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PRESIDENT’S REPORT FOR 2015/2016 – Ambiga Sreenevasan

PRESIDENT’S REPORT FOR THE AGM 2015/2016 [25th AGM]

PresidentIt has been 28 years since HAKAM’s inception. Since then, HAKAM has been committed to promoting, defending and preserving human rights. In a climate of corruption and abuse of power, the deterioration of human rights continues unabated. HAKAM’s work has thus become more critical.

In October last year, Human Rights Watch produced a report titled “Climate of Fear”. The report details all the measures being taken by the present regime to silence critics including the countless arrests and detentions under the Sedition Act 1948 and the Communication and Multimedia Act 1998 and of course the bizarre case of Zunar, a cartoonist facing 9 charges of sedition. We have had 206 investigations for sedition in 2015 alone. The government has indeed been effective in creating a climate of fear.

The last one year has been disastrous for human rights. We have seen the continuing introduction of repressive laws, threats to press freedom, environmental degradation, misuse of enforcement powers, last minute ‘secret’ executions, the suspension of The Edge, closure of The Malaysian Insider and the investigation, arrest and the unlawful detention of journalists including foreign journalists. Read more

MEMORANDUM kepada Ahli-ahli Dewan Negara Berkenaan Rang Undang-undang Majlis Keselamatan Negara 2015

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15 Disember 2015

Masyarakat sivil memandang berat Rang Undang-Undang Majlis Keselamatan Negara 2015 (Rang Undang-Undang MKN) yang diluluskan secara tergesa-gesa di Dewan Rakyat pada 3 Disember 2015.

Rang Undang-Undang ini memberi kesan yang buruk kepada rakyat Malaysia dan merupakan ancaman yang belum pernah berlaku sebelum ini terhadap demokrasi berparlimen di Malaysia.

Mengapa perlu ada undang-undang yang seluas ini, terutamanya apabila ianya dilakukan secara tergesa-gesa, tanpa sebarang justifikasi, hebahan mahupun perundingan?

Pembentangan Rang Undang-Undang ini merupakan suatu langkah yang amat berbahaya bagi Malaysia kerana ia menumpukan kuasa luar biasa ke tangan hanya seorang ahli cabang Eksekutif Kerajaan. Mekanisme semak dan imbang yang biasanya didapati dalam mana-mana demokrasi berparlimen adalah sama ada tidak wujud ataupun terjejas teruk di Malaysia.

Read more

MEMORANDUM to Members of Dewan Negara on the National Security Council Bill 2015

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15th December 2015

Malaysian civil society organisations view with serious concern the National Security Council Bill 2015 (NSC Bill) that was rushed through Dewan Rakyat on 3rd December 2015.

This Bill has dire consequences for the people of Malaysia and represents an unprecedented threat to what remains of parliamentary democracy in Malaysia.

Why is there a need for such a sweeping piece of legislation especially since it was done in such haste, without any justification, publicity or consultation?

The tabling of this Bill represents an extremely dangerous step for Malaysia as it concentrates extraordinary powers within the hands of a single member of the Executive arm of Government. Mechanisms of check and balance normally found within parliamentary democracies are either absent or severely compromised in Malaysia.

No person or entity should have absolute and unfettered powers. Concentration of power leads to the temptation for abuse, particularly in times of political crisis. The NSC Bill represents a quantum leap towards a dictatorship and a military-police state.

The serious ramifications of this Bill call for further and extensive consideration by the Dewan Negara. Read more

KENYATAAN MEDIA: Malaysia Perlu Bersatu Hentikan Rang Undang-Undang Majlis Keselamatan Negara 2015

 

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8 Disember 2015

Rang Undang-Undang Majlis Keselamatan Negara (MKN) 2015 yang diluluskan secara tergesa-gesa melalui Dewan Rakyat pada 3 Disember merupakan satu ancaman yang belum pernah berlaku sebelum ini terhadap demokrasi berparlimen di Malaysia.

Undang-undang ini bertujuan untuk memusatkan kuasa tentera, polis dan darurat di bawah Perdana Menteri. Bukan sahaja ia mengambil alih kuasa yang sebelum ini dipegang oleh Menteri Pertahanan dan Menteri Dalam Negeri, ia juga secara efektif memberikan Perdana Menteri kuasa yang sama seperti yang termaktub dalam Perkara 150 Perlembagaan Persekutuan yang dimiliki oleh D.Y.M.M. Yang Di-Pertuan Agong dan secara efektif membolehkan beliau mengisytiharkan darurat walaupun istilah “darurat” tidak digunakan dalam Rang Undang-undang tersebut.

Pembentangan undang-undang ini merupakan suatu langkah yang amat berbahaya bagi Malaysia kerana ia menumpukan kuasa luarbiasa hanya ke tangan seorang ahli cabang Eksekutif Kerajaan. Mekanisme semak dan imbang yang biasanya didapati dalam mana-mana demokrasi berparlimen adalah sama ada tidak wujud ataupun terjejas teruk di Malaysia.

Tidak ada mana-mana kerajaan yang harus memegang kuasa secara mutlak dan tanpa batasan. Penumpuan kuasa membawa kepada kecenderungan salah guna kuasa, terutamanya ketika negara sedang dilanda krisis politik. Kita telah melihat Malaysia merosot dari demokrasi berparlimen ke arah autoritarianisme berasaskan pilihanraya setelah para Perdana Menteri yang sebelum ini mula kehilangan cengkaman ke atas kuasa dan merebut lebih kuasa untuk diri mereka sendiri. Rang Undang-Undang MKN merupakan lonjakan besar ke arah pemerintahan diktator dan negara tentera-polis.

Read more

STATEMENT: Malaysia Must Unite to Stop the National Security Council Bill 2015

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8 December 2015

The National Security Council (NSC) Bill 2015 that was rushed through Dewan Rakyat on 3 December represents an unprecedented threat to what remains of parliamentary democracy in Malaysia.

The law aims to centralise military, policing and emergency powers under the Prime Minister. Not only does it appropriate powers held by the Defence and Home Ministers, it also effectively grants the Prime Minister similar powers under Article 150 of the Federal Constitution of the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong to effectively declare an emergency even though the word “emergency” is not used in the NSC Bill.

The tabling of this law represents an extremely dangerous step for Malaysia as it concentrates extraordinary powers within the hands of a single member of the Executive arm of Government. Mechanisms of check and balance normally found within parliamentary democracies are either absent or severely compromised in Malaysia.

No government should have absolute and unfettered powers. Concentration of power leads to the temptation for abuse, particularly in times of political crisis. We have seen Malaysia slide from parliamentary democracy towards an uneasy electoral authoritarianism after past Prime Ministers began to lose their grip on power and seized more powers for themselves. The NSC Bill represents a quantum leap towards a dictatorship and a military-police state.

Read more

Warga Sarawak beri ibu S$12.80 sebelum jalani hukuman gantung

Sumber: The Malaysian Insider

Perkara pertama Kho Jabing buat apabila ibu dan kakaknya tiba dari Miri, Sarawak untuk melawatnya di penjara di Singapura minggu lepas, ialah memberi mereka satu-satunya harta miliknya – S$12.80 (RM38.50) hasil kerjanya selama 8 tahun sebagai banduan.

“Bila dia nampak kami, dia beri kami wang itu, dan katanya, ini pemberian pertama dan terakhir darinya,” kata adik Jabing, Jumai.

Jabing, 31, dijadualkan menjalani hukuman gantung di Singapura pada waktu subuh esok.

“Dia bekerja untuk mendapatkan wang itu selama 8 tahun dalam penjara, dan dia menyimpan wang itu supaya dia boleh memberikan sesuatu kepada ibu kami,” kata Jumai kepada The Malaysian Insider dalam temu bual telefon lewat Rabu.

Jumai berada di Singapura dengan ibunya sejak 26 Oktober selepas mereka mendapat tahu peluang terakhir Jabing untuk menerima pengampunan ditolak. Read more

Malaysia’s deadly connection – by Ambiga Sreenevasan

Source: New Mandala  |  Secondary Source: The Malay Mail Online

BY AMBIGA SREENEVASAN
(President, HAKAM)

Remains found in a mass grave at a human trafficking camp in Malaysia. Photo by Al Jazeera.

Turning a blind eye to the links between corruption and human trafficking is costing lives.

In Malaysia, corruption kills. Recent casualties include the victims of the human trafficking trade conducted across the border with Thailand.

In May this year, Thai authorities discovered human trafficking death camps in the jungles of southern Thailand. Reports were rife that similar death camps existed on the Malaysian side of the border.

The Home Ministry on 10 May dismissed these reports saying their investigations had found no such camps nor graves.

But, two courageous journalists from Malay Mail, S Arulldas and Sayuti Zainuddin, risked life and limb to search out the death camps and proved the Ministry wrong. After covering difficult terrain, they arrived at a clearing where they were shocked to see 40 mounds of soil with freshly dug graves. They also found a deserted camp that could have housed over 1,000 people. Read more

Report on the “Rogue Cops: Workable Solutions – Police Accountability in Malaysia” Forum – Thulsi Manogaran

BY THULSI MANOGARAN

Police Accountability

Police Accountability

 

On 30 May 2015, the Malaysian Bar Council Task Force on the IPCMC and HAKAM jointly organised a forum entitled “Rogue Cops: Workable Solutions – Police Accountability in Malaysia”. The forum was held at the Raja Aziz Auditorium in Kuala Lumpur. HAKAM and the Malaysian Bar saw it fit to resuscitate the findings of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on the Police. One of the major proposals made by the commission is for the establishment of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).

Basic rights of the Malaysian people and foreigners have been trampled upon far too many times by the very people who are entrusted to care for our rights. This is not merely an allegation built on prejudice or bias against the police force. While society recognises that not all cops are rogue cops, this is not a trivial personalised battle. It has evolved into a systemic problem plaguing the entire force.

Even expert bodies have relented the same. The Human Rights Watch quoted in their report titled “No Answers, No Apologies” that “Human Rights Watch research found problems much more significant than mistakes or a few ineffectual officers. The serious rights abuses documented in this report point instead to structural problems that need to be addressed. Without rigorous investigation of alleged police abuse cases, those problems cannot be properly identified or tracked. Despite increasing public backlash, neither police leaders nor the civilian authorities who oversee their actions have made a genuine commitment to bringing about needed reform in police policy and practice. Read more

UN experts voice concern over adverse impact of free trade and investment agreements on human rights

Source: OHCHR

GENEVA 2 June 2015 – A number of free trade and investment agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), are currently being negotiated. A group of UN experts* have issued the following statement to express concern about the secret nature of drawing up and negotiating many of these agreements and the potential adverse impact of these agreements on human rights:

“While trade and investment agreements can create new economic opportunities, we draw attention to the potential detrimental impact these treaties and agreements may have on the enjoyment of human rights as enshrined in legally binding instruments, whether civil, cultural, economic, political or social. Our concerns relate to the rights to life, food, water and sanitation, health, housing, education, science and culture, improved labour standards, an independent judiciary, a clean environment and the right not to be subjected to forced resettlement.

As also underlined in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, States must ensure that trade and investment agreements do not constrain their ability to meet their human rights obligations (Guiding Principle 9). Read more