Bersih: An ongoing journey after 10 years — Bersih 2.0 Steering Committee

Source: The Malay Mail Online

NOV 23 — Ten years ago, on this day, five political parties and 25 NGOs came together to form the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih). A Joint Communique detailing the list of electoral reforms was issued at its launch in the Parliament House. Most of its 24 demands are not met until today.

However, Bersih has changed Malaysian politics and society in more than one way, way beyond what its founding members could imagine in their wildest dreams.

Firstly, Bersih has firmly put the agenda of institutional reforms in Malaysia’s political transformation. The demands expressed in its five rallies have grown from reforms in electoral process (Bersih 1, 2007) to cover integrity of public agencies (Bersih 2, 2011 and Bersih 3, 2012) to clean government, right of dissent and parliamentary democracy (Bersih 4, 2015) and finally to the empowerment of Sabah and Sarawak (Bersih 5, 2016) In a nation where democratic institutions have long been eroded into formality by authoritarianism and patronage, Bersih emerges as a loud and clear cry for multiparty democracy and accountability. Read more

Suhakam confirms Maria kept isolated, without bed

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Suhakam has confirmed that Maria Chin Abdullah is being held in solitary confinement and is denied a bed. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

Suhakam has confirmed that Maria Chin Abdullah is being held in solitary confinement and is denied a bed. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 23 — Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah is being held in solitary confinement and denied a bed as she previously alleged, the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) confirmed today.

Suhakam said it verified this during a visit to the undisclosed location where Maria is being detained for 28 days under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act.

The commission added that while Maria appeared to be in good health and the cleanliness of her cell was acceptable, the conditions were as she had described to her lawyers on Sunday.

“The so-called bed has no mattress and she has to wash with cold water. She indicated that she would like a mattress at the very least to cushion the discomfort of the wooden bed.

“Maria Chin Abdullah has also requested for a copy of the Quran and reading materials, as well as to be able to see her children and family,” it said in a statement.

Suhakam did not comment on other aspects of Maria’s allegations such as the cell being windowless or that two lights were kept permanently lit.

The commission said its delegation to inspect Maria’s cell and conditions was led by chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail. Read more

Hundreds of women march to Parliament demanding Maria’s release

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Hundreds of women walk from Padang Merbok to Parliament to demand Maria Chin Abdullah's release, November 23, 2016. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

Hundreds of women walk from Padang Merbok to Parliament to demand Maria Chin Abdullah’s release, November 23, 2016. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 23 ― More than 500 women marched to Parliament today demanding the immediate release of Bersih 2.0 chief Maria Chin Abdullah from her Security Offences (Special Measures) detention.

The women, led by individuals from various civil society organisations marched from Padang Merbok to the Parliament gates, while also calling for Sosma to be abolished.

Maria, 60, has spent the last five days in solitary confinement after she was arrested on November 18, on the eve of the Bersih 5 rally.

43 female activists signed a memorandum with the group’s demands, which includes the return of items confiscated from Bersih’s office by police during a raid on November 18.

MORE TO COME

Winner of landmark gender equality case gets more damages on appeal

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Noorfadilla Ahmad Saikin sued the government in 2010 after Hulu Langat district education officers revoked her appointment as temporary teacher due to her pregnancy and refused to reinstate it. — AFP pic

Noorfadilla Ahmad Saikin sued the government in 2010 after Hulu Langat district education officers revoked her appointment as temporary teacher due to her pregnancy and refused to reinstate it. — AFP pic

PUTRAJAYA, Nov 23 ― The Court of Appeal today dismissed the government’s claim of profiteering in its bid to contest damages awarded to Noorfadilla Ahmad Saikin who successfully sued it for refusing her a temporary teaching job because she was pregnant.

The three-member panel led by Datuk Mohd Zawawi Salleh, when reading the judgment, said Noorfadilla was entitled for RM30,000 for breach of constitutional rights as well as RM10,000 for pain and suffering, and RM10,000 for legal costs.

“We dismiss the cross appeal by the defendant and allow the RM30,000 for breach of constitutional protection be maintained as passed in the High Court earlier.

“Because pain and suffering cannot be included together, a separate RM10,000 will be awarded for this and RM10,000 for [legal] costs,” he said.

Senior federal counsel Mazlifah Ayob earlier submitted a cross appeal seeking for Noorfadilla to be denied any damages for pain and suffering.

She argued that there was no concrete evidence to suggest Noorfadilla had suffered from either.

Mohd Zawawi rejected this by saying pain and suffering would befall anyone who was denied their constitutional rights. Read more

Dataran Merdeka ditutup setelah makin ramai demo tuntut ‘Bebas Maria’

Sumber: 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, 23 Nov — Dataran Merdeka ditutup pada sebelah malam selama seminggu apabila makin ramai orang hadir menuntut pembebasan pengerusi Bersih 2.0 Maria Chin Abdullah.

Perhimpunan anjuran badan itu mendapat sambutan 800 orang malam tadi, meningkat 500 orang berbanding malam sebelumnya.

Pada Isnin, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad menyertai perhimpunan bagi menyokong Maria, kini ditahan tanpa bicara bawah Akta Kesalahan Khas (Langkah-Langkah Keselamatan) atau Sosma. Read more

Bersih 5: Maria Chin should be praised, not imprisoned — Emma Richards

Source: Asian Correspondent

Maria Chin Abdullah, center, chairwoman of the Bersih movement - a coalition for clean and fair elections. Pic: AP.

Maria Chin Abdullah, center, chairwoman of the Bersih movement – a coalition for clean and fair elections. Pic: AP.

AS TENS of thousands of Malaysians took to the streets of the capital on Saturday to protest for free and fair elections, the organiser of the event sat in a windowless prison cell contemplating an uncertain future.

Bersih 5, the mass protest that took place in Kuala Lumpur, went off without a hitch.

The movement had clear and defined objectives; clean elections, a clean government, strengthening parliamentary democracy, the right to dissent, and the empowering of Sabah and Sarawak. They also had an explicit desire to ensure that the demonstrations were peaceful; a request that was adhered to by supporters on the day.

One day prior to the march, Maria Chin Abdullah, leader of the Bersih 2.0 movement and organiser of the event, was arrested under the Special Offences (Security Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA) for an offence under Section 124C of the Penal Code that prohibits the attempt to commit activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy. Read more

Khalid: Maria held after documents found in her office, not for rally

Source: The Star Online

SEPANG: Bersih 2.0 chair Maria Chin Abdullah was detained after documents “detrimental to parliamentary democracy” were found in her office, said Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar.

He pointed out that Maria’s detention was not over Saturday’s Bersih 5 rally.

“Her detention has nothing at all to do with the Bersih rally. That part is clear, okay? She was arrested under Section 124(C) of the Penal Code for activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy,” Khalid told reporters at KLIA on Wednesday.

Khalid said Maria’s detention for 28 days under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma) was “to give police ample time to get a statement from her on the nature of Bersih 2.0’s funds.” Read more

Almost 40,000 sign online petition demanding Maria’s release

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 23 ― An online petition condemning the use of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 against Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah and demanding her immediate release is steadily gaining traction, getting over 37,000 signatures since it kicked off on Monday.

The “#MansuhSOSMA and #BebasMaria” petition on ipetitions.com has secured 37,804 signatures so far, under 3,000 signatures shy of its intended 40,000 target.

“When tabling the bill in Parliament in 2011, the government assured and promised Malaysians repeatedly that Sosma will not be used on the basis of differences in political ideology, but it is evident today that the administration led by Prime Minister Najib Razak is reneging on its promise.

“In our view, this is a clear abuse of legislative and executive powers,” the petition read.

It has since been shared on Facebook 7,200 times. Read more

Constitution must be amended first, say Shariah lawyers

Source: The Malay Mail Online

The issue of unilateral conversions have raised controversy when M. Indira Gandhi faced lengthy court battles to gain custody and reverse the unilateral conversion of her children by her Muslim convert ex-husbands. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

The issue of unilateral conversions have raised controversy when M. Indira Gandhi faced lengthy court battles to gain custody and reverse the unilateral conversion of her children by her Muslim convert ex-husbands. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

PETALING JAYA, Nov 23 — A proposed amendment of the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce Act) must be preceded by an amendment to the Federal Constitution, say Shariah lawyers.

Faisalludin Mohamat Yusuff agreed with the overall proposal but said including Section 88A, a new clause, was unconstitutional.

“Article 12(4) of the Federal Constitution states the religion of a child under the age of 18 years shall be decided by one of his or her parents or guardian,” he said.

“The proposed amendment states the consent of both parents is needed to decide on the child’s  religion, but the Constitution states only one parent is needed.”

Faisalludin said an alternative method could be used to decide a minor’s religious status such as mediation or negotiation.

However, he agreed with allowing the converted Muslim party in a marriage to apply for divorce and have other matters resolved in the civil court.

Faisalludin said custodial rights could also be decided by the civil court even if the child had been converted to Islam but was cared for by a non-Muslim parent. Read more