Malaysian censorship laws take a hit after refugee films stifled

Source: Asian Correspondent 

FORTIFY RIGHTS has echoed calls from local rights groups for the Malaysian government to repeal the country’s Film Censorship Act, after several films about refugees were censored including one about Rohingya child brides in Malaysia.

Activists say the Film Censorship Board (LPF) officials came to the Refugee Festival in Kuala Lumpur late last week, subsequently demanding the partial censorship of Bou, a film about trafficked brides from Burma (Myanmar), and total ban on Kakuma Can Dance about refugee hip hop dancers in Kenya.

“This censorship is unconstitutional and violates the rights of the filmmakers,” Fortify Rights executive director Amy Smith said in a statement on Wednesday.

Article 10 of the Malaysian Constitution guarantees Malaysian citizens freedom of speech, assembly and association.

Nevertheless, its Film Censorship Act of 2002 requires all local and foreign films to be approved by the LPF; those who show films that have not been approved can face charges leading to three years in jail and/or a fine of RM30,000 (US$6,980). Read more

Deputy IGP: Police crack down on secret societies regardless of race

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 17 — Police will continue its crackdown on secret society activities through the special operation, ‘Op Cantas Khas’, irrespective of the gang members’ race, said Deputy Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Tan Sri Noor Rashid Ibrahim.

He said police were now focusing on eradicating all notorious activities related to secret societies such as loan shark syndicates, prostitution, violence and extortion.

“Coincidentally, the current operation (Op Cantas Khas) involves mostly Indian gang members who oppress other innocent Indians. However, I want to explain here that we are not only going after Indian gangsters, but also Chinese and Malay gangsters.

“We will conduct ‘Op Cantas Khas’ several times. Currently, there are gang members who are still hiding (in the country) while some have fled overseas. We will collaborate with the Immigration Department to find out when they will return to Malaysia so that we can take action,” he told reporters after the Royal Malaysian Police ‘Persada Inovasi’ 2017 event at the Police Training Centre (Pulapol), here, today. Read more

Suhakam: Human rights defenders do not protect criminals

Source: FMT News

Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail –File pic

PETALING JAYA: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has put forth a definition of human rights defenders, two days after the deputy prime minister called them “wolves in sheep’s clothing who protect criminals”.

Suhakam chairman Razali Ismail said such individuals were people who work towards the realisation of rights and freedoms contained in the Federal Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other human rights instruments through non-violent means.

“The efforts of human rights defenders contribute to positive societal change and play an important role in the establishment of the rule of law.

“They certainly cannot be said to be defending crime syndicates and criminals,” he said in a statement today. Read more

Ayer Molek lock-up still operating, Suhakam tells Nur Jazlan

Source: FMT News 

Pic from FMT News

PETALING JAYA: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) today maintained that the police lock-up it had said was in “deplorable” condition is in fact still operating.

It was responding to Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed who had rubbished Suhakam’s report on the matter, claiming its information was “outdated”.

Nur Jazlan had told news portal Malaysiakini that the Ayer Molek lock-up in Johor Bahru was closed on July 27 last year and its operations moved to Simpang Renggam, which was a newer prison.

This appeared to contradict a statement by Suhakam, in which its chairman Razali Ismail said a visit had been made to the Ayer Molek lock-up on July 31 this year.

In another statement today, Razali acknowledged that the Ayer Molek Prison had been closed and moved to Ulu Choh, Pulai, as pointed out by Nur Jazlan. Read more

Muslims with atheistic views violate shariah laws, says IGP

Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Khalid Abu Bakar, who drew flak for his stern warning to atheists, said today Muslims who hold atheistic views would be investigated by the religious department with assistance from the police.

“A Malay Muslim will surely be investigated by the religious department and the police will assist as it is an offence under the shariah enactments for a Muslim to be an atheist,” he told FMT in a text message.

Khalid yesterday warned atheists against creating “uneasiness” among Muslims with their activities.

He was taken to task by Islamic Renaissance Front director Ahmad Farouk Musa who said the IGP was going beyond his jurisdiction.

Farouk said the main duty of the police was to maintain order, not to encroach on personal liberties. Read more

Muslim atheist questioned by police, Islamic authorities, says report

Source: FMT News

KUALA LUMPUR: At least one Muslim, said to hold atheistic views, is being questioned by both the police and the Islamic religious authorities.

According to a report in The Australian, the man has been questioned by police for long stretches, and has been asked to turn over his phone and his Facebook account.

The report, on how Islamisation is creeping into Malaysian society, quoted a Muslim who holds atheistic views in private as saying that the authorities were hunting for Muslim who were atheists.

The man, given the name Zahari to protect his identity, belongs to the Kuala Lumpur-based atheist club which hit the local headlines recently when a photograph was uploaded to Facebook showing smiling members at a rare social gathering of the largely online group.

On Aug 6, the government said it would investigate whether any Muslims had joined the Kuala Lumpur chapter of Atheist Republic, a Canada-based organisation. Read more

Hearing for Dr M’s bid to cancel chief justice’s extension on Oct 24

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 17 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s lawsuit effectively seeking the revocation of Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif’s reappointment as the Chief Justice will be heard on October 24, his lawyer said today.

Dr Mahathir’s lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla said the government is expected to raise an objection to the lawsuit.

“They would be saying we have not crossed the threshold to direct the prime minister to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in order to revoke or terminate the extension of Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif,” he told reporters after case management before High Court judge Datuk Kamaludin Md Said.

Datuk Amarjeet Singh, who heads the Attorney-General’s Chambers’ civil division, confirmed that he would be raising the preliminary objection that Dr Mahathir had not crossed the legal threshold required to proceed with the lawsuit.

The three respondents named in Dr Mahathir’s application for leave for judicial review are Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the federal government, and Raus. Read more

MACC panned for dressing Isa Samad, Penang exco as prisoners

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 17 — The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) violated rights and procedures by dressing Tan Sri Isa Samad and a Penang lawmaker as detainees when presenting them in court, said a federal lawmaker.

PKR’s N. Surendran said accused individuals have the right to wear their own clothes while they remain on trial, and forcing them to publicly don attire reserved for prisoners was prejudicial to them.

“Being forced to wear these bright orange uniforms and being paraded thus in the court premises is humiliating to the arrested person and creates the perception that he is indeed a wrongdoer or criminal, even though the court has not pronounced guilt,” he said.

The Padang Serai MP pointed out the practice was both against Article 5 of the Federal Constitution that guarantees equality before the law as well as the commission’s own standard procedures.

Former Felda Global Ventures chairman Isa and Penang exco Phee Boon Poh were both brought to their respective remand applications wearing the MACC’s signature orange attire that denotes an inmate of the commission. Read more

An end to mandatory death penalty? — Salleh Buang

Source: The New Straits Times

BY: SALLEH BUANG

UNDER Malaysian law, capital punishment (the death penalty) is mandatory for the crime of murder, drug trafficking, kidnapping and several other offences. Since 1992, at least 651 convicted persons (Malaysians) have been given the death penalty, most of them for drug trafficking.

According to the Prisons Department, some 800 people are now on death row after being convicted of drug trafficking under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952. A minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said recently that the act will be amended to “give back” the discretionary power to the trial judge at the end of a drug trafficking case.

Welcoming this new move by the government, an executive director of Amnesty International Malaysia was quoted as saying that whilst the proposed amendment is only in respect of drug trafficking, she hopes it will become “a first step towards total abolition”.

Bar Council Human Rights Committee co-chairman Andrew Khoo called upon the government “to repeal all mandatory death sentences”, adding that the sentence “robs judges of the opportunity to exercise their discretion” to hand down a punishment that fits the circumstances and gravity of each particular case. Read more

IGP gets flak over warning to atheists

Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: An Islamic think tank has asked Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar to explain his warning to atheists against “creating uneasiness” among Muslims with their activities.

Speaking to FMT, Islamic Renaissance Front director Ahmad Farouk Musa said Khalid was going beyond his jurisdiction. He said the main duty of the police is to maintain order, not to encroach on personal liberties.

“Khalid must explain what ‘creating uneasiness’ means,” he said. “If the atheists are enjoying their freedom to be free of religion without impinging on the rights of others to practise their religions, there shouldn’t be a problem.”

In giving his warning yesterday, Khalid said the Federal Constitution recognised Islam as the official religion and had no provision for atheism. He said police would scrutinise the existing laws to enable appropriate action to be taken should atheists cause anxiety among Muslims.

Last week, federal minister Shahidan Kassim made headlines locally and abroad when he said atheists should be “hunted down”. He claimed they were in violation of the Federal Constitution. Read more