Record number of complaints received last year, Suhakam reveals

R. Loheswar
Jerald Joseph speaks during the launch of the Suhakam annual report in Kuala Lumpur April 19, 2019. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, April 19 — The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) revealed today that it received the most complaints last year since its establishment in 2000.

During the launch of its annual report, Suhakam said it received 1,180 complaints last year — an increase of around 50 per cent from 2017.

“These complaints came in the form of memoranda, emails, letters, phone calls, walk-ins, e-complaints system and submissions during Suhakam’s roadshow programmes.

“Out of the total complaints received, 581 of them have been completes while the rest are still pending,” one of its commissioners, Jerald Joseph, told the media here.

Complaints from Sabah were the highest, at 558, followed by Sarawak at 57.

“The largest number of complaints came from ‘rights to nationality’ where Sabah had the most cases at 381, while Kuala Lumpur and Sarawak were at 31 and one respectively,” he said.

Suhakam said it is hoping that its report will be debated in Parliament when it resumes in July.

The body is also hoping to be placed directly under the purview of Parliament in the near future, a matter that was promised in the Pakatan Harapan manifesto.

“In good practices, the commission cannot be under the government as our role is oversight of government,” said Jerald.

“Everybody agrees it’s good principle but the mechanics have not been worked out. We need to create a parliamentary secretariat of sorts for us to submit stuff but there needs to be a clear line that connects us to government agencies.”

The commission has submitted its findings to the Attorney General’s Chambers, the Legal Division Department, various parliamentary select committees and the Parliamentary Speaker.

Suhakam was established as a national human rights institution by Parliament to educate the public on human rights, attend to complaints and carry out inquiries, among others.

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