Low: NGOs encouraged to engage with government to solve human rights issues

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Minister in the Prime Minister’s department Datuk Paul Low delivers a speech during the Suhakam forum in conjunction with World Human Rights Day, Kuala Lumpur December 8, 2016. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

Minister in the Prime Minister’s department Datuk Paul Low delivers a speech during the Suhakam forum in conjunction with World Human Rights Day, Kuala Lumpur December 8, 2016. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 — Non-governmental organisations (NGO) are encouraged to engage with the government to solve the issue of human rights, says Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan.

He said when he first became minister, the first thing he found was that very few NGOs did research with the government and there was a serious lack in engagement with the civil society group.

“I did try to change the government culture engaging the civil society group and we have a lot to do about it.

“The first thing to do is constructing engagement and have a dialogue where we should be open to listen to other views but it takes times,” he said during the speech of the ‘Human Rights Awards Ceremony 2016’ here today. Read more

2016 in Msia: Human rights takes a beating — Kua Kia Soong

Source: FMT News

By Kua Kia Soong

Kua Kia Soong -- file pic

Kua Kia Soong — file pic

2016 was certainly one of the worst years for human rights in Malaysia with detention without trial used against human rights defenders, bringing back memories of Operation Lalang unleashed by Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 1987. Malaysia’s internationally celebrated cartoonist was arrested and charged, the online press Malaysiakini harassed yet again, neo-fascists intimidating peaceful Bersih 5 participants and getting away with impunity… all of these abominations happened while the country was embroiled in one of the biggest financial scandals involving the national sovereign fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

While the police have been skilful at arresting and detaining Malaysians such as Maria Chin, Zunar and others, they have proven ineffectual at apprehending human traffickers, industrial polluters of water sources and the person or persons who have issued death threats against Maria. Have we seen any convictions against these criminals? Can we therefore count on our police force to apprehend international terrorists? And by letting neo-fascists get away with their bullying behaviour with impunity, the police run the risk of losing all credibility as keepers of law and order. Read more

Maria: Bersih suing TV3 over RM3.2b Soros funding claim

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Bersih 2.0's Maria Chin Abdullah said TV3 had made the defamatory claim “every day” on its prime-time slot Buletin Utama just before her group’s Bersih 5 rally.. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

Bersih 2.0’s Maria Chin Abdullah said TV3 had made the defamatory claim “every day” on its prime-time slot Buletin Utama just before her group’s Bersih 5 rally.. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 — Electoral reform group Bersih 2.0 will sue broadcast station TV3 for defamation over allegations of RM3.2 billion funding by US billionaire George Soros, the group’s chairman Maria Chin Abdullah said today.

Maria said TV3 had run news reports on the claim without attributing the allegation to anyone.

“We have already put in a letter of demand and TV3 has refu

sed to apologise and retract, so we are proceeding with the legal case,” she told reporters here.

Maria said TV3 had made the defamatory claim “every day” on its prime-time slot Buletin Utama before her group’s Bersih 5 rally on November 19, adding that the broadcaster did not seek Bersih 2.0’s comments for the report. Read more

Former Suhakam chairman, beseeches gov’t to ratify 6 core int’l human rights treaties

Source: NST Online

Tan Sri Hasmy Agam speaks at the Suhakam forum in conjunction with World Human Rights Day, Kuala Lumpur, December 8, 2016. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

Tan Sri Hasmy Agam speaks at the Suhakam forum in conjunction with World Human Rights Day, Kuala Lumpur, December 8, 2016. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR: The Government has been urged to sign the remaining six out of nine core International Human Right Treaties to be on par with other developed nations.

The suggestion was given by former chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam), Tan Sri Hasmy Agam, as he said by 2020 with Malaysia being a developed nation, the country would be judged on a much higher standard in terms of human rights issues.

“As we move towards being a developed nation by 2020 or whenever we achieve the status, this is a timely act.

“In order for us to be a developed country, in both sense of the word (human rights), we need to improve our human rights records and performance to be on par with other developed nations,” he said at a forum during the Joint Commemoration of the 2016 Human Rights Day held here yesterday. Read more

Nik Nazmi pleads guilty to organising ‘Black 505’, fined RM1,500

Source: The Malay Mail Online

SHAH ALAM, Dec 8 — Selangor executive council member Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad was today fined RM1,500 in default two weeks’ jail by the High Court here today for organising the ‘Black 505’ rally without permit three years ago.

Judge Datuk Ghazali Cha imposed the fine to Nik Nazmi, 34, after he pleaded guilty to the charge.

Nik Nazmi paid the fine.  Read more

Suaram: Fewer reported torture, deaths in police custody this year

Source: The Malay Mail Online

The human rights commission said in its report on deaths in detentions released today that two-thirds of detainees with health problems interviewed were denied medical attention, as the police did not believe that they were genuinely ill. — AFP pic

Suaram project coordinator Dobby Chew said this year, there has been fewer reports of torture from those in police custody. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 ― Malaysia has seen some improvement this year in the number of alleged torture and deaths of those under police custody, human rights group Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) said today.

Suaram project coordinator Dobby Chew said there has been fewer reports of torture from those in police custody.

“This year when we get a lot of cases, we usually ask them ‘Did anything happen to you? Did you get roughed up?

“Starting of the year was rather pessimistic, everyone has recounted some degree of torture, physical violence; but as the year progressed I think this April or May, incidences of that being reported has reduced quite a bit.

“I think we still get one call or two calls a week but most of the time it’s not as bad anymore, so I think there is some sort of improvement from our pressure,” he said at the launch of Suaram’s annual human rights report.

In its Human Rights Report Malaysia 2016 Overview, Suaram said several high-profile cases alleging police brutality and torture had come to light despite the relative improvement in the number of such cases of police ill-treatment. Read more

Ambiga latest to be questioned by cops over foreign funding

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan is the latest activist to be questioned by cops over foreign funding from US billionaire George Soros’s Open Society Foundation. — Picture by Choo Choy May

Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan is the latest activist to be questioned by cops over foreign funding from US billionaire George Soros’s Open Society Foundation. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 ― Former Bersih 2.0 chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan is the latest activist to be quizzed by police in relation to funds received from US billionaire George Soros’s Open Society Foundation (OSF).

Ambiga, who was accompanied by lawyer N. Surendran was investigated under the Section 124C of the Penal Code, which covers the “attempt to commit an activity detrimental to parliamentary democracy.”

She was called in her capacity as the former Bersih 2.0 chairman. She held the post from November 2010 until November 2013.

“Many NGOs have been dragged in. It’s really an all-out attack on the NGOs,” she told reporters at the federal police headquarters in Bukit Aman after being questioned by the police for more than one hour.

Ambiga also said the foreign funding issue was not new, and added that she was unclear if she was called in as a suspect or witness.

“I think the problem is they get scared when they know the people support what the NGOs are doing, in my view that’s what this investigation is all about,” she said. Read more

Ambiga gives statement to police over funds received from George Soros foundation

Source: NST Online

KUALA LUMPUR 30 JULY 2016. President HAKAM, Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan  during ASEAN Bar Association Conference for the promotion and protection of the rights of migrant workers and members and members of their families in the ASEAN region at Renaissance Hotel Kuala Lumpur. NSTP/NURUL SHAFINA JEMENON

KUALA LUMPUR 30 JULY 2016. HAKAM President, Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan during ASEAN Bar Association Conference for the promotion and protection of the rights of migrant workers and members and members of their families in the ASEAN region at Renaissance Hotel Kuala Lumpur. NSTP/NURUL SHAFINA JEMENON

KUALA LUMPUR: Police today recorded a statement from former Bersih chairman Datuk S. Ambiga over funds received from George Soros’ Open Society Institute (OSI), now known as Open Society Foundations, in 2011.

Ambiga who is also Malaysia Human Rights Society (Hakam) president, arrived at the federal police headquarters at Bukit Aman at 10.50am, accompanied by lawyer N. Surendran.

Ambiga was questioned for more than an hour under Section 124 (c) of the Penal Code, for attempting to commit an activity detrimental to parliamentary democracy.

The police are understood to be also investigating Lawyers For Liberty (LFL), activists and representatives from non-governmental organisations and the Bar Council over the issue. Ambiga was the chairperson for Bersih from November 2010 until November 2013.