KOTA KINABALU: A new non-governmental organisation (NGO), Human Rights for All (HuRiFA) Sabah, has been initiated on an ad hoc basis by concerned citizens for the betterment of the state and Malaysia.
“We hope that similar initiatives will be undertaken in Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia,” said its chairman, Phillip Among, in a statement yesterday.
HuRiFA Sabah, in conjunction with its coming into being, will host a dinner followed by a town hall-style meeting at 6.30pm today at Dowish Restaurant, opposite KDCA, Penampang.
Phillip said the purpose of the meeting is to deliver an apolitical message for both sides of the divide and directed in particular at the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN), Pakatan Rakyat (PR), the opposition alliance, and the emerging third force in the parliament.
He added the run-up to the 13th General Election is an opportune moment for the 45 per cent minorities in Malaysia to push for the creation of a Ministry of Minority Affairs (MoMA) Malaysia at the Federal Cabinet level.
According to Phillip, the minorities are at present divided by geography, economics, ethnicity, language, culture and religion. However, they can be a force for stability in the country and moderation.
Hence, MoMA M’sia or MoMA can act as a one-stop centre for the minorities to engage with the government of the day at the national level and help ensure that their interests are taken into consideration and their grievances addressed.
Phillip said there have been numerous instances where administrative laws — government policies in action 每 had become a source of great discomfort if not embarrassment, inconvenience and loss to the minorities.
“It’s our stand that a pro-active step such as creating a Ministry of Minority Affairs is the right step forward to help Malaysia regain international confidence and trust and demonstrate that this country respects human rights and would not intend to continue with discriminatory practices which violate international law and the UN Charter.
“MoMA can also help address the obvious lack of diversity in the government sector.
“It’s envisaged that MoMA would consist of several departments, each catering for a particular ethnic group,” he said.
The main departments in the proposed ministry can be those representing the Indian, Chinese, Bajau, Suluk, Orang Asal — Murut, the Dusun including Kadazan or urban Dusun, Dayak and Orang Asli — and Other minorities to cover the Bugis, Portuguese, Siamese and Eurasians, he added.
“We call upon interested parties to contact us if they wish to participate in the proposed meeting and give their input.
“We have since received confirmation that several organisations will send their representatives for the proposed meeting.
“These include the Borneo Heritage Foundation (BHF), Borneo Forum (BF), United Borneo Front (UBF), United Sabah National Organisation (Usno), Common Interest Group Malaysia (CigMA), KoKaKoBa (Koidupan Kapayan Kobusak Bahang), the United Kingdom-based Borneo’s Plight in Malaysia Foundation (BoPi MaFo), United Borneo Alliance (UBA) which brings together several organisations, the State Reform Party (Star), the United Kingdom-based Human Rights Foundation (HRF) Malaysia, the Persatuan Promosi Hak Asasi Malaysia (Proham) and Hindraf Makkal Sakthi,” he said..
HRF and Hindraf chairman P. Waythamoorthy is expected to attend the proposed meeting and give his valuable input.
Proham chairman Tan Sri Simon Sipaun will speak on Sabah before Malaysia and the present-day context while Star chairman Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan will also share his thoughts with the participants.