Malaysia criticised for failures on rights reforms
Malaysia’s government yesterday faced criticism for failing to repeal repressive laws and backtracking on promises to improve human rights a year after sweeping to power with a reformist agenda. The Pact of Hope alliance had pledged to do away with repressive laws, such as the colonial-era sedition act which critics say is used to target political dissent, and legislation that allowed for indefinite detention without trial. But the laws are still in place, and authorities have also backed away from a post-election pledge to abolish the death penalty. In addition, the government did a U-turn on a plan to join the International Criminal Court after protests from opposition politicians and a powerful Islamic ruler. “The government should recognise that further delays in ending abusive systems and laws will only mean further harm for the Malaysian people,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch.