'Siva must quit' demand uncalled for

Yoges Palaniappan
Nov 15, 07

The opposition only favours organisations that make statements or judgements to their liking, said parliamentary secretary to the Foreign Ministry Ahmad Shabery Cheek today.

He said this in response to the opposition’s view that Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) commissioner N Siva Subramaniam (left) should resign.
“For them, Suhakam is only good if it makes any statement or judgement that suit their interest. The minute the judgement is not in their favour, they don’t like Suhakam anymore,” he said.
The opposition-backed election watchdog Bersih had demanded for Siva’s resignation because the latter had said that the police acted accordingly during the weekend rally in Kuala Lumpur.
The rally, organised by Bersih, saw some 40,000 people taking to the streets and the submission of a memorandum to the King calling for electoral reforms.
Ahmad Shabery, when approached by reporters for a written reply in response to a question on human rights posed by Teresa Kok (DAP-Seputeh), said opposition’s demand was “uncalled for.”
He also expressed disappointment with Kok, who was absent from the Dewan Rakyat this morning, resulting in the House skipping the particular question.
“She didn’t turn up to get the answers for the question. I take this kind of questions seriously. The government is willing to give the answer and debate it in public,” said Ahmad Shabery.
He added that Kok’s absence proved that the opposition is not interested in human rights and the truth, but only in winning in the elections.
‘Prevent the worst’
Ahmad Shabery said as far as the government is concerned, Suhakam is an independent body that maintains integrity based on its fairness and truth, which is their yardstick.
“If Suhakam feels that the police had followed proper procedure to manage the crowd, we have to accept it,” he said, adding that Suhakam’s work must be only evaluated by the public.
“In the past, the very opposition which is condemning Suhakam now, had admitted that the body is the mechanism to monitor human rights in the country,” he said.
“They (opposition) feel that any organisation must favour them if it is independent,” he added.
Ahmad Shabery, who maintains that the Bersih rally was illegal, also defended the police’s action to use water cannons and chemical-laced water to control the crowd in the rally.
He argued that the police had to use water cannons to “prevent the worst” from happening.
Met later, Kok said that she was absent from the question-and-answer session because she was not aware that her question was listed for today.