THE Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) finally welcomes its new commissioners.
Former Universiti Teknologi Mara deputy vice-chancellor and Faculty of Law dean Rahmat Mohamad was yesterday appointed the new chairman of the commission.
The others appointed to the commission are Noor Aziah Mohd Awal, Mohamad Nordin Ibrahim, Chew Chee Ming, Mary @ Mariati Robert, Hasnal Rezua Merican Habib Merican, Nazira Abdul Rahim and K. Ragunath.
In a statement announcing the appointments yesterday, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the commissioners will serve for the 2022-2025 term effective June 22.
Ismail has called the appointments as “inclusive”. But unlike the immediate past commissioners who ended their term of office in April, the appointees announced yesterday do not include someone with a judicial background and experience.
Past immediate commissioners Mah Weng Kwai and Mohd Hishamudin Md Yunus were both former judges of the Court of Appeal.
There is, therefore, room for a couple of commissioners with judicial background and experience.
Suhakam can consist of up to 20 commissioners. The 2006-2008 term saw Suhakam having the highest number of commissioners, that is 18.
Past commissioners with judicial background and experience have lent support to one of Suhakam’s statutory functions, that is to inquire into complaints about human rights infringements.
Section 12 of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act 1999 empowers Suhakam to act on its own motion to inquire into allegations of infringement of human rights, in addition to acting on complaints submitted to it.
With its new commissioners, Suhakam is no longer an empty shell. It must discharge its statutory functions without delay and without fear and favour.
It will be more inclusive to have commissioners with judicial background and experience. – July 2, 2022.
* Hafiz Hassan reads The Malaysian Insight.
* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight. Article may be edited for brevity and clarity.