North Koreans doing forced labour in Malaysia, UN investigator says

Source: The Malay Mail Online

United Nations (UN) investigator says more than 50,000 North Korean workers were currently employed overseas in primarily the mining, construction, textile and logging industries. ― File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 29 ― North Koreans are being sent to Malaysia and other countries to work in forced labour conditions to earn money for the purportedly financially strapped nation, a United Nations (UN) investigator said.

International news wire AP reported yesterday Marzuki Darusman, special rapporteur on human rights in North Korea, as saying in a report to the UN general assembly and at a press conference that the companies hiring North Korean workers were “complicit in an unacceptable system of forced labour”.

Darusman reportedly said more than 50,000 North Korean workers were currently employed overseas in primarily the mining, construction, textile and logging industries, mostly in China and Russia, but also in Malaysia, Algeria, Angola, Cambodia, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Kuwait, Libya, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Oman, Poland, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Read more

Court allows activist Khalid interim bail but with conditions

Source: The Malaysian Insider

Activist Khalid Mohd Ismath must post RM5,000 bail for each of the 14 charges he faces. – Facebook pic, October 29, 2015.

Activist Khalid Mohd Ismath, who is charged with making inflammatory postings against he Johor royalty, has been given an interim bail by the High Court.

Lawyer Roger Chan Weng Keng said the bail, however, came with several conditions.

He said Khalid has to post RM5,000 for each of the 14 charges he faced, surrender his travel documents and report to the police as instructed by the court.

“The court will convene again on November 11 whether to revoke or vary the bail,” he said. Read more

Non-Muslims must register marriages to avert misery for spouse, kids, say lawyers

Source: The Malaysian Insider

It is important for non-Muslim couples to register their marriage since the Law Reform Act (Marriage and Divorce) 1976 no longer recognises customary rites. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, October 29, 2015.

Registering a marriage is of paramount importance to protect the legal interest of non-Muslim couple and their children in cases of death or separation, family lawyers said, following a Court of Appeal ruling that prevented a woman from dependency claims after the death of her partner.

Without marriage registration, the woman’s status was equivalent to a “keep” as she would have no rights over the wealth of the man or estate, while their children would be classified as illegitimate as most of existing law gave no protection.

Lawyers said the Court of Appeal ruling on Monday was right in declaring that customary marriage after July 1, 1982 afforded no legal protection since registration was compulsory.

Customary marriage was, at one time, legal until the Law Reform Act (Marriage and Divorce) 1976 came into operation in 1982, lawyer Ravi Nekoo said.

“A lot of complications could arise if the couple live together and have children,” he said.

He said this in response to the court ruling that bank executive Dee Bee Yoke was not entitled to dependency claims following the death of her partner, businessman Low Chin Wee, in a road accident in December 2011. Read more

One-third of foreign workers in Klang Valley have no protection against typhoid

Source: The Star Online

TOO MANY foreign workers in the Klang Valley have not been vaccinated against typhoid, says Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam.

He blamed employers for the predicament, saying that they were “taking shortcuts” to save themselves money and were putting people at risk.

Checks jointly conducted by the ministry and Kuala Lumpur City Council (DBKL) showed that more than 30% of foreign workers were not vaccinated, he said.

He said that among Malaysian workers, only 3% were unvaccinated. Read more

Dept outlines criteria for 300 schools to conduct classes in English and Bahasa

Source: The Star Online

PETALING JAYA: The 300 schools involved in the Dual Language Programme (DLP) must meet three criteria – proper resources, teachers who can teach in English and Bahasa Malaysia and parents who are supportive.

Education director-general Datuk Seri Dr Khair Mohamad Yusof, who disclosed this, said the selected schools could offer the programme to Years One and Four pupils and Form One students next year.

He also said the schools would be chosen based on “demand” by parents and school heads, besides readiness to offer the programme.

For a start, Dr Khair said the programme will be carried out in national primary and secondary schools. Read more

Negotiating a vote of no confidence – Shad Saleem Faruqi

Source: The Star Online

BY SHAD SALEEM FARUQI

Shad Saleem Faruqi - file pic

Shad Saleem Faruqi – file pic

Despite the Westminster systems’ role in enforcing responsibility, there is also uncertainty surrounding it.

THE nation is abuzz with news that the Opposition in Parliament is readying itself to introduce a motion of no confidence against the Prime Minister.

The principle that the Prime Minister must maintain the confidence of the lower House is a central feature of the British style of parliamentary democracy that we inherited in 1957.

Article 43(4): Our Constitution does not explicitly refer to a motion of no confidence. However, it embraces the principle of answerability and accountability of the political executive to the legislature through Article 43(4), which provides that, “If the Prime Minister ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the House of Representatives, then, unless at his request the Yang di-Pertuan Agong dissolves Parliament, the Prime Minister shall tender the resignation of the Cabinet.”

How “confidence” can be lost and what amounts to “majority” are nowhere explicated. Read more

Academics slam NGO proposal to replace History with subject on social contract

Source: The Malaysian Insider

Changing the History syllabus or replacing it altogether with a subject on the 'social contract' will be detrimental to students' understanding of the nation's past, say many academics. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, October 28, 2015.

Changing the History syllabus or replacing it altogether with a subject on the ‘social contract’ will be detrimental to students’ understanding of the nation’s past, say many academics. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, October 28, 2015.

Academics and teachers have denounced a suggestion by the head of a Penang-based non-governmental organisation (NGO) to do away with the teaching of History in schools.

They said the proposal by Persatuan Melayu Pulau Pinang chairman Tan Sri Mohd Yusoff Latiff to replace the subject with one that explained the social contract was regressive and that young Malaysians would grow up without truly appreciating the sacrifices made by their nation’s founding fathers. Read more

Counselling for Orang Asli community in Pos Tohoi tragedy, says deputy minister

Source: The Malaysian Insider

Children from the Temiar tribe outside their home in Kampung Penad, Kelantan. Education is important but the Orang Asli parents in this remote village have decided to withdraw their children from SK Tohoi. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Najjua Zulkefli, October 27, 2015.

The Education Ministry will hold counseling sessions for the Orang Asli following the Pos Tohoi tragedy where four children at a boarding school died after allegedly fleeing their school to hide in the jungle.

Deputy education minister P. Kamalanthan said the ministry will do all it can to ensure that parents from the indigenous community would send their children back to school.

“Education is for all and the ministry does not want to see anyone left out,” he told reporters at a press conference after a cheque presentation ceremony to 44 Tamil schools in Negri Sembilan.

Seven Orang Asli pupils at SK Tohoi in Gua Musang, Kelantan, went missing on August 23, reportedly because they feared punishment by their teachers.

Four are dead while two, Miksudiar Alui, 11, and Norieen Yaakob, 10, were found safe after weeks in the jungle.

The dead pupils – Ika Ayel, 9, Haikal Yaacob, 8, Linda Rosli, 8 and Juvina David, 7 – were buried last Sunday.

Traumatised parents from Orang Asli villages in the area then said they would pull out all their children from the boarding school situated some two hours away from their homes. Read more

New houses for Kelantan flood victims to be completed by June

Source: The Malaysian Insider

A woman and her son look out from their tent at the flood relief centre in Bandar Utama Gua Musang in Kelantan in this photo taken last May. Some 12 families will continue to live in these tents, until next March. – The Malaysian Insider pic, October 28, 2015.

The Federal government has assured that the construction of 1,759 new permanent houses for flood victims in Kelantan will be completed between March and June next year.

Kelantan Federal Action Council chairman Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said the focus now is to complete building the houses that have not yet been completed. The government has managed to resolve several issues that delayed the construction of these houses, especially ownership of land for the site.

“The original promise was to complete the houses before the end of this year, we did not expect the land issue to be so complicated and now the question of land for the construction of these houses in all the affected districts have been completed,” he told reporters in Kota Baru, last night. Read more

HRW: Malaysia government creating culture of fear

Source: Al Jazeera

Demonstrators gathered during a Bersih rally in Kuala Lumpur in August [Phil Robertson/Human Rights Watch]

Malaysia is in danger of becoming a “failed democratic state” if it continues on its current path of repression against government critics, according to Human Rights Watch.

In a damning new report Creating a Culture of Fear, The Criminalization of Peaceful Expression in Malaysia, HRW on Tuesday detailed the various ways the Malaysian government has used its laws to stifle criticism.

The crackdown on freedom of expression began after the 2013 election when the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition lost the popular vote for the first time since independence. Read more