Legal scholar who advised Malay Rulers against Rome Statute appointed Suhakam chair, ex-Jakim DG and former Bar, MMA presidents among new commissioners

·2-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, July 1 — Former Universiti Teknologi Mara’s (UiTM) deputy vice-chancellor and Faculty of Law dean Prof Datuk Rahmat Mohamad was today appointed as the new chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam).

In a statement today, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced his appointment including seven more commissioners for the term between 2022 and 2025 effective June 22, after receiving the consent of Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah.

"It is hoped that these inclusive appointments will further empower Suhakam in carrying out its activities for the wellbeing of the country,” the prime minister said.

Rahmat is currently the National Sports Institute of Malaysia chairman, and had formerly served in the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organisation and the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The others appointed were Prof Datuk Noor Aziah Mohd Awal, Datuk Mohamad Nordin Ibrahim, Dr Chew Chee Ming, Datuk Mary @ Mariati Robert, Datuk Hasnal Rezua Merican Habib Merican, Nazira Abdul Rahim and K. Ragunath.

Nordin was formerly the director-general of the Islamic Development Department of Malaysia (Jakim) between 2018 and 2019.

Ragunath is the former Malaysian Bar president, and Hasnal and Nazira are both law practitioners.

Dr Chew was the former president of the Malaysian Medical Association, and Mary was formerly a deputy public prosecutor — from Sarawak and Sabah respectively.

Noor Aziah has been serving Suhakam since 2019 as the Child Commissioner.

Rahmat was among those who had explained the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court to the Conference of Rulers in April 2019, besides former attorney-general Tan Sri Tommy Thomas, Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, and then chief of the Armed Forces General Tan Sri Zulkifli Zainal Abidin.

Putrajaya later informed the United Nations of its decision to withdraw from the ratifying it later that month, with the then prime minister saying the decision was made due to a lot of confusion on what the statute entails caused by people with vested political interests.

Rahmat was one of the four academics who were said to have prepared a paper for the Malay rulers, with the executive summary of the paper later leaked by nine student activists.

The other three academics who drafted the paper are International Islamic University of Malaysia’s law lecturer Assoc Prof Shamrahayu Ab Aziz, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia’s law lecturers Fareed Mohd Hassan and Hisham Hanapi.

In the document, they warned among other things that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court as he is the supreme commander of the country’s armed forces.

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