In pivotal decision, Dayaks lose right to claim forests as communal area

Source: The Malay Mail Online

The Dayak landowners, who come from all over Sarawak, with a banner outside Kuching High Court complex, giving their support to the headman Sandah anak Tabau and seven other landowners in Kuching December 20, 2016. — Pictures by Sulok Tawie for MMO.

The Dayak landowners, who come from all over Sarawak, with a banner outside Kuching High Court complex, giving their support to the headman Sandah anak Tabau and seven other landowners in Kuching December 20, 2016. — Pictures by Sulok Tawie for MMO.

KUCHING, Dec 20 — The Dayak people cannot apply their native customary rights (NCR) on land to claim virgin forests as their territorial domains and communal forest reserves, the Federal Court decided today in a crucial judgment that affect tens of other related disputes.

In a 3-1 majority decision, the apex court allowed an appeal by the Forest Department and the state government in a case filed by headman Sandah anak Tabau and other seven other NCR landowners over an area in Ulu Machan, Kanowit.

Court of Appeal President Tan Sri Mohd Raus Shariff, in a written judgment, said there is no law in Sarawak that gives the force of law to customary rights claims by the Dayaks over virgin forests as NCR lands. Read more

Sabah Bersih organiser beats unlawful assembly charge

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Former Sabah Bersih chairman Jannie Lasimbang (centre) celebrated at the Sabah courts today after being discharged and acquitted her of failing to comply with the Peaceful Assembly Act when organising the Bersih gathering last year. — Picture by Julia Chan for the MMO.

Former Sabah Bersih chairman Jannie Lasimbang (centre) celebrated at the Sabah courts today after being discharged and acquitted her of failing to comply with the Peaceful Assembly Act when organising the Bersih gathering last year. — Picture by Julia Chan for the MMO.

KOTA KINABALU, Dec 20 — The organiser of the Sabah edition of Bersih 4, Jannie Lasimbang, has been acquitted by a magistrates court of breaching the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012.

Magistrate Cindy McJuce Balitus said in her ruling that the prosecution failed to show prima facie or establish that the Kota Kinabalu City Hall was the owner of the land where the event took place in August 29 and 30 last year.

She also said that under Section 9(2) of the PAA, a 10-day notice was not required to hold a gathering at a “designated place of assembly.”

Balitus also ordered that Lasimbang’s bond be refunded. Read more

Probe ‘torture’ of anti-terror law detainees, Suhakam urged

Source: FMT News

KUALA LUMPUR: Bersih 2.0 and Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) today urged the human rights commission (Suhakam) to investigate allegations of physical and mental torture endured by those detained under anti-terror laws.

Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah said most of the detainees complained of not just mental torture, but also physical torture.

“All of these appeared in the Suhakam’s annual report last year. That is why we want Suhakam to initiate the inquiry to look into the allegations,” Maria said.

Earlier, Maria and Suaram executive director Sevan Doraisamy handed a memorandum to Suhakam at its office, urging the commission to investigate claims of human rights abuses in the use of anti-terror laws. Read more

Appellate court frees former student activist Safwan Anang from sedition charge

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Former student activist Muhammad Safwan Anang (centre) is all smiles after the Appeals Court acquitted him of sedition, over a speech he made three years ago. — Picture by Yiswaree Palansamy for MMO.

Former student activist Muhammad Safwan Anang (centre) is all smiles after the Appeals Court acquitted him of sedition, over a speech he made three years ago. — Picture by Yiswaree Palansamy for MMO.

PUTRAJAYA, Dec 20 — The Court of Appeal today acquitted and discharged student activist Muhammad Safwan Anang from a sedition charge brought against him by the government, over a speech he made three years ago.

A three-men panel today said that they also found no seditious elements based on the grounds of judgement from the Session Court which had handed Safwan a 10-month jail term and fine of RM5,000.

The panel comprised of judges Datuk Wira Mohtarudin Baki, Datuk Seri Zakaria Sam and Datuk Dr Prasad Sandosham Abraham also unanimously agreed that the prosecution had also failed to prove a prima facie case against Safwan. Read more

Where unwed teen mums find solace, protection

Source: FMT News

Rumah Kita founder Vimmiyasmin Abd Razak, Pic from FMT News.

Rumah Kita founder Vimmiyasmin Abd Razak, Pic from FMT News.

KUALA LUMPUR: Khairunnisa (not her real name), 17, is pregnant with her boyfriend’s child.

The teenager from Selangor was forced to drop out of school but harbours dreams of continuing her studies and sitting for her SPM after she has given birth.

It is a different story for 16-year-old Azimah (not her real name), who is from Kelantan. After the birth, she will quit school to work in the family restaurant, with the blessings of her parents.

Khairunnisa and Azimah intend to raise their babies themselves.

The two teenagers are among 12 residents of Rumah Kita, a shelter for unwed mothers-to-be. Read more

Rightless, Rohingya children at risk to vice and slave labour

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Undocumented migrants cannot legally work in Malaysia, and their children are also not provided with healthcare or education by the state, which worsens their desperation. — Reuters pic.

Undocumented migrants cannot legally work in Malaysia, and their children are also not provided with healthcare or education by the state, which worsens their desperation. — Reuters pic.

AMPANG, Dec 20 — At 8am each day, a dark-skinned boy dressed in a worn Baju Melayu, torn pants and a skull cap will loiter at the busy bus stop across the Ampang Point Mall here, where commuters gather on their way to work.

With a blank expression, the boy, likely in his early teens, tirelessly approaches one commuter after another. Once he gains their attention, he clasps his hands together in a pleading gesture and begs for money.

Some give, others do not. But most relent when the boy points to his feet; his left foot is partially amputated. A rusty old pair of crutches helps the boy walk.

“I’m usually hesitant to give money because I think they end up giving it to the syndicates. But I can’t help but feel sorry since he’s crippled,” said a young professional Malay man who gave RM1 to the boy. Read more