Mayor closes Dataran amid growing crowds at Maria vigils

Source: The Malay Mail Online

People attend a candlelight vigil for Maria Chin Abdullah in Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur, November 22, 2016. — Picture by Choo Choy May

People attend a candlelight vigil for Maria Chin Abdullah in Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur, November 22, 2016. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 22 — The Kuala Lumpur mayor has closed Dataran Merdeka in the evenings for a week after candlelight vigils held for Maria Chin Abdullah’s release saw swelling numbers.

About 800 people turned up at the vigil in the historic square this evening for the Bersih 2.0 chair’s release from detention without trial, up from about 300 last night.

maria_vigil_10_22112016_620_413_100

People attend a candlelight vigil for Maria Chin Abdullah in Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur, November 22, 2016. — Picture by Choo Choy May

The Kuala Lumpur mayor has closed the whole of Dataran Merdeka starting from November 22, 2016, until November 29, 2016, from 5pm till 7am every day.

“Whoever is found at Dataran Merdeka or who refuses to obey the directive can be chased out of Dataran Merdeka,” read the announcement on a screen that was made after today’s vigil. Read more

Violence against women in politics — Lim Su Lin

Source: The Malay Mail Online

BY LIM SU LIN

opinion-clipart-gg60666501

NOVEMBER 22 — There was no question that the remarks directed by Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman to Member of Parliament (MP) for Seputeh, Teresa Kok, in parliament on November 21 were meant to be crude and sexist.

The recording of his full spoken sentence is as follows: “MP Seputeh ni keh-keh-keh pasal apa? (What is the Seputeh MP giggling about?) The only woman with a ‘Kok’ is in Seputeh.” The recording further shows him raising his eyebrows and grinning as he utters this sentence. [1]

The Deputy Speaker, Datuk Dr Ronald Kiandee, who was the presiding speaker at that time, could have used this opportune time to reprimand the Deputy Minister for making those sexist remarks and to ask him to withdraw (or “tarik balik”) the offensive and sexist phrase in question. Instead, the Deputy Speaker gave the Deputy Minister a pass and defended him by saying that he was only referring to Teresa Kok’s surname.

The Speaker, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia, had another opportunity to rectify this situation when Member of Parliament for Batu Kawan, Kasturi Patto, asked him to rule on her motion to refer the Deputy Minister to the Parliament Privileges Committee for disciplinary action over his sexist remarks. Instead, the Speaker defended the previous ruling of his Deputy and no action was taken against the Deputy Minister.[2] Read more

Sosma not only for terrorists, says deputy minister

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 22 — The Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) does not apply to acts of terrorism alone and has a wide definition, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said today.

“Sosma is not for terrorism alone. It can also apply for anything that disturbs national security and sovereignty,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby.

He was commenting on the detention of Bersih chief Maria Chin Abdullah under Sosma, where she can be held up to 28 days without trial. Read more

Malaysian Bar calls for Maria’s release from Sosma detention

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Steven said allegations that Maria attempted to undermine parliamentary democracy appeared to be baseless. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

Steven said allegations that Maria attempted to undermine parliamentary democracy appeared to be baseless. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 22 — Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah’s detention without trial under a security law cannot be justified and she should be released immediately, the Malaysian Bar said today.

Malaysian Bar president Steven Thiru said allegations that Maria attempted to undermine parliamentary democracy appeared to be baseless, adding that her 28-day detention under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) was unjustifiable.

“The arrest and detention of Maria Chin Abdullah is widely perceived to have been intended to victimise and prevent her from leading the Bersih 5 rally on the day following her arrest.

“Any misuse of laws for ulterior or colourable purposes by the authorities cannot be condoned, as it would be tantamount to abuse of power,” he said in a statement on behalf of the professional body representing lawyers from peninsular Malaysia.

Maria was arrested just a day before the Bersih 5 protest against corruption last Saturday. She was investigated under Section 124C of the Penal Code for the offence of attempting to commit activity detrimental to parliamentary democracy, due to claims that Bersih 2.0 had purportedly received foreign funding.

In condemning Maria’s arrest and detention, Steven listed various facts to back his assertion that it was unjustifiable, noting that the Open Society Foundations (OSF), which had allegedly given funds to the polls reform group, is not regarded as an “unlawful society”, nor a “listed terrorist organisation” under local laws. Read more

Penang state assembly condemns Maria Chin’s arrest

Source: FMT News

Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng says using Sosma on Maria Chin is such a 'lembap' (weak) move as she did not hurt anyone and was just helping to save Malaysia. Pic from FMT News.

Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng says using Sosma on Maria Chin is such a ‘lembap’ (weak) move as she did not hurt anyone and was just helping to save Malaysia. Pic from FMT News.

GEORGE TOWN: An emergency motion to condemn the detention of Bersih leader Maria Chin Abdullah under a controversial anti-terrorism law was allowed to be debated by the Penang legislative assembly today.

In proposing the motion, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng (DAP-Air Putih) said Maria’s arrest was a clear abuse of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma).

“Maria is not a terrorist but a leader of a civil society. We strongly condemn the misuse of Sosma to detain her. The law should not be used on politicians or civil society activists.

“We also find her solitary confinement inhumane and we urge that she be freed without any conditions immediately,” Lim said in his proposed motion. Read more

Bersih chief’s family files for writ seeking her release from Sosma detention

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Maria Chin Abdullah's family submitted a habeas corpus application to the High Court here asking it to compel the police to release her from a 28-day detention order. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

Maria Chin Abdullah’s family submitted a habeas corpus application to the High Court here asking it to compel the police to release her from a 28-day detention order. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 22 ― The family of Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah today submitted a habeas corpus application to the High Court here asking it to compel the police to release her from a 28-day detention order.

Police detained Maria on November 18 under Section 124C of the Penal Code that criminalises the attempt to commit activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy, and invoked the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act, or Sosma, for the arrest.

The Sosma invocation permits the police to hold individuals for up to 28 days without trial.

Maria’s eldest son, Azumin Mohd Yunus, 23, filed the affidavit on behalf of the family.

“We still find this unjust, that our mum is being detained in a prison. We were promised by our politicians that Sosma would not be used as a political tool, but right now, it seems like that promise has been broken. Read more

Maria Chin Abdullah’s detention under SOSMA troubling — G25

Source: The Malay Mail Online

opinion-clipart-k12118272NOVEMBER 22 — The G25 wishes to express its deepest concern regarding the arrest of Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah on 18 November 2016 on the eve of the Bersih 5 public rally and her detention under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA).

SOSMA was enacted to deal with terrorism and security offences for the purpose of maintaining public order and security. This legislation was never intended nor meant to nullify parliamentary democracy or suppress political freedom. Indeed, section 4(3) of SOSMA clearly provides –

(3) No person shall be arrested and detained under this section solely for his political belief or political activity.

The public demands to know what terrorist activity has been undertaken by Maria Chin Abdullah to warrant her detention under SOSMA.  Maria and her colleagues in Bersih 2.0 were responsible for organising the Bersih 5 public rally that was held on Saturday 19 November peacefully and without any untoward incident.   The organising committee of Bersih 5 took great pains to ensure that those participating in the rally would not break the law or be a public nuisance and to avoid any confrontation with the Red Shirts group lead by Datuk Seri Jamal Yunos, who had threatened violence against Bersih 5 supporters. Read more

Changes to Act tabled

Source: The Star Online

dewan_rakyat_signpost_2015_-_parliament_reportKUALA LUMPUR: Any spouse from a civil marriage who becomes a Muslim will no longer be allowed to unilaterally convert the children to Islam, under amendments to the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act.

A new section will be introduced to make it clear that the children’s faith will remain that of the religion of both parents prior to the conversion.

Any conversion to Islam of children below age 18 will be allowed only if both parents agree to it. Otherwise, the children decide their own faith once they turn 18.

The amendments were tabled for first reading at the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

It came about after a number of contentious cases, including one where a Hindu wife faced custody battles and a multitude of problems when her husband became a Muslim and converted their children.

These amendments, which will have a retrospective effect once the Bill is passed, will be debated next year as the current meeting will end on Thursday. Read more

Released – seven held during Bersih rally

Source: The Star Online

KUALA LUMPUR: The seven people arrested during the Bersih 5.0 rally on Saturday have been released by police.

City CID chief Senior Asst Comm Rusdi Mohd Isa said the seven, released on police bail, were arrested for allegedly committing various offences during the rally.

“We are in the midst of tracing the whereabouts of another person. We hope to arrest the person soon,” he said yesterday.

On Sunday, eight others who were arrested on Friday, were released.

They were DAP leaders Ronnie Liu, Jimmy Wong, Lee Khai Meng, Bersih’s Mandeep Singh, student activists Muhamad Luqman Nul Haqim Zul Razali, Anis Syafiqah Md Yusof, Muhamad Safwan Anang@Talib and PSM leader S. Arutchelvan.

They, too, were released on police bail.

“This entire exercise was done before Bersih 5 to deter them from participating in the rally,” lawyer Ramkarpal Singh was quoted as saying outside the Dang Wangi police headquarters yesterday.

Police arrested a total of 23 people on Friday and Saturday for allegedly committing various offences.

More Malays at Bersih 5 due to greater awareness, observers say

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Bersih 5 protesters march towards Masjid Jamek in Kuala Lumpur, November 19, 2016. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

Bersih 5 protesters march towards Masjid Jamek in Kuala Lumpur, November 19, 2016. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 22 ― Growing awareness on issues concerning the Malay community is among the reasons for the increased participation by the country’s largest ethnic group in Saturday’s Bersih 5 rally, according to political analysts.

Observers have noted that there seemed to be more Malay attendees during the mass rally’s fifth iteration in Kuala Lumpur, a departure from the previous year that was seen as dominated by the ethnic Chinese.

Universiti Malaysia Sarawak Associate Prof Dr Jeniri Amir said this indicated that the country’s dominant community are now seeking greater participation in the push for institutional reforms.

“The Malays are becoming more aware with what’s going on in the country, getting involved and charting the future of the nation,” he told Malay Mail Online on Sunday. Read more