‘Security risks’ not reason enough to postpone human rights event, says Suhakam chairman

Kenneth Tee
Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail speaks during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur December 7, 2018. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 7 — The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) today said it was the authorities’ responsibility to ensure freedom of assembly in the country after tomorrow’s Human Rights Day celebration had to be postponed to Sunday due to ‘security risks’.

Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail said the commission was not satisfied with the reason given by the authorities.

“This is Malaysia Baru and we do not have to hear this... I have also asked for details of the risk but failed to obtain any.

“If there are risks, it is up to the police to handle them. Malaysia Baru means a different way of looking at things,” he said.

Razali said the impression given was that the event must be postponed, and that Suhakam had to abide by the authorities’ decision.

“We are not the security risk in the first place.

“If you are talking about democracy and its application in New Malaysia, it must also come with the ability of the police to ensure democracy so that we do not have to make compromises like this,” he told a press conference today.

Umno, PAS and several other groups have also planned their own rallies on the same day in the national capital, purportedly to express their gratitude to the Pakatan Harapan government for not ratifying the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

Razali said he also met Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun today and agreed to abide by the advice given by the police and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

“However, we will be holding our event on Sunday at the same time and same place with more or less the same kind of programme,” he said.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Chief Secretary to the Government Datuk Seri Ismail Bakar were among the dignitaries scheduled to attend the celebration that was to mark International Human Rights Day on December 10.

The Suhakam event was scheduled to start at 9am and last until 3pm, and would feature various multicultural performances, booths, games and other activities on the public green opposite the AmCorp Mall.

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