Parliament removes mandatory death penalty for drug offences, judges to get discretion

Source: Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 30 — An amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 was passed today to remove the mandatory death penalty for drug offences and to instead give judges full discretion in sentencing.

The amendments were passed on the last day of the current Dewan Rakyat meeting via a majority voice vote after Putrajaya altered a provision in the amendment bill that was criticised by Opposition members and the Bar Council.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman tabled an alteration to the bill to give full discretion to judges in sentencing drug convicts.

The previous version of the amendment bill said that the judge could only exercise their discretion if the Public Prosecutor issued a certificate declaring that the convict had cooperated with authorities. Read more

Dealing with discrimination — Syahredzan Johan

Source: The Star Online

BY SHAHREDZAN JOHAN

Syahredzan Johan is a young lawyer and partner of a legal firm in Kuala Lumpur. Pic taken from the Star.

Syahredzan Johan is a young lawyer and partner of a legal firm in Kuala Lumpur. Pic taken from the Star.

Our Constitution prohibits discrimination against citizens, but it applies to the public sector only.

IT was recently reported that frontline staff working in certain hotels are forbidden to wear the headscarf (hijab).

Many have criticised the “hijab ban”, stating that the practice is discriminatory.

According to the president of the Malaysian Association of Hotels, the hijab ban is not discriminatory but the standard operating procedure (SOP) in the industry. It was also said that this is a “uniform policy” that has been in practice in international hotel chains for a long time.

The donning of the hijab is generally believed to be in accordance with the religious beliefs of Muslims. A Muslim woman who wears the hijab does so usually because of her faith. Read more

Shoot drug dealers, jail addicts, says Bung Moktar

Source: The Malaysian Insight

CONTROVERSIAL lawmaker Bung Moktar Radin today suggested that drug dealers be shot and addicts jailed – in the style of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte – to combat the drug menace in the country.

Bung Moktar (BN-Kinabatangan) said AADK had failed in its efforts to fight the drug menace as the number of drug abuse cases had increased over the years.

“I suggest AADK be dissolved. It’s a waste of people’s money and a waste of time,” said Bung Moktar in Parliament today.

“The Philippines, after Duterte took over, can be considered as a zero-drug country now. Why can’t we follow their ways?

“We should imprison drug addicts without trial. Any drug dealers, just shoot them.” Read more

Court frees activist Adam Adli from 2015 KitaLawan rally charge

Source: Malay Mail Online

Student activist Adam Adli Abdul Halim joined his first protest when he was 12 years old. — Picture by Choo Choy May.

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 28 — A magistrates’ court today acquitted activist Adam Adli Abdul Halim of an unlawful street protest charge stemming from a #KitaLawan rally in 2015.

Lawyer Latheefa Koya, who represented Adam Adli today, confirmed that magistrate Ahmad Solihin Abdul Wahid acquitted her client of the charge under the Peaceful Assembly Act.

“He just read out, saying the prosecution had failed to prove prima facie case against the defence,” she told Malay Mail Online when contacted today. Read more

Stifling free speech can stunt nation’s growth, ex-top judge cautions

Source: Malay Mail Online

Mohamed Dzaiddin said that silencing criticism would be detrimental to the country’s overall progress. Pic by The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 27 — Putrajaya should not resort to “dubious laws” to curb free speech if Malaysia is to grow as a nation, Tun Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah said.

The retired chief justice added that silencing criticism would be detrimental to the country’s overall progress as citizens “must be free to point out abuses, corruption, injustices, and any unhealthy happenings and to hold leaders accountable”.

“To progress as a nation, there must be space for dialogue and legitimate opposing views, both online and offline, without the use of dubious laws to clamp down on them.

“Freedom of expression must be exercised in a spirit of responsibility, without hurting the convictions of another,” the chancellor of Wawasan Open University said in his speech at its convocation last Thursday. Read more

Democracy and good governance are our core concerns, says Bersih 2.0

Source: The Malaysian Insight

Bersih 2.0, Maria Chin Abdullah, The Malaysian Insight file pic by Najjua Zulkefli, November 27, 2017.

Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah urged Jasa to work with civil society organisations to recover all stolen assets that rightfully belong to Malaysians. – The Malaysian Insight file pic by Najjua Zulkefli, November 27, 2017.

BERSIH 2.0 today told Special Affairs Department (Jasa) director Tun Faisal Ismail Aziz to wake up and realise that Malaysians are not buying his “lies” that the election watchdog’s work threatens the Muslim community.

Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah slammed Tun Faisal for saying that the organisation’s campaigns and allegations of fraud aimed at 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) were “prime examples of social media threats to the Muslim community” at a conference yesterday.

Cleared of any wrongdoing by the Attorney-General’s Chambers last week of activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy, Maria – a Muslim herself – said Jasa should not engage in fake news and irresponsibly spew hatred against civil society organisations. Read more

Can public authorities sue for defamation? — Gurdial Singh Nijar

Source: The Sun Daily

BY GURDIAL SINGH NIJAR
(Deputy President, HAKAM)

THE Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) recently threatened to take action against the chief minister of Penang. It complained that he had defamed the institution by alleging that it was wrong to charge a state minister.

MACC is a public institution carrying out public functions. Its head is appointed by the King on the advice of the prime minister – which essentially means the government. He holds office at the pleasure of the King – which under our constitutional structure again means the government via the prime minister.

This raises an interesting question. Can a public institution sue for defamation when it is criticised, however harshly?

Read more

‘Balloon girl’ freed of insulting behaviour

Source: Malay Mail Online

Bilqis Hijjas is seen with her lawyer, Latheefa Koya, after today’s decision at the Magistrates' Court in Kuala Lumpur November 27, 2017. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

Bilqis Hijjas is seen with her lawyer, Latheefa Koya, after today’s decision at the Magistrates’ Court in Kuala Lumpur November 27, 2017. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 27 — Dance producer Bilqis Hijjas walked out beaming today after the Magistrates’ Court acquitted her of “insulting behaviour” for dropping yellow balloons at a 2015 event attended by the prime minister and his wife.

“I am very pleased. It has taken two years to get here. Thankful to my lawyers to fight this long fight.

“The point has been made, symbolic resistance is possible. I hope people will take heart from this,” the ecstatic 38-year-old told reporters outside the courtroom at the Kuala Lumpur court complex here.

In his ruling earlier, magistrate Mohd Faizal Ismail said the prosecution had failed to prove that Bilqis had hurt anyone by her actions, adding that her testimony made previously has been consistent. Read more

TTDI residents fume over broken promises as developer gains ground

Source: The Malay Mail Online

People attend a protest against a proposed condominium project that would encroach into Taman Rimba Kiara in Taman Tun Dr Ismail. ― Picture by Azneal Ishak

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 26 ― Over 300 people attended a sit-in protest at Taman Rimba Kiara in Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) today over continued inaction by authorities while a threat to the green lung grows more imminent.

Some attendees were irate that there has been no update from the authorities, especially when Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor pledged during a November 3 town hall meeting to confer again with concerned groups.

Instead of another meeting, however, they learned that the  Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) has given the developer of the offending project approval to build a showroom, even as a lawsuit by some residents to stop the development remains before the courts.

Save Taman Rimba Kiara group co-ordinator Leon Koay said they have tried repeatedly to contact Tengku Adnan to follow up on the matter, but to no avail.

“We feel perplexed by their silence. When we were at the forum, the minister seemed serious in exchanging information with us on Taman Rimba Kiara; however, now it seems that is not the case,” he said. Read more

Airline cabin crew trained to spot human trafficking victims

Source: The Star Online

KUALA LUMPUR: The fight against human trafficking will literally take to the skies with airline cabin crew being trained to spot possible victims.

“They can be our eyes and ears,” said Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed (pic), adding that the cabin crew and ground crew would be trained to identify possible victims of human trafficking and alert the authorities.

“This is one of our steps to combat the ever-growing threat of human trafficking,” he told a press conference at Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation yesterday.

The training would be done by Anti-Human Trafficking and Anti-Migrant Smuggling Council (Mapo), starting with Malaysia Airlines and Malindo Air in the first quarter of next year.

“They will be trained to ask relevant questions and look at the body language,” said Nur Jazlan. Read more