Manohara’s claims ‘not a private matter’
Human rights organisations have expressed outrage over the statements made by Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and the Kelantan palace, describing the allegations of physical and mental torment by Indonesian Manohara Odelia Pinot as a “personal matter”.
“When a police report had been lodged, it is no longer a personal matter,” said P Ramakrishnan, president for Aliran, a human rights organisation based in Penang.
“From what I have understood, the medical authorities in Indonesia have proven that there are scars and bruises on Manohara’s chests and private parts,” he told Malaysiakini.
“Therefore, this is obviously an intolerable case of human rights violation that cannot be quietly resolved between the couple and within the royal family.”
Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) president K Arumugam agreed. He said it was a criminal offence to abuse anyone sexually and mentally, and to deprive them of their personal freedom.
If it is her husband who has committed the acts of violence, then he can be punished under the Domestic Violence Act.
“Those found guilty of abusing Manohara should be heavily punished,” Ramakrishnan stressed.
The 17-year-old former model fled to Indonesia last month alleging that her husband, Kelantan prince Tengku Muhammad Fakhry Petra, had raped, tortured and imprisoned her during their nine months of marriage.
She had lodged a report two days ago at the national police headquarters in Jakarta against the royal family. She named 8 people in the her report.
The 32-year-old prince has yet to publicly respond to the allegations.
Comptroller of the Kelantan Royal Household Abdul Halim Hamad issued a statement on the June 3 that the matter should be viewed as “a personal crisis” between the couple.
Later on June 5, Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said no investigation would be initiated as Manohara had not lodged a report in Malaysia but in Singapore.
He also made clear the government’s stance that these were personal matters.
People not ignorant
Ramakrishnan also lamented the lack of political will among the authorities in protecting human rights.
“There is no lack of human rights awareness among the Malaysian public. What we lack is the commitment from the authorities to safeguard and protect the human rights,” Ramakrishnan said.
“If the authorities are violating human rights themselves to a certain extent, how can we trust them to protect and uphold our basic rights?” he asked.
Meanwhile, Arumugam said that even if Malaysians were aware of the need to uphold human rights, “something always happens to trip up that belief”.
“Some people may willfully violate the rights of others even if they know that it is wrong,” he said.
Human Rights Commission vice-chairperson Simon Sipaun however argued more human right education is required to raise the level of human rights awareness.
He said Suhakam is holding discussion with the Education Ministry on the idea of incorporating more lessons on human rights in schools through subjects such as ‘Pendidikan Moral’ and ‘Pendidikan Sivik dan Kewarganegaraan’.