clear, nor did he wish to state if Suhakam was against the persecution of atheists.

When queried if the commission was of the view that atheism — or the right not to believe in religion — is a human right and therefore must be respected, Razali replied:

“We don’t want to make (things worse) than what it is…we don’t want to say anything.

“Suhakam is studying the thing. But we really don’t want to say anything at the moment that doesn’t really help,” he said. Read more

Suhakam to hold public inquiry into missing pastor, others

Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) will conduct a public inquiry into the disappearances of Pastor Raymond Koh and three others who went missing last year.

In a statement today, Suhakam chairman Razali Ismail said the hearings were tentatively scheduled for October.

The inquiry will consider, among others, whether the cases of Koh, Amri Che Mat, Pastor Joshua Hilmy and his wife Ruth, were cases of enforced or involuntary disappearances as defined under the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

The convention defines an enforced disappearance as the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the state or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorisation, support or acquiescence of the state.

Razali said the inquiry will also consider whether the authorities, specifically the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM), took adequate steps to investigate the cases.

“Suhakam will continue to gather information from all stakeholders, including the police and others who have been cooperative towards finding some truth to the matter,” he said. Read more

Where’s national human rights action plan, asks Suhakam

Source: The Malaysian Insight 

Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail.File pic

THE Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) today asked the government what happened to the national human rights action plan after it submitted a proposal years ago.

“We gave our feedback to the proposal years ago and today, we are still waiting (for it),” commission chairman Razali Ismail told reporters at a get-together in Kuching.

Razali was in Kuching to chair the commission’s meeting.

“The last I was told only the final draft (of the plan) was ready,” Razali said.

But he said he is still waiting with no assurance when the draft would be made public.

The plan was approved by the cabinet on October 12, 2012.

It was to draw up a systematic action plan or standard operating procedure (SOP) for government enforcement agencies to protect and uphold an individual’s human rights when discharging their duties.

The draft, to have been drawn up by Legal Affairs Department of the Prime Minister’s Office, was to be “tailored for the country”. Read more