Groups urge China to lift travel ban on two Malaysians, stop rights violation

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, July 28 — China should remove a travel ban on two Malaysians there instead of denying their rights to freely enter and exit the country, local advocacy groups said today.

Voice of the Children’s chairman Sharmila Sekaran noted that China is a signatory to the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), highlighting the international human rights treaty’s Articles 3 and 10 which requires a child’s “best interests” to be considered and to be allowed free movement between countries to meet their family members abroad.

Commenting on the plight of Cheng Chau Yang and her eight-year-old son who are barred by Chinese authorities from leaving China, Sharmila pointed out that the UNCRC also touches on governments’ obligations to respect a child’s right to an identity in forms such as nationality, culture and family ties.

“This child first and foremost is a Malaysian national who has been denied the right to come back to Malaysia to absorb his Malaysian-ness, and discover himself as a Malaysian… He is denied the right to eat Malaysian food and more importantly he is denied his right to his Malaysian family,” she said at a joint press conference with other advocacy groups and Cheng’s family. Read more

24-hour hotline for domestic violence victims in Sarawak

Source: FMT News 

MIRI: Haliza Zurah Zulkefeli was a victim of domestic violence, but fought and won her case at the court of law in Sibu last year.

Now the 36-year old Kuala Lumpur-born medical doctor intends to do more for victims of domestic violence in Sarawak with the establishment of the Women’s Organisation for Change (WOC), so that they will not suffer in silence.

WOC was established in August 2016 and in January this year, set up its own hotline.

“WOC’s vision was inspired by my own personal experience of being a victim of domestic violence, not knowing where to go to get help while I was working in Sibu,” she told Bernama. Read more

Jakim awaits apex court’s decision on ‘bin Abdullah’ ruling

Source: FMT News 

PUTRAJAYA: Jakim, like the national registration department (NRD), will continue with its current practice on the genealogy of illegitimate Muslim children until the Federal Court decides on the matter, says its director-general Othman Mustapha.

National Registration Department director-general Datuk Yazid Ramli (left) said children conceived out of wedlock would not get to bear their father’s name, despite the Court of Appeal’s landmark decision. — Bernama pic

In a statement here today, the Jakim DG advised Muslims in the country to remain calm about the decision of the Court of Appeal on Thursday that any child conceived out-of-wedlock could use the name of the man who admits to be the father.

“Hopefully, the NRD’s efforts through the Attorney-General’s Chambers to bring the case to the Federal Court goes smoothly,” he said.

Yesterday, NRD director-general Mohd Yazid Ramli was reported as saying any change to the current practice would only be considered after the decision by the Federal Court.

He said the present practice by the department was in line with the decision of the National Fatwa Council. Read more

Solving Malaysia’s serious problem with misogyny in its legislature — Animah Kosai

Source: CNN News Online 

BY: ANIMAH KOSAI

Malaysia has a problem: misogyny. The country’s Parliament set yet another sordid example last week when Member of Parliament Che Mohamad Zulkifly Jusoh, during a debate on amending domestic violence laws, said husbands were ‘abused’ when wives threw insults, withheld sex and denied consent for Muslim men to take another wife.

Sadly, this attack on women isn’t an isolated case.

In 2007, another MP, Bung Mohktar Radin, equated the leaking parliament roof to a woman’s period, picking on woman opposition MP Fong Po Kuan, and saying she ‘leaked’ every month. His disgraceful comments drew laughter from the floor. No male MP stood up to defend her. Read more

‘Sinners’ need protection from domestic violence too, Amanah MP explains

Source: The Malay Mail Online 

KUALA LUMPUR, July 29 ― Government must protect victims of violence and abuse even for those deemed to be sinning under Islam, Parti Amanah Negara MP Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud said today after proposing that cohabiting couples be recognised as households.

Under fire from fellow Islamists for her suggestion in Parliament, the Kota Raja MP said domestic violence and cohabitation among unmarried couples are two different issues that must be handled separately.

“It is the responsibility of the government to give protection towards victims of violence and abuse even if they commit sins. These two issues must be separated.

“If we rely on the premise that sinners do not have the right to be defended, that goes against Islam and also human rights,” said the chief of Amanah’s women’s wing AWAN. Read more

Art Harun: NRD’s ‘bin Abdullah’ move is contempt of court

Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: The National Registration Department’s (NRD) decision to continue the practice of adding the surname “bin/binti Abdullah” to a Muslim child born out of wedlock or within six months of his/her parent’s marriage, constitutes a contempt of court, says a lawyer.

Azhar Harun, better known as Art Harun, claimed the decision showed an utter contempt towards the judiciary, with the NRD director-general Yazid Ramli insisting on continuing the practice which had been outlawed through a ruling made by the Court of Appeal on Thursday.

“We have a government which does not respect the laws enacted by the Parliament, and then it goes on to ignore the judgment by the Judiciary.

“The rule of law, which is supposed to be executed by the court and practised by all, especially government institutions, will be nothing but an accessory,” Art wrote in a strongly-worded statement posted on his Facebook page today.

He added that such contempt only weakened the status of the judiciary and the rule of law in the country. Read more

AG to seek shariah experts’ view on out-of-wedlock Muslim kids

Source: The Malaysian Insight 

THE Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) will study the Court of Appeal’s decision to allow a Muslim child conceived out of wedlock to carry the father’s name before deciding its next course of action.

The New Straits Times reported AGC Civil Division head Amarjeet Singh as saying that A-G Mohamed Apandi Ali would get input from various parties, including shariah experts, before appealing the ruling.

A notice to appeal the ruling at the Federal Court has been filed and the AGC will decide during the case management hearing on September 18.

“He (Apandi) said we (AGC) would discuss with the chambers’ shariah section on their views as they are the experts on this matter.  Read more

Academic: M’sia becoming ‘nanny state’ with G25 book ban

Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: An academician has cautioned that the country is heading towards becoming a “nanny state” where the government interferes in almost every aspect of a person’s personal choices and views.

Prof Tajuddin Rasdi of UCSI University said Malaysian intellectuals should be allowed to discuss matters of religion and other social issues.

“It seems now intellectuals cannot offer an opinion on religion because they did not go to a madrasah.

“It is a problem because religious groups are allowed to comment whether a sculpture is okay or not, or whether a mosque should have a dome,” the architecture lecturer told FMT.

He was commenting on the home ministry’s recent ban on a book titled “Breaking the Silence: Voices of Moderation – Islam in a Constitutional Democracy”, featuring essays by members of the Group of 25 (G25) eminent Malays, as it was considered “prejudicial to public order”.

He said the book was written by noted former ambassadors, judges and high-calibre academicians, such as political scientist Chandra Muzaffar.

He said it offered a different perspective on issues and the writers were not trying to jeopardise society.

Tajuddin said there was a need to allow ideas to be aired. He said the absence of diverse opposing views had led to Malaysian university students lacking the ability to articulate ideas and issues well.

When civil courts and fatwa committees collide: The ‘bin Abdullah’ case

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Lawyer Latheefa Koya says that the Court of Appeal was right to say the NRD cannot be bound by such fatwas. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, July 29 ― The Court of Appeal’s landmark ruling this week allowing a Muslim child the right to bear his father’s name though he was conceived before his parents married has once again exposed the conflict between civil and Muslim laws in Malaysia.

Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria was reportedly outraged by the appellate court decision, claiming it had gone against the Federal Constitution which recognises Islam as the religion of the federation and should have followed a 2003 National Fatwa Committee’s decision on Muslim children conceived out of wedlock.

Harussani went on record to say that Muslims are obliged to obey Islamic laws even if “worldly laws have rejected them”.

This throws up two questions: Are civil courts legally bound to obey fatwas? Secondly, can or should civil laws be amended to be Shariah-compliant, failing which Muslims should be exempted from them? Read more