Bersih Chief challenges travel ban

Source: FMT News

Maria Chin Abdullah is seeking a declaration that the Immigration Department was in breach of the Federal Constitution by preventing her from flying abroad. Pic taken from FMT News

Maria Chin Abdullah is seeking a declaration that the Immigration Department was in breach of the Federal Constitution by preventing her from flying abroad. Pic taken from FMT News

KUALA LUMPUR: Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah filed a judicial review on July 28 to challenge a travel ban imposed on her. She is seeking a court order on the government’s decision to blacklist her, preventing her from going abroad.

Chin said in her application that she only knew about the government’s decision when she was scheduled to fly overseas.

She named the Director-General of Immigration and the Home Ministry as respondents in her judicial review application.

Among others, Chin is seeking a declaration that the decision to stop her from going abroad was in breach of the Federal Constitution. The Immigration Department and government had also exceeded their jurisdiction, she added.

“There’s nothing in the Immigration Act or any laws to bar a citizen from flying abroad.”

The decision had breached her fundamental right to travel abroad, stated Chin. Read more

In Malaysia, Humor Is No Laughing Matter — Sarah Hucal

Source: USNews

BY SARAH HUCAL

Cartoonist Zunar, charged with sedition at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court last April. There is a trend of judges at lower courts setting high amounts of bail on the accused, but lawyers say it is akin to punishment before the trial concludes. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, November 19, 2015.

Cartoonist Zunar, charged with sedition at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court last April. There is a trend of judges at lower courts setting high amounts of bail on the accused, but lawyers say it is akin to punishment before the trial concludes. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, November 19, 2015.

A political cartoonist’s court case raises questions about this Asian nation’s limits on expression.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – His office has been raided, his employees arrested and his books banned. His last publisher worked at night, unwilling to take a sample of his previous work, lest it be discovered. Yet political cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, known to most as Zunar, refuses to put down his pens, providing cartoon commentary on the Malaysian government.

Zunar has been charged with nine counts of Malaysia’s Sedition Act for social media posts criticizing the Federal Court’s decision to uphold the sodomy conviction of Anwar Ibrahim, the ruling party’s main political rival. Yet, despite facing a possible 43 years of jail time, the award-winning cartoonist continues to encourage what he says is the safest and most-powerful form of protest: laughter. “There’s no law to stop you from laughing,” points out the cartoonist during an interview in his office in the Malaysian capital.

The cover of his latest book portrays Prime Minister Najib Razak as a swashbuckling pirate. The prime minister is shown wielding a bag of 2.6 billion Malaysian ringgit, representing the $731 million the U.S. Justice Department alleges he received illicitly from the public investment fund he oversees.

Najib has denied wrongdoing and maintains the money was a gift from an unnamed Saudi donor.

Najib leads United Malays National Organisation, head of the coalition that has been in power since Malaysia’s independence from Great Britain in 1957. Yet, even as global investigators follow a multi-billion-dollar trail of cash from Malaysian public investment fund 1 Millennium Development Board to his bank account and associates and friends, he refuses to step down, and has instead doubled efforts to clamp down on critics.

Independent news sites have been blocked, peaceful protesters arrested and laws strengthened in what many see as a fight or flight struggle for the leader to maintain credibility. In August, the controversial National Security Council Act came into force, giving Najib the right to declare near-martial law in areas perceived to be a security threat. Rights groups fear it will allow the prime minister to act with impunity. Read more