Foreigners using UNHCR programme to be ‘ghosts’ here, deputy home minister says

Source: The Malay Mail Online 

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 8 — Malaysia is aiming to prevent foreigners from misusing the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) refugee system to turn “ghosts” in this country, Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said today.

The deputy home minister said many migrants and refugees were found throwing away identifications from their countries of origin, and then registering using the United Nations (UN) system to remain in Malaysia for a lengthy period of time.

“We don’t want to have ‘ghosts’ in our system. This system can be open to abuse. That’s why we need to close the loophole in the UNHCR system.

“A lot of these migrants come here and throw away their identification and sign up for the UN programme and stay here for a long time. This is not right,” Nur Jazlan told Malay Mail Online when contacted.

The Pulai MP was responding to claims made by several Asean lawmakers that Malaysia cared more about documenting migrants rather than providing them with adequate human rights. Read more

Raus’ extension sets precedent for other judges, future CJs, says ex-Bar chief

Source: The Malaysian Insight 

THE manner in which Chief Justice Raus Sharif’s term was extended could be replicated to appoint additional judges as well as successive chief justices, said former Malaysian Bar president Christopher Leong.

Leong said Raus has set a precedent where former chief justices may also render advice to the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong for such appointments, which would usurp and encroach upon the constitutional function of future chief justices.

Raus was sworn in as chief justice last Friday despite being past the mandatory retirement age of 66 years and six months, which lawyer groups, including the Malaysian Bar, have called unconstitutional and pledged legally challenge it.

“I share that opinion,” Leong told The Malaysian Insight.  Read more

Table bill to end mandatory death penalty, government told

Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Bar says the government should table a bill in the current parliamentary session to put an end to the mandatory death penalty, declare an official moratorium on the use of the punishment, stay any pending executions and commute every death sentence to one of life imprisonment.

In a statement today, Bar president George Varughese said the statutory imposition of the mandatory death penalty ties the hands of judges and diminishes their role in carrying out justice.

“It prevents them from considering the manifold mitigating factors and distinctive circumstances that surround each case, before sentencing.

“These factors include, and are not limited to, the offender’s age, rehabilitation goals, past criminal record, role played in the offence, mental capacity, reparations made, fear of another person, use of violence, harm done to property or persons, and degree of cooperation with the authorities.

“Justice will not be served if these factors are not taken into account before the mandatory death sentence is mechanically handed down – without a judge’s thoughtful consideration and weighing of any mitigating elements – to comply with the letter of the law,” he said. Read more

Suhakam: Police procedures for detainees’ medical care deficient

Source: FMT News

Chairman Razali Ismail says investigation on death of K Parthiban found that recommendations and proposals for health and safety of detainees have not been implemented or have been ignored. Pic from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: There has been little improvement in police procedures to deliver medical care for persons in police custody, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) said today following its independent investigation on a detainee’s death in Melaka.

Its chairman Razali Ismail said the investigation on the demise of K Parthiban had led to “unresolved issues” being identified on medical attention in lockups, in relation to custodial deaths.

“Although there has been a plethora of previous reports, recommendations and proposals from Suhakam to assist the authorities to protect the health and safety of detainees with an aim to minimising incidences of deaths in police custody, we regret that many of these have not been implemented or have been ignored,” he said.

Parthiban, who was detained at the Melaka Tengah police station, died at the Malacca Hospital while receiving treatment on May 22. Read more

Hold off hangings until death penalty rule revoked, urges LFL

Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) has called for a moratorium on capital punishments pending amendments to Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952.

Speaking to FMT, LFL executive director Eric Paulsen said he “cautiously” welcomed an announcement that the cabinet had agreed to amend the act to provide judges with discretion in sentencing.

He said the right thing to do now was to hold off all hangings until the amendments are passed. He also called for similar changes to other laws that provide for mandatory death sentences.

Yesterday, in a written reply to a parliamentary question, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said said the cabinet was unanimous in agreeing to amend the act and relevant ministries and agencies were preparing proposals for the amendments.

Paulsen said: “This is indeed good news but the government has said this in the past and did not carry through with it. So we cautiously welcome the announcement.” Read more