Citing security risks, Suhakam defers Human Rights Day gathering in PJ tomorrow

Debra Chong

Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail speaking in Kuala Lumpur July 2, 2018. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 7 — Tomorrow’s Human Rights Day celebration at Padang Timur in neighbouring Petaling Jaya, Selangor is off, its organiser said today.

Tan Sri Razali Ismail, chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) said he is compelled to postpone the event to another date to be announced later due to “serious security risks”.

“The Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) has informed Suhakam and the Prime Minister’s Office without divulging details that there will be serious security risks arising out of tomorrow’s events that borders on national security.

“Suhakam is disappointed that a government that is committed to human rights would seem to be influenced by tactics of pressure and extremism that has resulted in the need to postpone the celebration that was planned a few months ago,” he said in a statement.

Razali apologised for calling off the event at the eleventh hour, adding that Suhakam will hold a news conference later this evening to explain the matter further.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Chief Secretary to the Government Datuk Seri Ismail Bakar were among the dignitaries scheduled to attend the celebration that was to mark International Human Rights Day on December 10.

The Suhakam event was scheduled to start at 9am until 3pm and feature various mutlicultural performances, booths, games and other activities on the public green opposite the AmCorp Mall.

Umno, PAS and several other groups have also planned their own rallies on the same day in the national capital, purportedly to express their gratitude to the Pakatan Harapan government for not ratifying the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) as promised.

The groups insisted on holding the rally on Jalan Raja fronting Dataran Merdeka to show their strong objection to the UN treaty which they claim would strip Bumiputera and Muslims who form the country’s biggest ethnic and religious demographic group of their so-called constitutional rights, despite assurances from Putrajaya.

Police have promised to facilitate the anti-ICERD rallies in the city as long as participants abide by the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012.

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