I support Bersih’s right to protest, Suhakam chief clarifies

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Suhakam chief Tan Sri Razali Ismail said in an interview with The Star that the electoral reform group had the right to hold public rallies, but questioned their effectiveness in conveying messages to the authorities. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

Suhakam chief Tan Sri Razali Ismail said in an interview with The Star that the electoral reform group had the right to hold public rallies, but questioned their effectiveness in conveying messages to the authorities. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 5 — Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) chief Tan Sri Razali Ismail has expressed support for poll reform group Bersih 2.0’s right to hold its fifth mass rally, clarifying that he never suggested otherwise.

He said his previous statement that Bersih 2.0 should try a different, “sophisticated” approach for its human rights campaign did not mean he opposes the group’s right to public assembly.

“Of course I support,” Razali told Malay Mail Online yesterday when asked on the matter.

“I expressed a personal view about what demonstrations get, but I support the principle, the right to demonstrate,” he added.

Razali, a distinguished former diplomat who was last month appointed as the new head of Suhakam, said in an interview with The Star that the electoral reform group had the right to hold public rallies, but questioned their effectiveness in conveying messages to the authorities.

Reacting to the statement, Bersih 2.0 chair Maria Chin Abdullah rebuked Razali for allegedly mocking the tens of thousands of Malaysians who took part in last year’s 34-hour Bersih 4 rally with remarks on their hygiene. Read more

Ministry to probe NGO selling ID cards to Rohingya

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Prof Azmi Hassan said with thousands of Rohingya refugees already in the country, the issuance of cards without official approval could seem to be a signal to those still in Myanmar to come here. — Reutrs pic

Prof Azmi Hassan said with thousands of Rohingya refugees already in the country, the issuance of cards without official approval could seem to be a signal to those still in Myanmar to come here. — Reutrs pic

PETALING JAYA, Aug 5 — The Home Ministry will investigate the sale of identity cards by a non-governmental organisation to migrants, including those who enter the country illegally.

“This (sale of identity cards) is being done without authorised consent or permission,” Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said.

“It is illegal for identity documents of any kind to be issued without the express permission of the government.

“Those who sell the cards as well as those who bought them were guilty of issuing or being in possession of false documents. We consider these people to be engaged in criminal activities.

“We are looking into the matter and will take appropriate action. We have not received any request to issue cards from the organisation in question.”

Nur Jazlan said even if the organisation had applied for permission and had yet to be granted approval, it was a serious offence to begin distributing such identification cards on their own accord. Read more

What can we do? — Tunku Zain Al-’Abidin

Source: The Malay Mail Online

BY TUNKU ZAIN AL-‘ABIDIN

AUGUST 5 — Readers of apparently all ages and backgrounds concerned about ongoings in the country have been asking me: What can we do?

This question stems from concern and pessimism about the future of the country, compounded by a fear that they will get in trouble for speaking their mind about certain issues. It is indeed sad that so many people feel this way in a country that was explicitly founded on democratic principles.

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The first sitting of Parliament of the Federation of Malaya on Sept 15, 1959 at the old Parliament House which is now the Malaysian Tourism Centre in Jalan Ampang. — Picture from National Archives

On Instagram (@tz.n9) I have shared the speech that the first Yang di-Pertuan Agong delivered in the Dewan Ra’ayat (as it was then spelled, sitting in a hall that is today the Malaysian Tourism Centre on Jalan Ampang in Kuala Lumpur) in its first session on Sept 12, 1959.

In his historic royal address, His Majesty said that the Federal Constitution is “a democratic achievement of the highest order. It is the product of many minds working with a common aim, to evolve a basic charter for this new Malayan nation of ours — a charter drawn from our past experience and suited to the conditions of our surroundings and way of life — a charter of our firm faith in the concepts and traditions of parliamentary democracy — and finally, and most important of all, a charter of our common belief that certain fundamental liberties are essential to the dignity and self-respect of man.”

Speaking to all citizens, Tuanku Abdul Rahman stressed that the Constitution “belongs to all of us” — to the Agong, to the Members of Parliament, and “to the people as the fount of power.” Read more

No human smuggling at border since January, says diplomat

Source: The Malay Mail Online

An abandoned human trafficking camp at Wang Kelian, Perlis. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, June 17, 2015.

An abandoned human trafficking camp at Wang Kelian, Perlis. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, June 17, 2015.

GEORGE TOWN, Aug 5 — The attempt to smuggle 60 Myanmar nationals into Malaysia from Thailand recently was an “isolated” case.

Mohd Affandi Abu Bakar, the Malaysian consul-general in Songkhla, South Thailand, said there was no record of human trafficking syndicates resuming their activities along the Malaysia-Thai border between January and June.

“We have been monitoring the situation at the border and this latest case reported near Padang Besar (Thailand) could be an isolated one,” he told Malay Mail.

“There were no incidents of human trafficking after the crackdown by authorities in Thailand and Malaysia in the middle of last year.”

He declined further comment pending an investigation into the matter.

Human trafficking activities are believed to have resumed after the Myanmar nationals, without proper documentation, were rescued by Thai authorities before they could be smuggled into Malaysia. Read more

Special award for Sabah natives at event

Source: Daily Express

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Kota Kinabalu: For the first time, a special award will be given to recipients from indigenous communities in Malaysia for promoting the rights of indigenous people in the coming national-level World Indigenous Peoples Day celebration.

It was reliably learnt that recipients from Sabah, home to the largest number of ethnic communities in the country, are on the list.

The award gives recognition to the recipients’ outstanding life’s work in advocating the rights of indigenous peoples, most often under extreme hardships and pressures.

The national-level celebration, which is hosted by rotation among the three regions in Malaysia, is held in Selangor this year from August 6 to 9 at Taman Botani Negara, Shah Alam.

The annual event is co-organised by the Malaysian Indigenous Peoples Network together with Tourism Selangor and also in collaboration with Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) to bring together international and local participants.

This year’s theme is “Back to the roots, #Landrightsnow!” in conjunction with the worldwide “Land Rights Now” campaign to protect and increase global recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ land rights. Read more