SHAH ALAM, 11 Jan: A total of 49 witnesses, including 19 members of the public, four members of the media, 18 police personnel and eight professional experts were called to give their statement to the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) regarding the Public Inquiry into the events during and after the Bersih 3.0 rally on April 28, last year.
Suhakam Vice Chairman, Datuk Khaw Lake Tee explained that most of the public and people from the media were present voluntarily while the police were called based on the list of names which were submitted by the Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) or statements of witnesses during the public hearing.
“At the hearing today, three observers representing the Royal Malaysia Police, the Legal Council and the Bersih 3.0 rally, were invited to present their submissions to the Panel for consideration.
“The panel will consider all statements and submissions in the preparation of the report which is expected to be completed and presented in early February,” he said in a media statement to TV Selangor.
The hearing that lasted for 29 days starting from July 5, last year, saw them presenting evidence in front of three members of the Panel of Inquiry which is chaired by Datuk Dr Khaw Lake Tee and assisted by Suhakam Commissioner, Prof Datuk Dr Mahmood Zuhdi Abdul Majid and Detta Samen.
Suhakam started announcing the public inquiry on May 21 following complaints and a memorandum received on the alleged use of disproportionate force by enforcement officials towards participants and members of the media during and after the pubic rally on April 28.
Apart from that, Suhakam had also sent a surveillance team during the assembly.
This is the ninth public inquiry conducted by the Commission since its inception, in which half of the total carried out were following complaints and memorandums regarding the misuse of power and the use of disproportionate force to disperse the crowd during the public gathering.
“In implementing the protection and promotion of human rights, Suhakam has the power to investigate complaints related to violations of human rights and should it justify an inquiry, the Commission, under the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act 1999 (Act 597), has the power to acquire and receive all statements and to call any person up to give a statement.
“Suhakam would like to emphasise that the authority to conduct a public inquiry towards allegations of human rights violations is derived from Section 12 of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act 1999.
“In conducting this inquiry, Suhakam will fulfil obligations as a statutory body and its responsibility to protect and promote human rights in this country as mandated by Act 597,” he added.