Putrajaya loses bid to claim damages from Bersih over 2012 rally

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Bersih's former steering committee and their lawyers are all smiles after the Kuala Lumpur High Court's verdict, January 30, 2015. — Picture by Pathma Subramaniam

Bersih’s former steering committee and their lawyers are all smiles after the Kuala Lumpur High Court’s verdict, January 30, 2015. — Picture by Pathma Subramaniam

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 30 — The Malaysian government today lost in its civil suit against electoral reform group Bersih 2.0, as the High Court ruled that the latter was not liable for property damage during the group’s sit-in protest on April 28, 2012.

High Court judge Datuk John Louis O’ Hara, in his decision today, said that although the Peaceful Assembly Act is constitutional the Bersih 2.0 steering committee,  is not responsible for the damages caused.

Justice O’Hara also dismissed the government’s claim for RM110,543.27 in property damages as the “acts and omissions of the cops invariably contributed and resulted in the damage.”

“I find the plaintiff’s (the government) claim not to be proved on the evidence and I dismiss the plaintiff’s claim for a declaration, special damages and interest. Read more

Transgenders and Constitutional Rights – Gurdial Singh Nijar

Source: The Sun Daily

BY GURDIAL SINGH NIJAR

Gurdial Singh Nijar - file pic

Gurdial Singh Nijar – file pic

“MEDICALLY, they (transgender people) are born as males but their instincts and emotions are like that of females,” says the head of the Council of Professors, Datuk Amin Jallaludin.

He should know – he is a medical doctor and presently the vice- chancellor of Universiti Malaya.

This buttresses the basis of the recent decision of the Court of Appeal that transgenders quite naturally act in accordance with their instincts and emotions – a condition described in undisputed medical evidence presented to the Court as a “Gender Identity Disorder” (GID). Read more

Malaysia’s invisible children

Source: Al Jazeera

Undocumented and marginalised, the children of migrants face arrest, detention and possible death in Malaysia’s Sabah.

Two Bajau Laut children paddle home [Sarah Yeo/Al Jazeera]

Sabah, Malaysia – Maslina Madsail dashes across the rickety wooden planks that link the floating huts of her water village whenever she hears that authorities are near.

“We run when we see the police truck coming. We run into the boats to hide,” she said.

Quick-footed and nimble, Maslina looks smaller than her 11 years, but she has already learnt how to outsmart police intent on finding children like her.

From floating fishing villages to palm oil plantations, tens of thousands of children across Sabah state on the Malaysian island of Borneo are playing a dangerous game of cat and mouse with authorities.

Their crime? They are stateless – citizens of no country. Officially, they do not exist. Read more

Suhakam hopes Malaysia will abolish death penalty

Source: New Straits Times Online

KUALA LUMPUR 15 April 2015. Chairman SUHAKAM Tan Sri Hasmy Agam (right) and Vice Chairman SUHAKAM Datuk Dr Khaw Lake Tee during press conference Annual Report SUHAKAM 2014 at Menara TH Perdana. NSTP/Rosela Ismail

KUALA LUMPUR 15 April 2015. Chairman SUHAKAM Tan Sri Hasmy Agam (right) and Vice Chairman SUHAKAM Datuk Dr Khaw Lake Tee during press conference Annual Report SUHAKAM 2014 at Menara TH Perdana. NSTP/Rosela Ismail

KUALA LUMPUR, April 5 – The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) expressed disappointment that the government did not accept the recommendation in the 2013 Universal Periodic Review (UPR) to abolish the death penalty.

“We want to encourage Malaysia to join other countries which have outlawed the mandatory death penalty,” said its chairman Tan Sri Hasmy Agam at the release of Suhakam’s 2014 Annual Report at its headquarters.

“The commission has actively asked for discretionary powers to be returned to the judges in sentencing those convicted for certain drug offences.

Under the current laws, the death penalty is mandatory for serious drug offences.” Of the 232 recommendations from 104 member states regarding changes to existing laws, regulations and policies, Malaysia accepted 150 and rejected 83.

“We are concerned that this will hinder the country from improving its human rights record as well as from achieving the status of a developed nation,” said the commission’s vice-chairman Datuk Dr Khaw Lake Tee. Read more

Death penalty: Little deterrent — Rory Asyari

Source: The Malay Mail Online

gallows

Death penalty – a crime deterrent?

APRIL 28 — When Andrew Hammel called European politicians and scholars who contributed to the abolition of the death penalty in Europe “civilized rebels”, it was not without consideration. The elites in the UK, Germany and France, among other nations, decided to completely abolish capital punishment despite the huge support among the public for retaining the death penalty.

Thousands of kilometres away, in 1993, according to scholar David T. Johnson, Hong Kong joined the bandwagon despite the fact that two thirds of the public supported the harshest punishment. These countries are often referred to as abolitionists, whereas those that still impose the death penalty are called retentionists.

Indonesia, along with 12 other Asian countries such as China, Singapore and Malaysia, impose the death penalty for extraordinary crimes, including drug offenses.

After a five-year moratorium, Indonesia reinstated capital punishment in 2013. As a result, six drug offenders, five of whom were foreign nationals, were executed by a firing squad last January. Another batch of executions is slated imminently for 10 death row convicts, including the Australian Bali Nine duo, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. Read more

Dear Putrajaya, can I tell you a secret? — Nadilla Jamil

Source: The Malaysian Insider

BY NADILLA JAMIL

Sigh. At times my country seems to be in conspiracy to importune me with emphatic trifles.

It peeves me so much maybe because I keep holding too fast to something called “hope”. Hope for a better present and then a better future for Malaysia under the incumbent government. I feel betrayed, as when trust is given, no matter how little, no matter how much, the government has many times failed to keep my hope alive. Read more

Amnesty International Malaysia kecam hukuman mati, ‘samaran’ untuk keadilan

Source: The Malaysian Insider

Pengarah Eksekutif Amnesty International Malaysia Shamini Darshni bercakap kepada media pada majlis pelancaran Laporan Amnesty International 2014 di Petaling Jaya, hari ini. – Gambar The Malaysian Insider oleh Seth Akmal, 7 April, 2015.

Pengarah Eksekutif Amnesty International Malaysia Shamini Darshni bercakap kepada media pada majlis pelancaran Laporan Amnesty International 2014 di Petaling Jaya, hari ini. – Gambar The Malaysian Insider oleh Seth Akmal, 7 April, 2015.

Pengarah Eksekutif Amnesty International Malaysia Shamini Darshni berkata hukuman mati adalah “samaran” kepada keadilan, sekali gus hukuman berkenaan seharusnya dikecam.

Beliau berkata, Malaysia merekodkan sekurang-kurangnya 38 hukuman ‘pembunuhan secara sah’ itu pada tahun lepas, menjadikan negara ini berada di tangga ke-18 daripada 22 negara yang melaksanakan hukuman berkenaan.

“Undang-undang mengatakan ‘tidak’ kepada pembunuhan tetapi ia tidak bertindak sedemikian. Apakah mesej yang cuba disampaikan kepada rakyat,” katanya pada majlis pelancaran Laporan Amnesty International 2014 berhubung hukuman mati dan pelaksanaannya di Petaling Jaya, hari ini.

Laporan berkenaan menunjukkan pada 2014, Malaysia menjatuhkan sekurang-kurangnya 38 hukuman mati yang baharu, termasuk atas kesalahan mengedar dadah.

Malaysia merupakan  antara 22 negara di dunia yang melaksanakan hukuman mati pada tahun lepas, melibatkan sekurang-kurangnya dua individu. Read more

Death penalty doesn’t deter crime, watchdog says after 38 lined up for gallows

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Amnesty International Malaysia executive director Shamini Darshni poses with the 2014 report on the death penalty. — Picture by Melissa Chi

Amnesty International Malaysia executive director Shamini Darshni poses with the 2014 report on the death penalty. — Picture by Melissa Chi

PETALING JAYA, April 7, 2015 — The local chapter of Amnesty International reiterated today its call for Putrajaya to repeal the death penalty, insisting that the punishment is not an effective crime deterrent.

In its Death Sentences and Executions Report 2014 today, the human rights watchdog noted that at least 38 people in the country were sentenced to death and two executed last year.

It added that 70 per cent of the convictions were for drug-related offences.

“The death penalty is not humane, it does not deter crime.

“Malaysia uses the death penalty arbitrarily even for crimes that are not considered the most serious crimes by the UN,” AI Malaysia’s executive director Shamini Darshni told reporters.

Malaysia is among 22 countries that executed inmates on death row last year. Read more

UN, Malaysia Groups Seek to Repeal Fatwa Requiring FGM

Source: Voice of America

BANGKOK— In 2009, Malaysia’s National Fatwa Committee, the nation’s top Islamic council, required all Muslim women in the country to undergo female genital mutilation, otherwise known as female circumcision.

A recent study indicated that nearly all Muslim women in the country have had the procedure. But now the United Nations is working with the Committee to repeal ruling that made it mandatory.

Government health officials who are in negotiations with Malaysia’s National Fatwa Committee say the ruling by the country’s top religious authority requiring female genital cutting for all Muslim women may be overturned.

The World Health Organization defines any type of invasive procedure in the female genital area as mutilation, and subdivides practices into four types of increasing severity. It has banned them all. Read more

Female Circumcision Is Becoming More Popular in Malaysia – Marta Kasztelan

Source: Vice

BY MARTA KASZTELAN

19 year-old Syahiera Atika (center), poses with her friends in front of a Kuala Lumpur mall

I meet 19-year-old Syahiera Atika at the mall. She spends most Sundays prowling Kuala Lumpur’s mega malls like other women her age, but as she eagerly points out she’s also different. Syahiera is a modern incarnation of Malay culture: She happily embraces Western-style capitalism, while at the same time strictly following the local interpretation of Islam. And as she proudly informs me, that also means she’s circumcised.

“I’m circumcised because it is required by Islam,” she says. The Malay word she uses is wajib, meaning any religious duty commanded by Allah. Syahiera is aware of how female circumcision is perceived in the West, but rejects any notion that it’s inhumane. “I don’t think the way we do it here is harmful,” she says. “It protects young girls from premarital sex as it is supposed to lower their sex drive. But I am not sure it always works.” She giggles at this thought.

Read more