Mass graves: ‘No Malaysians caught as all were foreigners’

Source: FMT News 

KUALA LUMPUR: Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi says there was no compromise in the detention of those involved in the Wang Kelian mass graves discovered in 2015.

He added that no Malaysian agents had been detained as those involved were all foreigners.

“Why were no Malaysians accused? The ones who smuggled (the Rohingya into the country) were all foreigners.

“There is no compromise on crime,” he told Charles Santiago (DAP-Klang), adding that this was a trans-boundary matter and the agent involved had been taken to court.

Another four foreigners were also charged with human trafficking, he said.

“Please understand how I work. I am serious about the issue,” he said when winding up the debate on the Malaysian Border Security Agency Bill (2017), which was passed at the Dewan Rakyat today.

Santiago had asked why the police in Wang Kelian were not aware of the mass graves in which 106 Rohingya migrants had been buried. Read more

Putrajaya still pursuing TPP, says Mustapa

Source: The Malaysian Insight

Demonstrators hold up placards during a protest against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), outside the U.S. embassy in Kuala Lumpur on August 23, 2013. The Malaysian Insider/Najjua Zulkefli

THE government will still pursue the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) despite the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) showing progress.

International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed said the TPP is still relevant to the country and discussions are moving in tandem with the RCEP.

“We have spent a lot of time and invested a lot of money in the TPP and also reached a final agreement (for the pact) before it was abandoned.

“We are still looking at alternatives and discussing with other TPP countries on the agreement. There will be a meeting to be hosted by Australia regarding this matter next month,” he said today. Read more

Suhakam chief: Minister should not have called for atheists to be hunted down

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 9 — The chief commissioner of the National Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) has censured a federal minister for calling on the authorities to clamp down and prosecute Malay atheists.

Tan Sri Razali Ismail called the suggestion inflammatory, and said that Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim as a Cabinet member should have been more careful when addressing a highly sensitive issue.

“I don’t think a Cabinet Minister should have said that,” Razali told Malay Mail Online.

“He shouldn’t have made a statement that would invite emotional argument,” he added.

But despite the criticism, Razali did not make his position on the issue clear, nor did he wish to state if Suhakam was against the persecution of atheists.

When queried if the commission was of the view that atheism — or the right not to believe in religion — is a human right and therefore must be respected, Razali replied:

“We don’t want to make (things worse) than what it is…we don’t want to say anything.

“Suhakam is studying the thing. But we really don’t want to say anything at the moment that doesn’t really help,” he said. Read more

Suhakam to hold public inquiry into missing pastor, others

Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) will conduct a public inquiry into the disappearances of Pastor Raymond Koh and three others who went missing last year.

In a statement today, Suhakam chairman Razali Ismail said the hearings were tentatively scheduled for October.

The inquiry will consider, among others, whether the cases of Koh, Amri Che Mat, Pastor Joshua Hilmy and his wife Ruth, were cases of enforced or involuntary disappearances as defined under the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

The convention defines an enforced disappearance as the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the state or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorisation, support or acquiescence of the state.

Razali said the inquiry will also consider whether the authorities, specifically the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM), took adequate steps to investigate the cases.

“Suhakam will continue to gather information from all stakeholders, including the police and others who have been cooperative towards finding some truth to the matter,” he said. Read more

Minister violating human rights by ‘hunting’ atheists, says humanist group

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 9 — Criminalising apostasy contradicts the right to freedom of thought and belief, an international humanist group said amid a government crackdown on Malaysian atheists.

International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) president Andrew Copson also said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim was “absolutely wrong” in claiming that atheism violated human rights.

“Non-religious people have freedom of thought, freedom of expression and freedom of association, just like the religious, and it is his talk of ‘hunting’ human beings simply for joining together in celebration of their views and values which represents a grave human rights violation,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Shahidan claimed yesterday that atheism was unconstitutional because it was not mentioned in the Federal Constitution and suggested that “we hunt them down vehemently”.

Deputy minister in charge of Islamic affairs Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki has said the religious authorities will investigate the Kuala Lumpur chapter of international non-profit group Atheist Republic, after a photo of its gathering caused uproar among some Muslims online. Read more

Court of Appeal has no authority to hear legality of unlawful assembly

Source: FMT News 

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal today allowed the government’s objection that it has no jurisdiction to hear constitutional issues raised by four men convicted of violating the Peaceful Assembly Act.

A three-man bench led by Mohd Zawawi Salleh said the High Court had erred in deciding that Section 4(2)(b) of the Peaceful Assembly Act was a valid provision.

“We are not seized with the jurisdiction under the Courts of Judicature Act 1964 to determine if that provision is constitutional,” he said.

Zawawi said the case would be remitted to the High Court in Johor Baru and a case management would be held on Aug 16.

Government lawyer Awang Armadajaya Awang Mahmud explained to reporters that the High Court judge would have to send the case straight to the Federal Court to determine the constitutionality of the provision.

He said the case of the four men started in the Sessions Court and the High Court went on to decide the legality of the section, which was disallowed based on a Federal Court ruling. Read more