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Govt should repeal ISA, amend Act 597: Suhakam

KUALA LUMPUR, 15 Dec 2008: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) today reiterated that the Internal Security Act (ISA) should be repealed and Act 597 pertaining to the formation of the commission be amended so that it complied to the Paris Principles.

It also took to task Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar for saying Suhakam’s views on the ISA were its own perspective and that the commission should bring it up to the government.

In a statement signed by its secretary Hashimah Nik Jaafar here today, Suhakam said its stance on the ISA was consistent with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in particular and other international human rights norms in general.

Preventive detention without trial was an infringement of human rights, the statement said, adding that soon after Suhakam’s inception, it made a study on the ISA and submitted a comprehensive report to the government recommending the repeal of the act.

Since the report was submitted in 2003, Suhakam’s further annual reports had maintained the commission’s stance on the ISA, the statement said.

In this regard, Suhakam said in the statement, Syed Hamid’s remarks on the august body appeared to indicate that he was either misinformed or unfamiliar with the actual position of the commission, which had always been consistent.

On Act 597 (Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act 1999), Suhakam said the International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights had pointed out the act was not compliant with the Paris Principles. As such, the commission faced the possibility of being downgraded from “A” to “B” status.

To ensure Suhakam maintains “A” status, the statement said the commission had recommended to the government to amend Act 597 to make it Paris Principles compliant but was still awaiting a response. — Bernama


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