Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suruhanjaya Hak Asasi Malaysia or: SUHAKAM)

National Human Rights Institution

Overview

Accreditation Status: A

SUHAKAM is the national human rights institution of Malaysia. It was established under the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act 1999, Act 597 with a mandate to protect, promote and monitor human rights in Malaysia.  Its main functions are to:

  • Promote awareness relating to human rights;
  • advise and assist the government in formulating legislation and procedures and recommend necessary measures;
  • recommend to the government the subscription to or accession of treaties and other international instruments in the field of human rights
  • Investigate complaints regarding human rights violations.

Who can access it? 

A complaint can be made by an aggrieved person or group of persons, or a person acting on behalf of an aggrieved person or a group of persons.

How does it work?

Complaints can be submitted related to human rights violations, for example: unlawful detention, discrimination and violation of the freedom of speech, religion, movement and education. Complaints can be made in writing in any language but preferably in Bahasa Malaysia or English. Complaints can also be filed and tracked online. Complaints are confidential. An Identification Card number is required before submitting the complaint online.

The complaints should include: what rights are being infringed and how, whose rights are being infringed by whom, when and where did the infringement take place.

The complainant will be notified whether the complaint is admissible. The Commission does not inquire into any complaint relating to an allegation of infringement which is the subject matter of a proceeding pending in any court, including any appeals, or if the case has been finally determined by a court. Frivolous or trivial matters will not be dealt with by the Commission.

If the complaint is admissible, an inquiry will take place and the investigators will verify if the alleged human rights abuse has occurred.  The investigation team will generate a report that is submitted to the relevant enforcement agencies for action. The complainant will be informed about the status of the inquiry.

SUHAKAM can also play the role of mediator, subject to agreement by both parties.

Outcome 

When SUHAKAM has determined that a violation has taken place, it will refer the matter to the relevant authority or person with its recommendations.

Enforcement

SUHAKAM is not an enforcement agency. The findings of the reports can be publicized to exert pressure on companies for compliance. SUHAKAM investigators are not allowed to enter company sites without their permission, has no legal mandate to request for a search warrant from the courts and does not have arrangement with relevant law enforcement agencies to facilitate the exercise of search warrants directly.

References 

Website of SUHAKAM.

Last edited: 
May, 2013

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