The Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) will not be able to operate if the government goes through with its plans to slash the commission’s budget by close to half, chief commissioner Hasmy Agam says.
Suhakam is allocated RM5.51 million in Budget 2016, almost 50 percent less than its budget in 2015 when it was allocated RM10.98 million for this year.
Its allocation for this year was also cut by 10 percent in austerity measures.
Hasmy said that the budget would only cover Suhakam’s fixed expenses until November next year.
This does not take into account the various programmes it conducts, he said in a statement today.
“The commission also wishes to explain that Parliament and the commission have a key role to play for the protection of human rights in Malaysia, albeit within their respective mandates, functions and competences,” Hasmy said.
“As such, the commission hopes that Parliament can contribute to protecting the independence of the commission by guaranteeing an adequate level of funding to the commission.
"The lack of such funding erodes the effectiveness of the commission and undermines the principles upon which national human rights institutions are formed,” he said.
Human rights NGO Suaram earlier criticised the budget cut, and said that it could lead to a Suhakam's downgrade from its current 'A' status by the Paris Principles.
The Paris Principles are a list of stipulations for national human rights institutions that were adopted by the United Nations.
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