Amnesty criticises Malaysia’s rights record

May 29th, 2008 - 5:11 pm ICT by admin  

Kuala Lumpur, May 29 (IANS) International human rights organisation Amnesty International has slammed the Malaysian government for its failure to protect the rights of the people and pressed for urgent reform. “The groundswell to demand the protection for human rights is evidenced by the two mass public assemblies, marches and minimum wage pickets in 2007,” K. Shan, who heads Amnesty’s Malaysia chapter, told the media at the launch of the Amnesty International Report 2008: State of the World’s Human Rights.

“People are losing faith and growing impatient with the failure of governments, including Malaysia, to protect their rights and the need for reform,’ he was quoted as saying in The Sun.

The report, among others, highlighted:

* at least 10 people had died in police custody last year, including two suicides;

* 83 people were detained without trial under the Internal Security Act (ISA);

* 24,770 migrant workers detained by authorities and subjected to psychological and physical abuse as well as cruel and degrading punishments like caning;

* places of worship were demolished and restrictions on religious freedom remained.

Shan said Malaysia should stop being in denial and apologise for its poor commitment in upholding human rights.

“The government has to stop using torture and ill-treatment and claim that it is as an acceptable practice for intelligence gathering,” said Shan.

Most of them are alleged members of Islamist groups, including Jemmah Islamiah (JI), while others arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA) include five leaders of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf).

Attempts by the opposition to get the current parliament meeting to discuss the ISA were rejected by the speaker and backbenchers, the newspaper noted.

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