In bitter land dispute with state, Suhakam finding offers hope to Tongod settlers

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Suhakam officer Heflin DIno (left) speaks to villagers of Kampung Bobotong, Tongod, who are trying to resolve a land dispute or risk losing their land, crops and homes. — Picture courtesy of Human Rights Commission of Malaysia, Sabah branch, pic drawn from MMO

Suhakam officer Heflin DIno (left) speaks to villagers of Kampung Bobotong, Tongod, who are trying to resolve a land dispute or risk losing their land, crops and homes. — Picture courtesy of Human Rights Commission of Malaysia, Sabah branch, pic drawn from MMO

KOTA KINABALU, March 24 — A glimmer of hope is in sight for the villagers of Tongod who are on the brink of losing their homes and land deep in the interior of Sabah to the state.

A preliminary report by the Malaysian Commission of Human Rights (Suhakam) found the villagers had filed Land Applications (LA) dating back to 1984, which proved their decades-long occupancy of Tongod, contrary to a recent assertion by the Sabah Forestry Department that non-natives had encroached upon the land in the 1990s for personal gain.

“According to the villagers, as an indigenous people of Tongod, they applied for a Land Application (LA) back in 1984,” said the report.

However, the resolution may not be as clear-cut. The report also noted that Suhakam was informed by the villagers that the Forestry Department does not recognise their LAs. The villagers were also accused of “having a Land Application that is not genuine”.

A standoff is imminent as Sabah Forestry officials have threatened to dismantle the homes of the villagers of Kampung Bobotong within the Sungai Pinangah Forest Reserve. The villagers have refused to budge, claiming they were the first to occupy the land, and have native rights. Read more

Govt cannot intervene in case of Malaysians on Singapore death row, court rules

Source: The Malay Mail Online

court-signpost-200x200 (1)KUALA LUMPUR, March 24 — Two Malaysians who are on death row in Singapore for drug trafficking today failed to obtain leave for a judicial review to compel the government to intervene by referring the republic to the International Court of Justice (IJC).

This followed a decision by High Court judge Datuk Hanipah Farikullah in dismissing the applications by S. Prabagaran, 30, and his mother, V. Eswary, 54, as well as K. Datchinamurthy, 32, and his mother, A. Letchumi, 54,

Hanipah made the decision in chambers in a proceeding attended by their lawyers, N. Surendran and Latheefa Koya, as well as Senior Federal Counsel Datuk Umar Saifuddin Jaafar and Awang Armadajaya Awang Mahmud, who represented the home minister and the government, and lawyer Andrew Khoo, from the Bar Council. Read more

Judges may be allowed more discretion in sentencing drug traffickers

Source: The Star Online

THE Cabinet has agreed to review the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 to allow judges to use their discretion in senten­cing offenders instead of imposing the mandatory death sentence.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said the review will enable judges to mete suitable sentences in marginal cases where offenders could be given jail sentences.

Azalina said the review was presented to the Cabinet on March 1 by Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali.

“The Cabinet has agreed to an amendment of Section 39(B) of theDangerous Drugs Act 1952 to include the additional clause to provide discretionary powers to the courts when sentencing, apart from the mandatory death penalty, for drug trafficking. Read more

Activist: 3 charged every week under Communications Act

Source: FMT News

Pic taken from FMT News

Pic taken from FMT News

KUALA LUMPUR: Human rights activists say more people will likely be charged under the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) as it is too vague and open to interpretation.

Speaking at the launch of a legal analysis on the Act today, Suaram representative Dobby Chew said about three people were charged every week.

“Some cases are very mundane,” he added.

“How can we protect these people? They can be people on the street, on the bus, writing on Facebook,” he said at the event, which was organised by Article 19, a Malaysian organisation that advocates freedom of expression and information.

Human rights lawyer Firdaus Husni added that the Act was open to interpretation.

“The law must be clear and precise. It should not be against political dissent. It will not encourage freedom of speech and expression.

“In fact, it will bring about selective prosecution,” she said.

Meanwhile, Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights representative Edmond Bon said the government should publish guidelines so that the Act was not open to abuse.

Such guidelines should state when and how the provisions in the Act were applicable, he said.

Also present at the event, held at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, was rights activist Khalid Ismath who is facing 11 charges under the CMA. Read more

Article 19 Legal Analysis of Malaysia’s Communications and Multimedia Act

Source: Article 19

In February 2017, ARTICLE 19 analysed the Communications and Multimedia Act of Malaysia (the Act) for its compliance with international human rights standards, in particular the right to freedom of expression.

The Act has an expansive scope, ranging from spectrum allocation and consumer protection to content regulation and investigatory powers. The main subjects of regulation under the Act are applications services and network services. The Act further pertains to content applications services, which appear to include online intermediaries. The governmental actors involved in the administration of the Act are “the Minister charged with responsibility for communications and media” and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, which is established under the Act.

Launching Of Article

In the analysis, ARTICLE 19 concludes that the Act creates a number of overly broad content-related offences. In addition, the licensing scheme for network and applications services lacks adequate safeguards against censorship. Finally, the Act introduces far-reaching investigatory powers which are at odds with the protection of journalistic sources and the right to anonymity.

ARTICLE 19 calls on the Malaysian Government to urgently review the Act, introduce necessary amendments and ensure it fully complies with the international freedom of expression standards. Read more