Putrajaya not getting soft on drugs, minister says

Source: Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 23 — Putrajaya’s bid to remove the mandatory death penalty for drug convictions does not mean the administration is becoming lenient towards narcotics abuse, said Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.

The minister in the Prime Minister’s Department who tabled the amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act today said the move was simply to allow the courts the discretion to decide on the maximum penalty for offences under the law.

She also noted that the proposed minimum sentence was still life imprisonment with no fewer than 15 strokes of the cane.

“All parties should view this amendment as a proactive step by the government to ensure appropriate justice for those who should not receive the mandatory death penalty,” she said in a statement. Read more

New drug law would give AGC power of life and death, says MP

Source: Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 29 — Putrajaya’s proposal to make the death penalty optional could instead allow the Attorney-General’s Chambers to decide if an accused should die for his crime, said PKR’S N. Surendran.

Criticising the government for stopping short of removing the death penalty in the proposed amendments to the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, the Padang Serai MP said the change would mean the courts could only opt for a lesser sentence if the prosecutor was agreeable.

“The Bill does not go far enough, gives the power to decide life or death to the public prosecutor and is in breach of the doctrine of separation of powers.

“The new amendments are thus a serious trespass upon judicial authority and infringe the constitutional doctrine of the separation of powers. The act of sentencing and the type of sentence must be purely a judicial exercise, without any involvement whatsoever of the executive. Read more

Opposition lawmakers, member seek to challenge constitutionality of Peaceful Assembly Act

Source: The Malaysian Insight

TWO opposition assemblymen and a party worker who were charged for violating the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) by participating in a street protest two years ago, have applied to refer their case to the Federal Court on constitutional grounds.

Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Azman Abdullah stayed the proceedings today and said he would decide on December 13 whether the case would be referred to the Federal Court.

Teja assemblyman Chang Lih Kang, 37, Semambu assemblyman Lee Chean Chung, 36, and former political secretary to PKR vice-president Tian Chua, Rozan Azen Mat Rasip, 40 were ordered to by the magistrate’s court to enter their defence in August.

They were charged under Section 4(2c) of the PAA for participating in the “Kita Lawan” rally in March 2015 to call for opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to be released and for Prime Minister Najib Razak to step down. Read more

Govt tables amendment to allow judges to decide penalty for drug traffickers

Source: Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 23 — Putrajaya tabled today an amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 (DDA) to return discretionary powers to the court instead of imposing the mandatory death sentence on drug traffickers.

The amendment, tabled for first reading today by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, seeks to revert Section 39B as law.

The provision, introduced in an amendment to the DDA or Act 234 in 1975, had allowed a person convicted of drug trafficking to be punished with jail and whipping or death.

It was removed in 1983 so that drug traffickers could only be punished with death.

Under the new amendment to Section 39B(2) of the DDA, any person who is found guilty of trafficking dangerous drugs can be be punished with either the death penalty or life in prison and whipping with a minimum of 15 strokes. Read more

Putrajaya: Freedom of religion does not equal freedom from religion

Source: Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 23 ― A deputy minister today claimed that atheism is a “very dangerous” ideology that goes against not only the Rukunegara that prescribes “believe in God” as one of the tenets, but also the Federal Constitution.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki alleged that the freedom of religion in the Constitution which guarantees the freedom to worship does not include the freedom to not believe.

“We have to understand that in the Malaysian context, our Federal Constitution states that the freedom of religion does not mean freedom from any religion because that is unconstitutional.

“This means we cannot incite someone to leave a religion or promote not having a religion. We cannot order or promote a belief of not having a religion, that is against the Federal Constitution,” he said. Read more

Don’t equate constitution with shariah, says lawyer

Source: FMT News

Jasser Auda (left) and Ab Kadir Ismail.
Pic from FMT News

PETALING JAYA: An official of the Shariah Lawyers Association has disputed Islamic scholar Jasser Auda’s view that the Malaysian constitution is in line with the spirit of the shariah.

Ab Kadir Ismail, who heads the association’s Selangor chapter, said no man-made body of laws could claim to be in the spirit of the shariah if it did not explicitly recognise God’s omniscience and omnipotence.

“There is no provision in the constitution that says Allah is superior and that the main sources of law are the Quran and Sunnah,” he said.

Auda, the chairman of the London-based Maqasid Institute, told a recent forum that he disagreed with calls to amend the Malaysian constitution, saying it already placed importance on peace, stability, and justice as required by Islam. Read more

Maria: End of year-old case over Bersih shows Sosma detention was baseless

Source: Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 21 ― Bersih 2.0’s Maria Chin Abdullah claimed the police’s decision to close a year-old case against the polls reform group showed that her detention without trial was baseless.

Maria, who chairs Bersih 2.0, said police also decided to return all items seized from Bersih 2.0, at the Dang Wangi district police headquarters today.

“Bukit Aman police has informed me that all investigations towards Bersih 2.0 and me have been closed.

“More interestingly, I was made to understand by the police that the return of the seized items are on the orders of the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

“Therefore it is proven that my detention under Sosma was without basis at all, and was merely a move to intimidate me, my family and Malaysians who love peace, democracy and justice,” she said in a statement today, referring to the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act. Read more

Indira Gandhi to sue IGP for ignoring Federal Court order to arrest Muslim ex-husband

Source: Malay Mail Online

Indira Gandhi has been waiting for a judgement from the apex court for almost a year now, ever since it concluded hearing of her case in November 2016. Pic by The Malay Mail Online

PETALING JAYA, Nov 21 — Hindu mother M. Indira Gandhi will be initiating a civil suit against the Inspector General of Police (IGP) for failing to comply with a mandamus order issued by the Federal Court to arrest her Muslim convert ex-husband who has refused to hand custody of the couple’s youngest child back to her.

Her lawyer M. Kulasegaran said that he will be filing the suit against the IGP’s office after the Federal Court delivers its judgement on Indira’s application to declare her children’s unilateral conversion to Islam by her ex-husband null and void.

Indira has been waiting for a judgement from the apex court for almost a year now, ever since it concluded hearing of her case in November 2016.

Former IGP Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar previously claimed there were contradicting orders from the Shariah Court and the civil courts as reason for his refusal to carry out the mandamus order to arrest Muhammad Riduan Abdullah issued by the High Court in Ipoh and subsequently upheld by the Federal Court last year.

But Kulasegaran insisted the IGP “lied” about there being two orders. Read more

Sarawak govt to table comprehensive Land Code changes next May

Source: Malay Mail Online

KUCHING, Nov 17 ― A comprehensive amendments to the Sarawak Land Code relating to territorial domain and communal forest reserves will be ready for tabling in the May 2018 sitting of the State Legislative Assembly, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said today.

He urged the indigenous communities, Dayak non-governmental organisations and interested individuals should let the Native Customary Rights (NCR) land task force look at the issues holistically and thereafter work out proposals to amend the Land Code to resolve the current problems.

“In the meantime, I would like to appeal for patience from all parties,” he said in his winding-up speech at the state legislative assembly meeting.

Uggah said the state government is committed to resolving all issues relating to NCR and will table the Bill to amend the Land Code. Read more

Suhakam calls for protection against workplace discrimination after tudung controversy

Source: Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 17 ― The freedom for workers to express their religions must be protected, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) said today.

“(The commission) counsels strongly that the freedom to manifest one’s religion or belief without discrimination must be protected in the workplace,” Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail said in a statement.

“While employment contracts can stipulate specific employment conditions, these shall not imply whether directly or indirectly discriminatory practices which may amount to a waiver of the right to freedom of religion and expression,” he added.

Suhakam was responding to ongoing debate on the purported practice by certain international hotel chains here barring Muslim female frontline staff from wearing tudung or headscarves while at work. Read more