Malaysia: Outrage after 5 indigenous children die

Source: Al Jazeera

An Orang Asli child carries her brother on her back in a village 400km north of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia [Teh Eng Koon/AP]

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – An urgent debate in parliament is being demanded to find out why seven indigenous Orang Asli children went missing for weeks in the jungles of northern Malaysia – with five later found dead a kilometre away from their residential school.

The children – aged between seven and 11-years old – disappeared at the end of August after fleeing their boarding school. The six girls and one boy were reportedly afraid of being punished after older siblings had been beaten by a teacher for swimming in a nearby river.

Despite extensive search-and-rescue operations, the children remained unaccounted for until early October, 47 days later, when the decomposed body of one was found just 500 metres from their living quarters. Two surviving children were discovered a few days later, emaciated and close to death. The remaining children also died. Read more

Respect the rule of law and release Khairuddin and Matthias Chang — Steven Thiru

Source: The Malay Mail Online

steven thiru-icon prezOCTOBER 15 — The Malaysian Bar deplores the misuse of the Penal Code and the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (“SOSMA”) by the authorities in the recent arrest, detention and prosecution of Dato’ Sri Khairuddin Abu Hassan (“Dato’ Sri Khairuddin”), and his lawyer, Matthias Chang, a Member of the Malaysian Bar.

Dato’ Sri Khairuddin and Matthias Chang were arrested and detained under SOSMA on 18 September 2015 and 8 October 2015, respectively. It is reported that they were being investigated under Section 124K (sabotage) and Section 124L (attempt to commit sabotage) of the Penal Code. Dato’ Sri Khairuddin filed a habeas corpus application, which was fixed for hearing on 13 October 2015. It was reported that Matthias Chang was about to file a habeas corpus application as well.

However, both men were charged on 12 October 2015 in the Magistrates’ Court, for the offence of attempting to commit sabotage under Section 124L of the Penal Code. It has been alleged that the act of sabotage is in relation to the lodging of reports about possible corrupt practices, with law enforcement agencies in five foreign countries — France, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Singapore — that was purportedly intended to be a conspiracy to cause harm to the banking and financial system of Malaysia. If convicted, they could be sentenced for up to 15 years in jail. Both men have applied to the High Court to challenge the prosecution against them.

Section 124L of the Penal Code is within Part VI of the Penal Code. Under SOSMA, all offences under Part VI and Part VIA of the Penal Code are considered security offences, triable in the High Court. Read more

Suhakam: Rights of orang asli violated

Source: The Star Online

Suhakam's Datuk Dr Khaw Lake Tee - The Star pic

Suhakam’s Datuk Dr Khaw Lake Tee – The Star pic

PETALING JAYA: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) believes that the violation of orang asli rights has led to their social and economic marginalisation.

As highlighted in the Commission’s Report on the National Inquiry into the Land Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Suhakam found that the orang asli’s right to land, territories and resources have been violated.

“The Commission regrets that its many recommendations have not been acted upon and as a result, the orang asli community continue to face immense challenges, including marginalisation,” said Suhakam acting chairman Datuk Dr Khaw Lake Tee (pic) in a statement.

Dr Khaw said that orang asli children in Malaysia continue to be deprived of access of quality education that is relevant and responsive to their specific cultural context and needs.

“The Commission, through its active engagement with the orang asli community over the years has found that many orang asli children have no possibility of attending primary school because there were no primary schools or teachers where they lived.   Read more

Apex court missed chance to rule on voters’ rights in redelineation, says Ambiga

Source: The Malaysian Insider

Datuk Ambiga Seenevasan says voters must be given adequate details before they could participate in an inquiry conducted by the Election Commission. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, October 15, 2015.

Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan says voters must be given adequate details before they could participate in an inquiry conducted by the Election Commission. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, October 15, 2015.

The Federal Court has missed an opportunity to address the rights of voters when the Election Commission conducts its delineation exercise for state and parliamentary seats, said Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan.

The former chairman of electoral reforms coalition Bersih 2.0 said it was expected that the court would have given leave to appeal to discuss constitutional issues under Article 113 and 13th Schedule of the Federal Constitution.

“We are disappointed that the apex court chose not to allow leave so that the merits of the appeal could have been argued,” said Ambiga.

The lawyer and activist expressed hope that the EC would do the “right thing” in its delineation exercises for Sabah and the peninsula. Read more

Federal Court rules Sarawak redelineation exercise valid

Source: The Malaysian Insider

The Federal Court has ruled that the Election Commission’s constituency redelineation exercise in Sarawak is valid. – Reuters pic, October 15, 2015.

The Federal Court today refused a Sarawak assemblyman and a voter leave to challenge the Election Commission’s constituency redelineation exercise on the grounds that the matter was now academic.

A ‎three-member panel chaired by Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif, in ‎upholding the Court of Appeal’s ruling that the EC’s notice of its redelineation of Sarawak’s electoral boundaries was valid, said even if leave was allowed on some of the 15 questions, there was no prospect of success.

“The applicants also failed to pass threshold of Section 96 of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964 even though they raised constitutional issues,” he said.

On August 7, the Court of Appeal overturned the Kuching High Court’s ruling on May 15 that the EC had to republish its notice as it lacked details. Read more

Protect Orang Asli children, Suhakam tells Putrajaya

Source: The Malaysian Insider

Orang Asli children play near Sekolah Kebangsaan Tahoi, from which seven pupils went missing on August 23. The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia says the rights of these children are being violated, resulting in social and economic marginalisation. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, October 15, 2015.

Putrajaya must ensure the rights of Orang Asli children are protected, including that of education, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) said.

It also expressed disappointment that Putrajaya had not looked into or acted on any of its recommendations pertaining to the Orang Asli, adding that as such, the community has continued to face “immense challenges”.

“Orang Asli children in Malaysia continue to be deprived of access to quality education that is relevant and responsive to their specific cultural context and needs,” said Suhakam acting chairman Datuk Dr Khaw Lake Tee in a statement.

“Suhakam is of the view that the social and economic marginalisation of the Orang Asli is caused by the violation of their human rights. Suhakam regrets that its many recommendations have not been acted upon and as a result, the community continue to face immense challenges, including marginalisation.” Read more

Not a mere ceremonial body – Shad Saleem Faruqi

Source: The Star Online

BY SHAD SALEEM FARUQI

Shad Saleem Faruqi - file pic

Shad Saleem Faruqi – file pic

THE 239th meeting of the Conference of Rulers on Oct 2-3 issued a strongly worded statement about the need to bolster transparency, credibility and integrity in government.

It also expressed strong support for our tradition of inter-racial and inter-religious harmony, and expressed dismay that some political leaders and non-governmental organisations are sensationalising racial and religious issues to garner support for their party or themselves.

The Rulers’ intervention on issues of governance may raise some eyebrows about the proper relationship between constitutional rulers and the elected government of the day.

Previous precedents: It is humbly submitted that the Rulers were well within their constitutional role under Article 38 of the Federal Constitution to issue their call for good governance and racial and religious harmony. There are previous precedents for such royal statements, for example on Oct 14, 2010 when the Rulers expressed concern about political trends that undermine the supremacy of the Constitution. Read more