The prospect of upcoming elections has sent droves of eager Malaysians to registrations booths, to sign up to vote. This evening, Caroline Oh chats with SV Singam, of Tindak Malaysia and together, they explore the value of all our votes as well as the potential impact the EC’s latest re-delineation exercise may have on the country’s next general elections.
The uneasy co-existence of civil and Sharia law in Malaysia and the polarising ethnic and religious divides within its population could be improved by establishing an independent mediation committee, Saleena Saleem writes.
PHOTO: NAIM FADIL ON FLICKR
In late August Prime Minister Najib Razak announced a proposed amendment to Malaysia’s Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976.
The proposal is an attempt to resolve the recurring problem of highly-publicised custody battles over unilateral conversions of children by spouses who have converted to Islam. Several such court disputes, framed around religious freedom, have been pursued in Malaysia’s dual track legal system of civil and Sharia (Islamic law) courts in the past decade.
Amid the growing religiosity of the majority ethnic group, the Malays, who increasingly choose to identify themselves by religion and are calling for wider implementation of Islamic codes and laws, laws that negatively and disproportionately affect non-Muslims are ominous evidence of how secularity is being eroded within the Malaysian polity, especially for non-Muslims.
This dynamic not only leads to increased inter-ethnic tension between the Malay Muslim-majority and the non-Muslim minorities, it also creates tension between the religious and the areligious within the ethnic Malay majority populace. Increasingly, we see societal tensions in Malaysia being expressed in a polarising socio-political discourse that pits the secular against the religious. Read more →
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 11 — Only Muslims who have committed vice have reservations against the Selangor religious authorities’ new smartphone application, the state’s Islamic Department (Jais) director Datuk Haris Kasim said.
He told news portal Free Malaysia Today(FMT) that the app, also known as “Hotline Jais” would help curb vice activities before they happened, adding that prevention was better than treating crimes after they took place.
If he or she had done no wrong, what is there to be afraid of?
“What is there to be afraid of if you are not involved in khalwat,” Haris was quoted saying, referring to the Muslim offence of close proximity with someone of the opposite gender.
“What is there to be worried about with this application?” he asked.
According to the news report, Haris was responding to criticism that the app would encourage Muslims to spy on each other, an action frown upon in Islam. Read more →
Rosliza Ibrahim’s lawyer Aston Paiva (pic) speaks to reporters outside the Court of Appeal in Putrajaya October 11, 2016. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
PUTRAJAYA, Oct 11 — The Court of Appeal allowed today a woman’s appeal for a legal declaration that Shariah courts do not have jurisdiction over her, after the High Court dismissed her application earlier this year.
Rosliza Ibrahim, a 35-year-old who was born out of wedlock to a Muslim father and a Buddhist mother, is seeking the declaration after having grown up as a practising Buddhist all her life.
A three-member panel led by Justice Datuk Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim ruled that the matter be remitted back to the Shah Alam High Court, to be heard in front of a different judge.
Rosliza’s lawyer Aston Paiva earlier argued that the case must be referred back to the High Court as there were speculations regarding her parents’ marital status in the High Court judgement that needs to be clarified. Read more →
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 11 — Putrajaya is mulling introducing a new law that will make the updated form of the National Consultative Council (NCC2) permanent, Tan Sri Joseph Kurup said.
The minister in the Prime Minister’s Department expressed the government’s interest in the idea following calls by prominent leaders, including CIMB Group Chairman Datuk Seri Nazir Razak, The Star daily reported today.
“Yes we intend to but we want it to be more permanent. We don’t want to simply establish a council and then maybe [it dissolves].
“We want it to be an Act of Parliament, which is now in the works…we are aggressively studying this in our discussions with stakeholders and NGOs,” Kurup was quoted as saying. Read more →
Penampang: Thirty seven youths from all over Sabah participated in a two-day workshop at a private venue here in the weekend on the subject of Rights and Freedom of the Internet.
The facilitators are under an umbrella organisation “Net Merdeka” which is a coalition of nine NGOs, the prominent ones being Centre for Independent Journalism, National Human Rights Society, Amnesty International Malaysia and Lawyers for Liberty.
When asked about the main concerns, the facilitators said it is the violation of human rights against internet users over what they upload or write in the web. There are threats, harassments or arrest over small matters that a selected few deemed as sensitive or punishment that does not commensurate with the content that was allegedly offensive or illegal. Read more →
OCT 11 — There’s a fantastic documentary on Netflix called 13th which talks about the high levels of incarceration of black people in the US, and talks about Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan’s “War on Drugs” as a genocide decimating young coloured communities.
In Malaysia, the “War on Drugs” isn’t often thought about in racial terms.
Politically, racism is recognised in other things — like lackadaisical attitudes towards people who protest the building of new churches, preventing the translation of Bibles into Malay, proposing things like halal and non-halal trolleys.
But the fact is, poor Malay communities are disproportionately the key targets of the War on Drugs in Malaysia.
Their houses are barged into, children watch as their fathers are taken away, or they cry and scream as social workers take them away from their mothers, because they think that a woman who uses drugs is an unfit mother and it simply would be too much work to provide her with support.
We’ve got to remember that UNODC statistics show that worldwide, only, 11.14 per cent of all drug use is problematic. Read more →
Terence Fernandez, former editor of the Malay Mail and now a media and perception management consultant. Pic taken from the Malay Mail
OCTOBER 11 — Having covered five general elections, one comes to realise that there is a grey area when it comes to proper conduct involving money by political hopefuls and the parties behind them.
From crisp RM100 notes being pressed into my palm (which were immediately returned!) and media centres and computers sponsored by state agencies, I have witnessed numerous examples of questionable conduct which may be in breach of electoral laws or the very least, ethical practises.
Meanwhile, other goings-on take place outside the campaign period, way before Election Day. Which is why watchdog groups have long called for the need to monitor election funding and for politicians and political parties to come clean over the source of their funding and who their well-wishers are.
These calls have often fallen on deaf ears but last year, the government itself initiated attempts to reform political funding regulations with the establishment of the National Consultative Committee on Political Financing on August 14, 2015.
While proponents of good governance would like to think that the leadership caved in to demands from the Opposition and civil society, the more skeptical opine that these “reforms” are meant to curtail the flow of financial support to the Opposition by its ever-expanding support base. Read more →
Malaysia regularly grapples with long-drawn cases of unilateral conversions into Islam. — Reuters pic
PUTRAJAYA, Oct 11 — Despite her name, Rosliza Ibrahim is a Buddhist. She was born 35 years ago to a Buddhist mother, who raised her as a Buddhist, and continues to practise Buddhism today.
Yet, the state religious authorities in Selangor, where she currently resides, regard her as a Muslim and subject to Shariah law because she was born to a Muslim father, although out of wedlock.
“Her Constitutional right to religious freedom and disposition of property are all adversely affected. She cannot go to the Shariah court as, by law, she is not even a Muslim in the first place. Thus there is no question of leaving Islam.
“She won’t be able to get married to a person of her choice,” Rosliza’s lawyer, Aston Paiva, told Malay Mail Online yesterday. Read more →