Suhakam no toothless tiger — Commissioner

KUALA LUMPUR: It is not true that the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) is a toothless tiger burdened by too wide a scope of work to solve human rights issues as perceived by some quarters, said its  commissioner Prof Datuk Dr Mahmood Zuhdi A Majid.

He said despite the hundreds of complaints and questions received by Suhakam on human rights, the commission took a careful approach to strike a balance between government and public interests.

“We cannot solve all the issues immediately or be too ‘gungho’ to solve all or we will fail,” he said when interviewed during the ‘Kerusi Panas’ (Hot Seat) programme over Bernama’s Radio24, here, yesterday.

Mahmood Zuhdi said as a commission appointed by the government to represent the public on human rights matters, it was aware of the need to have balance in resolving them.

“Under the new leadership, Suhakam will have its own identity in handling arising issues and definitely we will not be the lackey of the government or non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which are also taking up the issues.”

He said besides facing challenges from the government, people and NGOs in protecting human rights, the bigger challenge was dealing with denial of the rights of the less fortunate in this country.

In this aspect, he said Suhakam would be more careful and would not involve itself with any political party, whether from the ruling government or the opposition.

“We will create our own identity and move according to our own assessment.

“Independence is no Aladin lamp for solving all issues. Likewise, when we’re given the power to be the go-between or ‘father’ to the community in solving human rights issues, we know how to prioritise the more important issues.”

On complaints, Mahmood Zuhdi said 800 had been received since from early this year until October, whereby 10 per cent of them had been resolved.

He said the number showed that Suhakam was popular enough with the public in seeking justice and freedom, besides indicating that it was a responsible body.

“Although the number of cases resolved is small, what is important is that it shows increasing public awareness on human rights,” said Mahmood Zuhdi who is also the chairman of Suhakam’s Working Group on Education and Promotion. — Bernama

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