Redelineation Proposals are Fundamentally Flawed, Inherently Unfair, and Unconstitutional — Malaysian Bar

Source:  Malaysian Bar

Press Release

Redelineation Proposals are Fundamentally Flawed, Inherently Unfair, and Unconstitutional

The Malaysian Bar is deeply disturbed by the overall manner in which the redelineation exercise was conducted by the Election Commission (“EC”), leading up to and including the indecent haste in which the EC’s redelineation proposals were tabled and passed by the Dewan Rakyat on 28 March 2018.

The redelineation exercise was dogged by procedural issues from the very beginning, starting from the redelineation exercise for the state of Sarawak, the proposals for which were presented for public review in January 2015.  In the High Court case of See Chee How & Anor v Pengerusi Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya Malaysia, the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak at Kuching ruled that the preliminary information provided in the EC’s public notice was insufficient, although this finding was reversed by the Court of Appeal.  The Federal Court in turn refused to grant leave to appeal, on the ground that the proposals had, by then, already been submitted to the Prime Minister. Read more

Abuse of Domestic Workers is Unacceptable and Must be Punished Accordingly — Malaysian Bar

Source: Malaysian Bar

Press Release

Abuse of Domestic Workers is Unacceptable and Must be Punished Accordingly

The Malaysian Bar supports the Attorney General’s decision to file a notice of appeal against the manifestly inadequate sentence imposed on Datin Rozita Mohamad Ali, who was let off with merely a good behaviour bond for five years with one surety of RM20,000 by the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court on 15 March 2018.  She had pled guilty to a charge of voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means, under Section 326 of the Penal Code.

Datin Rozita Mohamad Ali had used a kitchen knife, a clothes hanger, a steel mop and an umbrella to cause multiple injuries to migrant domestic worker Suyanti Sutrinso’s head, hands, legs and internal organs.

The blatantly light sentence meted upon the accused is shocking and inappropriate, especially in light of the extreme and appalling nature of the injuries inflicted upon Suyanti Sutrinso. Read more

Defend independence, speak up, ex-UN special rapporteur tells Bar

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Dato’ Param Cumaraswamy, former Malaysian Bar President and former United Nations special rapporteur. Pic from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: Param Cumaraswamy, former United Nations special rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, said the Malaysian Bar must remain steadfast and united in defence of its independence.

Param, who was named this year’s recipient of the Malaysian Bar Lifetime Achievement Award, said a robust and sound administration of justice was dependent on the co-operation of an independent judiciary, public prosecutor’s office and an independent legal profession.

“When the fundamentals of the independent judiciary and the office of the public prosecutor are tampered with by the executive arm of the government, the legal profession stands alone to alert the public and seek restoration of the fundamentals,” he said in his acceptance speech at the Bar dinner on Saturday.

Param, who was Bar president during the 1988 judicial crisis when six Federal Court judges were tried for misconduct, recalled that at the height of the crisis, former lord president (now renamed chief justice) Mohamed Suffian Hashim had said it would take a generation to restore the judicial independence which the nation then had. Read more

Malaysian Bar seeks RCI on Perlis death camps, alleged cover-up

Source: The Malay Mail Online

This undated handout photo made available on May 25, 2015 by the Royal Malaysian Police shows an abandoned migrant detention camp used by people-smugglers in a jungle near the Malaysia-Thailand border in Genting Perah. The Malaysian Bar passed a resolution today calling for a Royal Commission of Inquiry on the camps and the alleged cover-up attempt by law enforcement agencies. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, March 17 — The Malaysian Bar passed a resolution today calling for a Royal Commission of Inquiry on the Perlis “death camps” and the alleged cover-up attempt by law enforcement agencies.

The body also urged the government to implement legal and policy reforms as part of its obligations under international laws against human trafficking, while also demanding the rights of trafficked persons be protected.

The resolution followed a motion to debate at the Bar’s annual general meeting today on a New Straits Times report published last year that alleged collusion on the part of local law enforcement agencies with human trafficking syndicates.

“The Malaysian Bar call upon the government of Malaysia to take all necessary steps to ensure that such tragedies never recur within our borders, including… establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate the existence of the mass graves and death camps,” the resolution read. Read more

Judiciary’s independence affected if Chief Justice’s appointment upheld, court told

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Ambiga said it was not a ‘happy task’ for those involved in the lawsuit and for the Federal Court panel hearing it, but said upholding the Federal Constitution is a burden that the judges have to shoulder. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

PUTRAJAYA, March 14 — The judiciary’s independence will be affected if the Federal Court decides that the appointment of the country’s two top judges beyond their mandatory retirement age is valid and constitutional, the Malaysian Bar’s lawyer said today.

Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, a lawyer for the Malaysian Bar in the legal body’s lawsuit challenging the top two judges’ appointments, told the Federal Court to consider the impact if the apex court were to uphold last year’s appointment of the Chief Justice and the Court of Appeal president.

She summed up the “far-reaching” consequences expected, including the mandatory retirement age in the Federal Constitution becoming “meaningless” and the promotion of judges being affected.

“And it affects the independence of the judiciary because it affects security of tenure,” she told the Federal Court.

Ambiga was referring to the Malaysian Bar’s argument that the appointment of Tun Md Raus Sharif and Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin as “additional judges” of the Federal Court for three years and two years respectively would affect judicial independence, as such appointments are for varying and unfixed periods. Read more

Bar: Non-binding Asean consensus on migrant workers a concern

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Free Malaysia Today

Source: Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Bar says it is concerned that an agreement among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) for its 10 member states to uphold foreign workers’ rights in their respective countries is not legally binding.

In a statement in conjunction with International Migrants Day today, its president George Varughese said the Bar welcomed the adoption of the Asean Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers on Nov 14.

“However, we are concerned that the Asean Consensus is non-binding, and implementation of the articles is subject to national laws, policy and regulations of Asean members states, which are, as they stand at present, inadequate to protect the rights of migrant workers in the region,” he said.  Read more

Bar: Withhold amendment bill until judicial discretion restored

Source: FMT News

Malaysian Bar vice president George Varughese. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

Malaysian Bar president George Varughese. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Bar has called on the government to withhold the passing of a bill to amend the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 in its current form, following concerns that it will allow sentencing to be dependent on the public prosecutor.

Its president George Varughese said the bill, tabled for first reading in Parliament on Nov 23, needed to redrafted and retabled with amendments that would genuinely restore judicial discretion in sentencing.

He said the Bar viewed the tabling of the bill to move Malaysia away from the mandatory death sentence as a step in the right direction, with the provision that allowed an alternative sentence to the death penalty.

“The Malaysian Bar is steadfast in our view that life is sacred, and every person has an inherent right to life,” he said.

“However, we are concerned that the bill does not go far enough in restoring judicial discretion.

“The shift from the mandatory death penalty to judicial discretion in sentencing should not be dependent upon the say-so of the public prosecutor,” he said in a statement today. Read more

Legal Action Filed to Seek Declarations that the Appointments of the Chief Justice and President of the Court of Appeal are Unconstitutional and Void — Malaysian Bar

Press Release

Legal Action Filed to Seek Declarations that the Appointments of the Chief Justice and President of the Court of Appeal are Unconstitutional and Void

The Malaysian Bar has, pursuant to the resolution adopted by the Bar at its Extraordinary General Meeting held on 3 August 2017, filed a legal action at the Kuala Lumpur High Court on 10 October 2017 against YAA Tun Dato’ Seri Arifin bin Zakaria, YAA Tun Md Raus bin Sharif and YAA Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Zulkefli bin Ahmad Makinudin.

The full text of the resolution, entitled “Resolution on Upholding the Supremacy of the Federal Constitution and Defending the Independence and Integrity of the Judiciary”, is available here.

The sealed Originating Summons has been served on all parties. Read more

Abolition of the Mandatory Death Penalty – No More Delay! — Malaysian Bar

Press Release

Abolition of the Mandatory Death Penalty — No More Delay!

The World Day against the Death Penalty is commemorated on 10 October each year.

In Malaysia, the death penalty is mandatory for persons convicted of murder, trafficking in narcotics of various amounts, and discharging a firearm in the commission of various crimes (even where no one is hurt).

The Malaysian Bar has been, and remains, in the frontline of the battle to uphold and preserve the rule of law, fundamental constitutional rights, the administration of justice, and law and order. In this regard, we have consistently called for the abolition of the death penalty. The Malaysian Bar at its Annual or Extraordinary General Meetings in 1985, 2006, 2012 and 2015 passed resolutions condemning the death penalty and/or calling for its abolition.

The campaign to abolish the death penalty is not meant to confer licence to commit serious crimes with impunity.  Persons convicted of serious crimes must receive proportionate punishment.  But this does not mean that they therefore ought to die. Read more

Ambil Tindakan Segera Untuk Mengelak Kematian Nahas Kebakaran Daripada Berulang — Bar Malaysia

Kenyataan Media

Ambil Tindakan Segera Untuk Mengelak Kematian Nahas Kebakaran Daripada Berulang

Badan Peguam Malaysia (“Bar Malaysia”) ingin merakamkan ucapan takziah kepada keluarga mangsa-mangsa kebakaran yang membabitkan Pusat Tahfiz Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah, Kuala Lumpur yang setakat ini telah meragut 23 nyawa. Bar Malaysia berharap agar ahli-ahli keluarga yang terlibat kekal tabah menghadapi dugaan ini.

Bar Malaysia memandang serius kejadian ini yang dianggap sebagai tragedi kebakaran negara paling buruk untuk tempoh hampir tiga dekad ini. Sesungguhnya, kejadian ini hanya mengingatkan semula rakyat Malaysia kepada tragedi kebakaran yang telah meragut 27 nyawa pelajar Madrasah Taufiqiah Al-Khairiah di Guar Chempedak, Kedah pada tahun 1989. Read more