Minister: Anti-evangelism laws ‘myopic’, violate human rights

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, June 17 — A Cabinet minister today slammed the so-called Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy’s (Centhra) demand for the formulation of anti-evangelism laws, saying such a proposal is narrow-minded, and violates basic human rights on religious freedom.

Labelling the proposal as ignorant, minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low said the group must first understand that Malaysia is a multi-cultural society which recognises diversity, and the rights of religious beliefs and cultural practices.

“The Federal Constitution was made to protect the rights of various groups, including (the) rights of those who are in the minority groups,” Low who is in charge of governance, integrity and human rights, told Malay Mail Online.

“So, the call by this Centhra — note that they ironically call themselves a human rights centre—to prohibit the evangelical Christians, would violate the spirit of our Constitution with regards to freedom of worship, and most importantly, basic human rights.” Read more

PRESIDENT’S REPORT FOR 2016/2017 — Ambiga Sreenevasan

PRESIDENT’S REPORT FOR THE AGM 2016/2017 [26th AGM]

Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan – Pic by Choo Choy May

It has been 29 years since HAKAM was first formed to confront human rights abuses that were rampant and to uphold the rule of law.  Today, our struggle continues as we face a whole host of new challenges that require civil society to continue to be vocal on human rights issues.

On 8 December 2016, Malaysia was labelled one of the worst regional freedom of thought violators, alongside Indonesia and Brunei, by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU).

Malaysia is ranked at 144 in the 2017 World Press Freedom Index.

The 1MDB case continues to tarnish the reputation of Malaysia internationally, and there has been little done at home to address this global scandal and to bring those responsible to book.

Our fundamental freedoms are increasingly curtailed. The last year has seen more repressive laws come into force, our media under attack, and social media facing severe restrictions. Read more

‘Anti-evangelism laws’ not for Malaysia, deputy home minister says

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, June 17 — Datuk Nur Jazlan Muhammed is against a suggestion for Malaysia to ban Christian evangelism.

The deputy home minister said outlawing the movement is counterproductive and will only drive its followers underground, in response to a non-governmental organisation leader’s call for similar legislation to Russia’s Yarovaya Act.

“Legislating any form of anti-evangelism or evangelicalism officially would have counterproductive outcomes because the followers would go underground instead of stopping their activities,” Nur Jazlan told Malay Mail Online  in a text message yesterday when contacted for comment.

He expressed scepticism on views that legislation is the best approach to tackle religious matters, saying instead that dialogue is the way forward to end interfaith suspicions. Read more