Malaysia’s new morality: The unspoken deceit in Act 355 — Francesca Ross

Source: Asean Today

BY FRANCESCA ROSS

Malaysia’s parliament is to vote on amendments which would increase the severity of sentences which the country’s Shariah courts can pass. Minority groups worry this is a slow march to an Islamic penal code.

What kind of crime deserves 30 years of imprisonment? Malaysian politicians are asking themselves that question as the amendments to the controversial Sharia Court Act again come up for national and parliamentary debate in March. Does a moral mistake deserve the same level of punishment as a criminal act? If members decide the answer is yes, then religious issues in the country just reached a whole new level of relevance – all thanks to political desperation. Read more

HAKAM Workshop: Build and Develop Effective and Engaging Digital Content

A FREE workshop for civil society organisations and individuals advocating for human rights. Admission is by Pre-Registration, by email to info[at]hakam.org.my. Register early as seats are limited.

HAKAM Workshop 2532017
The internet is a power medium civil society can use to create narratives that matter and shape conversations that will influence opinions. We have the opportunity to engage with 10 million Malaysians, a majority of whom are heavy users of social media.

But do we have the type and style of content that people want to read and share? How do we create and build our own content?

Come to this workshop! HAKAM is also learning and needing to pick up better skills to create and develop our online content. We wish to share this workshop with civil society organisations and individuals working on human rights. How do you make human rights matter through online engagement Read more

Why the Orang Asli blockade in Kelantan matters

Source: The Malay Mail Online

A small group of 15 people gather outside the national headquarters of PAS on Jalan Raja Laut, Kuala Lumpur tonight to express solidarity with the native Temiar people of Gua Musang, Kelantan, November 30, 2016. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

A small group of 15 people gather outside the national headquarters of PAS on Jalan Raja Laut, Kuala Lumpur tonight to express solidarity with the native Temiar people of Gua Musang, Kelantan, November 30, 2016. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, March 1 — For many within the Temiar Orang Asli community, the forest in Gua Musang, Kelantan represents much more than just a place to call home.

It is where they seek shelter, hunt for food as well bury their dead, and they have been doing so for centuries without any incident. In return, they do their part and abide by strict ceremonial customs to safeguard and preserve the forest as well as the creatures that live in it.

But all this is rapidly changing, due to the aggressive deforestation by developers and which is sanctioned by the PAS-led Kelantan government. Logging is the main source of income for the one of Malaysia’s poorest states, so it is unlikely that their position on the matter will change anytime soon.

A new documentary titled Fighting for My Home for Channel News Asia’s Get Real programme has shed some new insight into the matter, as the affected Temiar community speak up on why they continue to stand by their blockade efforts to save the forest.  [Admin.: The video links appear at the end of this post] Read more

Public sector governance: Filling the gaps — Latifah Merican Cheong

Source: The Malay Mail Online

BY LATIFAH MERICAN CHEONG

opinion-clipart-k12118272MARCH 1 — Good governance is not a panacea for strong economic performance. But good, well designed economic policies show bad results when the implementation is not done with a good governance framework.

Case studies show that countries which prioritises developing governance capabilities of the public sector and the political leadership enables strong sustainable growth to happen.

At the forum on governance of Parliament to exercise oversight over the Executive in August 2016, the Malaysian Economic Association brought in MPs and parliamentary experts from the UK, Australia, India, Indonesia and our own MPs to debate on the value of parliamentary committees as an enabling mechanism for MPs to exercise oversight over the Executive and ensure accountability of government.

On February 13-14, 2017, MEA followed up with its second forum on economic governance with a discussion on the governance of the public sector itself.

The public forum and the closed-door round-table covered the evolution of the public sector governance framework, the ethics and transparency dimension of this framework and the efficacy of the governance framework for the implementation of economic and financial policies. Read more

Death row inmate: Lawyers disappointed envoy won’t help

Source: FMT News

Lawyers defending Malaysian on Singapore death row want foreign minister to clarify country's stand if Malaysians travelling abroad run into legal troubles. Pic taken from FMT News.

Lawyers defending Malaysian on Singapore death row want foreign minister to clarify country’s stand if Malaysians travelling abroad run into legal troubles. Pic taken from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: The lawyers of a Singapore death row prisoner are disappointed with Malaysia’s high commissioner Ilango Karuppannan for stating that Putrajaya will not interfere in the case of Prabagaran Srivijayan.

Referring to Ilango’s comments, N Surendran and Latheefa Koya said Putrajaya’s decision would have a major impact on Malaysians travelling or living abroad who faced legal proceedings in foreign places.

“What he said has wider consequences. I urge Foreign Minister Anifah Aman to clarify this matter and state the government’s stand on Malaysians treated unfairly abroad, and to take all steps necessary to save Prabagaran from the gallows,” Surendran and Latheefa said in a statement released today.

Yesterday, IIango said Malaysia would not interfere in Singapore’s internal affairs in relation to a Malaysian on death row in Changi prison. Read more

Activists file civil suit demanding Zakir Naik’s arrest

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Activists speak to members of the media at a press conference after filing a civil suit on Dr Zakir Naik at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex March 1, 2017. — Picture by Zurairi AR

Activists speak to members of the media at a press conference after filing a civil suit on Dr Zakir Naik at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex March 1, 2017. — Picture by Zurairi AR

KUALA LUMPUR, March 1 — A group of 19 human rights activists filed a civil suit against the Malaysian government today, accusing it of failing to protect the country against controversial televangelist Dr Zakir Naik.

The suit, among others, sought a government declaration that Dr Zakir was a threat to national security, called for a ban to prevent him from entering the country, and for him to be arrested and deported immediately.

The group, comprising plaintiffs from different religious and ethnic backgrounds, said Dr Zakir was an “undesirable person” and “a preacher of hate” who was currently roaming free in Malaysia.

“This application is not meant to insult or question the teachings of Islam and/or insult the feelings of any parties whether Muslim or not, Zakir Naik’s fans, or observers of his speeches,” the group’s spokesman, P. Waytha Moorthy, read to the press from an affidavit.

“There’s nothing on Islam, we’re strictly going on the issue of national security. Strictly on that,” added Waytha Moorthy, who is also chairman of the Hindu Rights Action Force, or Hindraf.

Besides Waytha Moorthy, the 19 plaintiffs included academic Dr Lim Teck Ghee, Sabah lawmaker Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, lawyers Siti Kassim and Asiah Abd Jalil, and Sarawak activist Peter John Jaban.

Other reliefs sought by the plaintiffs include a declaration that Dr Zakir is a threat to country’s security, unity as well as the peaceful and harmonious co-existence of its various faiths and races. Read more

Malaysians worried about climate change, survey shows after Earth’s hottest year

Source: The Malay Mail Online

A total of 65.3 per cent perceived the temperature in Malaysia to be higher compared to three years ago. — AFP pic

A total of 65.3 per cent perceived the temperature in Malaysia to be higher compared to three years ago. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, March 1 — Majority of Malaysians are concerned about climate change and dissatisfied with the government’s efforts in managing it, a Merdeka Center survey has shown.

The survey, which was conducted in December 2016, showed that 81 per cent of Malaysians expressed worry about climate change, even as 2016 was the hottest year ever recorded at 1.1 degree Celsius above the pre-industrial revolution average.

“When asked about their satisfaction with the government’s handling of climate change, only 37.5 per cent of respondents report satisfaction while close to one-half (49.7 per cent) expressed dissatisfaction,” Merdeka Center said in a statement.

“The survey found that Bumiputera respondents were more likely to be satisfied with the government efforts while those with higher education and incomes were more dissatisfied,” the polling outfit added.

According to Merdeka Center, the survey showed that respondents with a higher income, college education and those aged above 40 years old were more concerned about climate change compared to their peers.

Even though 70 per cent of respondents believed that climate change was caused by human activities, a significant minority at 22 per cent thought that climate change was a result of natural causes. However, scientists blame global warming on human activity.

“Malaysians were also split when assessing their own personal efforts at protecting the environment with 38.9 per cent of the respondents claimed they had done enough while 42.5 per cent of the respondents claimed they had not done enough,” Merdeka Center said. Read more

MACC probes alleged misappropriation of funds involving Umno supreme council member

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM) – Gambar fail The Malaysian Insider

Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM) – Gambar fail The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, March 1 — The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has confirmed receiving a report alleging that an Umno Supreme Council member was involved in the misappropriation of funds in a software development project for the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) yesterday.

In a statement today, the MACC said the report was received from the police, following a public complaint.

“The MACC will investigate the report which was obtained prior to opening an investigation on the allegation.

“The individual involved will be called to testify, if necessary, to assist in the investigations,” it said, adding the commission would also cooperate with MCMC to obtain information regarding the allegation.

A local portal had reported that a complaint alleging a foundation owned by a member of the Umno supreme council had misappropriated funds worth RM2.7 million.

The police report was lodged at the Dang Wangi police headquarters on Monday.

Dang Wangi police chief ACP Mohd Sukri Kaman confirmed receiving the report. — Bernama

Democracy and the role of government – An overview — Greg Lopez

Source: The Malay Mail  Online

BY GREG LOPEZ

From MMO: Greg Lopez is a lecturer at Murdoch University Executive Education Centre. He is interested in the links between individual agency, governance, economic growth and political stability. He explores these issues through this column.

From MMO: Greg Lopez is a lecturer at Murdoch University Executive Education Centre. He is interested in the links between individual agency, governance, economic growth and political stability. He explores these issues through this column.

MARCH 1 — In two earlier articles, it was stated that in a democratic system (which Malaysia claims to be), free and fair elections is the only way of electing a government.

In earlier articles, it was narrated that human history has always been about survival, in particular the survival of “the tribe.” In Malaysia, the “Umno tribe”, the “PAS tribe” and other “tribes” residing in this geographical and political entity called Malaysia compete for the available resources to continue and/or enhance their (and that of their supporters’) chances of survival.

Clearly, some tribes have benefitted more than others – hence the unprecedented discontent with the present government.

But what is democracy and what is the role of a democratically elected government?

At the most fundamental level, democracy is a system where “the people” rule (government of the people, by the people, for the people as it is famously phrased); more importantly, “the people” must rule equally.

This differentiates democracy from other systems (e.g. monarchy – rule by a particular family; theocracy – rule by the clergy; dictatorship – rule by one individual; one party state – rule by one particular party; oligarchy – rule by one particular group of rich people, etc.).

What then is the role of government in a democracy to achieve the two fundamental principles of democracy (ruled equally by a government of the people, by the people and for the people)?  Read more