Increasing powers of Shariah Courts may lead to violation of human rights in Malaysia — JAG

Source: The Malay Mail Online

MAY 31 — The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) express our concern at the tabling of the Private Member’s Bill to amend the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, to increase the punishments meted out by Shariah courts.

We are concerned of the manner in which this Private Members’ Bill was tabled in Parliament.  JAG urges that the government and the other parties involved give full regard to the democratic way which we must observe in putting forward any legislation, particularly where the public has significant concerns.  Considering the level of debate this has generated in the public sphere, JAG requests that any future tabling of this Private Members’ Bill or anything akin to it go through a thorough process which accords full and fair transparency and debate prior to its tabling in Parliament.  It is our right as citizens of this country to be given our opportunity to present our views on a legislation that will have deep impact on our society in the future. Read more

Chegubard among 10 fined for role in Blackout 505 rally

Source: NST Online

KUALA LUMPUR: Activists Badrul Hisham Shaharin (popularly known as Chegubard), Adam Adli Abd Halim and Muhammad Safwan Anang@Talib were among 10 people fined RM6,000 each for rioting and being members of the illegal Blackout 505 rally three years ago.

Sessions Court judge Abdul Rashid Daud today handed down the penalties after he ruled that the prosecution had succeeded in proving their case beyond reasonable doubt.

Badrul, 38, Adam, 27, Safwan, 27, and seven others were convicted of committing both offences at Jalan Parlimen, Dang Wangi here, between 9.15am and 11.25am on June 24, 2013.

The other seven accused were Norazimah Mohamad Nor, 41, Ahmad Shauqie Abdul Aziz, 26, Ahmad Syukri Che Ab Razab, 31, Lim Sue Pei, 59, Edy Noor Reduan, 35, Md Sani Md Shah, 38, and Ekhsan Bukharee Badarul Hisham, 25.

Abdul Rashid ordered them to serve nine months imprisonment if they fail to pay the fine. Read more

129,000 trapped in slavery in Malaysia, study finds

Source: The Star Online

slaveryreport

Image drawn from The Star Online

PETALING JAYA: Almost 46 million across the world are trapped in modern slavery, with 129,000 people in Malaysia enslaved, a study shows.

According to the Global Slavery Index 2016, published by the Walk Free Foundation, there are 28% more people enslaved than previously estimated, with 45.8 million reported last year, compared with 35.8 million in 2014.

The report found that approximately 129,000 individuals, or 0.4% of Malaysia’s population are still trapped in modern slavery.

In the context of Southeast Asia, Malaysia has the fifth highest prevalence of slavery in terms of percentage, placing it behind Cambodia, Myanmar, Brunei and Thailand.

According to the report, there were cases of forced labour and exploitation within certain industries. However, in the context of the absolute number of people trapped in modern slavery, Malaysia ranks 50th, far behind countries like Indonesia, with 736,100 people, and Myanmar, with 515,100 people. Read more

Malaysia’s unity, freedoms at risk with hudud Bill, interfaith group warns

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, May 31 ― The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) expressed today its opposition to the Syariah Court (Criminal Jurisdiction) (Amendment) Bill 2016, and warned that the proposed law risks weakening the country’s constitutional liberties, including religious freedom.

Malaysia’s umbrella body representing non-Muslim religions urged Putrajaya to withdraw its support for the private member’s Bill tabled by PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang in Parliament last week.

“It has the potential to undermine religious freedom and fundamental liberties as enshrined in Part II of the Constitution. The Non-Muslim’s position too would be in jeopardy under Hudud and they would not have equal rights if implemented,” the group said in a statement.

MCCBCHST said it was “aghast” at Umno minister Datuk Seri Azalina Said Othman’s complicity to expedite Hadi’s Bill through the Dewan Rakyat and reminded the Najib administration that all past five prime ministers had rejected previous attempts to introduce hudud law into a multiracial and multireligious nation because it would have jeopardised the position of the non-Muslim communities.

It urged the government not to ignore the advice of the past five prime ministers and the history of the country.

“Our former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had warned the PAS government of Kelantan in 1994 against introducing Hudud Law in the State because ‘Hudud Law punishes victims while actual criminals were often left off with minimum punishment,” it said. Read more

Hadi’s Private Member’s Bill and its implications — Jaharberdeen Mohamed Yunoos

Source: The Malay Mail Online

BY JAHARBERDEEN MOHAMED YUNOOS

Malaysian Parliament - MMO File pic

Malaysian Parliament – MMO File pic

MAY 30 — There are essentially three dimensions to the Private Member’s Bill sought to be passed by PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, which the government graciously allowed to jump queue in the list of matters to be debated in Parliament.

First is the political dimension where PAS is clearly trying to achieve a political score with the Malay voters.  It has been widely publicising it is willing to work with anyone to achieve its “Islamic goal”.  In this case, if the Bill succeeds, PAS will have the “glory” in political history as the party which was responsible for “enhancing the status of Shariah courts” and for paving the way for further implementation of  Islamic criminal law.

If it does not succeed in passing the Bill, Umno MPs will be accused of being insincere and “opposed to Islamic laws”.  Clearly, in this game, PAS gets the credit either way with the general Malay voters.

Politically, Umno therefore is “snookered” unless it can bring the issue up to another completely different intellectual and political level which I am afraid Umno is incapable of due to misconceived fear and other reasons.

Secondly, the Constitutional dimension.  As a matter of parliamentary courtesy, it is admirable the government has given way to a Private Member’s Bill from the Opposition to be heard before government business, which always takes precedence. I believe this is the first time and as the Parliament speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin repeatedly tried to educate the opposing members from the Opposition, this is a precedent. Read more

Being transgender: Facts, myths and rights

Source: FMT News

Human Rights Watch counts 80 countries that continue to criminalize consensual same-sex relations or discussion of LGBT rights, with punishments including prison sentences, flogging, and even the death penalty. Pic taken from FMT News.

Human Rights Watch counts 80 countries that continue to criminalize consensual same-sex relations or discussion of LGBT rights, with punishments including prison sentences, flogging, and even the death penalty. Pic taken from FMT News.

WASHINGTON: Transgender people live under dramatically varying circumstances around the world — often facing violent repression, but also conquering crucial new rights most notably in Europe and the United States.

There are few reliable statistics on the community, in part because many transgender people around the world are unable to come out. And there are sometimes misunderstandings of the complex and changing vocabulary involved. Read more

Hak rakyat untuk ke luar negara – Syahredzan Johan

Sumber: Sinar Harian

OLEH SYAHREDZAN JOHAN

Sakib noted that it is a privilege to be able to have a Malaysian passport rather than a right. — AFP pic

Immigration DG Sakib noted that it is a privilege to be able to have a Malaysian passport rather than a right. — AFP pic

DILAPORKAN sesiapa sahaja yang memburukkan kerajaan boleh dihalang daripada meninggalkan negara ini selama tiga tahun. Ini menurut suatu laporan yang memetik Ketua Pengarah Imigresen bahawa terdapatnya peruntukan tersebut, sambil menegaskan bahawa memiliki pasport Malaysia adalah satu keistimewaan dan bukan satu hak.

Kerajaan, katanya, mempunyai budi bicara untuk mengeluar, menangguh atau membatalkan pasport seseorang.

Perkara ini juga disahkan oleh Timbalan Menteri Dalam Negeri, yang dilaporkan telah mengatakan bahawa perkara itu bawah kuasa pengarah Jabatan Imigresen memandangkan kebenaran seseorang untuk ke luar negara merupakan satu keistimewaan dan bukannya hak.

“Kuasa untuk membenarkan orang keluar masuk dalam negara bawah pengarah imigresen dan dia juga yang keluarkan pasport. Ia keistimewaan dan bukan hak.”

Timbalan Menteri tersebut juga dilaporkan berkata bahawa seseorang yang ingin ke luar negara seharusnya memeriksa dengan Jabatan Imigresen terlebih dahulu untuk mengetahui status mereka. Menurutnya, kerajaan tidak punya obligasi untuk memaklumkan kepada seseorang tentang apa-apa halangan ke luar negara dan juga sebab-sebab mereka dihalang. Read more

Malaysian Bar ex-presidents warn of government interference in proposed law changes

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Former Malaysian Bar president, Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, noted the importance of an independent Bar for the independent administration of justice. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

Former Malaysian Bar president, Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, noted the importance of an independent Bar for the independent administration of justice. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, May 28 ― Putrajaya is attempting to meddle with the Malaysian Bar and compromise its independence through proposed changes to the Legal Profession Act (LPA) 1976, the body’s former presidents warned.

Former Malaysian Bar president Lim Chee Wee urged the federal government to halt the “madness” of its plans to amend the law which would include introducing government appointees into the decision-making council of the professional body for all lawyers in Peninsular Malaysia.

“I am flabbergasted that the government wants to interfere with the Bar to the extent of having a direct say in its affairs. The only natural inference is that this is a reprisal against the Bar’s principled stand against the wrongs of the government.

“I urge the good people in Cabinet and government to stop this madness,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted yesterday.

Another former Malaysian Bar president, Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, noted the importance of an independent Bar for the independent administration of justice.

“I see this as a direct interference into the affairs of the Bar and Bar Council. Clearly the government sees an independent Bar as a threat to their wielding of untrammelled power against the citizens.

“The Malaysian Bar is well respected internationally for its courage and defence of the rule of law, no matter the consequences to itself,” she told Malay Mail Online. Read more

Surendran: 18 prison deaths monthly ‘shocking’, unacceptable

Source: FMT News

dewan_rakyat_signpost_2015_-_parliament_reportKUALA LUMPUR: Padang Serai MP N. Surendran has urged Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to provide better and further particulars on a statement he made in Parliament on Thursday on prison deaths. “He should urgently explain to the people the reasons for the high number of prison deaths.”

Further, added the MP in a statement, Zahid should state what immediate steps he proposes to take to address this matter. “He must treat this as a matter of grave importance as it involves the sanctity of human life.”

An average 18 prisoners, according to Zahid, die each month in prison, noted Surendran.

The MP was following up on Zahid revealing that between 2013 and 30 April 2016, 721 prisoners died in Malaysian prisons. “This information was given in answer to a parliamentary question I had submitted to the Home Minister,” disclosed Surendran.

Of this figure, 427 were Malays, 104 Chinese, 91 Indians, 10 others and 89 foreign citizens, according to Zahid, pointed Surendran. Read more

Prosecute Ibrahim Ali or Jamal Yunos too, rights group says

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Sedition Act 1948

Sedition Act 1948

KUALA LUMPUR, May 27 ― A human rights group described today the imprisonment sentence on Vivian Lee for sedition as harsh, noting that no action was taken against others for considerably more racially charged speeches.

Lawyers for Liberty director Eric Paulsen said if the courts found punishment was warranted with Lee’s mock invitation on Facebook for Muslims to break fast with “bak kut teh”, then Malay rights advocates like #Merah169 leader Datuk Jamal Md Yunos or Perkasa chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali should be prosecuted too.

“First and foremost, the Sedition Act should be abolished. No one in this day and age should be prosecuted for a mere comment without any element of incitement to violence or serious hate speech,” Paulsen told Malay Mail Online.

“Certainly the prosecution policies could have been more even handed, but we do not see the likes of Ibrahim Ali, Jamal Yunos, Ali Tinju etc prosecuted for much more serious speeches,” he added. Read more