S’pore comes under pressure over female genital cutting of babies

Source: FMT News 

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Medical clinics in Singapore are carrying out female genital cutting on babies, according to people with first-hand experience of the procedure, despite growing global condemnation of the practice which world leaders have pledged to eradicate.

The ancient ritual – more commonly associated with rural communities in a swathe of African countries – is observed by most Muslim Malays in Singapore where it is legal but largely hidden, said Filzah Sumartono of women’s rights group AWARE.

Worldwide, more than 200 million girls and women are believed to have undergone female genital cutting or mutilation (FGM), according to United Nations figures.

But its existence in Singapore, a wealthy island state which prides itself on being a modern, cosmopolitan city with high levels of education, shows the challenge of tackling a practice rooted in culture, tradition and a desire to belong.

Sumartono said it was too early to press for a ban in Singapore although many countries have outlawed FGM. She said they first needed to create more awareness and debate around the practice and galvanize public support for ending it. Read more

Siti Kasim barred from reaching Orang Asli blockade (VIDEO)

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Lawyer and activist Siti Kasim (pic) said the state Forestry Department and Land Office stopped her yesterday morning from entering the disputed area in the Balah forest reserve. cture by Choo Choy May, taken from the Malay Mail Online.

Lawyer and activist Siti Kasim (pic) said the state Forestry Department and Land Office stopped her yesterday morning from entering the disputed area in the Balah forest reserve. cture by Choo Choy May, taken from the Malay Mail Online.

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 13 — The Kelantan authorities have blocked lawyer Siti Kasim from accessing the blockade set up by Orang Asli at a forest reserve in Gua Musang to prevent lumber from being taken out.

Siti said the state Forestry Department and Land Office stopped her yesterday morning from entering the disputed area in the Balah forest reserve and she was forced to return to Kg Parik.

“They stopped everyone but the Orang Asli. That means no one can deliver aids or sell anything to the blockade or the villages inside,” Siti posted on her Facebook page yesterday.

“The Orang Asli have been denied access to their legal counsel. Their food supply have been stopped,” said the lawyer-cum-activist, adding that police reports would be lodged over the denial of legal access to the Orang Asli and the blocking of supplies. Read more

Court decision another blow for freedom of peaceful assembly — Amnesty International

Source: The Malay Mail Online

OCT 12 — Amnesty International is gravely concerned with the decision of the Federal Court on 10 October, which ordered seven human rights activists and parliamentarians from the opposition party to face trial for participating in peaceful protests in 2015. The decision, which has happened in response to a constitutional challenge of several provisions of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012, highlights the ongoing pattern of repression against government critics in the country.

Opposition parliamentarians Chong Chieng Jen and Julian Tan Kok Ping were charged for participating in a Bersih 4 rally on 29 Aug 2015 in Kuching, while opposition parliamentarian Sim Tze Tzin and human rights activists Maria Chin Abdullah, Mandeep Singh, Fariz Musa and Adam Adli Abdul Halim were charged for participating in the #KitaLawan Rally on 28 Feb 2015 at the Sogo shopping mall and Esplanade KLCC. They were demanding political and electoral accountability and reform. Read more

Bersih eyes more lawsuits as redelineation objection window narrows

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah was recently reported as saying that one of her group’s challenges in court would be to compel to EC to release land mass data for the constituencies. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah was recently reported as saying that one of her group’s challenges in court would be to compel to EC to release land mass data for the constituencies. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

PETALING JAYA, Oct 13 — Electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0 is planning to file at least two more lawsuits against the Election Commission (EC)’s redelineation exercise, with just over a day left before public objections will no longer be accepted.

“There will be two more court cases by the end of this week,” said Bersih steering committee member Wong Chin Huat during a forum redelineation here yesterday.

Public objections for the redelineation exercise close at 5.00 pm on Friday, October 14.

The EC would have to conduct hearings if it receives objections from state governments, local authorities, or groups with at least 100 registered voters from each constituency by the time the objection period closes.

Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah was recently reported as saying that one of her group’s challenges in court would be to compel to EC to release land mass data for the constituencies. Read more

PAS’ hudud Bill slated for debate next Parliament meeting

Source: The Star Online

imagesPETALING JAYA: PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s (pix) controversial hudud Bill is set to ignite heated debate when Parliament reconvenes next week.

Abdul Hadi’s Private Members Bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 is said to have been slotted as item number four in the next Parliament meeting’s Order Paper.

Abdul Hadi had tabled the Bill on May 26, the last day of the previous meeting.

However, Abdul Hadi opted to postpone debate on the Bill till October.

He has repeatedly assured that the proposed amendments are not aimed at implementing hudud law, but to increase the powers of the Syariah Courts to impose stiffer penalties for offences, except for the death penalty.

However, he failed to quell concern from certain quarters, particularly non-Muslims, who fear that the amendments will pave the way for implementation of hudud law in the country. Read more