After interfaith tussles, Penang Mufti suggests Shariah law reforms

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Penang Mufti Datuk Dr Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor (left) shaking hands with Bishop Francis at the first interfaith meeting at the former's office in Komtar today. ― Courtesy pic

Penang Mufti Datuk Dr Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor (left) shaking hands with Bishop Francis at the first interfaith meeting at the former’s office in Komtar today. ― Courtesy pic

GEORGE TOWN, Feb 29 ― Parts of Shariah law need to be improved to resolve the interfaith custody battles that occur in Malaysia, said Penang Mufti Datuk Dr Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor.

He also said that Islam espouses justice and wisdom, which meant unjust outcomes were un-Islamic.

“When we cannot find solutions based on the Holy Book, we must come up with solutions based on public interest,” he told reporters after a historic interfaith meeting with Christian leaders at Komtar today.

Child custody battles between Muslim and non-Muslim parents was one of the issues discussed during a two-hour meeting between Wan Salim, Penang bishop Sebastian Francis and other leaders of both faiths at the mufti’s office today.

They also discussed issues such as unilateral conversions, the threat of the Islamic State (IS) and extremism.

The interfaith meeting is the first such event between the mufti and Christian leaders at the mufti’s office. Read more

How human rights lost out to power – Melanie O’Brien

Source: Policy Forum & New Mandala

BY MELANIE O’BRIEN

Asia-Pacific states, including Australia, are shunning human rights in favour of the power status quo

Torture, indefinite detention and imprisonment for critics are par for the course in the Asia-Pacific, even in countries that are signatories to international agreements on human rights, Melanie O’Brien writes.

While paying lip service to stopping human rights abuses, leaders in the Asia-Pacific are rejecting basic freedoms and reinforcing their own power, eroding human rights and flouting the very international agreements they are parties to.

China still practices torture although it has officially renounced it, and its human rights defenders still disappear into arbitrary detention. Thailand hands out decades-long sentences under the loose accusation of lèse majesté, or showing leaders disrespect. While appearing to soften sedition laws Malaysia has actually toughened them. Hundreds of asylum seekers fleeing drastic conditions are detained indefinitely in horrific conditions by Australia, the country to which they fled in hope, which claims to be one of the compassionate democracies of the world.

There is an increased lack of respect for human rights in the Asia-Pacific region, including in Australia, amid a growing trend for governments to reject the implementation of rights, even if a country is party to human rights instruments and is obligated to respect and protect those rights. Read more

Bauxite miners still waiting for word on procedures

Source: FMT News

Excavators and lorries scramble to clear the ore stockpile at Kuantan Port before the moratorium is implemented. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

Excavators and lorries scramble to clear the ore stockpile at Kuantan Port before the moratorium is implemented. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUANTAN: Bauxite mining operators and lorry drivers are still confused about the standard procedures to be used after a moratorium on mining and exporting the mineral ends on April 15.

They claimed not to have received any official information nor given a briefing on transporting bauxite.

They are said they were unclear about the use of Pakamatic or rubbish compactor lorries required for transporting bauxite, as announced by transport minister Liow Tiong Lai recently. Read more

The Malaysian Insider News Website Blocked by Authorities for Posting ‘Unverified’ Report on Government Corruption

Source: Global Voices

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The Malaysian Insider (TMI) news website celebrated its eight-year anniversary on February 25, 2016 by creating mirror sites and updating its social media pages because it was blocked by the Malaysian government.

The order was issued by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), which accused TMI of violating Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998. The section deals with “Improper Use of Network Facilities or Network Service”, as well as media content that is “obscene, indecent, false, menacing or offensive in character with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass another person.” Read more

EC chief: Malaysia-wide redelineation before GE14 possible without legal roadblocks

Source: The Malay Mail Online

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 27 ― The redelineation of electoral boundaries for the entire country can be completed before the next general election due in 2018 if there are no legal challenges to the exercise, the Election Commission (EC) has said.

New EC chairman Datuk Seri Hashim Abdullah confirmed that the redelineation exercise for Sabah will take place after this year’s Sarawak state election, followed by peninsular Malaysia.

“We will have to look and assess the situation in every state, there is no guarantee that all states (in Malaysia) need to undergo a redelineation exercise.

“We can complete it before the election comes in 2018, provided there are no disruptions like legal challenges in court,” he told Malay Mail Online in a recent interview, referring to an application filed last year to challenge the EC’s redelineation exercise in Sarawak. Read more

When state and religion were separate – Ahmad Mustapha Hassan

Source: The Star Online

BY AHMAD MUSTAPHA HASSAN

opinion-clipart-k12118272During the early days of independence, faith was a private matter and the country experienced religious tolerance and ethnic understanding.

POLITICS has become a curse to this country. It is no longer a means to achieve good governance and reliable state management. It has been turned into a source of power to inflict evil on people.

Power has been misused to enrich those in high positions.

Independence has been turned into making the country socially and culturally backward.

Religion has become a source of amassing influence. The Malays were pushed into being servile, leading to a siege mentality.

Read more

MCMC blocks alternate TMI website

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A notice from MCMC is displayed when Internet readers attempt to access The Malaysian Insider news portal that has been blocked.

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 26 — Access to an alternative web address to The Malaysian Insider has been blocked by local Internet regulators over the same alleged violations that led them to ban the news portal’s main site yesterday.

Users of local Internet service providers who went to themalaysianoutsider.com this evening were greeted by the same takedown notice posted the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) that was displayed onthemalaysianinsider.com.

The notice states that the website is not accessible locally as it violates Malaysian laws. The MCMC yesterday blocked The Malaysian Insider for allegedly violating Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.

The commission did not specify the offending article or articles that prompted the ban, but it is believed to be over report or reports by The Malaysian Insiderregarding an independent oversight panel of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission. Read more

May 19 hearing of teacher’s bid for leave to appeal on children’s conversion

Source: The Malay Mail Online

File picture shows M. Indira Gandhi at Court of Appeal, Putrajaya, December 30, 2015. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

File picture shows M. Indira Gandhi at Court of Appeal, Putrajaya, December 30, 2015. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 26 — The Federal Court has set May 19 to hear an application by kindergarten teacher M. Indira Gandhi for leave to appeal over the conversion of her three children to Islam.

The matter came up for case management today before Federal Court judge Datuk Zaharah Ibrahim and she fixed the hearing date.

Present at the case management proceedings today were Indira Gandhi’s counsel M. Kulasegaran and Aston Paiva; lawyer Hatim Musa for Indira Gandhi’s ex-husband Muhammad Riduan Abdullah; senior federal counsel Shamsul Bolhassan for the Education Ministry and the Government of Malaysia and also Perak state legal advisor Datuk Rohana Malik.

In a media statement, Kulasegaran said they had informed the court that they would like to request certain judges including Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria and Court of Appeal President Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif to recuse themselves from hearing the leave-to-appeal application.

“We have also asked for a panel of judges who are multiracial, multi- religious as per the population of the country and, finally, it should be multi-gender based,” he said.

Indira Gandhi, 40, is seeking to appeal to the Federal Court against the Court of Appeal 2-1 majority verdict reinstating the conversion certificates of her three children.

Under the law, she must first obtain leave (permission) from the Federal Court before proceeding with her appeal to that court.

Eight legal questions have been framed for the Federal Court to consider. Read more

CIJ urges vigilance over more censorship after TMI block

Source: Malaysiakini

The people must be vigilant over the possibility of the government imposing further censorship after it blocked news portal The Malaysian Insider (TMI) yesterday, Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) cautions.

“Malaysians should be very concerned with the increased cases of Internet censorship by the government in recent months, signalling worse days ahead for freedom of expression and information in Malaysia.

“We ask that Internet users in Malaysia be vigilant of further restrictions online, as it can impact access to vital information and possibly even lead to increase in cost of accessing information and technology,” CIJ said in a statement yesterday. Read more

Indira seeks to recuse CJ, judge from hearing conversion case

Source: The Malaysian Outsider

M. Indira Gandhi is pictured at the Court of Appeal, Putrajaya, December 30, 2015. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

M. Indira Gandhi is pictured at the Court of Appeal, Putrajaya, December 30, 2015. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

M. Indira Gandhi is requesting Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria and judge Tan Sri Raus Sharif to recuse themselves from hearing her case.

Kindergarten teacher M. Indira Gandhi, who is appealing to reverse the Courts of Appeal ruling on unilateral conversion of her minor children, has requested that Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria and his number two Tan Sri Raus Sharif be excluded from hearing her case. Read more