Hornbill Unleashed

August 6, 2016

Razali, drop the diplomatic charade

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 PM

At times, the words of those who are trying to be diplomatic can be too confusing. It is worse when the person has been a diplomat almost all his life and continues to be a diplomat in a job which requires straight-froward and frank talks.

Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail seems to be intent on playing the diplomat he is known for.

Five days ago, in an interview with The Star, Razali said Bersih 2.0 should be more “sophisticated” in fighting for human rights,

“The Coalition for Free and Fair Elections did not want to be part of the opposition parties, which were embroiled in infighting and trying to get rid of the Government, and was only seeking accountability.

“No one can prevent them from asking for accountability. But if you want to make a point, why do you go to the street? You damage a lot of property and all that. We are not that desperate in Malaysia like in Tunisia or Tahrir Square (Egypt during the Arab Spring uprising),” he said in an interview.

Razali, a former diplomat, said he is a Democrat but “not a take-over-the-town-or-the-Padang Democrat”.

“They sat there for three days and didn’t wash. Why?” he said in reference to last year’s Bersih 4 rally here that went on from Aug 29 and ended when the clock struck 12 to usher in Merdeka Day, reported The Star then.

But now, he said his previous statement that Bersih 2.0 should try a different, “sophisticated” approach for its human rights campaign did not mean he opposes the group’s right to public assembly.

“Of course I support,” Razali told Malay Mail Online yesterday when asked on the matter in a report.

“I expressed a personal view about what demonstrations get, but I support the principle, the right to demonstrate,” reported The Malay Mail Online.

Yet, one questions what is he exactly saying and if he knows what he is exactly saying, or is he just spewing stuff to appease the powers that be while trying not to get into knots with the civil rights movement which is able to amass tens of thousands onto the streets.

After all, one must remember that Suhakam, despite being funded by the government, depends on its survival to be seen to be useful through the support of the civil rights movement which is the main proponent of human rights in this country.

Razali, in saying he support Bersih gathering on the streets, at the same time seem to caution that it will get them nowhere.

And Razali seems to have a personal disdain for street protests as he said that it is his personal view, thus one seems a bit confused as to how does he suppress this disdain and then ‘support the principle’.

How is Bersih then going to have guarantee that the apparently highest commission which would fight for human rights in the country will stand by them, should human rights be violated during such a protest, when the top man personally does not like street protests?

It is important that the public knows this, so that when there are violations of human rights during protests or demonstrations, they do not waste the time to go to Suhakam to file reports.

Razali should stop his charade and come clean – whether he is for or he is not for street protests. On top of that, it is high time he realises that as Suhakam chief, he has no personal opinions.

Everything he says from the time he took office will be taken by society as that of Suhakam chief, so, please drop off your diplomat hats at the embassies, not where human rights is concerned.

Zakiah Koya


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