Malaysia gets poor marks for human rights

Malaysia gets poor marks for human rights–how many bloggers have gone to jail ??-the surviving one is!!!***

KUALA LUMPUR: To ensure it stays in control and in power, the Malaysian Government has turned its back on promises to protect people’s rights, said Human Rights Watch.

In its report released Thursday, it said that when Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak took over as prime minister in April 2009, he promised to respect the fundamental rights of the people but his government has failed to undertake the systematic reforms needed to fulfil that pledge.

It said the Government harassed the Opposition, improperly restricted the right to peaceful expression, association, and assembly, and mistreated migrants.

When it comes to human rights, Malaysia is more about rhetoric than reality, it said.

“The Malaysian Government appears to be more interested in pursuing short-term political advantage rather than safeguarding rights,” said Human Rights Watch deputy Asia director Phil Robertson.

The 612-page World Report 2010 reviewed human rights practices around the world over the last year.

It said the release of a number of Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees early in Najib’s term was a positive development, but stressed that Parliament should repeal the ISA and other repressive laws including the Police Act 1967, which it said, was used to justify a “violent crackdown” on a citizens’ march against the ISA.

The report also said that following the impact of the Internet on the last general election, the Government has tried to rein in non-traditional media, putting them and bloggers under closer scrutiny.

It also voiced concern over continued government control of the traditional media and called for the Printing Presses and Publications Act to be rescinded.

The report also criticised the Government for failing to distinguish refugees and asylum seekers from undocumented migrants and for its use of an “ill trained, abusive civilian force” (Rela) to crack down on undocumented migrants.

It said detainees were kept under inhumane conditions causing several of them to die last year while dozens were infected with leptospirosis, a disease spread by animal faeces in unclean water.

“How many more migrants have to die in detention before Malaysian policymakers wake up?” said Robert­son.

The report also criticised Malaysia for continuing to crimininalise adult consensual sexual behaviour including sodomy and said it is about time the government brought its criminal code into the 21st century.