Discourse vital in democracy – Wong Chun Wai

Source: The Star Online

BY WONG CHUN WAI

We don’t have to agree with each other but we must have meaningful discussions to have a healthy exchange of opinion. That’s how we learn.

Wong Chun Wai - The Star Online file pic

Wong Chun Wai – The Star Online file pic

FINALLY, we get to see some common sense and sanity. Malaysians certainly welcome the decision of Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali in dropping the sedition charges against Dr Azmi Shahrom.

It’s better late than never. Enough time and energy have been wasted by the authorities and the Universiti Malaya law professor in having to deal with the charges.

Azmi is a law professor and he is expected to give his opinion on legal issues. That is what lawyers and law professors do.

But to accuse Azmi of sedition is way off tangent and to haul him to court seriously smacked of absurdity. It was completely ridiculous. For many, it seemed like a poor attempt to suppress criticism. Read more

RM1 billion flood, coastal erosion allocation remains under 11th Malaysia Plan, says Wan Junaidi

Source: The Malaysian Insider

The RM1.07 billion allocation under the 11th Malaysia Plan to overcome coastal erosion and flooding in Terengganu remains, as announced earlier.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said after referring the problems faced by Terengganu to the federal government, the latter agreed not to cut the amount approved to build a flood mitigation system and breakwaters to prevent further erosion at the affected areas.

“The RM1.07 billion allocated will not be affected although there have been reports of a cut,” he told reporters after the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the federal and Terengganu governments on a conservation programme at the Kenyir Elephant Conservation Village (KECV), in Hulu Terengganu, today. Read more

‘Marriage cannot condone statutory rape’

Source: The Borneo Post

Pic taken from FMT News

Pic taken from FMT News

KUCHING: Marrying a rape victim can never cover up the fact that a crime has been committed.

According to Women Development, Family and Community Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim, rape is still a crime, regardless of the circumstances it is in.

She said although the perpetrator and the victim might get married legally, investigation into the case would still be carried out by the police.

“Under the native customary law in Sabah and Sarawak, the rapist may be able to marry the underage victim, but the crime will not be erased. He will still face charges for (statutory) rape,” she said in elaborating on such a case during a media briefing on Child Act (Amendment) 2015 yesterday. Read more

The democratic challenge? – Gurdial Singh Nijar

Source: The Sun Daily

BY GURDIAL SINGH NIJAR
(Deputy President, HAKAM)

I WAS prodded into writing this piece by a provocative blog poser – Will our judiciary uphold our democracy? First, it depends what you mean by “democracy”. Human rights? The constitution? Both?

Yes, both work together. Human rights arise the day we are born. They are integral to the free existence of all. Freedom of speech, movement, association and the like. A baby cannot be shackled to its cot. It must be given the freedom to roam the house – try out its crawl that then develops into baby steps; then it learns to run, speak, think. Maturing as he or she develops. So human rights precede all man-made “human rights” laws and constitutions. It comes with the human condition. Read more

After Azmi Sharom, time to review other sedition prosecutions – Gurdial Singh Nijar

Source: The Malaysian Insider

BY GURDIAL SINGH NIJAR
(Deputy President, HAKAM)

At long last, good sense prevailed! The sedition charge against my colleague Dr Azmi Sharom was dropped.

It was a terrible site to behold as I sat behind the “criminal” dock where Azmi was encaged.

And witnesses trooped in, narrating testimonies to get Azmi convicted. One of them came so late that the Sessions Court judge issued a warrant of arrest, later cancelled, when he suddenly emerged. Audacious!

The attorney-general (A-G) deserves applause. But before he takes the bow, the question: Why the charge in the first place? And why did it take so long to withdraw the charge?

Well, the A-G said the evidence given at the one-day trial did not support the charge. Surely this should have been evident from the investigation papers on the basis of which the sedition charge was framed. Read more

Deepa should wait for outcome of Indira’s conversion appeal, say lawyers

Source: The Malaysian Insider

S. Deepa says there should be better laws to safeguard women like her, especially when their husbands convert to Islam. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, February 14, 2016.

Lawyers have advised Hindu mother S. Deepa to wait for the Federal Court outcome on unilateral conversion before she decides to determine the religious status of her two children.

They said the legal challenge mounted by kindergarten teacher M. Indira Gandhi from Ipoh could be decided this year.

“It is best for Deepa to wait for a Federal Court decision on unilateral conversion before deciding her next move,” lawyer K. Shanmuga told The Malaysian Insider.

Indira’s ex-husband Muhammad Riduan Abdullah, formerly known as K. Patmanathan, had unilaterally converted their three children to Islam. Read more