Now, Sabah-born top-scorer pleads for citizenship too

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Arly Mai Geanga who failed to obtain citizenship despite being born in Sabah to a Malaysian father and Filipino mother, wants a chance to further her studies at a public university and work in Malaysia. Image from FMT News

PETALING JAYA: A high-scoring stateless student from Sabah yearns for similar assistance as that given to top academic achiever Roisah Abdullah in her pursuit of citizenship, so that she can further her studies and find a job in Malaysia.

Arly Mai Geanga, 22, who obtained seven As in her PMR examination and 8As and a B in SPM, said she could not get an identity card despite having been born at the Lahad Datu Hospital in Sabah.

She said she was unable to gain entry into local public institutions of higher learning, and private university fees were too expensive for her family.

“I am hoping that my case can be highlighted too, and something can be done by the relevant authorities to help me,” she told FMT. Read more

Delineation: Courts can inquire into complaints, says lawyer

Source: Free Malaysia Today

PUTRAJAYA: The judiciary can declare the Election Commission’s (EC) exercise in redrawing the electoral boundaries as illegal if guidelines in the 13th Schedule of the Federal Constitution have not been followed, the Court of Appeal heard today.

Constitutional lawyer Cyrus Das said in Malaysia it was the constitution that was supreme and not Parliament.

He said the judiciary could not abdicate its powers to some other organs of the government under the doctrine of separation of powers.

“If a legal or constitutional objection is made, it is not for Parliament to decide based on a vote count but for the court to rule on law and facts,” Das said in his submission.

The Selangor government is appealing against a High Court ruling last year which dismissed the state’s judicial review application to challenge the EC’s exercise. Read more

Indira Gandhi nominated for US International Women of Courage award

Source: The Malay Mail Online

M. Indira Gandhi (left) smiles with her mother after the Federal Court annulled the unilateral conversion of her three children in Putrajaya January 29, 2018. — Picture by Zuraneeza Zulkifli

IPOH, March 27 ― Kindergarten teacher M. Indira Gandhi, who won a high-profile court battle against the unilateral conversion of her children to Islam, has been nominated for the US Department of State’s International Women of Courage award.

Indira will be honoured at a reception, held in conjunction with International Women’s Day 2018 and Women’s History Month, at the residence of United States Ambassador Kamala Shirin Lakhdir in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow.

“I had known about this for a while, but I tried to keep it to myself. It’s a strange and wonderful feeling because it’s something I never expected,” she told Malay Mail today.

“This was never part of my agenda, because I only wanted to get my children back. But I’m excited and grateful to be honoured in this way.” Read more

Idris Jusoh: We’ll make sure Roisah gets citizenship because she’s an extraordinary student

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Roisah Abdullah speaks to Malay Mail during an interview in Petaling Jaya March 16, 2018. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

SERDANG, March 27 — The Higher Education Ministry has made it a priority to secure a citizenship for Klang-born but stateless STPM ace Roisah Abdullah who hopes to further her studies at a local university.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said the ministry had met with the 21-year-old to discuss possible placement in her university of choice which is Universiti Utara Malaysia last Thursday.

“She was delighted with the offer that was provided but she is still considering her best options.

“We will make sure she gets her citizenship because she is an extraordinary student,” he said after attending the #MyWomen in Higher Education dialogue session at Universiti Putra Malaysia in Seri Kembangan today. Read more

Kill or redraft fake news Bill with input from media, groups say

Source: The Malay Mail Online

A commuter walks past an advertisement discouraging the dissemination of fake news at a train station in downtown Kuala Lumpur March 26, 2018. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, March 27 — Journalist groups urged the government today to withdraw or to redraft the Anti-Fake News Bill in consultation with media practitioners to preserve press freedom.

In a joint statement, WAN-IFRA Media Freedom Committee Malaysia (MFC Malaysia) and Institute of Journalists Malaysia alleged that there was no engagement between the government and representatives from the media industry ― as one of the most important stakeholders ― prior to drafting the Bill that was tabled in Parliament yesterday.

“Any legislation on fake news would inevitably affect the media industry, and it is our firm belief that we should be seen as the most important stakeholders as opposed to social media platforms and companies that the government had engaged with.

“The Bill tabled reflects this lack of engagement with media, as it overlooks the impact it could have on the media and does not provide any safeguards for the industry here,” they said in a statement.

They said the proposed legislation would not only restrict media freedom but put livelihoods of journalists and press staff at risk, in what is “already a tumultuous period for the media and news industry worldwide”. Read more

A bitter Bill to swallow — Philip Koh

Source: The Star Online

BY PHILIP TN KOH

“Serious questions arise as to whether this Bill is constitutional when read with Article 10 of our Federal Constitution which characterises free speech as a fundamental liberty subject to limited restrictions. Whether this Bill will pass the constitutional test will await judicial contestations. This Bill, while intended to rein in proliferation of fake news, will have a chilling effect on free speech and expression, which is the vital blood of deliberative democracy.” – Philip Koh

IN the wake of Facebook’s expression of regrets and the expose of the Cambridge Analytica, nations have moved swiftly to deal with what has been characterised as “fake news”.

Nation states have a legitimate right to defend their sovereignty by recourse to laws. However, there is growing evidence that governments or government sponsored agents have also used fake news to promote and defend its interests, as against the healthy exercise of political discourse and debates.

The Anti-Fake News Bill proposed by the Malaysia government raises many questions.

The definition of “fake news” reads, “includes any news, information, data and reports, which is or are wholly or partly false, whether in the form of features, visuals or audio recordings or in any form capable of suggesting words and ideas”. Read more

Is ‘fake news’ as serious a crime as kidnapping or waging war? Lawyers ask

Source: The Malay Mail Online

A billboard advertisement discouraging the dissemination of fake news is pictured along Jalan SS20/27, Damansara Jaya March 26, 2018. — Picture by Azneal Ishak

KUALA LUMPUR, March 27 ― Putrajaya’s proposed new law appears to treat “fake news” like a serious crime such as kidnapping and waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, lawyers said.

Expressing alarm, civil rights lawyer New Sin Yew said one of the biggest problems with the proposed law was its “excessive punishment”, referring to the maximum fine of RM500,000 or maximum 10-year jail term or both for those found guilty of creating, publishing, distributing or circulating “fake news”.

He contrasted the severity of the proposed Anti-Fake News Act 2018’s punishment with the penalties for two existing serious offences, including Section 124I of the Penal Code that covers the crime of spreading false reports or making false statements likely to cause public alarm.

“Section 124I of the Penal Code which is considered as ‘offences against the state’ (such as terrorism, waging war against the YDPA, espionage) is only punishable with imprisonment not exceeding five years. The offence of kidnapping under Section 367 of the Penal Code is punishable with imprisonment not exceeding 10 years.

“By imposing such a severe punishment, is the government saying that publishing ‘fake news’ is as serious as kidnapping? Or more serious than an ‘offence against the state’?” he asked when contacted by Malay Mail yesterday, also saying that it was usual for the same punishment to be imposed on those who are convicted of abetting a crime. Read more

Anti-fake news bill to have chilling effect on GE14

Source: The Malaysian Insight

THE proposed anti-fake news law that was tabled in Dewan Rakyat yesterday will have a “chilling effect” on the 14th general election, said lawyer-cum-activist Ambiga Sreenevasan.

The former president of the Malaysian Bar said the media and the public will feel pressured about sharing information, adding that the law would have done its work to frighten Malaysians.

Ambiga said the anti-fake news law was being proposed to stop people from talking about the 1Malaysia Development Bhd scandal.

“There’s no other reason for the law. Many parts of the law are repeats of existing legislature other than the extra territorial portion.   Read more