Activist: 3 charged every week under Communications Act

Source: FMT News

Pic taken from FMT News

Pic taken from FMT News

KUALA LUMPUR: Human rights activists say more people will likely be charged under the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) as it is too vague and open to interpretation.

Speaking at the launch of a legal analysis on the Act today, Suaram representative Dobby Chew said about three people were charged every week.

“Some cases are very mundane,” he added.

“How can we protect these people? They can be people on the street, on the bus, writing on Facebook,” he said at the event, which was organised by Article 19, a Malaysian organisation that advocates freedom of expression and information.

Human rights lawyer Firdaus Husni added that the Act was open to interpretation.

“The law must be clear and precise. It should not be against political dissent. It will not encourage freedom of speech and expression.

“In fact, it will bring about selective prosecution,” she said.

Meanwhile, Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights representative Edmond Bon said the government should publish guidelines so that the Act was not open to abuse.

Such guidelines should state when and how the provisions in the Act were applicable, he said.

Also present at the event, held at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, was rights activist Khalid Ismath who is facing 11 charges under the CMA. Read more

Asean taking ‘baby steps’ on human rights transparency

Source: The Star Online

KUALA LUMPUR: The Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) is taking baby steps towards greater transparency.

Seven years after the region’s human rights mechanism was set up in 2009, it published an annual report on Aug 1.

However, there are no recommendations in the 18-page 2016 report.

Edmund Bon

Edmund Bon

Edmund Bon, Malaysia’s Representative to AICHR, said in an interview that there were “only two recommendations this year”.

“To make our Annual Report public; and to update and review our Terms of Reference.

“We communicated these recommendations to the AMM (Asean Foreign Ministers’ Meeting) on July 23. The AMM accepted the first.”

The second was noted by AMM, he said, adding that one of the 10 Asean Member States (AMS) wanted the new Representatives “to fully utilise the existing Terms of Reference before reviewing them.”

Bon is hopeful: “This means the AMM wants AICHR to utilise among others the mandate to obtain information from AMS on the protection of human rights and also to develop common approaches to human rights.”

He added that Malaysia would embark on these in the coming months.

AICHR, which comprises representatives of Asean’s member states, has been the target of criticism from human rights advocacy groups for not doing it so far.

“Civil society organisations rightly criticised AICHR for failing to release our previous reports; we have now met their demand. Read more

Improving Malaysia’s profile

Source: The Star Online

Edmund Bon

Edmund Bon

EDMUND Bon Tai Soon (pic) has spent much time at odds with the Malaysian Government as a human rights defender and advocate.

And so it was a surprise when Wisma Putra issued a statement on April 1 announcing him as Malaysia’s new representative to the Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR).

“With vast experience and exposure in high-profile public interest litigation over the past 18 years, the appointment of Mr Edmund Bon is a strong manifestation of the government of Malaysia’s desire to bring human rights and fundamental freedoms issues at the forefront of Asean’s agenda through the AICHR,” the Foreign Ministry (MoFA) had said in the announcement.

On March 30, he received his letter of appointment.

Bon’s appointment was delayed – there were some objections, unsurprisingly – so much so he missed the first meeting of the new batch of AICHR reps from the member countries.

But in full Bon-style, he’s jumped in with both feet and full of determination, undeterred by chatter that he has ‘sold out’.

In a recent exclusive interview, he talks about who he represents, his mandate to popularise the Asean Human Rights Declaration (AHRD) and the advent of an Asean Court for Human Rights.

The following are excerpts from the interview with Sunday Star. Read more

Edmund Bon named Malaysia’s rep in Asean human rights panel

Source: The Star Online

Edmund Bon

Edmund Bon

PETALING JAYA: Former Bar Council committee member Edmund Bon Tai Soon has been appointed Malaysia’s new representative to the Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR).

Bon, who has been appointed for the 2016-2018 term, succeeds Tan Sri Dr Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who occupied the position for two consecutive terms from 2010 until 2015.

“With vast experience and exposure in high-profile public interest litigation over the past 18 years, the appointment of Mr Edmund Bon is a strong manifestation of the Government of Malaysia’s desire to bring human rights and fundamental freedom issues at the forefront of Asean’s agenda through the AICHR,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday. Read more