The Prime Minister’s Office announced today the appointment of Tan Sri Othman Hashim as the new chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam).
Othman served under the previous administration of Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak as secretary-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and retired while the ministry was under the leadership of former UMNO member and backbencher, Dato’ Seri Anifah Aman.
There are fears that Othman is with team Anifa-Daim and was ushered into Suhakam to whitewash the commission’s findings on Pastor Raymond Koh and to trigger yet another investigation into the death of firefighter Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim.
PETALING JAYA: The Prime Minister’s Office announced today the appointment of Tan Sri Othman Hashim as the new chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam).
In a press statement, the office revealed that the appointment was approved by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong along with that of eight new commissioners effective the 27thof April 2019.
The new commissioners are Datuk Seri Mohd Hishamudin Md. Yunus, Medaline Berma, Datuk Godfrey Gregory, Datuk Mah Weng Kwai, Datuk Lok Yim Pheng, Prof Nik Salida Suhaila Nik Saleh and Jerald S. Joseph.
With the exception of Hishamudin and Medaline, all other commissioners served in the previous term under the leadership of Tan Sri Razali Ismail, who resigned as chairman on the 16thof April this year.
Suhakam was brought into existence by the Malaysian Parliament under the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act 1999 following the jailing of former-premier-turned-PKR-president Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Its establishment gave rise to fears that the commission would never be independent from the Government of Malaysia as was the case with numerous government linked arms and agencies at the time.
These fears, however, subsided when it was announced that Tun Musa Hitam, a former deputy and critic of the then Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, would helm the commission as its first chairperson.
Othman served under the previous administration of Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak as Ministry of Foreign Affairs secretary-general and retired while the ministry was led by former UMNO member and backbencher, Dato’ Seri Anifah Aman.
Anifah quit UMNO on the 19thof September 2018 amid fears that there would be a mass exodus of party members to PPBM, an UMNO surrogate concern.
His exit came on the heels of Dato’ Seri Mustapa Mohamed’s own departure and was followed by rumours that the duo was coaxed into joining PPBM by Tun Daim Zainuddin, Mustapa’s relative.
Othman is rumoured to be with team Daim-Anifa and is said to have been ushered into Suhakam to whitewash the commission’s findings on Pastor Raymond Koh.
There are also those who opine that the former Wisma Putra sec-gen was simply brought in to help the government draft new law to replace the Internal Security Act (ISA) and to ensure that investigations into Koh’s abduction were conducted without prejudice.
Notwithstanding, is left to be seen if Othman is able to conduct fresh investigations into the cause of Adib’s death and push the government to establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the firefighter’s case.