Malaysia ‘ready’ to help Indonesia combat forest fires – minister

Source: Asian Correspondent

MALAYSIA’s Resources and Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar has declared the country’s willingness to help neighbouring Indonesia to extinguish forest fires.

Last week, Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency (BNPB) warned of increased risk of major fires as the peak of the dry season looms. Fires have already been reported in the province of Aceh on the northern tip of Sumatra, close to Peninsular Malaysia.

Speaking at a public event on Sunday, Wan said, “I have discussed it with Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, who oversees the Fire Department and the Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (SMART).”

“He has given the assurance they are ready at any time,” Wan Junaidi said as quoted by Malaysia’s state news agency Bernama. Read more

Court fixes Aug 14 to hear MPs’ appeal against EC

Source: FMT News 

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal has fixed Aug 14 to hear an appeal filed by two opposition MPs from Ipoh who had complained that the Election Commission’s (EC) current redelineation of their constituencies is against Federal Constitution guidelines.

Ipoh Barat MP M Kulasegaran said the date was fixed before deputy registrar Aina Azahara Arifin during a case management exercise today.

“The early date was fixed at the instruction of the Court of Appeal president as it is a public interest case,” he told FMT.

Kulasegaran, who is also a lawyer, represented himself and Ipoh Timor MP Thomas Su Keong Siong. Read more

G25 mulls legal action on book ban

Source: The Malaysian Insight 

Screenshot of book cover

G25 is mulling to take legal action against the banning of its book on role of Islam in Malaysia by the Home Ministry if there is no explanation given on why the book is deemed prejudicial to public order.

Group spokesperson Noor Farida Ariffin said in an interview with business radio station BFM earlier today that the ban did not make any sense as they had never heard of any incident of public disorder or rioting caused by the book.

The book, ‘Breaking the Silence: Voices of Moderation – Islam in a Constitutional Democracy’, which was launched by Razaleigh Hamzah, had been on the market for the last one and a half years, Noor Farida said. Read more

Lawyer: Act has to be amended to insert ‘bin Abdullah’

Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: A family law practitioner today said Parliament would have to amend the Births and Deaths Registration Act (BDRA) if Muslims do not want illegitimate children to carry the surname of their fathers.

However, lawyer Balwant Singh Sidhu said this may prejudice the rights of the natural fathers.

“It will also prejudice the rights of the child as he or she may want to know who the biological father is,” he said.

Balwant said such an amendment may also be challenged as being unconstitutional.

“As the law stands, BDRA imposes a strict statutory duty on the National Registration Department (NRD) to record all deaths and births, legitimate or otherwise, where particulars are available.” Read more

Let us vet your refugee database, govt tells UNHCR

Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: With concerns over the movement of Islamic State (IS) militants into Sabah and other entry points in the country, the government has asked the United Nations agency responsible for refugees to share its database of refugees in Malaysia, Channel NewsAsia reported.

Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan spoke of the fear that some IS militants may have slipped into Malaysia and obtained refugee cards issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in order to move freely in the country.

“The UNHCR has issued cards but the home ministry is not involved in the process of vetting at all. They don’t collect biometric data.

“This does not help our enforcement effort especially on transnational crime, human trafficking and terrorism. So we want to know whether any IS links have penetrated their numbers,” Nur Jazlan was quoted as saying by the Singapore-based news broadcaster.

There are said to be about 150,000 refugees and asylum seekers currently carrying the UNHCR card. Read more

Hadi contradicting himself on Constitution with Shariah Bill, interfaith group says

Source: The Malay Mail Online 

KUALA LUMPUR, July 31 — The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) chided PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang for trying to mislead Malaysians to support his controversial Shariah Bill by claiming it is in line with the Federal Constitution.

The umbrella group representing the country’s five main non-Islamic creeds argued that the Federal Constitution clearly spells out the extent of criminal offences as covered under Shariah law in the State List II (Schedule 9).

“Crimes such as theft, robbery, sodomy, etc. are already covered by the Penal Code and thus are out of the jurisdiction of a state. By now wanting to introduce hudud offences it actually has the effect of creating a parallel Syariah Criminal System which will be in conflict with the Federal Constitution and thus is unconstitutional,” the group said in a statement today.

The MCCBCHST claimed that Hadi was carrying out what he had advised others against, ie destroying the constitution, by seeking to introduce hudud penalties to a secular government. Read more

Cenbet calls for review of government censorship process

Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: Following the government’s ban on a book authored by a group of eminent Malay moderates, the Centre for a Better Tomorrow (Cenbet) says the home ministry should review its censorship process for print publications.

In a statement today, the NGO’s co-president Gan Ping Sieu said this was not the first time the ministry’s decision to ban certain books had attracted bad press for the country.

He pointed to the 2011 ban on an article in The Economist on Malaysia’s electoral reforms, adding that numerous other “questionable” decisions to ban books and magazines had been made over the years. Read more

Special court has handled 62 child sex crime cases, says Azalina

Source: The Malaysian Insight 

SIXTY-TWO cases have been filed at the special court for child sexual crimes from March till July 26, the Prime Minister’s Office today.

Minister Azalina Othman Said said 11 cases had been resolved, 25 had been mentioned, while 26 were still in trial.

She said the special court, in Putrajaya, had facilities such as court recording transcription (CRT) and audio-visual systems, as well as rooms for child witnesses.

“The infrastructure is vital in helping the proceedings in the court. It also ensures that trials and hearings proceed quickly and efficiently,” she said at the Dewan Rakyat today. Read more

Minister: FT Shariah Courts approved 238 underage marriage applications

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, July 31— The Federal Territories Shariah Courts approved 238 underage marriage application between 2010 to this year, the government said today.

In a written reply dated July 25, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Religious Affairs, Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom said that although underage marriages are disallowed in Islam, there are cases where permission has been obtained from the Shariah Court, for “permitted reasons and not a blanket approval”. Read more

Why fear cartoonists if you have done no wrong, asks Zunar

Source: The Malaysian Insight

Cartoonist Zunar was forced to cancel his first street exhibition entitled ‘Ketawa Pink Pink’ in Penang after threats from a group of troublemakers. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, July 31, 2017.

IF as Putrajaya claims that the US Department of Justice suits related to 1MDB are politically motivated, then it should not be so zealous in its pursuit of critics here, said cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque.

On Saturday, the cartoonist better known as Zunar was forced to cancel his first street exhibition entitled “Ketawa Pink Pink” that was to open at Lebuh Pantai, Penang, the next day because of “threats from a group of troublemakers”.

The exhibition was to feature his drawings of a well-known woman with pink diamond jewellery.

In the latest DoJ suit filed last month, it noted that nearly US$30 million (RM129 million) were allegedly stolen from 1Malaysia Development Bhd to buy jewellery, including a 22-carat rare pink diamond set in a necklace worth a US$27.3 million for the wife of “Malaysian Official No. 1” (MO1) in 2013. Read more