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  • Writer's pictureJia Yaw Kiu

A get-together of the SUHAKAM Roundtable Discussion contributors

Updated: Feb 1, 2023

The CSOs, subject matter experts and SUHAKAM team involved in the haze pollution roundtable discussion ("RTD") got together for some updates (and glorious Somali food) on 1 June 2022 at the CSO-friendly civic spaces of Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall.

Quick recap:

7 December 2021: CERAH and a coalition of CSOs submitted a Complaint to SUHAKAM on people's right to clean air and haze pollution

9 & 11 March 2022: SUHAKAM and the CERAH Coalition co-organised a 2-day roundtable discussion, involving experts from various disciplines and sectors

Presently: SUHAKAM’s post-RTD Report is being prepared. It will contain SUHAKAM’s findings and recommendations on the gaps and problems identified in this exercise.

Since then, the term of all SUHAKAM Commissioners have come to an end. New Commissioners have yet to be appointed. Some of the former Commissioners may be re-appointed for a second term. Sadly, Dato’ Mah Weng Kwai who worked closely with us in the RTD has already served two terms and will not be eligible for a third one. At any rate, we congratulate and say a huge thank you to Dato' Mah for his priceless contribution and dedicated service for human rights in the country.

Those in attendance included Prof. Datuk Dr. Shad Faruqi (UM, constitutional law expert), Prof. Dr. Mazrura Sahani (UKM, public health expert), Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nasrin Agha Mohammadi (UM, environmental engineering expert), Damien Thanam Divean (PEKA), Yusaimi Md Yusof (GRASS), Jennifer Isaacs and Afiq Mohamad Noor (both from SUHAKAM), Qyira Yusri (UNDI18), Emily Oi (EDF), Thing Siew Shuen, Heng Kiah Chun, Zarif Zahari, Tan Wei Kiat and Yvonne Nathan (all from Greenpeace Malaysia), and Dennis Chan, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Helena Varkkey, Azira Aziz, KK Tang, Khor Yu Leng, Alithea Wong and Jia Yaw (all from CERAH).

A main reason for this get-together was to thank everyone for the priceless part that they have played in the RTD, and more broadly, for collectively creating the public conversation around haze pollution, public health, environmental rights, business & human rights, systemic gaps and areas for reform.

After an update on the progress of the SUHAKAM Report by Jia Yaw, Afiq and Jennifer, Dr. Helena announced CERAH’s new collaboration with Environmental Defense Fund and Universiti Malaya on a one-year project linking the cross-cutting issues of the right to clean air, methane emissions, policy-making and public participation.

Emily, who’s recently joined EDF to lead projects in Malaysia and Southeast Asia, is as excited as we are with this upcoming project.

Heng, who played a pivotal role in organising this get-together, also shared about Greenpeace Malaysia's upcoming campaigns on clean air.

Prof Shad suggested some good ideas for collaboration and also shared some interesting stories. Some of us were seen fangirling.

It was wonderful to be in each other’s physical presence as we discussed and explored ideas. Many of us had only seen each other virtually over the past two years.

Our next event together will likely be at the launch of the SUHAKAM post-RTD Report a couple of months from now, if there isn't too much delay in the appointment of the new Commissioners. To keep tabs on the progress, follow CERAH's Facebook page and Instagram page.

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