Protesters give Sarawak three months to amend land code

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Nicholas Bawin addresss the peaceful assembly at the Old Court House on November 13, 2017. — Picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, Nov 13 — The organisers of a rally here today gave the Sarawak state government three months to respond to calls for amendments to the Sarawak Land Code relating to native customary rights land issues.

They demanded Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah, who is also the NCR land state task force chairman, to be seen doing something concrete within the three months’ period.

“We want action before the next sitting of the state assembly or else more assemblies will be held until our demands are met,” chief organiser Nicholas Bawin told reporters at the Old Court House where the peaceful assembly was held.

In a memorandum submitted to the state government following the peaceful assembly, the organisers want amendments to the land code to include giving recognition to territorial domain (“pemakai menoa”) and communal forest reserves (“pulau galau”), the definition of “pemakai menoa” and “pulau galau” must be based on the definition of the council of Dayak customs and traditions, the court must be empowered to exercise out NCR lands out of the provisional leases or licences of planted forest, and NCR land must be excluded from the definition of state land.

The issuance of document of title should also not be indefeasible against NCR land, they said.

The organisers also want the state government to put a moratorium on all appeals on NCR land cases, with a view to withdraw them upon the amendments of the Sarawak Land Code. Read more

Malaysian transgender trailblazer Khartini named regional ‘hero’

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Transgender activist Khartini Slamah was among the 21 finalists selected from over 350 nominations across the region, and ended up being one of the eight activists awarded. ― Picture courtesy of APCOM

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 13 ― Local transgender activist Khartini Slamah, who was among the first to mobilise the community in the late 1980s, was feted with a Hero Award by Bangkok-based regional sexual minorities advocacy group APCOM last night.

Khartini, known to her friends as Kak Tini, was among the 21 finalists selected from over 350 nominations across the region, and ended up being one of the eight activists awarded.

“Khartini Slamah is Malaysia’s esteemed transgender activist who dedicated service to transgender rights and health,” the group said in a social media post announcing Khartini’s Hero Award in the “Transgender Hero” category. Read more

Law enforcers downplay reports of online violence against women, report shows

Source: The Malay Mail Online

In their report, the groups said cases of online violence against women are pervasive here and happen in many forms from private messaging to public platforms. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 13 — A recent report by local civil society groups to the United Nations (UN) revealed that law enforcers not only make light of online violence against women (VAW) as reported by victims, but also treat these incidents as “normal.”

The report explained that various laws already exist to deal with such cases, but law enforcers are often ignorant about them and fail to understand that online VAW can be as harmful as physical cases.

“Anecdotal cases have shown that where women did report instances of online VAW, their experiences are often trivialised and normalised. The failure of the police officer to recognise online threats and harassment as VAW or even as crimes under the domestic laws, affects women’s access to justice in a systematic way.

“Responses by police officers were either dismissive or condescending. Oftentimes the police would tell the victim that there is nothing they could do as it is a ‘private affair’ or that the victim should just delete his/her account,” read the joint submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on VAW.

The report was compiled by Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER), Bersih 2.0, Justice for Sisters, Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism and Human Rights, National Council of Women’s Organisations, Malaysia, and Women’s Aid Organisation. Read more