Human rights laws tied to domestic governance, says Najib

By SHAILA KOSHY

KUALA LUMPUR: Government officials who lack understanding of Malaysia’s regional and international human rights obligations must attend human rights training, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yesterday.

“There is an erroneous perception on the part of some administration officials that international human rights laws have no relation to domestic governance,” said Najib.

“We must correct this misperception just as we continuously review our understanding of various human rights issues.”

Najib said this in his opening address at the 13th Asia-Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions (APF) at a hotel here which was read by Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.

Earlier, noting that APF provided training for officers of member institutions, he suggested it extend its training programme to include officers from government agencies.

Commending Suhakam, he also cited the following as Malaysia’s advances in human rights: all children having the right to education; the move to ensure speedy disposal of cases and to look into the establishment of a more transparent system of appointing judges; the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act; the Persons with Disabilities Act; and the opening up of a percentage of civil service jobs for the disabled.

“One of the dissatisfactions which non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have expressed the past few days through the media is that the founding Act of Suhakam needs to be strengthened, for example, to provide it with enforcement powers.

“We will take all views into consideration when we revise the measures to achieve higher standards for the protection and promotion of human rights,” said Najib.

In an immediate response, Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor said the Government had not fully addressed the issues raised by 44 NGOs on July 25.

Its member Honey Tan said Najib had neglected to mention that Malaysia fell 20 places in the Gender Gap Index last year; employees can now only claim back wages for one year after being unfairly dismissed; discrimination still exists in terms of sexuality and gender despite his claim the Government was making greater effort to reflect the country’s pluralistic society; and selective use of laws to curtail freedom of speech.

 source:The Staronline News

 

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