HAKAM Condemns Arrest & 3-Day Remand of Patrick Teoh; Calls for His Immediate Release – Statement dd 2/11/2020

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HAKAM condemns the unwarranted arrest and 3-day remand of local radio personality and actor Patrick Teoh by the Johor police for alleged insults against Crown Prince Tunku Ismail.  pdf

HAKAM is of the view that there is no basis to invoke the remand procedure primarily because Patrick Teoh had at all times cooperated with the police. HAKAM wishes to remind authorities to respect the right of personal liberty of the individual who has not yet been proven guilty guaranteed under the Federal Constitution.

This is particularly so when Patrick Teoh is 73 years of age and confining him for 3 days may pose a risk to his health amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.  Read more

Motion of no confidence against PM explained

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From Focus Malaysia

THE Speaker of the House of Representatives (Dewan Rakyat) has accepted a motion by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, MP for Langkawi, that the present prime minister (PM), Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, does not command the confidence of the majority of the Dewan. 

The speaker said he made this decision to be fair and just and to uphold the integrity of the Dewan and Parliament. He is perfectly within his rights to so decide.

What next?

The motion must be put (tabled) at the sitting of the Dewan. There will be a debate on the motion, at the end of which there will be a vote by MPs present in the Dewan.

If the motion is carried, by a simple majority of those present and voting, then the PM must tender his resignation together with that of his Cabinet.

The PM may also, instead of tendering his resignation, request the King to dissolve Parliament. The King is not obliged to agree to the request. Recall that the then sitting MB of Perak made this request to the then Sultan Azlan Shah of Perak in the Perak State Assembly crisis. The request was not acceded to. Read more

State vs federal impasse over conditional MCO

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From Focus Malaysia

THE federal government has relaxed the Movement Control Order, essentially to allow businesses to operate, subject to certain conditions. This was done through fresh regulations (No 5) under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988. The prohibition for the conduct of certain business activities was removed.

Several state governments have issued their own orders. The effect is to prohibit certain activities that have been allowed under the federal regulations (No 5).

This brings into sharp focus the issue of whether the state governments can issue such orders.

Under the Federal Constitution (Article 81), state governments are obliged to make sure that states comply with federal law, and that their action does “not impede or prejudice” the federal government’s authority.

In short, they must comply with regulations as these are part of federal law, or it will be a violation of the state’s constitutional obligation.

So, any abridgement of the federal law’s reach, or orders that are inconsistent with it, will constitute as non-compliance. Read more

Kenyataan Atas Siasatan Polis Tashny Sukumaran – HAKAM Youth

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Pemuda HAKAM merakamkan solidariti untuk wartawan South China Morning Post (SCMP), Tashny Sukumaran yang kini sedang disiasat oleh pihak polis di bawah Seksyen 504 Kanun Keseksaan dan Seksyen 233 Akta Komunikasi dan Multimedia 1998 selepas menerbitkan suatu artikel pada 1 Mei 2020. Artikel tersebut adalah berkenaan serbuan yang dijalankan oleh pihak berkuasa ke atas warga migran dan pelarian secara besar-besaran semasa pandemik COVID-19.

Artikel Cik Tashny yang dikatakan “membangkitkan pecah keamanan” merupakan artikel yang penuh berfakta. Operasi serbuan yang dijalankan baru-baru ini telah mengundang pelbagai kritikan kerana tidak mematuhi langkah penjarakan sosial sempena pelaksanaan Perintah Kawalan Pergerakan. Beratus-ratus orang termasuk kanak-kanak telah ditahan dan dibawa ke pusat penahanan yang penuh sesak, maka potensi peningkatan risiko jangkitan virus dan pembentukan kluster baru menjadi tinggi. Ironinya, pihak berkuasa menerangkan bahawa operasi tersebut diperlukan untuk mengelakkan migran yang tidak berdokumen daripada bergerak ke kawasan lain supaya perebakan virus dapat dihentikan. Read more

Statement on Tashny Sukumaran’s Police Investigation – HAKAM Youth Statement

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HAKAM Youth expresses solidarity with journalist Tashny Sukumaran who has been called for an investigation with the authorities after publishing an article dated 1 May 2020 on South China Morning Post (SCMP). The article, which reported the mass raids conducted on migrant workers and refugees in Malaysia amidst the COVID-19
pandemic, is alleged to have violated Section 504 of the Penal Code and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.

Claimed to be “offensive”, Ms. Tashny’s article is nothing short of facts. The recent raids on immigrants have attracted wide criticism for not adhering to social distancing measures despite the Movement Control Order (MCO) being in force. Hundreds of people including children were hauled up and taken away in trucks to overcrowded
detention centres, and this put them at a higher risk of getting infected and forming a new cluster. Ironically, the authorities later clarified that the Labour Day operation is necessary to curb the spreading of the virus by preventing undocumented migrants from travelling to other areas. Read more

HAKAM Reiterates Call for Government to Extend Parliament Sittings on an Urgent Basis – Statement dd 4 May 2020

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HAKAM Reiterates Call for Government to Extend Parliament Sittings on an Urgent Basis

HAKAM reiterates its call for the Government to extend Parliamentary sittings beyond the mere 1 day scheduled on 18th May 2020.pdf

This is especially in light of the Government’s recent decision to allow all businesses to operate with full capacity on 4th May 2020, and will even allow for recreational activities like jogging and golfing to take place.

It would be a complete mockery to the august house of Parliament and constitutional democracy in Malaysia if Parliament is deemed less essential than these activities. There is no excuse now for the Government to restrict Parliamentary sittings to 1-day with no further dates in sight. Read more

Pushing back boat carrying refugees and scurrilous attack wrong – Statement dd 4/28/2020

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On 16 April 2020, the Malaysian Navy pushed back to sea a boat carrying Rohingyas. In violation of international law obligations to provide access to asylum seekers. In January this year, the International Court of Justice ruled that the Rohingyas were “extremely vulnerable” to military violence; and faced the threat of genocide. Sending them back to a territory where they would be at risk of such dire human rights violations clearly falls afoul of general international human rights as well as customary international law.pdf

Predictably, there has been a rising chorus of protest against the government’s action. Unfortunately, there have also been vicious attacks against those who have expressed concern. We refer in particular to one such statement by the Ambassador to Malaysia of The European Rohingya Council Tengku Emma Zuriana Bt Tengku Azmi who expressed her organisation’s grave disquiet.

Regretfully, instead of a civil and balanced reasoned discussion or response, her statement was visited upon by a sustained barrage of vitriolic abuse. Which transcended into personal, aggressive, racist and sexist comments. It even incited criminal acts of rape and physical violence against her person. Read more

Parliamentary Session Limited to its Mere Opening is Wrong – Statement dd 4/27/2020

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HAKAM notes with concern the Prime Minister’s decision to convene a mere 1- day sitting on 18th May 2020. We also understand that there will not be room for debates on 18th May 2020 as the schedule only accommodates the Royal Address and the first reading of several Government Bills.pdf

The Constitution requires Parliament to be summoned from time to time and in any event within 6 months of the last sitting. This strikes a balance between allowing the government to do things, and holding them to account. So that the peoples’ representatives can scrutinise government actions, ask questions, propose alternatives and force them to reveal information and justify their actions. This will inspire public confidence in any measures taken by the
government.

Summoning Parliament just to allow for its opening by the King without more hence subverts this critical Parliamentary role. It fulfils the letter but not the substance of the Constitutional requirement. Its validity is clearly questionable. Read more

The need for a Comprehensive Policy for Migrant Workers during the Covid 19 Pandemic – Statement dd 4/24/2020

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HAKAM Media Statement

The need for a Comprehensive Policy for Migrant Workers during the Covid 19 Pandemic

There are at present 2 million documented migrant workers in Malaysia. The number of undocumented migrant workers are estimated to be 1.5 million to 4 million. [1]

Migrant Workers are one of the most vulnerable groups that are disproportionately affected by the Covid 19 Pandemic. Most of them have been left without employment, social and health security. pdf

The lack of decent housing and accommodation prevents the implementation of proactive measures which could further trigger the spread of the virus.

There are at present many barriers facing migrant workers to access the healthcare facilities. These barriers include access, costs, language, fear of arrest and detention. Read more

Implications of a 1-Day Parliament Sitting – HAKAM Yoth Statement

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HAKAM Youth expresses concern over the convening of a 1-Day Parliament Sitting on 18 May 2020, as announced by the Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on 17 April 2020. 

As Article 55(1) of our Constitution provides, the Prime Minister may advise the YDPA to postpone the Parliament, provided that it is not to a date more than six months after the last sitting. The act of announcing the 1-Day Parliament Sitting on 18 May has fulfilled the constitutional requirement to a degree of pedantic compliance so as to avoid being seen as proroguing the Parliament.

In the face of a global pandemic, all branches of government must come together in overcoming the aftermath with the Judiciary taking a lead on hearing matters online, a historic first. The newly-formed Cabinet, however, invoked the Prevention And Control Of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and declared a Movement Control Order (MCO) from 18 March 2020. Although the MCO has been effective in its purpose of flattening the curve, the way forward as a nation—such as mass randomised testing or further economic stimulus—remains largely unclear.  Read more