Legal aid shrinking due to delayed payments, Malaysian Bar report says

Source: The Malay Mail Online

MMO infographic

MMO infographic

KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 — Fewer people are getting free legal aid and fewer lawyers are providing such services due to delays in payments in a government-backed scheme, the Malaysian Bar’s annual report said.

In the report presented at the Malaysian Bar’s 71st annual general meeting today, it acknowledged the National Legal Aid Foundation (YBGK) —which is jointly coordinated by the Bar Council and government — was facing issues in making timely payments to lawyers providing counsel under the scheme.

“For a variety of reasons, payments to YBGK lawyers began to slow down from November 2015,” the Bar Council’s National Legal Aid Committee said in its report that was sighted by Malay Mail Online.

“The delay in payments to YBGK lawyers caused immense difficulties for the lawyers, and led to great dissatisfaction and a decrease in the number of lawyers prepared to take on new YBGK work.” Read more

Be clear on RUU355’s hudud elements, Ambiga tells Bill’s proponents

Source: The Star Online

(From left) Bebas activist Azira Aziz, Aidil Khalid, Lukman Sheriff Alias, Bebas activist Boo Su-Lynn, Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, Haris Ibrahim, and moderator Azrul Mohd Khalib, at the 17 March 2017 public debate on the motion “RUU355 amendments should be made into law” organised by non-governmental organisation Bebas. Pic taken from The Star Online.

(From left) Bebas activist Azira Aziz, Aidil Khalid, Lukman Sheriff Alias, Bebas activist Boo Su-Lynn, Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, Haris Ibrahim, and moderator Azrul Mohd Khalib, at the 17 March 2017 public debate on the motion “RUU355 amendments should be made into law” organised by non-governmental organisation Bebas. Pic taken from The Star Online.

PETALING JAYA: If the proposed amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 do not introduce hudud law, it should be stated clearly in the legislation, said Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan at a public debate on Friday.

“The best way to protect everyone is to state it in the legislation. If you say it’s not hudud, then put it in the law,” Ambiga said in response to lawyer Lukman Sheriff Alias who had argued that the amendments being proposed through the Bill, better known as RUU355, did not introduce hudud.

Lukman and Ambiga were speaking at a public debate on the motion “RUU355 amendments should be made into law” organised by non-governmental organisation Bebas at PJ Live Arts, here, on Friday night. Read more

Debat RUU 355: Kanun Keseksaan unsur Kristian, umat Islam tiada pilihan

Sumber: FMT News

Langkah meminda undang-undang sedia ada untuk meningkatkan hukuman mengikut ajaran Islam akan membolehkan umat Islam menerima pakai prinsip-prinsip moral mengikut agama mereka, kata peguam Aidil Khalid, pendebat menyokong RUU 355.

(From left) Bebas activist Azira Aziz, Aidil Khalid, Lukman Sheriff Alias, Bebas activist Boo Su-Lynn, Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, Haris Ibrahim, and moderator Azrul Mohd Khalib, at the 17 March 2017 public debate on the motion “RUU355 amendments should be made into law” organised by non-governmental organisation Bebas. Pic taken from The Star Online.

(From left) Bebas activist Azira Aziz, Aidil Khalid, Lukman Sheriff Alias, Bebas activist Boo Su-Lynn, Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, Haris Ibrahim, and moderator Azrul Mohd Khalib, at the 17 March 2017 public debate on the motion “RUU355 amendments should be made into law” organised by non-governmental organisation Bebas. Pic taken from The Star Online.

PETALING JAYA: Seorang ahli panel debat mengenai pindaan Akta Mahkamah Syariah (Bidang Kuasa Jenayah) 1965 mendakwa Kanun Keseksaan yang diguna pakai di Malaysia terdiri daripada unsur-unsur Kristian, namun umat Islam tidak pernah menjadikannya satu isu selama ini.

Sehubungan itu, peguam Aidil Khalid berkata, langkah meminda undang-undang sedia ada untuk meningkatkan hukuman mengikut ajaran Islam akan membolehkan umat Islam menerima pakai prinsip-prinsip moral mengikut agama mereka.

Beliau berkata demikian pada debat anjuran badan bukan kerajaan Bebas di PJ Live Arts di sini, malam tadi.

“Umat Islam di negara ini tertakluk kepada undang-undang sivil,” kata beliau semasa debat mengenai pindaan Akta Mahkamah Syariah (Bidang Kuasa Jenayah) 1965 (Akta 355) sambil menambah, beliau tidak pernah mengadu mengenainya, terutama peruntukan yang terkandung dalam Kanun Keseksaan. Read more

Politicians are using ‘network’ of hate speech to gain power

 

HAKAM Comment: We must continue to be aware of such “networks of hate”, as well as guard against and counter all forms of hate speech.

Source: Asian Correspondent

IN the global growing atmosphere of increasing hate speech, the lines are more blurred now than they have historically been.

Gone are the days of leaders and politicians taking to the pulpit to openly condemn any one group as the root of all national problems and calling for their removal – the days of the Hitler-esque approach are thankfully over – but the hate is still there and being disseminated in just as an effective and possibly more pervasive manner.

More sophisticated methods are used these days by those seeking power to garner support and curry favour with a particular demographic, methods that ultimately absolve them of any direct responsibility should hate crimes occur.

A “network” of hate is being cultivated to spread the message using multiple actors such as paid media, paid “experts”, party funders, extremist groups and junior politicians, as has been seen in a number of cases in Asia and across the globe.

“Multiple actors produce a climate of rising intolerance in an uncoordinated but mutually reinforcing way,” Cherian George, associate professor of journalism at Hong Kong Baptist University and author of Hate Spin: The Manufacture of Religious Offense and its Threat to Democracytold Asian Correspondent. Read more

Shariah bill will be tabled by government, says Zahid

 

HAKAM Comment: DPM Ahmad Zahid Hamidi says the Shariah bill will be tabled by government and that the PM is committed to bring up the amendments without jeopardising other faiths.

We say please ensure extensive time is given to consider and debate this Shariah bill and allow all MPs to vote on it irrespective of party lines.

Source: FMT News

DPM Ahmad Zahid Hamidi says the PM is committed to bring up the amendments without jeopardising other faiths. Pic drawn from FMT News.

DPM Ahmad Zahid Hamidi says the PM is committed to bring up the amendments without jeopardising other faiths. Pic drawn from FMT News.

KUALA TERENGGANU: Prime Minister Najib Razak is deeply committed to bring up amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (also known as Act 355 or RUU355) without jeopardising the other faiths.

Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said: “The RUU355 will be tabled by the government itself in Parliament soon.”

He disclosed this in his speech when opening the Umno Branches Cluster Meeting at the Terengganu state level today.

Act 355 aims to enhance the powers of shariah courts but has been objected to by many parties.

The amendments are expected to be tabled in the present sitting of Parliament, with it being listed 7th in the Order Paper. Read more

A new breed of sovereign wealth fund – without the wealth

Source: FMT News | Reuters

They are more like sovereign holding companies.

Image taken from FMT News

Image taken from FMT News

LONDON: Once the preserve of rich oil exporters or nations with trade surpluses, like Norway, Kuwait and Singapore, an unlikely new breed of sovereign wealth fund is emerging – in countries with large deficits and deep debt.

Sovereign wealth funds (SWFs), which first emerged in the 1950s, are traditionally associated with huge financial firepower. They control about $6.5 trillion, according to data provider Preqin, and have transformed the global investment landscape by snapping up stakes in multinational companies and landmark real estate in cities from London to Melbourne.

Now Turkey, Romania, India and Bangladesh are launching sovereign funds – but for very different reasons than usual, and with very different methods.

Traditionally, wealthy nations use SWFs to invest their surplus billions overseas to prevent inflation at home, diversify income streams and accumulate savings for the day when commodity revenues run out.

In stark contrast, the countries launching the new funds, burdened by large current account deficits or external debt, are using them as vehicles to get their economies moving in the face of a global slowdown and lower trade volumes. And rather than splashing cash abroad, the plan is to attract finance from overseas and invest it at home to stimulate growth.

“Sovereign wealth fund is a term that’s used very loosely in the labelling of some of these new entities, they are more like sovereign holding companies,” said Elliot Hentov, head of research for official institutions at asset management firm SSgA. “They need to lever up – they need private sector co-investment to work.”

There are both potential benefits and risks to this strategy – and only time will tell whether it will be effective. Read more

A trade union activist now fights to save forests

Source: Star2

Environmental campaigner Margaret Chin at a Sabah river. Photos: The Star

Environmental campaigner Margaret Chin at a Sabah river. Photos: The Star

As the small boat traversed a river through a mangrove forest in the Pitas district of northern Sabah, the villager who was handling the outboard engine hastily pulled a raincoat over his head.

On board the vessel was Margaret Chin and a few friends who wanted to see the massive clearing of the mangrove for a shrimp farm (aquaculture) project. That was about two years ago, but the raincoat incident is etched in her memory.

“I asked him later why he covered his head,” recalled Chin. “He told me that he was afraid of the farm workers, that they would bully him if they knew he was from the area.”

Nearby villagers had been up in arms over the clearing of more than 900ha of mangroves which had been their fishing grounds.

She also remembers the sight of a barge straddling the river. It was used as a temporary bridge to enable tractors and lorries to get from one bank to another.

“It was an added insult to the villagers as the barge blocked their way to the fishing spots and where they collected crabs and shellfish,” Chin added. Read more