Apex court puts off hearing five Malaysia-born stateless persons’ citizenship cases

Source: The Malay Mail

The Palace of Justice in Putrajaya – File pix

PUTRAJAYA, March 6 — The Federal Court today adjourned its hearing of five cases involving stateless individuals who were born in Malaysia and are seeking Malaysian citizenship.

Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, the lead counsel for two of the cases, told the judges he was unwell and requested for adjournment.

The Federal Court allowed his request, while also deciding to reschedule the hearing of the three other cases as the issues raised would be the same.

The five cases will now be heard on April 2.

The five-man Federal Court panel is chaired by Chief Justice Tun Md Raus Sharif and includes Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Ahmad Maarop, Tan Sri Hasan Lah, Tan Sri Zainun Ali, Tan Sri Aziah Ali.

The two cases where Sri Ram is the lead counsel involve a 20-year-old whose birth parents are unknown and was adopted by Malaysian parents, and an eight-year-old boy who was born to a Malaysian father and Thai mother that were not legally married when he was born.

The Court of Appeal last year rejected their citizenship bids by saying they should have also shown proof that they are not citizens of other countries, and the duo now want the Federal Court to decide if the legal principle of “jus sanguinis” — where citizenship depends on the parents’ citizenship — should be used to determine if a Malaysia-born person can be a citizen. Read more

NHRAP falls short of addressing systemic inequalities in Malaysia — Comango

Source: The Malay Mail Online

MARCH 6 — The Coalition of Malaysian NGOs in the UPR Process (Comango) commends the government of Malaysia for finally launching the National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP).

The NHRAP includes 294 action plans in 83 priority areas categorised under 5 pillars – civil and political rights, economic, social and cultural rights, rights of the vulnerable people, rights of the indigenous peoples and Malaysia’s international human rights responsibilities. While Comango found many parts of the NHRAP comprehensive and well-explored, particularly the action plan items for the welfare of elderly persons, we found glaring reasons for concern in many others.

The NHRAP as a whole falls short in addressing systemic human rights issues, root causes of inequality and the enjoyment of human rights for all in the country, and lacks a gender perspective. Some of the actions points proposed also do not adequately address the issues at hand. For example, on the issues of underaged marriages, the action item offered is to update the standard operating procedure (SOP) for child marriages, which only serves to fortify the act instead of to safeguard the rights of the child. While it is commendable that the NHRAP highlighted misuse of racial and religious themes in politics, the corresponding action item to increase voter awareness does not reflect how this objective will be achieved as those who politicise racial and religious issues in Malaysia are often those connected to political power. Read more

Journalism body: Fake news law threatens media freedom

Source: Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has urged the government to drop the proposed law against fake news due for debate in the current Parliament session.

In a statement today, RSF said the proposed law had “all the hallmarks of a new government weapon for suppressing media freedom”.

It said the bill had been finalised by a special committee – comprising representatives of the government, police, National Security Council and Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) – set up by Prime Minister Najib Razak on Jan 30 after he and his government declared war on “fake news”.

It also noted that there were already sufficient laws – such as Article 8A of the 1984 Printing Presses and Publications Act and Article 233 (1) of the 1998 Communications and Multimedia Act – which penalised the dissemination of false news and information.

Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk, said: “It is not the government’s job to determine the truth of the reporting that is the product of journalistic work. Read more