Suaram wants charge against Bersih chief dropped

Source: Malaysiakini

Human rights group Suaram has condemned the planned prosecution of Bersih chief Maria Chin Abdullah under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012.

Maria is set to be charged next Tuesday under Section 9(5) for failing to provide notice for the August 30 and 31 protest which saw more than 100,000 people hitting the streets to call for Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s resignation.

Suaram executive director Sevan Doraisamy called the prosecution “illogical” and “unjustifiable”.

“In light of the fact that the required notice is given to the Royal Malaysian Police, there is no legitimate justification for Maria Chin to be charged under Section 9(5) of the Act. Read more

When an accused should be released on bail – Syahredzan Johan

Source: The Star Online

Syahredzan Johan - file pic

Syahredzan Johan – file pic

BY SYAHREDZAN JOHAN

It was recently reported that Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) activist Khalid Ismath was slapped with 11 charges under the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) and three under the Sedition Act – a total of 14 charges in relation to a Facebook posting he made recently.

Even more worrying was that Khalid was not granted bail by the Johor Baru Sessions Court, which means he will remain in detention until his trial.

The denial of bail for charges under these two Acts are almost unheard of – for all cases in recent memory, the accused would be granted bail with at least one surety.

Bail is not something that should be taken lightly. By not granting bail and detaining the accused until the conclusion of the trial, the personal liberty of the accused is denied and his freedom of movement restricted.

He is essentially incarcerated even before he is convicted.

The cornerstone of the criminal justice system – that a person is innocent until proven guilty – means that a person should not be denied his liberty before charges against him are proven. Read more

Immigration Dept can impose travel ban against those who shamed Malaysia

Source: The Malaysian Insider

The Immigration Department says it has the right to restrict Malaysians who has shamed the country from travelling abroad. – The Malaysian Insider filepic, October 18, 2015.

The Immigration Department will ban those who have disgraced the nation and deemed as a threat to the national security from leaving the country, its director-general Datuk Seri Mustafa Ibrahim said.

He said the department had powers to blacklist such individuals, reported The Star today.

“We are also in the verge of blacklisting those who are believed to be involved in human trafficking and other crimes,” the newspaper quoted him saying at a press conference after launching the East Coast shooting training programme yesterday.

Mustafa said these individuals should not blame the department and pretend to be surprised if their passports were blacklisted as they knew the reason.

“The department does not simply blacklist anyone’s passports as it wishes,” Mustafa was reported as saying. Read more

Not a mere ceremonial body – Shad Saleem Faruqi

Source: The Star Online

BY SHAD SALEEM FARUQI

Shad Saleem Faruqi - file pic

Shad Saleem Faruqi – file pic

THE 239th meeting of the Conference of Rulers on Oct 2-3 issued a strongly worded statement about the need to bolster transparency, credibility and integrity in government.

It also expressed strong support for our tradition of inter-racial and inter-religious harmony, and expressed dismay that some political leaders and non-governmental organisations are sensationalising racial and religious issues to garner support for their party or themselves.

The Rulers’ intervention on issues of governance may raise some eyebrows about the proper relationship between constitutional rulers and the elected government of the day.

Previous precedents: It is humbly submitted that the Rulers were well within their constitutional role under Article 38 of the Federal Constitution to issue their call for good governance and racial and religious harmony. There are previous precedents for such royal statements, for example on Oct 14, 2010 when the Rulers expressed concern about political trends that undermine the supremacy of the Constitution. Read more

A literalist interpretation of the law – Azmi Sharom

Source: The Star Online

BY AZMI SHAROM

Recent judgments have an impact on basic freedoms such as that of expression.

Azmi Sharom - file pic

Azmi Sharom – file pic

RECENTLY I’ve been faced with a rather hurtful question. How can I teach my students the law?

This may seem like a weird question. After all I work in a law faculty. My students are there to study the law. What else am I to teach, then?

But there is a sting in the question. There is an implication to this seemingly simple query.

The question really should be: “how can I teach my students the law when the law seems to disregard such fundamental principles as constitutionalism and the rule of law”?

Looking at recent developments, it comes as no surprise that this question arises.

In a space of a fortnight the Federal and Appeal Courts of this country have taken retrograde steps pushing back any small advances we may have made in the realm of the right to assemble, the right to life and the right to expression.

They have done this by con­tradicting earlier decisions, by using technicalities and by interpreting the Constitution in a li­tera­list manner which leaves the door wide open for tremendous abuse of our human rights. Read more

Malaysia: Court Ruling Sets Back Transgender Rights

Source: Human Rights Watch

HRWlogo‘Oppressive and Inhuman’ Cross-Dressing Ban Restored

(Washington, DC) – In overturning a landmark ruling, Malaysia’s highest court has undermined the rights of transgender people in the country, Human Rights Watch said today. On October 8, 2015, the Federal Court reversed a lower court ruling that a state’s prohibition on “cross-dressing” was unconstitutional. On wholly procedural grounds, the Federal Court upheld Sharia laws prohibiting “a male person posing as a woman.”

The judicial decision is a serious setback in a four-year struggle by transgender activists to end arbitrary arrests of transgender women on the basis of discriminatory laws, Human Rights Watch said. Read more

Trio’s bid on anti-cross dressing law unravels

Source: The Star Online

PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court ended three transgenders’ bid to declare an anti-cross dressing law unconstitutional, on a technicality.

The panel, led by Court of Appeal president Justice Md Raus Sharif, allowed the Negri Sembilan state government’s preliminary objection that the wrong mode was used to mount a legal challenge.

The three had filed a judicial review to the Seremban High Court for a declaration that Section 66 of the Syariah Criminal (Negri Sembilan) Enactment 1992 was unlawful.

“The Court of Appeal and High Court were in grave error in entertaining the respondents to question the validity of Section 66,” said Justice Md Raus.

He found that such an application could only be addressed by the Federal Court directly.

“For the reasons above, we allow the appeal solely on the preliminary issues raised,” ruled Justice Md Raus. Read more

Nik Nazmi didakwa bawah akta sama untuk kali ketiga

Sumber: The Malaysian Insider

Adun Seri Setia Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad didakwa buat kali ketiga mengikut pertuduhan sama di Mahkamah Sesyen Petaling Jaya, hari ini. – Gambar The Malaysian Insider oleh Afif Abd Halim, 6 Oktober, 2015.

Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri (Adun) Seri Setia Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad didakwa buat kali ketiga mengikut pertuduhan yang sama kerana pelanggaran Akta Perhimpunan Aman (PAA) 2012 di Mahkamah Seksyen Petaling Jaya, hari ini.

Exco pendidikan Selangor itu didakwa semula mengikut Seksyen 9(5) PAA kerana gagal memberi notis kepada polis daerah dalam tempoh 10 hari yang diperlukan bagi penganjuran perhimpunan ‘Black 505’ di Stadium Kelana Jaya pada 8 Mei, 2013.

Ia susulan keputusan dramatik Mahkamah Rayuan mendenda Setiausaha PKR Johor R Yuneswaran sebanyak RM6,000 kerana gagal memberi notis dalam tempoh 10 hari bagi penganjuran Black 505 tersebut.

Peguam Shahredzan Johan yang mewakilinya mempersoalkan dakwaan kali ketiga anak guamnya itu yang menurutnya tidak mengikut perlembagaan.

“Mengikut Artikel 7(2) suspek yang didakwa tidak boleh disabitkan semula untuk pertuduhan sama.

“Ia seperti ‘double jeopardy’ atau pendakwaan berulang kali,” katanya kepada pemberita di luar bilik Mahkamah Seksyen Petaling Jaya. Read more

Court backtracks, now says punishing rally organisers legal

Source: The Malaysian Insider

Last year’s May Day rally in Kuala Lumpur. The Court of Appeal has said that organisers of assemblies can be punished according to the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012. – The Malaysian Insider filepic, October 1, 2015.

The Court of Appeal today ruled that a provision in the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 (PAA) that punishes organisers for holding assemblies is constitutional.

A three-man bench chaired by Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif said Section 9(5) of the PAA, which provides for a fine of up to RM10,000, did not run foul of Article 10 of the Federal Constitution.

“Section 9(5) is valid and enforceable,” Raus said of the unanimous judgment.

He said as such the bench had to depart from a previous Court of‎ Appeal ruling that Section 9(5) was unconstitutional.

Raus said this in allowing the appeal of the government against the acquittal of Johor PKR executive secretary R. Yuneswaran on a charge of unlawfully organising a “Blackout 505” rally in 2013. Read more

Ezra Zaid to stand Shariah trial after failing to nullify Selangor law on un-Islamic books charge

Source: The Malay Mail Online

ZI Publications Sdn Bhd director Ezra Zaid, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim and lawyer Pavendeep Singh are seen at the Federal Court, Putrajaya, September 28, 2015. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

PUTRAJAYA, Sept 28 — Publisher Mohd Ezra Mohd Zaid will have to face trial in the Shariah Court after failing to persuade the country’s highest court to nullify a Selangor law that makes it an offence for Muslims to publish books the state religious authority deems un-Islamic.

Earlier today, the Federal Court dismissed Ezra and his publishing firm ZI Publications Sdn Bhd’s bid to have Section 16 of the Syariah Criminal Offences (Selangor) Enactment 1995 declared invalid, with the country’s supreme court ruling that the Selangor state assembly had acted within its powers under the Federal Constitution when making the law.

In the unanimous decision, a five-judge panel in the Federal Court noted that the Federal Constitution allows states to make laws on offences against the precepts of Islam and showed the intention of the Constitution’s framers to allow Muslims here to also be governed by Islamic personal law.

“In conclusion, we would like to highlight that a Muslim in Malaysia is not only subject to laws enacted by Parliament, but also state laws of religious nature enacted by legislature of a state,” the Federal Court panel chaired by Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif said in a 16-page judgement. Read more