Human rights commission (Suhakam) chairperson Razali Ismail has resigned about two weeks before his tenure was supposed to end.
Assuming the role back in 2016, he was scheduled to conclude his three-year term on April 27.
Razali confirmed that he had tendered his resignation letter to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, and had also informed the commission of his decision.
“I have done three years (at Suhakam). I think I did a pretty credible job and I (now) want to do more than advocacy.
“Doing things like human rights, it’s an advocacy job and it is enough after a while.
“It continues to be what it is, advocacy. It doesn’t make a big difference on the ground,” he told Malaysiakini when contacted today.
Razali added that he had resigned before the end of his term to allow Suhakam more time to prepare for its new chairperson.
The commission is a government body parked under the Prime Minister’s Department. Its chairperson is appointed by the prime minister.
Moving forward, the former diplomat said he plans to move from advocacy to working on the ground.
“I want to do smaller things, look at smaller areas, empower people and help people.
“[…] In all these 40-over years, I have been defining myself as a Malaysian.
“Now, I want to do something on the ground to define myself as a Malaysian and a Malay, and help the Malays who are marginalised,” he said.
Under Razali’s helm, Suhakam has been a frequent and outspoken critic of human rights violations, including those by the government.
Among the things it advocated was the ratification of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Icerd), which Pakatan Harapan initially agreed to before changing its mind following intense opposition from NGOs, UMNO and PAS.
Last December, police advised Suhakam to postpone its annual Human Rights Day celebration to give way to an anti-Icerd rally in Kuala Lumpur.