‘Restricting foreign Islamic experts stunts intellectual development’

Source: FMT News

Pic from FMT News

KUALA LUMPUR: Using laws to restrict intellectuals from abroad from discussing Islam will stunt the intellectual development of the country, warned Universiti Malaya Academic Association chairman and law professor Azmi Sharom.

“By not appreciating intellectual development, you are actually being anti-patriotic and you are destroying this nation.”

Azmi was responding to a report today that a prominent US academician had cancelled her trip to Malaysia after learning about Turkish-born writer Mustafa Akyol’s experience here.

Akyol, who came to Malaysia to deliver a talk, was detained and questioned by religious authorities on suspicion of speaking on Islam without officially recognised credentials. Read more

Professor: Only Parliament can limit freedom of expression

Source: FMT News

Pic from FMT News

KUALA LUMPUR: Freedom of expression, one of the fundamental liberties enshrined in the Federal Constitution, can only be limited by laws passed in Parliament, says law academic Azmi Sharom.

He described the ban on the Bahasa Malaysia version of Allah, Liberty and Love by Irshad Manji, Azmi as frightening, arguing that the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) had used the Syariah Criminal Offences (Selangor) Enactment 1995 to ban the book.

He explained Article 10 of the Federal Constitution was extremely clear in that it guaranteed Malaysian citizens the right to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of association.

This freedom, however, was not absolute, he said, as Parliament had the power to impose limits, if necessary, in the interests of national security, public order and morality.

“Here’s the clincher. This ban was done under state shariah law.

“Freedom of expression can only be limited by laws made by Parliament — not the Selangor state assembly. That is not Parliament. Read more

S’gor top in abandoned baby cases

Source: The Star Online

THERE were 115 abandoned babies last year and another 59 cases as of June this year, Women, Family and Community Deputy Minister Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun said.

She said Selangor recorded the most number of abandoned baby cases with 23 babies in 2016 and 16 cases this year.

This was followed by Johor (19) and the Federal Territories (16) in 2016 and Sabah (7) and Kuala Lumpur (7) as of June this year.

Azizah said the majority of the abandoned babies were from one community.

“While the race of abandoned babies are generally not known, police investigations found that they were from one community,” she said when answering a question by Dr Che Rosli Che Mat (PAS-Hulu Langat). Read more

36 cases prosecuted under Sexual Offences Against Children Act since July

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 8 — There have been 36 cases of offenders charged under the Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017 since it was gazetted on July 10.

Women, Family and Community Development Deputy Minister, Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun said the ministry had been collaborating with several other agencies to implement various programmes and initiatives towards curbing sexual offences against children including incest.

“These efforts include the Children s Safety at School campaign, namely the Sahabat BIJAK carried out with a number of government agencies like the Education Ministry, Health Department and Royal Malaysian Police in spreading information on child safety from any sexual threats, including from their own family members.

“The National Reproductive Health and Social Education Action Plan (Pekerti) 2009 was also introduced to produce knowledgeable individuals with a positive attitude towards reproductive health and social issues.” Read more

After Akyol’s arrest, American Muslim scholar rejects invite to Malaysia

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 8 ― An American Muslim scholar has declined to visit Malaysia for a speaking engagement after learning about US-based Turkish scholar Mustafa Akyol’s brief detention here.

According to a report in Free Malaysia Today, Indiana University academic Asma Afsaruddin did not accept an invitation by local Muslim group, Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF), after learning about Akyol’s episode.

Islamic authorities here detained Akyol, who came to Malaysia to participate in a few seminars and lectures organised by IRF back in September, for allegedly teaching without religious credentials.

“Given the current atmosphere, however, I regretfully will not be able to respond positively to your very kind invitation,” Afsaruddin reportedly wrote in her email to IRF declining the invitation. Read more

Why treat children like hardcore criminals, asks lawyer

Source: FMT News

There must be a better way for the authorities to handle children who commit criminal offences, says Paulsen. Pic from FMT News

PETALING JAYA: Lawyers for Liberty executive director Eric Paulsen has asked why the home ministry is treating children like hardcore criminals by detaining them under the Prevention of Crime Act (Poca) and Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma).

He explained that these two laws are too harsh for children and are supposed to be used against serious offenders like terrorists or hardcore criminals.

“This is shocking. Surely there must be a better way for the authorities to handle these children who commit criminal offences. You can charge them under ordinary laws.

“Poca has detention without trial, which means somebody can be locked up for two years and another two years without evidence. It is similar to the Internal Security Act (ISA).

“As for Sosma, even though there is a trial, pending the trial, the child is not able to get bail. This can go on for many years,” he told FMT. Read more