Academic body opposes accreditation idea for speakers on Islam

Source: FMT News 

Mustafa Akyol- Pic drawn from FMT News

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Academic Movement (MOVE) opposes any action by the government to require speakers at public forums, who focus on issues surrounding Islam, to apply for formal accreditation beforehand.

In a statement today, its executive council said the idea of the stipulation had come about following the detention of Turkish author and journalist Mustafa Akyol by the Federal Territories Islamic Department (Jawi) on Sept 25 after he had come to Malaysia on a lecture circuit.

“This is unprecedented and unreasonable, casting the net of authoritarian control over intellectual discourse way too far,” it said, adding that academics would also be affected. Read more

SOP being finalised to handle sexual crimes against children

Source: FMT News

PUTRAJAYA: Four special guidelines to handle cases of sexual offences against children are expected to be finalised by Oct 30, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said.

She said the special Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to be used was in accordance with international best practices and would meet the needs and requirements of child witnesses.

“The government’s hope is to provide protection to children in all aspects, whether in making a report, at the court and so forth,” she told reporters after opening the first working committee in the preparation of special guidelines for the handling of cases of sexual crimes against children, here today.

The special SOP is the guidelines for receiving reports and investigations on cases of sexual crimes against children; trial on cases of sexual crimes against children; on handling child witnesses/victims; and on providing protection and support to children who are victims of sexual crimes. Read more

Woman awarded RM184,000 for son’s death in police custody

Source: FMT News

GEORGE TOWN: The High Court here today awarded damages totalling RM149,000 to a woman whose son died while in police custody in 2012, ruling that his death was due to police negligence.

Judge Abdul Wahab Mohamed also ordered all the defendants named in the suit, including the then Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Ismail Omar, then People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela) director-general Mustafa Ibrahim, and the government to pay costs of RM35,000 to the woman, Lim Gaik Suan, 71, and the victim’s sister, Cheah Saw Imm, 51.

In the judgment, Wahab said Cheah Chin Lee was in the defendants’ custody at that time and it was the responsibility of the defendants to ensure that the victim was not injured.

He also awarded the two plaintiffs – Lim and Saw Imm – RM114,000 in funeral expenses and RM20,000 in exemplary damages. Read more

Ugly politics in Malaysia’s inconsistent refugee policy

Source: FMT News

PETALING JAYA: There certainly is inconsistency in the way the government deals with refugees from various ethnicities and religions.

However, say several people working with refugees or who are familiar with the situation, this is largely due to politics rather than religion.

MP Charles Santiago and lawyer Latheefa Koya feel the government’s “ad hoc” approach is geared towards scoring political points while Tenaganita executive director Glorene Das wants the government to give equal protection to all refugees regardless of race or religion.

They were commenting on an opinion piece published in Asia Times, that Putrajaya’s handling of the Rohingya refugee issue reflects the inconsistencies, and the bias, inherent in its refugee policy. Read more

Orang Asli discriminated against, laments retired judge

Source: FMT News

Mohd Hishamudin Mohd Yunus says Orang Asli don’t enjoy equal rights and protection under law compared with Malays and natives of Sabah and Sarawak. Image drawn from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: A retired judge says the Orang Asli in the peninsula do not enjoy equal rights and protection under the law compared with the Malays and natives of Sabah and Sarawak.

Mohd Hishamudin Mohd Yunus said Parliament should amend the Federal Constitution to accord protection to the Orang Asli.

“The Malays and the natives are given preferential treatment under the constitution but not the Orang Asli,” he told a forum titled “Protection of Marginalised Minorities under the Federal Constitution” at Universiti Malaya tonight.

The retired Court of Appeal judge said Article 153 provided safeguards for the special position of the Malays and natives of Sabah and Sarawak. Read more

Bersih slams EC over criteria for election observers

Source: FMT News

Pic drawn from FMT News

PETALING JAYA: Electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0 took the Election Commission (EC) to task today over its criteria in deciding who to invite as election observers to monitor the upcoming 14th general election (GE14).

Responding to EC chairman Mohd Hashim Abdullah, who said earlier this week that the commission would only invite groups that had previously invited it to observe their elections, Bersih said it was “appalled”.

“The EC failed to understand that neutrality of observation is defined not based on personal whims and fancy, but as being able to carry out the observation independently, with integrity, professionalism and fairness.

“It must also be carried out with the passion to want to transform the electoral processes and system for the better so that the suffrage of voters is represented and protected in the long run,” it said in a statement issued by the Bersih steering committee. Read more

Nufam: Why 2 years to decide cases won’t be referred to court?

Source: FMT News

Pic drawn from FMT News

SUBANG JAYA: The National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (Nufam) today questioned why it had taken the human resources ministry two years to decide not to refer the cases of 3,500 retrenched Malaysia Airlines workers to the Industrial Court.

Nufam president Ismail Nasaruddin, responding to a comment by Human Resources Minister Richard Riot Jaem, said they had been caught off guard due to a lack of communication between the ministry, the union and the former workers.

“Has the ministry informed and advised the ex-workers? They have not received the letters. There is no information at all pertaining to this.

“It is sad that a HR minister took two years to decide cases will not be referred to the Industrial Court,” he said in a press conference today, adding that the cases had been filed in 2015.

Ismail had previously questioned the delay by the human resources ministry in referring the cases of 3,500 Malaysia Airlines workers who were laid off to the Industrial Court. Read more

WAO slams Slimme White ad on domestic abuse victim

Source: FMT News

Women’s Aid Organisation says women need respect and equality, not a beauty product that promises fair skin and a flat tummy.

PETALING JAYA: The Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) today slammed an advertisement featuring a domestic abuse survivor whose husband begs her to return after she uses a beauty product to make her thinner and fairer.

Calling the Slimme White ad “offensive, unhealthy and irresponsible”, WAO said such advertisements were also “incredibly damaging” as they implied that women who look a certain way deserve abuse, and that their husbands have a right to abuse them.

“Ads like this enable domestic violence.

“The video’s perverse logic is essentially: be pretty and your husband won’t hit you. What an insult to women,” it said in a statement. Read more

Why deny entry to citizens — Gurdial Singh Nijar

Source: The Sun Daily

(Deputy President, HAKAM)

LAST week a clutch of opposition politicians was denied entry into an East Malaysian state. One of them was allowed in but then evicted. The iconic Nurul Izzah of PKR chose to cancel her flight to avoid a similar fate, no doubt. Yet others notably Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad were assured they would be allowed in. All politicians. All going for the same political function.

On what basis is all this being done? And is it right?

Although the Federal Constitution guarantees every citizen the right to move freely throughout Malaysia, it allows for restrictions for entry into Sabah and Sarawak. Hence pursuant to the Immigration Act, these states require West Malaysian citizens to produce their identity card or passport to enter their states. Which they do not have to do to enter any other state, of course.

However, the Act says clearly that entry cannot be denied if it is for “legitimate political activity”. This means that the guaranteed constitutional right of entry cannot be denied if this is indeed the purpose.

The then deputy prime minister, Tun Abdul Razak Hussain, assured Parliament in 1963 that this was indeed the position. This is what he said:
“Jadi dalam fasal 7 itu (‘sole purpose of engaging in legitimate political activity’) kalau sa-saorang hendak pergi ka-Sabah dan Sarawak kerana hendak menjalankan pekerjaan politik dia ada hak atau entitle to go, tetapi kalau tujuan yang lain terpaksalah dia mendapat kebenaraan menurut fasal dalam Rang Undang-Undang ini …”

Worse, no reasons are given for the decision to deny entry. As was the case when lawyer Ambiga Sreenevasan applied some years ago to enter Sabah for an ostensibly political forum alongside a leading state opposition figure and others. Just a bald bold statement by the authorities denying entry.

This is clearly unconstitutional. And for an additional reason too. The Federal Constitution guarantees the right to equality of treatment. Like cases must be treated in the same way. Else there is discrimination – which the Constitution forbids. Read more

Mustafa Akyol: Jawi didn’t like my talk on commonalities between Islam, Christianity

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Mustafa Akyol was detained by the police on Monday night after immigration authorities prevented him from boarding his flight at the airport. He was released after Jawi questioned him. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 28 — Turkish writer Mustafa Akyol revealed today that he was detained by Malaysian Islamic authorities this week for a talk he was going to give on the commonalities between the Abrahamic religions.

In a New York Times opinion piece, the United States-based Akyol said he was only released partly because former Turkish president Abdullah Gul had pulled some strings with a Malaysian royalty.

“When they were done with their questioning, they handed me a piece of paper with Malay writing on it and told me that I shouldn’t speak again without proper authorisation,” wrote Akyol, relating his experience questioned by religious officers after a talk on apostasy.

Muslim group Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF) had earlier this week said Akyol did not understand the summons since it was in Malay, and authorities did not explain the consequences of not turning up for questioning when they talked to him in both English and Malay. Read more