TPP to discuss extending membership in 2018

Source: The Rakyat Post

TPPA - TRP file pic

TPPA – TRP file pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 20, 2016: The interest shown by several countries in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will only be deliberated in 2018, the earliest date the trade pact is expected to come into force.

International Trade and Industry Ministry deputy secretary-general (strategy and monitoring) Datuk J. Jayasiri said the process of their inclusion in the accession negotiations would only be decided after the TPP came into force.

“The agreement could come into force by 2018 or after a minimum of six of the signatories, which made up 85% of the combined gross domestic product (2013), had ratified and notified New Zealand, the legal depository and administrator of the TPPA,” he told Bernama. Read more

60,000 illegals rounded up last year: Immigration Dept

Source: NST Online

The Immigration Department nabbed over 60,000 illegal immigrants during their  operations nationwide in 2015 - pic taken from NST Online

The Immigration Department nabbed over 60,000 illegal immigrants during their operations nationwide in 2015 – pic taken from NST Online

CYBERJAYA: The Immigration Department nabbed over 60,000 illegal immigrants during their operations nationwide last year.

Its deputy director-general Datuk Ibrahim Abdullah said the huge number of arrests came about under the department’s Op Ikrar, which saw raids conducted daily nationwide.

“From the 60,000 illegal immigrants arrested, the department found that the largest group was made of those who violated the terms of their working pass, followed by expired permits and abuse of social visit pass to work here,” he told reporters at a construction site, here, earlier today. Read more

Women’s groups want all female judges allowed into Shariah system

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Istana Kehakiman / Palace of Justice ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

Istana Kehakiman / Palace of Justice ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 20 — Women’s groups here are railing against the reported barring of female judges from the Shariah justice system in certain states, calling it another form of institutionalised gender discrimination in Malaysia.

Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) executive director Sumitra Visvanathan also labelled the ban unconstitutional, noting that it is the result of state fatwas (religious edicts), which she said are guidelines and are therefore not legally mandatory.

“The attempts by some state fatwa councils to bar women judges from the Shariah justice system is yet another tool to push a misogynist agenda and maintain the status quo of inequality for women in the workplace, attempting to ensure that women are prevented from being in positions of authority.

“Furthermore, it conflicts with the Federal Constitution and other federal law (i.e. Acts of Parliament), and these pronouncements can cause confusion,” she said in an email interview with Malay Mail Online. Read more

Wrong to approve sensitive hill lands development — Gurdial Singh Nijar

Source: The Malay Mail Online

BY GURDIAL SINGH NIJAR
(Deputy President, HAKAM)

PenangForum.netFEBRUARY 20 — The Penang Appeals Board has struck out the planning permission given to a developer to build dwelling places and condominiums on sensitive hill lands in Sungai Ara. Land that is 250 feet above sea level and with a steep slope exceeding 25 degrees. The Penang State’s Structure Plan 2020 prohibits any development on such land.

But it allows ‘limited development for special projects’. The 3-member Appeals Board decided that it was neither a special project nor a limited development; and set aside the flawed approval given to Sunway City.

The ruling vindicates the stance of NGOs such as the Penang Forum and CAP. They, together with the irate neighbours, were front-liners in agitating for years against the grant of planning approval to build on vulnerable hill lands. Read more

Abortion, the battle between women’s rights and a doctor’s conscience – Dr Sharifah Halimah Jaafar

Source: The Malaysian Insider

BY SHARIFAH HALIMAH JAAFAR

A woman walked in to my clinic after discovering herself pregnant and she said, “Doctor, I am pregnant but I am not ready to have this baby. I want an abortion! Can you do it for me?”

The abortion law

Abortion is considered a taboo subject in Malaysia even though it is a commonly encountered problem.

According to a survey done by the National Population and Family Development Board, statistical estimation, in 2012, showed that more than 90,000 abortions were done annually, and the majority was done in “ill-equipped, unsafe environment”.

As a general rule, abortion is illegal in Malaysia and both parties; the mother and the healthcare provider providing the service can be charged according to Malaysian Penal Code section 312-315.

Exceptions is however granted based on medical consideration, “… where a Registered Doctor formed in good faith, that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk to the life of the pregnant woman, or injury to the mental or physical health of the pregnant woman, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated”. (The Penal Code (Amendment) Act 1989 (Act 727).

Apart from this cause, it remains illegal. Read more