KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 7 — Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan criticised authorities for making the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) defer its Human Rights Day celebration tomorrow, saying this was bowing to organisers of a rally against an anti-discrimination treaty.
The chairman of the National Human Rights Society (Hakam) noted that tomorrow was the International Day for Human Rights, which she said Suhakam has celebrated on the appointed day in previous years without issue.
PAS and Umno are organising a rally to “give thanks” for the government decision to reject the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), with Umno secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa accusing Suhakam of provocation with its celebrations.
“Asking Suhakam to cancel an event that celebrates International Human Rights Day which many have done for years and years.
“Wow! That’s a first. So now we celebrate by cancelling events rather than having them! Great. And we were on the Human Rights Council!!
“Again giving in to bullies,” Ambiga wrote on Twitter.
Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail said today he was compelled to postpone the event to another date to be announced later due to “serious security risks” after he was contacted by the police and the Prime Minister’s Office.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Chief Secretary to the Government Datuk Seri Ismail Bakar were among the dignitaries who would have attended the celebration tomorrow.
PAS, Umno and Malay-Muslim groups are pressing ahead with the rally tomorrow despite repeated pleas from the authorities who stressed that the event was moot as Putrajaya will not ratify the ICERD.
Authorities are concerned that tempers may flare at the event and have told organisers to ensure order and control throughout.
A previous race-based rally organised by Umno division leader Datuk Seri Jamal Yunos in 2015 ostensibly to uphold Malay dignity resulted in clashes between protesters and the police.
Singapore also issued a travel advisory warning its citizens to avoid the Malaysian capital tomorrow.
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