HAKAM was founded under the leadership of two of Malaysia’s former Prime Ministers, namely, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj and Tun Hussein Onn. HAKAM is registered as a society with the objective to, among others, promote, preserve and defend human rights in Malaysia.
HAKAM has championed human rights in Malaysia for over 25 years with some success. However, it is a case of one step forward, two steps back. As Malaysians became more aware of their rights and to question the authorities, we find the same human rights violations we faced more than 25 years ago, …
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HAKAM CALLS FOR THE ELIMINATION OF CHILD MARRIAGES IN MALAYSIA ONCE AND FOR ALL
Pic from an Amnesty International event to denounce child marriage on October 27, 2016 in Rome. / AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS
HAKAM is calling the Minister for Women, Family & Community Development to push for new laws to ban and criminalise child marriages in Malaysia.
It is not sufficient that laws allowing child marriages be repealed, there must be laws put in place to eliminate and prohibit child marriage as such early marriages are a violation of human rights and the Convention on the Rights of a Child especially when Malaysia is a party to the convention.
One of the great failures of the former BN regime when it came to human rights was its dismal record in honouring its moral and legal obligations towards those fleeing political, religious or ethnic persecution in their homelands. For BN, it was all about political expediency instead of respect for sacrosanct principles.
Many genuine refugees and asylum seekers were hastily handed back into the hands of their tormentors, never to be heard of again. For quite a few, it resulted in long years of incarceration, torture, persecution and great anguish. That our nation was party to such terrible acts will forever be to our shame.
Among the more infamous cases were that of a Saudi blogger fleeing to New Zealand who was apprehended in Malaysia and sent back to Jeddah, several Turkish nationals living in Malaysia who were arrested in almost clandestine fashion and handed over to President Erdogan’s secret police, and dozens of Uighurs who were deported to China despite being registered with the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Read more →
Under state Islamic laws, the marriageable age is 18 for boys and 16 for girls, but Shariah courts have the authority to give consent to those below the permitted age to get married. — AFP pic
KUALA LUMPUR, July 3 — In Malaysia, there are ways for children below 18 to get married, thanks to various “loopholes” in the dual legal system of Shariah and civil law.
The dual legal system, a result of the Reid Commission’s decision to make religion a state matter in 1956, separates legislation into civil law, which applies to non-Muslims, and Shariah law which applies to Muslims.
The statute governing non-Muslim marriages and divorces is the federal Law Reform (Marriage & Divorce) Act 1976, while Muslim marriages and divorces are governed by the respective state Islamic Family Laws.
Over 9,000 cases of child marriage occurred between 2010 and 2015, which averaged to about five cases a day.
A total of 6,268 of the child marriage cases involved Muslim couples, while the remaining 2,775 involved non-Muslims, according to data published in Penang Institute’s Child Marriages in Malaysia report. Read more →
Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah speaks during a press conference at Wisma Putra in Putrajaya, July 2 2018. Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
PUTRAJAYA, July 2 — The Foreign Affairs Ministry will focus on improving several policies, such as pertaining to human rights, freedom, the environment and sustainable development, said the new Foreign Minister, Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.
He said the government had pledged to sign six more international human rights conventions and achieve the global 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Saifuddin, who was sworn in today, said that as Asean policies remained the priority, the ministry would also continue to enhance bilateral ties in the region.
“We will continue with our foreign policies and continue our bilateral ties with all countries.
“Neutrality policies will be continued and we are also looking at several improvements in the area of human rights and SDGs,” he told reporters after attending a briefing session with ministry officials here. Read more →
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Women and Family Development, Dato’ Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail – Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
PUTRAJAYA, July 2 — The Women, Family and Community Development Ministry will look into a standardised screening process for marriages involving minors, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said today.
The deputy prime minister, who is also in charge of the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry, said the proposal is to protect the welfare of minors while upholding the sanctity of the Shariah Courts and the Native Courts in east Malaysia.
“There will always be exceptions to certain things… like customary marriages in Sabah and Sarawak, which we have to take into consideration.
“That is why we want to do [it] at the federal level.
“If you want to get married, at least we have a standard operating procedure that we must adhere to,” she said at her ministry’s Hari Raya open house here.
Dr Wan Azizah said the guideline will likely include making medical and psychological tests compulsory for children who want to get married. Read more →
Placards promoting academic freedom line the road heading into Universiti Malaya on December 12, 2014. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng
KUALA LUMPUR, June 28 — Students and activists affected by laws curbing academic freedom — a legacy of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s previous administration — expressed faith today that the prime minister will honour his word and free universities from decades of political interference.
Two student leaders who were punished by their universities for dissidence told a forum on academic freedom here that they expect nothing less than total autonomy for universities, and they were optimistic that the man blamed for the laws that fettered academia will respond accordingly.
“He had said he would honour his word,” Asheeq Ali Sethi Alivi, one of the leaders that led the Tangkap M01 movement, told a forum organised by Fortify Rights, an advocacy group that documents human rights violations in Malaysian campuses.
“And one of the pledges made by Pakatan Harapan in their manifesto is to amend AUKU,” he added.
AUKU, or the University and Colleges Act, was introduced in 1971 in what critics said was aimed at curbing the rise of student activists critical of the ruling Barisan Nasional government at the time. Read more →
Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devraj speaks to reporters at Ilham Tower in Kuala Lumpur June 27, 2018. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
KUALA LUMPUR, June 27 — Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) urged the National Registration Department today to amend its standard operating procedure (SOP) to confer citizenship on stateless people.
PSM central committee member Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj today brought some 20 stateless persons, born and bred in Malaysia but denied their right to an identification card, to meet the Institutional Reforms Committee (IRC).
“We are asking the government enact a new SOP to approve citizenship for any children born in Malaysia, to a Malaysian father who can be identified through records like a birth certificate or DNA test.
“On top of that, the SOP needs to be amended so that all children who have been adopted for more than five years by a Malaysian family can also get citizenships,” he told reporters at Ilham Tower today. Read more →
KUALA LUMPUR: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has opened investigations into the death of Mariappan Manivannan at the Bentong prison in Pahang.
Suhakam commissioner Gerald Joseph said the commission began its investigation a day after he died on June 6.
“From what I heard from the family, there was no indication of abuse but the issue here is negligence.
“There are serious issues at stake. Why must someone die in our penal system?
“In Malaysia, no one should die for any reason except natural causes. I think, in this case, the death could have been prevented,” he said today after meeting Mariappan’s family members, led by the stepfather, Ayyakanu Sinnasamy, 45. Read more →
Home Affairs Minister Muhyiddin Yassin – Bernama file photo
PETALING JAYA: Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has directed the Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun to submit a comprehensive report on the arrest of lawyer and activist Siti Kasim who was accused of kidnapping her client and preventing police officers from discharging their duties.
Muhyiddin said he had asked for the report to be submitted before any action is taken on the matter.
He said he had taken cognisance of the public outcry over the matter but as the home minister, he had to balance public interest with the private interests of those directly affected without impeding police investigations.
“I have also noted lawyer Siti Kasim’s response that she was at all times acting as legal counsel for the victim.
“I am fully aware of the right of the individual to legal counsel, and the right of counsel to act without being subjected to threats and harrassment by any parties,” he said in a statement. Read more →