Suhakam: More than 100 die in Malaysian immigration detention camps in past two years

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Suhakam’s Jerald Joseph says the number of deaths is too many and is shocking and it calls for the overhaul of the system. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng for the MMO.

Suhakam’s Jerald Joseph says the number of deaths is too many and is shocking and it calls for the overhaul of the system. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng for the MMO.

KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 ― More than one hundred foreigners died in the past two years in Malaysia’s immigration detention centres from various diseases and unknown causes, according to documents from the government-funded National Human Rights Commission reviewed by Reuters.

The toll, which has not been previously disclosed, is based on Malaysian immigration department data provided to the commission, which is known by its Malay acronym Suhakam. There were 83 deaths in 2015, and at least 35 in 2016 up to December 20.

It is unclear whether the death rate is higher than in neighbouring countries. Government officials in Indonesia and Thailand told Reuters they do not disclose such numbers. The rate is higher than in major industrialized nations such as the United States, which in the last financial year recorded 10 deaths in its immigration detention system, which has many more detainees than Malaysia’s.

More than half of the 118 dead are from Myanmar, the source for tens of thousands of refugees coming to Malaysia, including Rohingya Muslims escaping persecution by Myanmar’s authorities and its majority Buddhist population. The number of Rohingya fatalities in the camps is unknown. Read more

PAS undeterred by government decision on shariah bill

Source: FMT News

Vice-president Idris Ahmad says the party will continue its fight till judgement day. Pic from FMT News.

Vice-president Idris Ahmad says the party will continue its fight till judgement day. Pic from FMT News.

KUALA LUMPUR: PAS today vowed to continue pushing for heavier penalties for shariah offences, a day after Prime Minister Najib Razak said the government would not table a bill to amend the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act as announced ealier.

“We will fight for it till judgement day,” PAS vice-president Idris Ahmad told reporters at the Parliament today.

PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang tabled the bill, also known as Act 355, seeking to increase the maximum punishment on offences under shariah to 30 years’ jail, 100 lashes of the cane, and RM100,000 fine.

Idris brushed aside suggestions that the government’s decision would affect the party’s ties with Umno, saying there had never been one to begin with. Read more

Kenyataan Solidariti bersama Siti Noor Aishah – Joint Statement

 Dated 30 March 2017
Kami, yang menyokong kenyataan ini, memandang serius akan perkembangan semasa melibatkan kes Siti Nor Aishah yang ditahan di bawah Akta SOSMA kerana dituduh memiliki 12 judul bahan bacaan haram yang berkaitan dengan kumpulan pengganas.
 
Siti Nor Aishah juga ditahan beberapa kali di bawah beberapa Akta Pencegahan Jenayah (POCA) serta dikenakan tahanan rumah selama dua tahun serta pengasingan sendiri.
 
Perkembangan semasa rejim Najib Razak yang melakukan pemerasan budaya terhadap pekerja budaya dan seni kebelakangan ini menggunakan pelbagai Akta yang menindas amat membimbangkan dan kami, menolak sekeras-kerasnya perbudakan budaya dalam memeras kegiatan seni budaya warga.
 
#SetiakawanMelawan! #MansuhSOSMA!
 
Jika anda mahu bersama untuk mendukung kenyataan ini, sila masukkan nama kolektif / individu di bawah. Sebarkan!

Read more

Constitution – the litmus test of validity — Shad Saleem Faruqi

Source: The Star Online

BY SHAD SALEEM FARUQI

Shad Saleem Faruqi - file pic

Shad Saleem Faruqi – file pic

FORMER Chief Justice Tun Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim is reported to have stated at a forum that “Islamic law takes precedence over civil legislation in Malaysia”.

According to him, “just like laws that contradicted the Federal Constitution would be void, those that went against Islamic law’s main sources – the Quran and Sunnah – would also be void”.

Most respectfully this remarkable, revolutionary view of our legal system has no basis in the constitutional, legal, political, social, economic and historical reality of post-Merdeka Malaya and especially post-1963 Malaysia. Sabah and Sarawak will be alarmed by this view. If these thoughts were merely a prayer and an aspiration, that would be legitimate but then Tun Fairuz should have said that he was expressing a personal vision of what ought to be, not what is. His speech is likely to confuse many students of constitutional law.
Read more

Malaysia: Reject Security Bill Extension – Let Abusive Detention Provision Lapse

Source: Human Rights Watch

(Bangkok) – The Malaysian government’s proposal to extend its authority to detain security suspects for 28 days violates the right to prompt judicial review, Human Rights Watch said today. The provision of the 2012 Security Offenses (Special Measures) Act (SOSMA) that allows senior police officials to detain people without charge to investigate “security offenses” will lapse on July 31, 2017, if not renewed by parliament.

“Since 2012, Malaysian authorities have repeatedly used the security offenses law to pursue a political agenda of detaining outspoken activists without charge,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director. “Parliament should recognize the harm this detention provision causes both for ordinary Malaysians and for Malaysia’s reputation abroad, and reject it before further damage is done.”

Section 4(5) of SOSMA, which the government is seeking to reauthorize for another five years, permits detention for 28 days without any judicial oversight, violating international human rights standards for prompt judicial review. Although the law provides that no one is to be arrested “solely for his political belief or political activity,” it defines “political activity” narrowly, leaving room for authorities to arrest and detain people for other forms of peaceful political activity. Read more

Custodial deaths: New procedures to categorise offenders

Source: FMT News

Detainees will need to fill up a form stating their injuries or illnesses and will be kept away from those with contagious diseases. Pic form FMT News.

Detainees will need to fill up a form stating their injuries or illnesses and will be kept away from those with contagious diseases. Pic form FMT News.

KUALA LUMPUR: Police have reviewed their standard operating procedures (SOP) to tackle the growing problem of custodial deaths, said Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

In a written Dewan Rakyat reply, dated March 20, Zahid said the new SOP contained the requirement to isolate detainees with contagious illnesses and to ensure detainees fill up and verify a form stating their injuries or illnesses.

Also, as much as possible, detainees should be isolated according to the category of offences they’re accused of, Zahid said.

They could be isolated as remand detainees, convicted detainees, drunk detainees, habitual offenders, detainees held under preventive laws, or women and child detainees, said Zahid.

“Visits by Suhakam (Human Rights Commission of Malaysia) are organised to ensure the detentions are in line with international guidelines.” Read more

Najib says BN won’t push Shariah Bill

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, March 29 — Barisan Nasional will not table amendments to increase Shariah punishments being sought by PAS, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today.

The prime minister and BN chairman said this was decided by the coalition following its supreme council meeting this evening.

“Therefore it will remain a Private Member’s Bill and if it is presented, it will depend on the Speakers instructions,” he was quoted as saying by the Star Online news portal.

BN previously said it would take over PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s proposal and convert it into a government Bill eventually.

Tonight’s announcement will remove the obligation that would have existed for BN federal lawmakers to support the amendments were these tabled by the government.

Hadi’s Bill may now fail to even surface in Parliament; he was only able to table the motion for his Bill last year after an Umno minister intervened to elevate it above government matters. Read more

Suhakam lambasts police over detainee’s death in custody

Source: FMT News

Human rights group says police showed 'wilful disregard' to protect the life of S Balamurugan. Pic from FMT News.

Human rights group says police showed ‘wilful disregard’ to protect the life of S Balamurugan. Pic from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has taken the police to task over the death in custody of S Balamurugan last month.

Suhakam, which recently concluded its independent investigation into Balamurugan’s death, said the police knew or ought to have known of the existence of “a real and immediate threat” to his life. However, they failed to take adequate measures within the scope of their powers that could have prevented that risk, it said.

The rights group also said there was a “serious breach or wilful disregard” of the police’s duty to protect life. This was seen in their failure to provide medical attention to Balamurugan despite directions from the magistrate to do so.

Evidence from the probe, which took into account interviews and statements from 43 witnesses, also identified multiple systemic failures on the part of the police regarding the treatment of detainees.

This included the failure in following Lock-Up Rules 1953, police standard operating procedures, the court order and relevant international human rights norms and standards, it said. Read more

Putrajaya tables new law to protect children from sex predators

Source: The Malay Mail Online

If passed by Parliament, the Sexual Offences against Children Bill 2017 will introduce a range of new offences with harsh penalties that can go up to maximum 30 years’ jail, a minimum whipping of six strokes, or a maximum RM20,000 fine. Pic from AFP.

If passed by Parliament, the Sexual Offences against Children Bill 2017 will introduce a range of new offences with harsh penalties that can go up to maximum 30 years’ jail, a minimum whipping of six strokes, or a maximum RM20,000 fine. Pic from AFP.

KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 — The federal government presented today its draft of a new law that aims to cast a wider net on sexual predators targeting children.

If passed by Parliament, the Sexual Offences against Children Bill 2017 will introduce a range of new offences with harsh penalties that can go up to maximum 30 years’ jail, a minimum whipping of six strokes, or a maximum RM20,000 fine.

New specific offences against child porn

The proposed law that seeks to beef up protection of children from sexual offences and provide effective deterrence focuses heavily on banning all forms of action related to child pornography. This will be the first law in Malaysia to deal specifically with child pornographic material.

Lawyers had in the past told Malay Mail Online that Malaysian laws do not  differentiate between pornographic materials depicting adults or children, with the same penalties applicable to possession or distribution of both types of materials. Read more

Death penalty should be abolished, says Baru

Source: Borneo Post

Baru Bian, Pic from Borneo Post.

Baru Bian, Pic from Borneo Post.

KUCHING: State PKR chairman Baru Bian wholeheartedly agrees with the call by human rights advocates that capital punishment be removed for all crimes currently punishable by death.

According to him, imposing of the death penalty was believed to act as a deterrent against crime but there is no conclusive evidence that capital punishment is an effective deterrent.

“Those who are about to commit crimes do not stop and sit down to weigh the consequences if they are caught, especially those who commit murder.

“I believe most people do not even know what the penalties are for various crimes except for drug trafficking as that is well-publicised, but even that does not have any deterrent effect, judging from the unabating illegal drug activities in this country,” Baru said in a press statement yesterday.

Baru, who is Ba Kelalan assemblyman, said while capital punishment does not give the offender the chance to be rehabilitated, he believed that people can change, and there are many offenders who do change.

“Whether it is through spiritual input, professional counselling or even the ageing process, many former criminals have changed their attitudes towards crime and emerged as reformed individuals. Read more