European Union–Malaysia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement initialled today

Source: European Union – EASS

Brussels, 06/04/2016

European Union–Malaysia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement initialled today

The chief negotiators of the European Union and Malaysia initialled today the text of the EU-Malaysia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) at a ceremony held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia in Putrajaya. The initialling marks the successful closure of negotiations that started in October 2010.

Federica Mogherini, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission said: “Today’s initialling is a concrete step that will further advance our bilateral relations. The Agreement will reinforce our political dialogue with Malaysia on a range of issues, among them counter-terrorism and the promotion of human rights and of international justice.” Read more

Worldwide executions highest since 1989: Amnesty

Source: The Borneo Post Online

AFP/File / by Robin Millard | People take part in a demonstration denouncing Iran’s use of the death penalty, in Paris, organised to coincide with the official visit to France by the Iranian President, on January 28, 2016

LONDON: The number of known executions worldwide went up by more than 50 percent last year to at least 1,634, the highest figure recorded since 1989, Amnesty International said Wednesday.

The surge was largely fuelled by Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, the London-based human rights organisation said in its annual report on death sentences and executions worldwide.

The 1,634 figure does not include China, which is thought to have killed thousands of its own citizens.

Death penalty data is “treated as a state secret” by Beijing, Amnesty said, as it is by Vietnam and Belarus.

Recorded executions were up by 54 percent on 2014’s figure of 1,061.

Some 89 percent of those executions were carried out by Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia alone.

“The rise in executions last year is profoundly disturbing,” said Amnesty secretary general Salil Shetty.

“Not for the last 25 years have so many people been put to death by states around the world. Read more

April 5 is ‘Nisha Ayub Day’ in San Diego

Source: The Malay Mail Online

A letter of proclamation stating that San Diego has named April 5 ‘Nisha Ayub Day’. ― Picture courtesy of Nisha Ayub

A letter of proclamation stating that San Diego has named April 5 ‘Nisha Ayub Day’. ― Picture courtesy of Nisha Ayub

KUALA LUMPUR, April 6 ― US city San Diego has named April 5 “Nisha Ayub Day” after the Malaysian transgender activist who won an award of courage from the American government.

Nisha also said she was given another award, the International Jose Julio Sarria Civil Rights Award which celebrates the work of those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, from City Commissioner Nicole Murray Ramirez.

“Today is the most shocking day for me when the Mayor Of the City Of San Diego California Kevin L. Faulconer officially made today 5th April as Nisha Ayub Day in San Diego,” she wrote in a Facebook post.

“I could not believe it as it was like a dream for me. A day was made for me in San Diego and it’s also my birthday,” Nisha added.

The proclamation of the Nisha Ayub Day cited Nisha’s receipt of the 2016 US Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award and noted that the trans woman continues to fight for transgender rights, despite repeated arrests for dressing as a woman. Read more

Survey: Sarawak got top marks for protecting religious freedom

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, April 6 — Sarawak’s voters were overwhelmingly happy with the state government’s protection of religious freedom, a recent survey by independent pollster Merdeka Center showed.

A whopping 88 per cent of 815 respondents polled said they were happy with the Sarawak government’s protection of religious freedom, with this favourable sentiment shared by most of the Chinese, Muslim Bumiputera and non-Muslim Bumiputera respondents at 90 per cent, 91 per cent and 84 per cent.

Sarawak’s Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem had repeatedly made strong statements to assert the state’s protection of religious freedoms for its multiracial community, assuring Christians in March 2014 that he will never permit the introduction of any state laws to ban them from using the Arabic word for God, “Allah”.

Adenan had also said the Sarawak government will deny entry or deport those who attempt to incite racial and religious sentiments in the state, besides guaranteeing last April that his administration will protect the Sarawak’s people’s right to religious freedom. Read more

Amnesty urges gov’t to abolish death penalty

Source: The Sun Daily

Amnesty_International_MalaysiaPETALING JAYA: Amnesty International Malaysia is urging the government to abolish the death penalty and place an immediate moratorium on executions and death sentences in the interim.

“Last year, Malaysia was one of just 25 countries that executed people, and was one of 61 countries that meted out the death sentence. The continuous use of the death penalty despite not deterring crime is another mark on Malaysia’s chequered human rights record,” Amnesty International Malaysia executive director Shamini Darshni said at the launch of the Death Sentences and Executions 2015 report here today. Read more

Over 1,000 applications for child marriages in 2015

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Chandar Singh (right), 18, and his bride Asha, 14, sit in a temple during their marriage ceremony in Rajgarh district,about 155km northeast of central Indian city of Bhopal in this May 11, 2005 file photo. – Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR, April 6 — The Shariah court system received more than 1,000 applications from Muslims for permission to marry minors last year, Parliament was told today.

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim disclosed this in her written reply to Kulai MP Teo Nie Ching, who asked for the number of marriages involving those under the age of 16 and steps taken to address such instances.

“According to the records of the Shariah Judiciary Department, the number of applications for child marriages (Muslim) was 827 in 2015. For child marriages registered by the Sarawak Native Customs Council, the number was 294 cases in 2015,” she said.

The minister added that there were no instances of non-Muslim child marriages as the practice was illegal for the group.

Child marriage is a contentious issue due to the young age of the girls involved. Read more

Rafizi remanded for three days after OSA arrest

Source: The Malay Mail Online

PUTRAJAYA, April 6 ― The Magistrate Court here granted today the police’s request to remand Rafizi Ramli for three days after the PKR lawmaker was arrested under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) 1972.

Rafizi’s remand will expire on Friday, after which the police can seek further extension of remand or release him on bail.

He will be held at the Jinjang police detention centre.

The Pandan MP was arrested outside the Parliament compound yesterday after he previously disclosed what he claimed to be an excerpt from the Auditor-General’s report on state investment firm 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), which is classified under the law guarding state secrets. Read more

Women’s groups demand Shariah law review after JAWI raid on transgenders

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, April 6 ― Women’s rights groups called today for a review of the Shariah Criminal Offences (Federal Territories) Act 1997 after religious authorities raided a charity dinner by the transgender community.

The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG), which now includes transgender rights group Justice for Sisters (JFS), also questioned the ethical standards of the Federal Territories Islamic Department (JAWI) that is purportedly planning to charge a trans woman under the Shariah law with encouraging vice and with defying religious authorities.

“JAWI’s actions are clearly un-Islamic as it was aimed to intimidate and humiliate the transgender community in Malaysia,” said JAG in a statement.

Supporters of transgender rights group Justice for Sisters are pictured at the Palace of Justice, Putrajaya, October 8, 2014. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

Supporters of transgender rights group Justice for Sisters are pictured at the Palace of Justice, Putrajaya, October 8, 2014. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

“JAG once again, calls on the state to review the SCOA as the catch-all provisions in the Act have allowed for wide interpretation and abuse by enforcement officers.

“JAWI or other state religious authorities cannot be allowed to continuously undermine the Federal Constitution because of the misguided perception that they are guardians of Islam and morality in Malaysia,” the group added. Read more

After 17 years, stateless teen finally recognised as Malaysian

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Navin Moorthy who received his citizenship certificate yesterday, shows his temporary IC document in Putrajaya, April 6, 2016. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

Navin Moorthy who received his citizenship certificate yesterday, shows his temporary IC document in Putrajaya, April 6, 2016. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

PUTRAJAYA, April 6 ― Teenager Navin Moorthy finally received official recognition of his citizenship today, 17 years after he was born in Malaysia.

Navin, who has about three months before his 18th birthday, yesterday received a Citizenship Certificate issued under Article 15 of the Federal Constitution.

“I’m more than happy I got it,” said the teenager who was born to a Malaysian father and Filipino mother.

Navin, who has been given a temporary identification document until he officially receives his identity card, said he was unable to say what he wanted to do first as a Malaysian citizen. Read more

Rafizi nabbed under OSA over claims against LTAT

Source: The Star Online

KUALA LUMPUR: PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli has been arrested under the Official Secret Act (OSA) to facilitate investigations over claims he made against Armed Forces Fund Board (LTAT).

The Pandan member of Parliament was arrested in front of the Parliament gate here at about 6.20pm yesterday as he was leaving the Parliament House, and taken to the federal police headquarters in Bukit Aman.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar tweeted that Rafizi was arrested under the OSA, but did not provide further details.

“@PDRMsia (the Royal Malaysia Police) confirms YB Rafizi Ramli was arrested a short while ago, outside Parliament House and will be investigated under Section 8 of the Official Secrets Act (OSA) 1972,” he tweeted yesterday. Read more