Malaysia Human Rights Report 2019
ISBN : 9772682815005
Pages : 139 pages
A year after the historic 14th General Election, the optimism for institutional reforms has largely evaporated with the repeated U-turns and inconsistency by the Pakatan Harapan administration. Human rights values that were found within Pakatan Harapan’s election manifesto driving the reform initiatives were gradually swamped and superseded by disagreement between political factions and political manoeuvring within the ruling coalition.
Within a little more than a year, we have seen Malaysia sign and withdraw from the Rome Statute; advocated for the complete abolition of the death penalty to reviewing the use of mandatory death penalty; repealing the Sedition Act 1948 to using the Sedition Act 1948 for alleged hate speech; challenging an opposition state for encroaching upon indigenous peoples rights and subsequently encroaching upon it themselves, and countless other policy U-turns.
The security laws opposed by Pakatan Harapan when they were the opposition are now an accepted tool of the administration with continued application and abuse of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA), the Prevention of Crime Act 1960 (POCA), the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015 (POTA) and the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985. These laws continue to play a central role in ‘crime prevention’ with numbers of arrest and detention without trial continuing at an even pace. The arrest of twelve individual for alleged involvement in the Liberations Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) reignited the public debate on the application of SOSMA and the potential abuses of the law, despite the position adopted by the Attorney General, prosecution persists by various deputy public prosecutor. The age-old tactic of harassing family members, associates of the victims and civil society by police continues to flourish despite the change in administration.
Access to Justice continues to be restricted under Pakatan Harapan with new cases of torture and other forms of abuses by the Royal Malaysian Police and the continued inaction towards the four victims of enforced disappearance. The shooting of three individuals for alleged involvement with organized crime in September 2019 continues to mystify the country. The case highlights the inadequate and often times non-existent mechanism for redress in the event of serious and gross violations of human rights by enforcement agencies.