Dewan Rakyat approves Legal Aid Bill amendment to provide for child sex abuse victims

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 3 — The Legal Aid (Amendment) Bill 2017 which introduced a provision that children of sexual crimes be given a legal companion service was approved in Dewan Rakyat today.

It was passed before Dewan Rakyat deputy Speaker Datuk Seri Ismail Mohamed Said after it was debated by 10 Members of Parliament.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said, when enforced, the bill would ensure only Malaysians could receive legal aid service from the Legal Aid Department.

“Its rational is to ensure public fund from tax payers and the facilities provided by the government prioritised the people,” she said when winding up the debate on the bill

However, she explained that the amendment would not deny access to justice to any quarters including foreign nationals. Read more

Bar Council wants special panel of ex-judges for lawsuit against CJ’s extension

Source: The Malay Mail Online 

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 3 —The Bar Council will ask the Chief Judge of Malaya to appoint a special panel of former judges to hear its planned lawsuit to challenge the tenure extensions of Malaysia’s two most senior judges.

Malaysian Bar president George Varughese said the planned lawsuit to challenge the appointment of the Chief Justice and President of the Court of Appeal is “unprecedented”, adding that it was necessary to get a completely new panel of judges to avoid “conflict of interest”.

“Surely they will be in a position of conflict of interest if either of them were to preside over the bench which decides in respect of the legal challenge.

“In fact, we hold the view that all members of the current Federal Court will also be equally conflicted in presiding or deciding over such a challenge. Hence why we are urging the Chief Judge of Malaya to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to appoint additional judges specifically to hear this court matter,” he told reporters. Read more

Banning books ‘a betrayal and a form of terror’

Source: The Malaysian Insight 

Dr Mohd Faizal Musa, who writes under the pen name ‘Faisal Tehrani’ and has had six books banned by the government, finds that his latest work, Bagaimana Anyss Naik Ke Langit, is being shunned by booksellers. – Book cover pic

AUTHOR Dr Mohd Faizal Musa has slammed the banning of books as a betrayal of the 1957 Proclamation of Independence and a form of “terror”, following the recent ban on “mind-disturbing” publications.

He said the ban was a symptom of a defeated Constitution, which was meant to safeguard fundamental rights and liberties.

“Book-banning in Malaysia is, among others, a sign of rising extremism globally, the kind that stifles and violates the rights of people. It is another kind of terror,” he said in his opening speech at the 4th Asean Literary Festival in Jakarta, Indonesia, tonight.

Yesterday, Home Ministry secretary-general Alwi Ibrahim said eight books had been banned since March for having content that “disturb the mind, pose a threat to public peace, go against moral teachings and are obscene”. Read more

Lawyers vote to sue against CJ’s extension, give cold shoulder

Source: The Malay Mail Online 

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 3 — Members of the Malaysian Bar today agreed to legally challenge the Chief Justice and Court of Appeal President’s extended tenures and to refrain from inviting both to social events and dinners.

Malaysian Bar president George Varughese confirmed that the majority of the 993 lawyers who attended the Bar’s extraordinary general meeting (EGM) today voted in favour of the resolutions, and fewer than 10 people abstained or voted against the motion.

George, who proposed the motion that was voted in today, confirmed the lawsuit will be filed.

“Yes, one of the decisions today is to institute legal proceedings against these appointments which the Bar Council will do shortly,” he told reporters immediately after the closed-door EGM. Read more

Minister: Legal aid bureau laden with divorce cases

Source: FMT News

KUALA LUMPUR: Azalina Othman Said today revealed that a majority of the cases handled by the legal aid bureau are divorce cases, despite it offering public services to resolve other legal issues.

“And this has given the public the impression that the bureau is a ‘department for divorce’.

“This is not right,” the de facto law minister said when winding up a debate on the Legal Aid (amendment) bill 2017 at the Dewan Rakyat today.

The bill was passed today and will be further debated at the Dewan Negara.

Azalina said the bureau also helped those entangled in other civil matters and criminal proceedings. Read more

Action to be taken against school if bullying cases go unreported

Source: Astro Awani

SADONG JAYA: The Education Ministry will take stern action against school management found to have concealed any misconduct, including bullying in schools, said its director- general Datuk Seri Dr Khir Mohamad Yusof.

He said principals and headmasters must report immediately to the authorities any forms of misconduct, including student bullying cases in their respective schools.

“The act of reporting such cases will not affect of the school but it is necessary to allow appropriate action to be taken against the parties concerned,” he said.

Khir told reporters this when asked on action being taken by the ministry on a group of female students involved in the bullying of a female student in a secondary school in Kunak, Sabah recently. Read more

Art Harun: Who’s the danger to society?

Source: FMT News 

Azhar Harun (Art Harun)
Pic drawn from FMT News

PETALING JAYA: A lawyer and activist today criticised those who label individuals or groups as “liberals” or “secularists” for advocating a way of life which is guaranteed by the Federal Constitution.

Azhar Harun, better known as Art Harun, said the concept of liberalism was well embraced in all other parts of the civilised world, where the struggle for equality, emancipation, freedom, liberty and universal human rights is seen as the duty of every peace-loving citizen.

In Malaysia, however, those who uphold such concepts are ridiculed, threatened and seen as a danger to society, he said. Read more

Court dismisses NRD’s application to stay ‘bin Abdullah’ ruling

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Judgment says the NRD director-general had overstepped his powers in relying on a 1981 fatwa. Pic drawn from FMT News.

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 3 — The Court of Appeal threw out today the National Registration Department’s (NRD) application to stay the court’s ruling that granted a Muslim father the right to replace his illegitimate child’s “bin Abdullah” patronym with his own name.

The father’s lawyer, K. Shanmuga, said, however, that his client did not intend to enforce the appellate court’s ruling pending the Federal Court hearing of the NRD’s application for leave to appeal the decision.

“We are going to wait and see what the Federal Court says,” Shanmuga told Malay Mail Online.

When asked if the NRD should, in any other cases, follow the court ruling that allowed Muslim fathers to give their names to their children conceived outside marriage, the lawyer said it should. Read more

Over 2,000 fake accounts blocked or shut down since January

Source: The Star Online

Facebook — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR: More than 2,000 fake social media accounts have been blocked or shut down since January this year, said the Communications and Multimedia Ministry.

Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak said the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) had reported these accounts to social media providers such as Facebook and Twitter because they violated the terms and conditions set by these platforms.

“From the 2,000 fake accounts, almost 75% of them have been subjected to further action while the rest are still under investigation,” he told the Dewan Rakyat on Thursday.

Salleh was responding to a question from Datuk Mohd Fasiah Mohd Fakeh (BN – Sabak Bernam) on the number of fake accounts that have been identified and the actions taken to curb the spread of fake news. Read more

There’s good news and there’s bad news — Azmi Sharom

Source: The Star Online

BY AZMI SHAROM

Dr. Azmi Sharom is a law teacher.

First came a surprise ban, but it was followed by an inspiring, heartwarming Court of Appeal decision.

THE banning of the book Breaking the Silence: Voices of Moderation – Islam in a Constitutional Democracy came as a surprise to me.

I wasn’t surprised that it was banned. The Government has banned around 2,000 books since 1960. It’s not exactly a bestseller.

Full disclosure here folks: I have a chapter in this book. I can hardly remember what I wrote, but it was about fundamental liberties in the Federal Constitution.

Anyway, the point I am trying to make is that the book is a collection of measured and scholarly articles, with a foreword by former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, not some rabble-rousing diatribe. And yet it was deemed to be prejudicial to national security.

No explanation was given how this is so. Read more