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Malaysia: National Human Rights Action Plan Launched

(Apr. 16, 2018) On March 1, 2018, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak, officially launched the National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP). (Press Release, Office of the Prime Minister, Action Plan Malaysia’s Commitment on Human Rights – PM (Mar. 1, 2018).) The development of the NHRAP was approved by the Cabinet in 2012 and was subsequently overseen by the Legal Affairs Division (Bahagian Hal Ehwal Undang-undang, BHEUU) of the Prime Minister’s Department, which engaged consultants to seek input from all stakeholders. ( See Press Release, Pusat KOMAS,  Dialogue with the Consultants of the National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP) (May 16, 2016), Hakam website;  Seminar on the Development of National Human Rights Action Plan for Malaysia ,  INSTITUTE OF DIPLOMACY AND FOREIGN RELATIONS (2012); NHRAP , BHEUU (last visited Apr. 13, 2018).)
A copy of the NHRAP in the Malaysian language has subsequently been made available on the BHEUU website: Pelan Tindakan Hak Asasi Manusia Kebangsaan 2018 (National Human Rights Action Plan) .
The NHRAP has five “pillars”: political and civil rights, socioeconomic and cultural rights, the rights of the disabled, indigenous rights, and complying with Malaysia’s international commitments. Within these pillars come 294 action plans in 83 priority areas. ( NHRAP Falls Short of Addressing Systemic Inequalities in Malaysia — Comango , MALAY MAIL ONLINE (Mar. 6, 2018).) The Prime Minister said that the document “would become a solid foundation in transforming the government efforts to strengthen human rights in the country.” (Press Release, Office of the Prime Minister,  supra .)
The government stated that it will launch a smartphone application in April 2018 to gather feedback on the implementation of the NHRAP. It has also agreed to establish a “high-level committee” to monitor implementation of the NHRAP. (Azura Abas,  NHRAP Mobile App Will Be Available for All Come April , NEW STRAITS TIMES (Mar. 1, 2018).)
Nongovernmental groups in Malaysia have criticized the government “for allegedly cracking down on dissent and introducing legislation they say erodes freedom of speech.” (Samisha Naidu,  PM Najib Launches National Human Rights Plan for a “Kinder Malaysia ,” CHANNEL NEWS ASIA (Mar. 1, 2018).) The Coalition of Malaysian NGOs in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Process (Comango) commended the government on “finally launching” the NHRAP and found many areas to be “comprehensive and well-explored.” However, it also considered that the NHRAP “falls short in addressing systemic human rights issues, root causes of inequality and the enjoyment of human rights for all in the country, and lacks a gender perspective.” ( NHRAP Falls Short of Addressing Systemic Inequalities in Malaysia — Comango ,  MALAY MAIL ONLINE (Mar. 6, 2018).)

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