Malaysia: Can police be trusted to investigate their own failures? — Zan Azlee

Source: Asian Correspondence

Policemen stand outside North Korea's embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on March 7, 2017. Pic from Reuters

Policemen stand outside North Korea’s embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on March 7, 2017. Pic from Reuters

“I received a call from the police saying my husband was in a very serious condition. The next thing I know, he is dead,” said a sobbing S. Perimilah, the wife of the late M. Thanaseelan who died under police custody.

Thanaseelan’s passing is one of the 1,654 custodial deaths since 2010 until February 2017, according to Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who revealed the statistics in Parliament recently.

“I want to know if he died because of what happened to him when he was in police custody or after he had been sent to the hospital,” she said before having to be consoled off the stage by her daughter because she couldn’t control her emotions any longer.

Perimilah was one of the panelists at a public forum entitled Let’s Talk About Our Police at a suburb in the outskirts Kuala Lumpur over the weekend. The forum also saw in attendance lawyer R. Sivaraj from the  and the Sevan Doraisamy from human rights group Suaram. Read more

Lam Thye suggests moratorium on death penalty cases

Source: The Star Online

Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, pic from the Star Online.

Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, pic from the Star Online.

PETALING JAYA: The Government should consider whether its review of the mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking should include making it retrospective on pending cases, said social activist Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye (pic).

Lee said the proposal for the review under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act was timely as this could help prevent a “travesty of justice”.

Judges, he said, must be given the discretion to mete out suitable sentences on a case by case basis, especially for drug mules.

“While supporting the review of Section 39B, I also hope that the Government will address the issue raised by lawmakers and legal practitioners, including whether the move, if approved, could have a retrospective effect on pending death penalty cases,” he said in a statement here yesterday.

He also called on the Government to decide whether a moratorium should be imposed on pending cases so as to ensure justice for those facing such charges.

Lee was responding to a report in The Star that lawyers and human rights groups had called for all pending executions to be put on hold while the decision by the Government to review the death penalty for drug trafficking was being deliberated. Read more

Suaram decries student’s detention under Sosma after acquittal

Source: FMT News

NGO describes Siti’s Noor Aishah’s detention as one of the most deplorable uses of Sosma and Poca. Pic from FMT News.

NGO describes Siti’s Noor Aishah’s detention as one of the most deplorable uses of Sosma and Poca. Pic from FMT News.

KUALA LUMPUR: The human rights and civil liberties NGO Suaram has called on the attorney-general’s chambers to withdraw its arrest of student Siti Noor Aishah Atan over alleged possession of illegal books.

Its executive director, Sevan Doraisamy, said Siti, a research student at Universiti Malaya, should be released from her detention under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma).

In a statement today, he said Suaram was notified that Siti had been re-arrested and returned to detention under Sosma following her hearing at the Court of Appeal this morning.

Siti was detained under Sosma for allegedly being in possession of the materials.

On Sept 29 last year, she was acquitted and discharged by the High Court over the charge of having 12 publications related to terrorism.

However, she was rearrested under the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (Poca) after her release. Read more

Warisan: Voters’ constituencies changed without their knowledge

Source: FMT News

Parti Warisan Sabah vice-president Junz Wong says this will cause problems in the next general election, and advises people to check with the EC on their voter status. Pic from FMT News.

Parti Warisan Sabah vice-president Junz Wong says this will cause problems in the next general election, and advises people to check with the EC on their voter status. Pic from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) is urging people to check their voting status amid reports that voters have had their constituencies changed without notification in the Election Commission (EC) system.

Warisan vice-president Junz Wong also expressed concern over the matter and demanded an explanation from the EC, The Borneo Post reported.

“We are a bit concerned about the recent complaints that we have received from the voters, especially in Likas.

“I hope this is not politically motivated and done to help the ruling government,” he was quoted as saying by the Sarawak-based daily.

Wong highlighted the case of voters who had cast their votes in Likas in the last general election (GE13) in 2013.

“Recent checks show that they had been moved to Karambunai and Inanam without any notification from the EC,” he said. Read more

Court to decide next month Zunar’s bid to lift travel ban

Source: FMT News

The cartoonist is seeking to lift a travel ban imposed by the Immigration Department last year. Pic from FMT News.

The cartoonist is seeking to lift a travel ban imposed by the Immigration Department last year. Pic from FMT News.

KUALA LUMPUR: Cartoonist Zunar will know on April 14 if he is able to initiate a legal challenge against an Immigration Department ban prohibiting him from travelling abroad.

High Court judge Justice Mohd Zaki Abd Wahab fixed the date after hearing arguments in chambers from Zunar’s lawyer, N Surendran, and senior federal counsel Mohamad Rizal Fadzil who represented the Immigration Department, home minister and government.

Speaking to reporters outside the court, Surendran said Zunar, whose real name is Zulkifli SM Anwarul Haque, should be granted leave to question the validity of the travel ban.

“We told him (Justice Zaki) that the ban can be reviewed in court and the director-general has no absolute power to make the decision to bar,” he said. Read more

Fairuz’s interpretation of Islamic law ‘weird’, says law expert

Source: FMT News

Abdul Aziz Bari says contentions with far-reaching implications, like the former CJ’s stand that Islamic law takes precedence over civil legislations, can only be made through amendments by Parliament. Pic from FMT News.

Abdul Aziz Bari says contentions with far-reaching implications, like the former CJ’s stand that Islamic law takes precedence over civil legislations, can only be made through amendments by Parliament. Pic from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: A law expert has joined in the chorus of critics that have dissected the controversial stand of former chief justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim that Islamic law takes precedence over civil legislations in Malaysia.

Abdul Aziz Bari said Fairuz’s way of interpreting the Federal Constitution was both weird and convoluted.

“I just wonder what types of approaches and rules he used in interpreting the Federal Constitution while on the bench,” he told FMT.

“Contentions that have far-reaching implications such as those made by Ahmad Fairuz must be made through constitutional amendments by Parliament,” he said.

He said it would not be enough even if it was made in the course of judgment in court by the judges.

“What more by a retired judge who chose to keep quiet on the matter when he was in office,” he said.

Aziz said this in response to a lecture by Fairuz, who was the chief justice between 2003 and 2007, titled “Islam as the Law of the Land”. In it, he had interpreted the constitution in a manner that made Islamic law the second most supreme legislation in Malaysia. Read more

Daring to make a stand

Source: The Star Online

The panellists at the Be Bold for Change forum (from left) Faridah, Joseph, Dr Teo and Aishah. Pic from the Star Online.

The panellists at the Be Bold for Change forum (from left) Faridah, Joseph, Dr Teo and Aishah. Pic from the Star Online.

AS A young boy, Jerald Joseph did not have to do the dishes, as it was a task left to the women and girls.

Feeling bad about this gender inequality, he would wash his own dishes whenever he could.

Today, a commissioner of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam), Joseph said the biggest struggle for him was in trying to break the gender stereotypes at home.

Joseph shared his story during the “Be Bold for Change” forum held at Sime Darby Convention Centre in conjunction with Yayasan Sime Darby’s (YSD) first International Women’s Day celebration on March 23.

Joseph was the only man among the four panellists. The others were Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) president and Sime Darby Motors Division corporate affairs director Datuk Aishah Ahmad, Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPac) co-founder and executive producer Datuk Faridah Merican, and Cancer Research Malaysia (CRM) chief executive officer Prof Dr Teo Soo-Hwang. Read more

Report on “Build and Develop Effective Engaging Content” Workshop — Alaleh Eghbali

BY ALALEH EGHBALI
(All photos courtesy of HAKAM)

Strengthening Civil Society Advocacy Through Effective Engaging Communication

NGOs and CSOs in the new world are continuously trying to engage audiences and spread their message across the public. It may seem that it is getting harder to reach people and get them involved in civil society missions, but it should be noted means of communication have changed; Social Media has changed the game. It has now become the main source of accessing and spreading news and content.

HAKAM-25March2017

A large number of NGOs and CSOs in Malaysia still rely on the usual traditional methods of advocacy through press statements and forums. These medium have limited capacity to reach, and a limited opportunity of debate and discussions with audiences. In light of these circumstances, HAKAM has embarked on a social media training journey since 2016, with the first workshop “Leverage on Social Media for Impactful Social Change”.  The success of the first workshop, and the positive feedback from the participants, lead to the organization of a second workshop in March 2017.

In the second workshop, facilitated by cilisos.my‘s Lau Chak Onn, members of NGOs and activist gathered to sharpen their skills of content development for social media, and learn how to send their message in the most interesting, informative, and concise way possible.  Read more