Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan criticised authorities for making the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) defer its Human Rights Day celebration tomorrow, saying this was bowing to organisers of a rally against an anti-discrimination treaty.
The chairman of the National Human Rights Society (Hakam) noted that tomorrow was the International Day for Human Rights, which she said Suhakam has celebrated on the appointed day in previous years without issue.
PAS and Umno are organising a rally to “give thanks” for the government decision to reject the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Icerd), with Umno secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa accusing Suhakam of provocation with its celebrations.
“Asking Suhakam to cancel an event that celebrates International Human Rights Day which many have done for years and years.
“Wow! That’s a first. So now we celebrate by cancelling events rather than having them! Great. And we were on the Human Rights Council!!
“Again giving in to bullies,” Ambiga wrote on Twitter.
Responding to a Twitter user who questioned the reason for giving in, Ambiga replied: “Because we gave in once and therefore have to keep doing it.”
The Suhakam event would have coincided with another mammoth gathering planned for tomorrow, where tens of thousands are expected to throng the streets of Kuala Lumpur to celebrate the government’s decision not to ratify the Icerd.
Detractors have claimed that Icerd would threaten the positions of the bumiputera and Islam.
The gathering, which is supported by PAS, Umno and Malay-Muslim groups, has sparked off concerns about possible racial tension.
However, the organisers have pledged that it would be a peaceful demonstration to defend the Federal Constitution.
PAS is expecting a turnout of more than 500,000 for the gathering.
A previous race-based rally organised by Umno division leader Datuk Seri Jamal Yunos in 2015 ostensibly to uphold Malay dignity resulted in clashes between protesters and the police.
Singapore also issued a travel advisory warning its citizens to avoid Kuala Lumpur tomorrow.
Suhakam’s Human Rights Day celebration will now be held on Sunday (Dec 9) at Padang Timur in Petaling Jaya from 9am to 3pm.
Earlier report: Dec 7, Suhakam’s Human Rights Day Celebration Moved to Sunday, Same Time and Place