Media Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong,
Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Monday, July 5, 1999:

DAP calls for a non-government Selection Committee comprising MPs and NGOs to nominate members of the National
Human Rights Commission to enhance their independence and credibility
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National Human Rights Society (HAKAM) president, Ramdas Tikamdas said the two-day Forum on National Human Rights Commission Towards an Asean Mechanism over the weekend passed a resolution to welcome the Government's move to initiate the National Human Rights Commission but regretted the lack of transparency in the setting up the commission.

Parliament will resume sitting next Monday and MPs, NGOs and the Malaysian public are still kept in the dark about the National Human Rights Comission Bill which is to be debated and approved in next week's Parliamentary meeting.

This must be a very strange way to initiate the establishment of a National Human Rights Commission to protect and promote human rights, as the Commission is being set up in utter disregard of the the human rights of Malaysians to information as well as of the civil society to be consulted and to participate in ensuring the independence and effectiveness of the Commission.

As the membership of the National Human Rights Commission would be one of the critical factors affecting its credibility and effectiveness, and the government will be called upon to respond to allegations of human rights violations, DAP calls for the establishment of a non-government Selection Committee comprising MPs from both the ruling and opposition parties and NGOs to nominate members of the Commission who must be of proven integrity and competence and have been involved
in human rights protection and promotion activities.

Membership of the Commission should be a full-time tenure, disqualifying members from holding any other office or employment, or engaging in the practice of any profession or in the active management or control of any business which in any way may be affected by the functions of their ofice.  To provide for security of tenure for members of the Commission, the tenure for appointment should be at least five years and not the two-year tenure as intended by the Government.

- Lim Kit Siang -