Suhakam shouldn’t promote western values
Published on: Sunday, June 27, 2021
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Promoting liberalism that is now destroying western society is not what Suhakam was set up for.
THE Human Rights Commission of Malaysia or Suhakam always had a credibility issue for many in the human rights community in Malaysia. Seen as unabashedly liberal, with a tendency to follow Western trends, Suhakam has often seemed out of touch with the priorities and values of our society.

The organisation’s apparent admiration for groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International – both of which have a history of being utilised to advance Western political and economic agendas in the developing world – as well as their unquestioning obsequiousness towards every pronouncement by the United Nations, have further undermined Suhakam’s reputation.

Their recent plans to research possible legislation to recognise the third gender category is, for many Malaysians, the last straw, and there have since been calls for Suhakam to be disbanded.

It is an understandable, if perhaps drastic response. While I do not agree that Suhakam should dissolve, they would do well to register the outcry as a reality check and a reminder that Malaysia is not California.

The notions of non-binary sex distinctions and gender fluidity are theoretical concepts that can only gain currency in the West where postmodernism has successfully eroded both traditional and science-based understanding of human behaviour and social mores.

There, they have been in a tailspin for decades of spiralling deconstructive theories that render truth relative and arbitrary. That is not our society, and their confusion is not our confusion, and Suhakam needs to recognise this fact.

Malaysians are a fair and tolerant nation. We do not abide bigotry, discrimination, or abuse; and we know that anomalies exist among human beings such as biologically inter-sex individuals (hermaphrodites), as well as mental illness and psychological disorders such as gender dysphoria; and we deal compassionately with each of these scenarios. We do not and will not accept, however, that the fundamental realities of sex and gender require any sort of re-definition dictated by aberrations and dysfunctions.

The West is currently grappling with redefining gender categories, and it is an experiment whose outcome is doubtful, given the volatility, chaos and confusion it has thus far imposed upon their societies – that is not a direction Malaysia is interested in pursuing, and rightly so. 

For most Malaysians, Suhakam’s proposal appears to be a nod to Western liberals for whom transgenderism has become a cause célèbre and a kind of litmus test for being regarded as progressive and civilised.

That is an approval we do not seek, for we quite profoundly disapprove of their stance. Suhakam ought instead to realign itself with Malaysian values rather than attempt to alter those values to align with those of the West.

By any metric of social cohesion, stability, contentment, and overall healthiness, Malaysia surpasses most Western countries, which are at this moment rife with contention, division, family breakdowns, and endemic mental health crises of every imaginable stripe.

Hopefully, Suhakam will heed the backlash and re-dedicate itself to issues that matter to Malaysians and adhere to our fundamental beliefs. Not everything with an American or European label is necessarily beneficial. Theories on gender and sex distinctions are not imports we need from the West, they are faulty and dangerous products that can only contaminate our society; buyer beware.

Azril Mohd Amin, Founder, Centre for Human Rights 

Research & Advocacy (Centhra)

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