Malaysia not ready for automatic voter registration, EC chairman says

 

HAKAM Comment: What are these “extra-sensitive job scope of the Election Commission” and other factors which hold Malaysia back from having an automatic voter registration system?

Source: The Malay Mail Online

EC chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Hashim Abdullah — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

EC chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Hashim Abdullah — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, March 16 — The extra-sensitive job scope of the Election Commission is among the factors for Malaysia not being ready to implement the automatic voter registration system.

EC Chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Hashim Abdullah said the commission did not want to be blamed for any problems arising from any changes related to voter registration.

“There may be some things which we do not deem serious, but is taken seriously by certain parties. Especially when we make changes. If we are not prepared, but we proceed to do the changes, then many issues will arise,” he said.

Mohamad Hashim said this when appeared as a guest in the Slot Khas Ekspresi programme on Bernama Radio today, discussing the topic of “Voting and the Responsibility of a Citizen”.

He said although there had been calls for the EC to have an automatic voter registration system, the EC was confident that the present system was still efficient.  Read more

Behind closed doors: A tale of ongoing domestic servitude in Malaysia

Source: Asian Correspondent

Stock image via Multi-share / Shutterstock

Stock image via Multi-share / Shutterstock

SOK Nay still vividly remembers the two weeks she suffered with second-degree burns from kneeling on the hot asphalt outside her employer’s home. She was being punished for incorrectly cleaning a couch.

It was 2009 and she was working for an ethnic Chinese family in the suburbs of Sungai Buloh. It was January and nearing Chinese New Year, so “Madam” was rightfully angry with her error that might have caused embarrassment when family came to visit, she believed.

But she never expected the punishment.

“The couch wasn’t spoilt at all, it was just wet but she didn’t like it, she was very angry so she had me kneel down in front of the house, outside the gate,” Nay, a Cambodian domestic worker in Malaysia at the time, says in a recent interview. Read more

Malaysia: Govt launches website to tackle fake news phenomenon

Source: Asian Correspondent

Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

TO stop the spread of fake news, Malaysia’s Internet regulator has launched a website to help the public verify the authenticity of “questionable” articles with the authorities.

Sebenarnya.my, which was unveiled on Tuesday by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), is an online tool which allows the public to share unconfirmed news items spread on social media, short messaging services and websites with relevant government agencies.

The authorities will then verify the articles in question and respond to the items swiftly, New Straits Times reported.

In Malay, “sebenarnya” is an adverb which loosely translates to “actually” or “truthfully”. According to Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak, the word is used as the website’s name because it is line with the government’s aim to combat the rampant spread of false news. Read more

Execution of Batumalai brothers: Abolish the death penalty — Suhakam

Source: The Malay Mail Online

MARCH 16 — The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) refers to the execution of Rames Batumalai and his brother, Suthar Batumalai on March 15, 2017. Suhakam reiterates that the mandatory imposition of the death penalty violates the basic right to life, as enshrined in international human rights law as it constitutes an arbitrary deprivation of life, as well as denies judges the possibility of taking into account the facts of the offence or the characteristics of each individual offender for purposes of sentencing.

Suhakam is of the opinion that the mandatory death penalty must be abolished so that judges will be given their discretionary power to decide on a sentence for a convicted person.

Suhakam also calls on the Government to review the relevance and effectiveness of capital punishment and recommends that a moratorium on the use of the death penalty be put into effect.

Tan Sri Razali Ismail
Chairman
The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam)

Court rejects two Malaysia-born boys’ citizenship bids, insists statelessness unproven

Source: The Malay Mail Online

The Court of Appeal has ruled Lim Jen Hsian's six-year-old son could not be granted citizenship despite being born in Malaysia. — Picture by Choo Choy May

The Court of Appeal has ruled Lim Jen Hsian’s six-year-old son could not be granted citizenship despite being born in Malaysia. — Picture by Choo Choy May

PUTRAJAYA, March 16 ― The Court of Appeal today dismissed separate bids for citizenship by two boys born in Malaysia, after ruling that they failed to prove they were stateless or were not citizens of other countries.

In the case of Malaysian Lim Jen Hsian’s six-year-old son, the Court of Appeal ruled the child could not be granted citizenship despite being born in Malaysia.

“There is no dispute that documentary evidence confirms the second appellant was born after Malaysia Day in the federation on October 6, 2010 at Hospital Tung Shin ― this fulfills the requirement of jus soli under Article 14(1)(b) or (Clause) 1(e).

“However the issue is also whether or not he has satisfied the requirement that he is not born a citizen of any other country under Article 14(1)(b),” Court of Appeal judge Datuk Badariah Sahamid said when reading out the brief grounds of judgment, referring to the boy as the second appellant.

Both Lim and his son had jointly filed their legal challenge in 2014 to, among others, obtain the child’s citizenship, based on the Federal Constitution’s Article 14(1)(b) read together with the Constitution’s Second Schedule’s Part II’s Clause 1(e) that give citizenship to every person who are born in Malaysia and who is not born a citizen of any country. Read more

Suhakam calls for moratorium on death penalty

Source: The Sun Daily

SUHAKAMPETALING JAYA: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has called on the government to review the relevance of capital punishment, recommending for a moratorium on the death penalty.

Referring to the execution of brothers Rames and Suthar Batumalai on Wednesday, its chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail opined that the mandatory death penalty must be abolished so that judges will be given discretionary powers for a convicted person.

“Suhakam reiterates that the mandatory imposition of the death penalty violates the basic right to life, as enshrined in international human rights law as it constitutes an arbitrary deprivation of life, as well as denies judges the possibility of taking into account the facts of the offence or the characteristics of each individual offender for the purposes of sentencing,” he said in a statement today. Read more

Activist seeks review of Film Censorship Act

Source: FMT News

Activist Lena Hendry (second from right) hands over her complaints to Suhakam commissioners Mah Weng Kwai (middle) and Jerald Joseph (second from right), pic from FMT News.

Activist Lena Hendry (second from right) hands over her complaints to Suhakam commissioners Mah Weng Kwai (middle) and Jerald Joseph (second from left), pic from FMT News.

KUALA LUMPUR: Human rights activist Lena Hendry, who was recently found guilty of screening an uncensored film, is making a last-minute plea for a review of the law she was convicted under.

Facing a possible three-year jail sentence, she said the Film Censorship Act needed to be reviewed as the law was “quite outdated”.

She said it could be seen as a blanket ban on whoever had a video on their handphones that was not filtered by the authorities.

She said they could be found guilty because of that, she told Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) commissioners Mah Weng Kwai and Jerald Joseph when filing a complaint against the law. Read more

Anti-TPP groups withdraw lawsuit following trade deal’s collapse

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Tindakan 3 NGO memfailkan semakan kehakiman pada November lepas tidak dapat diadili kerana mahkamah tidak mempunyai bidang kuasa mendengar dan membuat keputusan mengenai TPPA yang masih belum ditandatangani. – Gambar fail The Malaysian Insider, 12 Januari, 2016.

Tindakan 3 NGO memfailkan semakan kehakiman pada November lepas tidak dapat diadili kerana mahkamah tidak mempunyai bidang kuasa mendengar dan membuat keputusan mengenai TPPA yang masih belum ditandatangani. – Gambar fail The Malaysian Insider, 12 Januari, 2016.

PUTRAJAYA, March 16 ― Three groups opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement today dropped their lawsuit to halt Malaysia from joining the free-trade deal.

The US, which spearheaded the negotiations, and Malaysia have both decided to pull out from the 12-nation pact.

Lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla informed the Federal Court that his clients instructed the withdrawal of the lawsuit as the matter was now academic.

“First by withdrawal of US from the TPP on January 23, 2017 and the second one (is) where our own minister of trade just two days ago had in Parliament confirmed that as the terms of agreement as it stands, Malaysia is not keen to proceed,” he told the court.

The Federal Court panel chaired by the Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif struck out the application and made no order as to costs, as the government’s senior federal counsel Shamsul Bolhassan had agreed not to seek any.

The two other judges on the panel are Tan Sri Ahmad Maarop and Datuk Dr Prasad Sandosham Abraham. Read more

Malaysia broke international law by executing brothers before clemency hearing – activists

Source: Asian Correspondent

Brothers Rames & Suthar Batumalai were executed at dawn on Wednesday 15 March 2017.

Brothers Rames & Suthar Batumalai were executed at dawn on Wednesday 15 March 2017.

MALAYSIAN authorities acted in violation of international law when they executed two brothers on death row, even before the disposal of their appeal for clemency, local human rights defenders alleged.

According to Amnesty International Malaysia director Shamini Darshni, international law clearly states that, “executions may not be carried out pending any appeal or other proceeding relating to pardon or commutation of the sentence.”

She noted that the brothers – Rames Batumalai, 45, and Suthar Batumalai, 40, two Malaysian nationals convicted of murder in 2006 – were hanged to death at dawn on Wednesday, two days before their pre-determined date of execution and while their clemency application was yet to be heard.

Haresh Mahadevan, the lawyer representing the brothers, had filed a new application for clemency on Feb 23, which halted their scheduled Feb 24 execution at the last hour. Pending a review of the application, the executions were set for Friday, March 17.

Earlier this week, however, authorities told family members of the two death row inmates that they would be hanged at dawn on Wednesday. Read more

The Malaysian Insider to return as The Malaysian Insight

 

HAKAM comment: HAKAM welcomes the return of Jahabar Sadiq and the new TMI (The Malaysian Insight). Media Freedom in Malaysia is only meaningful if there are more players and movers with the 2 essentials : courage and journalistic integrity. Let us support our news men and women, they play an important role in democracy as part of the checks and balances.

Source: The Straits Times

Ex-Malaysian Insider editor Jahabar Sadiq is behind the new venture, The Malaysian Insight. Pic taken from ST.

Ex-Malaysian Insider editor Jahabar Sadiq is behind the new venture, The Malaysian Insight. Pic taken from ST.

The Malaysian Insider, a widely followed online news site that was forced to close just over a year ago by Prime Minister Najib Razak’s administration, is set to make a comeback under a new masthead, The Malaysian Insight.

Mr Jahabar Sadiq, former editor of The Malaysian Insider and now the principal mover of the new venture, told The Straits Times that The Malaysian Insight will go online before the end of the month “as a free site before introducing a paywall sometime down the line”.

In a country where the ruling political elite controls most media outlets, Mr Jahabar said the new venture would be independent in its editorial stance, even at the risk of upsetting the government, which forced its closure in March last year because of a story related to the scandal-plagued state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Unlike print publications, which require publishing licences from the government, online media outlets in Malaysia do not require an operating permit.

However, the official Internet watchdog agency, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), has sweeping powers to block sites that are deemed to be acting against the national interest.

Malaysian media analysts said a new player like The Malaysian Insight is likely to shake up the market where print and online news outlets are battling sharp drops in circulation and readership. Read more