TPPA, the rakyat and democracy – Gurdial Singh Nijar

Source: The SunDaily

BY GURDIAL SINGH NIJAR
(Deputy President, HAKAM)

tppa_graphic_bahasa_101015IT’S hard to believe. That the government can conclude an agreement with a remarkable clause – foreign investors – usually big business companies – can sue our country for millions of dollars for defending our right to a clean environment and good health. The decision will be made by a secretive panel of corporate lawyers. They can bypass any ruling made to the contrary by the highest national court; and deny the will of Parliament and destroy the protection guaranteed by our Federal Constitution.

Welcome to the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) clause in the recently-concluded TPPA. Its devastating effect can be seen in many parts of the world – killing rules that protect the people and the living planet. Read more

Housing for Kelantan flood victims delayed due to refusal to be relocated, says state official

Source: The Malaysian Insider

A photo taken in Manik Urai, one of the worst hit areas in Kelantan from the floods that inundated parts of the east coast state in January this year. Many families remain homeless, staying in temporary shelters and tents until now.– The Malaysian Insider file pic, November 1, 2015.

The refusal of flood victims to be relocated to a new settlement provided by the Federal and state government is among the reasons for the delay in the construction of permanent homes for them.

State local government, housing, youth and sports committee chairman Datuk Abdul Fattah Mahmood said, so far, only about 300 of the victims had agreed to be relocated to new settlements provided by the government.

“The others do not want to be relocated for fear of losing their source of income,” he told reporters after the Kelantan Post Flood Coordination Committee meeting in Kota Baru today. Read more

Education for the Orang Asli, the community way

Source: New Sunday Times | 1 November 2015
Reproduced courtesy of Center for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC)

A community learning centre for the Semai Orang Asli in Kampung Tual near Raub, Pahang, run by Orang Asli teachers, is successfully educating children and the community, writes Suzanna Pillay. 

Read more

No more ‘lain-lain’ category for Sabah ethnics

Source: The SunDaily

KOTA KINABALU: The Cabinet has agreed to a recommendation by the Technical Committee on Sabah and Sarawak Bumiputera Minorities to reclassify Sabah and Sarawak Bumiputera in race columns in official government forms.

The technical committee is co-chaired by Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili and Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas to address the unhappiness of Bumiputera/indigenous communities in the two states who felt they were sidelined when labelled as ‘others’ (lain-lain) in the forms.

“The Sabah natives also want to be classified separately from other Bumiputera since their races are defined separately in the Federal Constitution and state constitution.

For Sabah ethnic groups, there will be no more ‘lain-lain’ category,” Dr Maximus said in a statement here yesterday. – Bernama

Dark days for the fairer sex – Zainah Anwar

Source: The Star Online

Malaysia used to have one of the most progressive Muslim family laws in the world but by 2003, we are right there at the bottom, thanks to amendments to the law which discriminated women.

Far from equal: Egyptian women displaying their ink-stained fingers after casting their ballot at a polling station in Egypt recently. Egypt is listed in the UN Report on Progress of the World’s Women, along with Malaysia, for having highly discriminatory family laws. — AFP

Far from equal: Egyptian women displaying their ink-stained fingers after casting their ballot at a polling station in Egypt recently. Egypt is listed in the UN Report on Progress of the World’s Women, along with Malaysia, for having highly discriminatory family laws. — AFP

IN the latest UN report on Progress of the World’s Women 2015-2016, Malaysia is ignominiously lumped with Algeria, Bangladesh, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, as countries that have maintained highly discriminatory family laws.

It is not that all these worst countries have laws based on Islam, for there are many Muslim countries with far better family laws. The significant finding is that women’s groups face the biggest resistance to reform when state and religion are closely intertwined. In such countries, religious doctrine is less likely to evolve and adapt to changing social practices as patriarchal interpretations of religion get frozen.

In contrast, the report highlighted the achievement of Morocco where the women’s movement mobilisation for family law reform, the election of a socialist party into power and the ascendance of a young progressive King successfully led to an overhaul of its Muslim family law.

The law reform in 2004, based on Islamic and human rights principles and women’s lived realities, recognise marriage as a partnership of equals. Read more