COMMENT | We, the undersigned civil society groups and individuals, are monitoring current political developments and we are alarmed by some of the comments, remarks and actions by some members of the newly-formed government on governance and human rights issues.
As a new government that carries the hopes and aspiration of all Malaysians for a better Malaysia, the government must not waver in its commitment to good governance and human rights.
It must outline a clear and tangible roadmap for reform in collaboration with civil societies that have played a monumental role in upholding democracy and human rights.
Leading up to the first sitting of the 14th Parliament of Malaysia, the government must reaffirm its commitment to abolish draconian laws and immediately institute a moratorium on the use of draconian laws such as the below
- Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 [Sosma]
- Prevention of Crime Act 1959
- Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015
- Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985
- Sedition Act 1948
- Section 211 & 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 2012
- Peaceful Assembly Act 2012
- Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984
- Anti-Fake News Act 2018
- Official Secrets Act 1972 and Section 203A of the Penal Code
- Universities and Universities Colleges Act 1971
- Chapter VI of Penal Code on activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy
- Mandatory death penalty
- And suspend the operations of the National Security Council as outlined by the National Security Council Act 2016
Moving forward from the moratorium, the government must ensure that the above-mentioned laws are placed in the order paper of the upcoming Parliament session for repeal or amendments.
The government must also address the lack of consultation by its predecessor and establish thematic working groups on human rights issues prior to the Parliament session to ensure that all stakeholders are ready and prepared to tackle the gross human rights violations that still persist in Malaysia today.
Thematic working groups must consist of representatives from civil societies that have the expertise and track record in addressing the respective thematic issues and also work with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) and the Malaysian Bar.
The foundation of a human-rights-friendly Malaysia must start now. The civil societies of Malaysia have stood strong over the years despite the harassment and threats by the previous federal government for the betterment of Malaysia.
Today, with a government that promises to uphold human rights, it is the government’s duty and obligation to ensure that civil societies are vindicated in its fight for human rights and fulfil their promises made for good governance and human rights.
Endorsed by the Agora Society, Aliran, All Women’s Action Society (Awam), Baramkini, Bersih 2.0, Centre for Independent Journalism Malaysia (CIJ), Civicus (World Alliance for Citizen Participation), Civil Rights Committee KLSCAH, Johor Yellow Flame, Justice for Sisters, Knowledge and Rights with Young People through Safer Spaces (KRYSS), Lawyers for Liberty (LFL), Malaysian Atheists and Secular Humanists (Mash), Malaysian Physicians for Social Responsibility, Malaysians Against death Penalty and Torture (Madpet), Mamas Bersih, National Human Rights Society (Hakam), Pelangi Campaign, Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (Empower), Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor, Pusat Komas, Save Rivers, Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM), Seed Malaysia, Sinar Project, Sisters in Islam, Suara Rakyat Malaysia, (Suaram), Sunflower Electoral Education, Tenaganita, Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy, Women’s Aid Organisation, Siti Kassim.
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