The Book of Prof Shad.docx

International recourse in modern times many

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International recourse In modern times, many international human rights agencies intercede on behalf of aggrieved individuals or groups. There is now an International Criminal Court to try crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes. OVERVIEW OF HUMAN RIGHTS & STATE POWER 14
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To comment objectively and fairly on the state of human rights in any country is never an easy task because the Constitution is silhouetted against the panorama of history, politics, economics, culture and philosophy. A mature analysis requires a historian’s perspective, a lawyer’s acumen, a politician’s insight, a philosopher’s vision and the executive’s experience. In this area, objectivity is not possible unless one is prepared to be subjective from the point of view of those one wishes to evaluate. My view is that fundamental liberties in Articles 5-13 are not so fundamental. They can be quite easily restricted on many grounds including public order, national security etc. A constitution drafted during the communist insurgency shows deep concern for security and stability. Clearly, the Constitution was meant to create a strong but not an absolutist government. Controlling the government without crippling it was the aim of the basic charter. Things have not worked that way, however. The balance has shifted gravely towards state power. Our human rights situation is mixed. COUNTING OUR BLESSINGS A holistic perspective of human rights can unearth much that is positive in the Malaysian body politic. In the socioeconomic sphere i. The country’s success in economic development has reduced poverty significantly; kept unemployment low; and has provided a bountiful market. ii. The building of a peaceful and harmonious multi-racial society is indeed exceptional and provides an environment in which human rights can flower. iii. Social welfare policies of the last five decades have brought human dignity and the graces of life to many who were living on the fringe of existence at the time of independence. iv. Since Merdeka, education has been used as a prime mover of change. v. Sex equality is being vigorously promoted in Malaysian society. vi. Workers’ rights are protected by an enlightened set of legal and administrative policies. vii. Unemployment rates are one of the lowest in the region. viii. Legislation exists to safeguard the rights and interests of consumers, the aged and the retired. ix. Life expectancy rates have increased dramatically and morbidity has declined. x. The country’s efforts at “social engineering” have had a clear impact. xi. Through land reform, opening up of land for cultivation, and availability of credit, the country has broadened access to the opportunities offered by the market. Economic development has enhanced human freedoms.
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