NGO slams Putrajaya’s ‘empty’ Sosma assurances

Source: FMT News

EMPOWER president, Janarthani Arumugam fears the raid on its office will not be the last time Sosma is used against human rights defenders.

EMPOWER president, Janarthani Arumugam fears the raid on its office will not be the last time Sosma is used against human rights defenders.

KUALA LUMPUR: Assurances by the government on the proper use of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012, or Sosma, are empty promises, said EMPOWER president, Janarthani Arumugam.

“We fear the raid on our office will not be the last time Sosma is used against human rights defenders,” she added in a statement.

EMPOWER stands for Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor.

Sosma was supposed to be used for terrorist-related offences.

The NGO condemned the police raid on its premises, “and the interrogation of staff, without legal representation”, and “the attempts to tarnish its work”.

“There’s no law that forbids civil society organisations from receiving funds, whether local or foreign,” said Janarthani. “All funds received are based on objectives and activities under our Constitution.”

In fact, she said, her NGO had submitted annually all documents required by the Registrar of Societies, in reporting on yearly activities. “This includes audited financial reports.”

Janarthani said that EMPOWER’s efforts were out there for the world to see. “We are about securing equality and democracy for all, especially for women and marginalised communities.” Read more

Crossing the line — Lim Li Ann

Source: New Mandala

BY LIM LI ANN

Are electoral boundaries being redrawn in Malaysia to stifle the opposition vote?

IMAGE CREDIT: FIRDAUS LATIF

IMAGE CREDIT: FIRDAUS LATIF

On 15 September 2016, Malaysia’s Election Commission (EC) announced the results of its redelineation review exercise. Redelineation is the redrawing of electoral boundaries, with the purpose of balancing voter populations between constituencies. If passed in Parliament, this would mark the country’s seventh redelineation since independence in 1957, and its first in 13 years. This time around, redelineation has worsened the inequality between differently sized constituencies, and appears biased towards the federal government.

Earlier this year, the Perceptions of Electoral Integrity Survey ranked Malaysia as having low to very low electoral integrity, and the third worst country in Asia. This latest proposal will only make things worse.

Malaysia’s electoral system has been historically unfair. The Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, ruling since independence, have consistently gained seats disproportionately more than the popular vote suggests it deserves. Mathematically, the opposition experiences the opposite.  (Refer to Graph 1)

In other words, the value of each vote for the BN is worth more than a vote cast to any party outside the BN alliance. During the last general election, one vote to BN was worth 1.2645  votes (based on the percentage of seats won divided by popular vote), while a vote to then-opposition coalition Pakatan Rakyat was worth 0.7621 votes. With this, the BN coalition won the elections with 60 per cent of parliamentary seats, despite losing the popular vote at 47 per cent.

As of the 2016 redelineation review, Selangor comprises 22 parliamentary seats and a total electorate size of 2,078,311 people. Read more

Malaysian mother’s battle sparks reform against ‘child snatching’ cases

Source: FMT News

The proposed reforms seek to outlaw conversion by one parent, which advocates say will safeguard a mother's equal access to custody rights and quell unease among religious minorities. Pic from FMT News.

The proposed reforms seek to outlaw conversion by one parent, which advocates say will safeguard a mother’s equal access to custody rights and quell unease among religious minorities. Pic from FMT News.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian kindergarten teacher Indira Gandhi last saw her infant daughter in 2009 before her estranged husband snatched the 11-month-old away after an argument.

“I thought he would return in one or two days with (her). I never thought this was going to happen, I was devastated,” the 41-year-old said.

Indira is one of several women whose husbands converted to Islam in Muslim-majority Malaysia, before secretly converting their children and then applying for custody of them in an Islamic court.

As a Hindu, Indira is unable to challenge his bid in the Islamic court because she is not a Muslim.

Now the Malaysian parliament, spurred by her case, is considering legislative reforms to stop such cases of secret conversion, sometimes dubbed “child snatching”.

Campaigners say it is a strategy mostly used by husbands seeking an upper hand in custody battles. Read more

Malaysia to hold gathering in protest over Myanmar’s Rohingya violence, Zahid says

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Participants at a gathering to condemn the actrocities against the Rohingya in Gelugor, Penang, last Thursday. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin for the Malay Mail Online.

Participants at a gathering to condemn the actrocities against the Rohingya in Gelugor, Penang, last Thursday. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin for the Malay Mail Online.

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 29 — Malaysians must stand against the aggression and genocide on the Rohingya carried out by the Myanmar government, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He said the Foreign Ministry had contacted the Myanmar ambassador to Malaysia last week and handed him a protest note.

“The major gathering on Dec 4 is to express our concern over the violence taking place on the Rohingya,” he said.

Ahmad Zahid said the gathering was not only among Muslim non-governmental ogranisations as the main reason was to stand against the violence of the Myanmar government, which affected Asean.

So far, from the Opposition, PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang has confirmed his attendance.

“I hope we can all do away with our differences and work together on a bigger problem,” Ahmad Zahid said. Read more