By Joel Shasitiran | Free Malaysia Today

MCCHR chief strategist Firdaus Husni with (from left) Derrick Chan, New Sin Yew, Vince Tan and Surendra Ananth.

A group of experts has come forward to help Putrajaya review the current laws concerning human rights.

The Malaysian Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (MCCHR) claims it has 30 local and international experts.

They are currently studying laws in five areas that need to be introduced or require amendments.

It says the experts include members of the Bar Council, Sabah Law Society, academics, NGOs, Suhakam commissioners, government agency officials, and foreign experts from the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

MCCHR chief strategist Firdaus Husni said it had held numerous engagement programmes with agencies, ministries and people at large.

“It appears that what is required to accelerate the desired law and policy reforms is to provide the government with the required amendments to the relevant laws and policies.

“This will allow for a more informed discourse to occur.”

Firdaus said this project is the first of its kind to be led by an NGO and aims to bring together all the views that have been shared regularly with the government. She called the initiative “Project Law Strike”.

According to Firdaus, there are several areas of the law that the project is looking into.

These include freedom to gather peacefully, freedom of expression and hate speech; anti-trafficking, anti-smuggling of people and modern slavery; nationality, statelessness and citizenship; and expanding civil society space for human rights organisations (HROs) in Malaysia.

Some of the acts the group is studying are the Freedom of Assembly and Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 and Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007.

Firdaus noted that the government had promised to review 113 laws but the progress has been slow.

She attributed this to a lack of resources and time by ministers.

Hence, the group has decided to study laws concerning human rights, draft amendments to the relevant acts or introduce new ones, and engage with the relevant agencies and ministries by early next year to propose the drafts.

“We have another three more months to polish the drafts before we engage the government,” said Firdaus.