New 199 pp.
Despite Prime Minister Najib Rajak’s promise of reform before the impending 13th general elections, the human rights situation in Malaysia for 2012 did not improve. SUARAM faced an unprecedented barrage of vindictive actions coordinated by no less than six government agencies under executive orders with the mainstream press in concert. This was in response to SUARAM’s legitimate complaint to the French courts to probe suspected corruption in the Scorpene submarine deal. It demonstrated the government’s flouting of human rights and vindictive persecution of human rights defenders.
Detention without trial and incommunicado detention remains on the statute books as the Internal Security Acts 1960 was replaced by the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012. The restrictive Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 received its Royal Assent on 30/1/2012, while the freedom of expression has been restricted by the introduction of S114A to the Evidence Act 1950. In May 2012, the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department (“JAWI”) confiscated copies of Irshad Manji’s Allah, Liberty & Love – Courage to Reconcile Faith & Freedom from Borders bookstore as the content was deemed to be contrary to Islamic Teachings.
In 2012, deaths in custody, fatal police shootings and violence against suspects continued unabated. Official statistics for deaths in custody stood at 209 from 2000 to September 2012; 298 individuals were shot dead from 2007 to August 2012, and 37 deaths were recorded for 2012 compared to 20 in 2011. Despite repeated calls by human rights defenders for the setting up of the Independence Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), the government formed instead, the Enforcement Agencies Integrity Commission (EAIC), which lacked the independence and capacity of the IPCMC.
Nonetheless, there have been hopeful developments in the Malaysian judiciary although developments in the law have been negative. We are encouraged to note that the actions and positions taken by the National Human Rights commission SUHAKAM in 2012 have been laudable.
“This annual report is a critical tool to support civil society actors in their effort to advocate and contribute to strengthened implementation of human rights. Its continued publication is vital to a vibrant democracy in Malaysia. The struggle for change and human rights is never an easy fight. It requires high morale and unbreakable courage… May SUARAM always be a voice for the Malaysian people.”
UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association