Freedom a right, not a privilege, forum told

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Azmi also said that for those in power, freedom is viewed as an irritant and a threat to their dominance. — Picture by Choo Choy May

Azmi also said that for those in power, freedom is viewed as an irritant and a threat to their dominance. — Picture by Choo Choy May

PETALING JAYA, April 3 — The belief that imposing restrictions on civil liberties is necessary for national security is a misconception that should be rejected, law academic Azmi Sharom said today, insisting that freedom is a right and not a privilege.

Speaking at a forum entitled “Liberty or Security: You Choose”, Azmi said the government has to do more to convince the public why it needed to enact more restrictive laws, and said the public had every right to reject them should they curb their right to hold those in power accountable.

“This is a common misconception — the need to balance security and liberty. Freedom is a given, not a privilege like what some clown said,” Azmi told the forum, without specifying who he was referring to.

“Freedom is a right. If they want to have more security laws, they must justify to us why. We don’t have to justify to them (why we can reject them) as freedom is our right,” he said, drawing applause from the audience. Read more

Malaysia Considers Caning People Who Reveal State Secrets

Source: WSJ

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia—A push by Malaysia’s top law-enforcement official to use a British colonial-era punishment on people who reveal state secrets is dividing the government and sparking concerns in civil society.

Malaysia already administers the punishment—caning—to thousands of people a year who are convicted of crimes such as drug trafficking, rape, robbery and firearms possession. Human-rights groups and others deplore the practice, in which prisoners are whipped with a rattan stick, as inhumane. The government says it reduces recidivism; it hasn’t provided statistics to support that.

Now, as Prime Minister Najib Razak’s administration tries to contain a graft scandal at a state investment fund, his attorney general is proposing to also use caning on people found guilty of violating Malaysia’s Official Secrets Act. Under the act, officials can declare any document or information to be secret, restricted or classified. The government has said it suspects secret documents related to the investment fund were leaked. Read more

AS ‘khuatir’ tindakan keras Putrajaya terhadap media

Sumber: The Malaysian Outsider

PMO_putrajaya2_tmi

Amerika Syarikat ‘sangat khuatir’ dengan tindakan sekatan kebebasan media dan Internet yang dilakukan Putrajaya berhubung laporan mengenai hal ehwal semasa dalam negeri dan menggesa menghormati kebebasan bersuara sepenuhnya. – Gambar fail The Malaysian Insider, 3 Mac, 2016.

Amerika Syarikat (AS) hari ini menyuarakan kebimbangan mengenai tindakan keras Malaysia terhadap media dan mengatakan kebebasan akhbar dan Internet di negara Asia boleh menjejaskan prospek kerjasama 2 hala daripada berkembang.

Jurucakap Jabatan Negara AS John Kirby berkata Washington “sangat khuatir” sekatan akses Malaysia baru-baru ini berhubung laporan mengenai hal ehwal semasa dalam negeri, termasuk menyekat akses kepada The Malaysian Insider (TMI), sebuah portal berita pada minggu lepas.

TMI menerbitkan laporan mengenai skandal berkaitan 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) dan penyiasatan berhubung AS$681 juta yang didepositkan ke dalam akaun bank Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Suruhanjaya Komunikasi dan Multimedia Malaysia berkata portal berita itu melanggar undang-undang di bawah Akta Komunikasi dan Multimedia, undang-undang 1998 yang melarang menggunakan laman web bagi menerbitkan “apa-apa komen, permintaan, cadangan atau komunikasi lain yang lucah, sumbang, palsu, mengancam atau jelik sifatnya dengan niat menyakitkan hati, menganiaya, mengugut atau mengganggu orang lain”. Read more

Understanding the phenomenon that is terrorism – P Sundramoorthy

Source: FMT News

By P SUNDRAMOORTHY

Pic taken from FMT News

Pic taken from FMT News

The social phenomenon of violent acts of terrorism has an intellectual and behavioural context that needs to be objectively analysed without prejudice. Many would argue that the way to counter acts of terrorism is to address the supposed grievances that arise from deprivation of civil rights, human rights and democracy. Then is the deliberate targeting of civilians, to indiscriminately murder and maim innocent children, women and men, not the deprivation of such rights? If it were not, then national and international conflicts and struggles for civil rights, human rights and democracy by using violence may be justified by extremist and terror groups. This mindset is most dangerous. Read more

High Court sets April 28 to hear Tony Pua judicial review

Source: The Star Online

KUALA LUMPUR:  Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua’s bid to challenge the Immigration Department director-general’s decision to stop him from travelling overseas will be heard on April 28.

The case will be heard by High Court (Appellate and Special Powers) judge Justice Hanipah Farikullah.

Speaking to reporters after the parties met senior assistant registrar Nurul Aini Yahya in chambers on Tuesday, Pua’s lawyer Joanne Chua said that the court fixed March 29 for them to file written submissions for the judicial review proceedings.

Chua said Nurul Aini has set March 29 and April 18 for case management to ensure all documents in order for the hearing. Read more

Suaram: AG, cops threatening people won’t do

Source: FMT News 

The AG would do well to remember that any attempt to utilize his power to protect and preserve a political party was a blatant misuse of power and must not happen in Malaysia.

Sevan-Doraisamy

KUALA LUMPUR: Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) has said in a statement that it deplores all unjustified attempts to limit and curtail the freedom of expression and freedom of information as suggested by the Attorney-General Mohd Apandi Ali last week and strongly condemns the act of intimidation by the police through its warning to artist and activist Fahmi Reza.

“The statement issued by the police would directly and indirectly prevent positive discourse on matters relating to national interest and jeopardize the democratic space and freedom of expression of all Malaysians.

“The police statement on Fahmi for his posting of a satirical image of a leader of the Government of Malaysia was a clear attempt to intimidate the public against any dissent and criticism against the government.”

In recalling the nature of office held by any government official, said Suaram Executive Director Sevan Doraisamy, public scrutiny and criticism was part of the democratic process that serves as the foundation of Malaysia. “Satirical images and comments made against government officials should not be considered a crime. Read more

2015: Malaysians vs the law(s)

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Three_Laws_Recap_2015_graphics_620_366_100

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 1 — While we are celebrating the new year, let us pause to take stock of how Malaysians appear to have been increasingly pitted against laws — those that are enforced, those that are ruled on, those that are created — meant to help keep the peace.

1. The triple whammy of laws for more power and less rights

* National Security Council Bill  (NSC)

Malaysians were taken by surprise and slapped rudely with a law where the government — backed by the full force of the state — will have Emergency-like or warzone-like powers against its citizens.

This law is aimed at securing a hazily-defined “national security” for the good of Malaysians, especially when there is a threat in an area that can be unilaterally declared a “security area” by the prime minister on the advice of the National Security Council. Read more

Section 233(1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 Creates a Chilling Effect on Freedom of Speech and Expression, and Should be Repealed – Steven Thiru

Press Release

Section 233(1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998
Creates a Chilling Effect
on Freedom of Speech and Expression, and Should be Repealed

The Malaysian Bar is deeply concerned over the use of Section 233(1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (“CMA”) which, among others, criminalises the use of network facilities or network services by a person to transmit any communication that is deemed to be offensive and could cause annoyance to another person.

Section 233(3) of the CMA stipulates, upon conviction, the imposition of a maximum fine of RM50,000 or a maximum one-year jail term or both, as well as a further fine of RM1,000 for every day the offence is continued after conviction. Read more

PSM leader charged under Sedition Act for criticising judiciary

Source: The Star Online

Arutchelvan (centre) speaking to his lawyers.

Arutchelvan (centre) speaking to his lawyers.

KUALA LUMPUR:  Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) leader S. Arutchelvan, was charged on Monday under the Sedition Act for his criticism against the judiciary at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court.

Judge Amernudin Ahmad decided that bail would be set at RM5000 while the court also set Dec 22 for mention.

Arutchelvan was charged under Section 4(1)(b) of the Sedition Act while an alternative charge under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 was added.

He is being charged after he had condemned the Federal Court’s decision on a Facebook post following Anwar’s sodomy conviction on Feb 10, while acting as the party secretary-general.

He had previously been and arrested under the Sedition Act on Feb 19.

However he was released the following day after a four-day remand was rejected by the magistrate’s court.

Arutchelvan claimed trial to the charges.

Speaking to reporters after the case, Arutchelvan defended what he had posted on Facebook by saying that he was merely reflecting PSM’s position on the Federal Court’s decision on Anwar’s trial. Read more

End repression of women human rights defenders — Joint Action Group for Gender Equality

Source: The Malay Mail Online

NOVEMBER 3 — Today, one of the leading women human rights defenders in our country was charged under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012. As current chairperson of the Bersih 2.0 movement, Maria Chin Abdullah’s only “crime” is refusing to be silenced by an arbitrary set of laws set up to curb our rights to freedom of speech, expression, and to assemble – rights which are guaranteed under the Federal Constitution.

Maria is a beacon of hope for many Malaysian both home and abroad. She has been pivotal in encouraging us to speak out in the face of injustice. She gives us the belief that in a democratic nation such as ours, we the people can peacefully demand for institutional reforms, for integrity and for accountability, as is our right as voters in Malaysia. She gave us, the citizens of Malaysia, an avenue for our rights to be heard. It is richly ironic that the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012, with its purported intention as stated in its preamble is “to protect the rights and freedoms of other persons”, is being used to try to silence the woman who led one of the largest peaceful assemblies in Malaysian history. Read more