Stop all fake news charges pending review, says lawyers’ group

Source: Malaysiakini

All enforcement and prosecution under the Anti-Fake News Act 2018 should be stopped pending the outcome of a challenge against its constitutionality, said watchdog group Lawyers for Liberty today.

LFL advisor N Surendran in a statement said this in response to news reports this morning that a Danish national will be the first person to be charged under the Anti-Fake News Act for allegedly making a false claim against the police.

“I call upon the home minister and attorney-general to halt all enforcement and prosecution under the Anti-Fake News Act 2018 pending the outcome of a test case now awaiting hearing in the KL High Court,” said Surendran.

He was referring to a constitutional challenge filed by Malaysiakini last week against the legislation. Read more

Dane jailed a week, fined RM10,000 over fake news

Source: The Sun Daily

KUALA LUMPUR: A Danish national who was the first person to be charged under the newly enacted Anti-Fake News Act pleaded guilty at the sessions court here today.

Salah Salem Saleh Sulaiman, 46, was sentenced to a week’s imprisonment from the date of arrest and RM10,000 fine in default a month jail.

He was not represented and was charged under the Anti-Fake News Act for publishing a fake post between 6am and 9am on April 21 at a condominium in Setapak in connection to the murder of a Palestinian national in Kuala Lumpur.

He had claimed that police had arrived late at the murder scene but the police denied this and said they had arrived at the scene in less than 10 minutes. Read more

Malaysia issues first ‘fake news’ conviction

Source: Committee to Protect Journalists

Bangkok, April 30, 2018–In a verdict with grave implications for press freedom, a Malaysian court today handed down the nation’s first conviction under its recently enacted “fake news” law, according to press reports.

Salah Salem Saleh Sulaiman, a Danish citizen, was sentenced to one week in prison and fined 10,000 ringgit (US$2,500) for posting to the internet a two-minute video criticizing police’s response to the April 21 assassination of a member of the militant group Hamas in Kuala Lumpur.

Sulaiman, who was traveling in Malaysia on vacation when he posted the video, pleaded guilty to the criminal charges of spreading false information, saying that he was unaware of local laws, and apologized to Malaysian authorities, news reports said. Read more

Woman loses appeal to be declared non-Muslim

Source: FreeMalaysiaToday

PUTRAJAYA: A woman who claimed she was an illegitimate child born of a Muslim father and Buddhist mother, who has since passed away, lost her appeal to be declared a non-Muslim.

A Court of Appeal panel, comprising Umi Kalthum Abdul Majid, Vernon Ong Lam Kiat and Suraya Othman, today struck out Rosliza Ibrahim’s bid to quash the Shah Alam High Court’s decision on June 22, 2017 to dismiss her originating summons for a declaration that she was Buddhist and not a Muslim.

Umi, who chaired the panel, said there was no appealable error in the High Court judge’s decision.

Rosliza, 36, filed an originating summons in 2015 for a declaration that she was an illegitimate child born to a Buddhist mother, that she was not a Muslim and therefore the shariah courts had no jurisdiction over her.

She claimed she was raised a Buddhist by her mother and continues to profess Buddhism to this day. Read more

Press Freedom Index: M’sia drops a rank, affected by China media control model

Source: Malaysiakini

Image taken from Mkini

Malaysia has come in at 145th out of 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index, falling one rank from last year.

The country’s score, 47.41, also worsened from last year with an increase of 0.52. According to the index, a higher score indicates deteriorating press freedom.

“Several proposed amendments would reinforce the already draconian Official Secrets Act 1972 and the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, posing additional threats to the Malaysian media’s freedom to cover the 2018 general election.

“Bloggers are closely monitored by the authorities, who can prosecute them for spreading ‘false news’, a euphemism for criticism of the government,” read the report on the 2018 World Press Freedom Index. Read more

Malaysians distrust electoral process, report shows

Source: Free Malaysia Today

The report by Suhakam and the Kofi Annan Foundation also says many questions have been raised regarding the transparency and impartiality of the EC.

Malaysian electoral votes being taken for counting — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

PETALING JAYA: A regional report on democracy has revealed Malaysians’ distrust of the electoral process and their belief that the Election Commission (EC) lacks independence.

The report, entitled “Democracy in Southeast Asia: Achievements, Challenges and Prospects” presented by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) and the Kofi Annan Foundation, also called for an improved framework and sound regulations for political financing.

It said this would promote greater transparency in the political arena and enhance confidence in the integrity of the electoral process.

Suhakam chairman Razali Ismail, who presented the report at a conference at the Bar Council auditorium here today, said the key role of civil society in promoting systems was to regulate political financing.

“Civil society organisations have a major role to play to educate the public on political corruption, political financing and money politics. And I believe that the regulation of political finance must be a priority in Malaysia,” he added.

Razali also said many questions had been raised regarding the transparency and impartiality of the EC. Read more

10,000 Selangor voters fail court challenge against EC redelineation report

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan speaks to members of the press at the Shah Alam High Court on April 20, 2018.― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

SHAH ALAM, April 20 ― The High Court today dismissed a judicial review application by over 10,000 Selangor voters to challenge the Election Commission’s (EC) redelineation report will be used in the May 9 polls.

In her judgment, Justice Datuk Azimah Omar held that the 107 applicants representing the 10,000 voters were not affected by EC’s redrawing of electoral boundaries, and as such, don’t have locus standi to mount the challenge.

“The 107 applicants are simply not in the constituencies in question,” she said.

The judge pointed out that the applicants must prove that they were adversely affected by the EC’s decision.

“There are no reasons whatsoever which warrants this court to interfere with the Parliament’s conducts or the Parliament’s privilege,” she added. Read more

No signs of abuse, but cops accused of negligence in Thanabalan’s death

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Thanabalan Subramaniam, 38, was arrested late last month outside a school in Kapar, died in custody 20 days later. His family was told that he died of a heart attack. Image from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: The post-mortem on Thanabalan Subramaniam, who died in police custody, could not confirm the cause of death but there were no signs that he was subject to any physical abuse, says incumbent Kapar MP G Manivannan.

Speaking to FMT, Manivannan said tissue and blood samples had been taken for further analysis to determine the cause of death.

Yesterday, Selangor police said they suspected that the centralised lock-up where the 38-year-old Thanabalan was being held had been contaminated by an infection.

“However, I believe there is an element of medical negligence on the part of the police as they should have ensured that Thanabalan received medical attention quickly,” Manivannan said.

Thanabalan, who was allegedly detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act, or Sosma, died at Hospital Shah Alam on Tuesday after being rushed there from the Shah Alam police headquarters where he had been held for some 20 days.

His death led to questions by civil society groups on the police’s commitment to putting an end to custodial deaths. Read more

‘Be My Protector’: Launch of new anti-human trafficking app

Source: TheSunDaily

The launch of the 1st anti-human trafficking app ‘Be My Protector’ here in the CO3 Social Office in Puchong on April 19, 2018. — Sunpix by Zulfadhli Zaki

PETALING JAYA: The fight against human trafficking in the country could be intensified following the launch of the first ever anti-human trafficking mobile application in Southeast Asia.

The app, aptly named “Be My Protector”, is the brainchild of human rights organisations Tenaganita and Change Your World (CYW), and required two years of development leading up to its release.

Describing the launch as a historical moment, Tenaganita director Aegile Fernandez said the app was necessary to allow the public and the victims themselves to have a proper channel to report cases of human trafficking.

“We have enforcement, but that is a different level. That’s when the idea of the app came about. It took us two years of sitting down, brainstorming and testing.

“We could not let the matter just go. I always question why are we the losers in this war against human trafficking? We should be the winners, and today this dream has become a reality,” she said at the launch, here today. Read more

EAIC: Sharp rise in complaints against enforcers, but insufficient proof for action

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) chairman Datuk A. Aziz A. Rahim speaks during the launch of the ‘Report Enforcers’ Misconduct’ campaign in Kuala Lumpur April 18, 2018. — Picture by Razak Ghazali

KUALA LUMPUR, April 18 — Public complaints against enforcement agency officers more than doubled last year with the highest made against policemen, the government’s watchdog said today.

Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) chairman Datuk A. Aziz A. Rahim said 545 public complaints were made against enforcers last year compared to 247 in 2016.

“Out of last year’s complaints the highest was from the police,” he said during the launch of the EAIC’s “Report Enforcers’ Misconduct” campaign.

He attributed it to the high number of police personnel, noting that in comparison, complaints against other agencies were far lower.

He said the Immigration had 20 complaints, while the Road Transport Department received 13 complaints against their enforcement officers.

“But of the 545 complaints last year, around 60 to 70 per cent were without merit when we looked into it, as there was insufficient proof found,” he added. Read more