Into the future – together — Zainah Anwar

Source: The Star Online

BY ZAINAH ANWAR

Zainah Anwar, co-founder of Sisters in Islam. Pic taken from The Star Online.

Zainah Anwar, co-founder of Sisters in Islam. Pic taken from The Star Online.

AS we stumble into 2017 in a Malaysia and a world full of uncertainties, and a US President shooting from his hip, causing global turmoil, I am glad that there are actually two important discussions taking place now in Malaysia on the kind of country we want to live in.

One is the TN50 series of national dialogues with young people on the Malaysia they envision by 2050. The other is the effort to make Rukunegara the preamble to the Constitution. And I believe they should feed into each other.

Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin who is leading the TN50 dialogue, rightfully said this process is not just about defining policies for national development, but importantly, also about defining our national identity.

That many politicians are still determined to use ethnicity and religion to not only define us, but to divide us remains a dominant leitmotif of Malaysian politics to this day.

In his recent interview with The Star, Khairy stated that one of the areas of engagement in TN50 will be the subject of “an inclusive, vibrant and open society”.

This, he hopes, will lead to a discussion on values and what a Malaysian identity should be.

I hope these dialogue sessions will be a platform where diverse groups of stakeholders can get to listen to each other and think. And in this process the “I” can become a ‘We” – we, Malaysians. Read more

Ministry welcome call to expedite sex offenders registry

Source: The Malay Mail Online

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 5 — The Women, Family and Community Development Ministry welcomed the call to expedite the sex offenders registry in Malaysia to monitor the movement of sex offenders for safety reasons.

Referring to an online news portal freemalaysiatoday.com article “Why the Delay in Sex Offenders Registry”, the ministry said the functions of the Child Act Amendment 2016 (Act A1511) had been expanded to contain information on offenders for crimes including sexual offences, under any written laws where a child had been the victim.

However, the functions are different from the proposed sexual offenders registry under the Registration of Criminals and Undesirable Persons Act 1969 [Act 7], which is under the purview of the Home Ministry. Read more

Need for an enlightened judiciary — Gurdial Singh Nijar

Source: The Sun Daily

BY GURDIAL SINGH NIJAR
(Deputy President, HAKAM)

OF late we have heard a ratcheting up of proposals to fortify our body politic – by amending the Federal Constitution. The outgoing chief justice proposes that we amend the constitution to entrench the right to a clean and healthy environment. Several NGOs also clamour for the inclusion of the tenets of the Rukun Negara as a preamble to our constitution.

All very laudable. And certainly well-meant, of course. These beneficent add-ons cannot but help strengthen the protection of the environment, the rule of law, rights, preserve the integrity of institutions and keep unbridled power in check.

The objective is to ensure that new laws are shaped – and existing laws reshaped – to put into effect the thrust of these changes; and by which the country’s governance will be adjudged. And that the courts, as the final arbiter when there is a contestation between the citizenry and the executive, will implement these accordingly.

This is where the rub lies. There are already sufficient provisions in our laws – written laws passed by Parliament, the common law (pronounced by court decisions) and the custom or usage of our natives (the orang asal of Sarawak and Sabah; and the orang asli of Peninsular Malaysia) – to achieve the same objectives. Read more