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UPR: Statement by Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (ABIM) on the Adoption of Malaysia's UPR Outcome Report (2nd Cycle)

Mar 22, 2014 Hit: 1608

While the effort of Malaysian government to further enhance the exercise and enjoyment of civil and political rights in the country by way of repealing the Internal Security Act (ISA) 1960, the Banisment Act 1959 and the Restricted Residence Act 1933 is commendable, Malaysia is definitely paving backwards in coming to its second UPR session by introducing a new set of preventive laws ; the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA), Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 (PAA) and the amendment to the Prevention Crime Act 1959 (PCA).

 

SOSMA, among others allows detention up to 48 hours and detention without charge for judicial review for up to 28 days while PCA allow detention without trial up to two years. We regretted that these laws were passed with very short notice, very little consultation with all stakeholders and hardly any debate in Parliament. We therefore urge the government to review and amend these laws in compliance with international standards.

Taking into consideration the ‘doctrine of the margin of appreciation’ and ‘cultural relativist’ position on the universality of human rights practice, we urge the government to take due consideration in the best interest of public morality and religious sensitivities in response to recommendations made in relation to Sexual-Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) and Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT). The fact that those rights were not recognized in the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration in November 2012 clearly reflects the strong sentiments of ASEAN values on morality. We however, strongly condemn politically- motivated usage of current law relating to homosexuality under the Penal Code to criminalize a democratically elected political leader.

We noted that the Malaysian government has taken initiatives to ensure some level of protection and administrative arrangement to assist the current refugee population, asylum seekers and stateless person – particularly the Rohingya of Burma despite the facts that Malaysia is not the party to the Refugee Convention 1951 and Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Person 1954.

However, we hasten to add that Malaysia needs to improve access to socio-legal rights particularly relating rights of access to legal counsel, legal representation, fair trial and protected prohibition against deportation and refoulement. By doing this, we believe Malaysia is on the right course to sign as a party for both conventions in the next UPR exercise.

In the heat of political contestation in Malaysia, we urge the government to democratically engage with all minority communities and to avoid at any instances - discrimination, criminalization and undemocratic measures to curtail those constitutionally protected rights. We also appeal to the government of Malaysia to enhance the current institutional mechanism for dialogue as a peaceful solution and way forward to amicably resolve pressing issues relating to religious conflicts and racial extremism, from both within and across various religions in Malaysian.

 


Mohamad Raimi Ab.Rahim, 
Vice President  

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