Cry for change echoes in the Land Beneath the Wind

Source: The Malaysian Insight

Cry for change echoes in the Land Beneath the Wind

Many have become rich harvesting the low-lying jungles leading to the mighty Mount Trusmadi, the second highest peak in Borneo. – Pic from the writer, December 12, 2017.

IT was well past the usual dinner hour when two vanloads of travel-weary medical camp volunteers stumbled up the rocky gravel path into a two-storey, one-bathroom wooden house in Kampung Sinua.

The second half of the six-hour journey from the Kota Kinabalu airport, across the Crocker Range, passing by Keningau and Sook was uneventful except for the many unpredictable stops to negotiate around herds of village cows and buffaloes settling down for the night, which was cold, on the warm road surface.

Dinner was simple but good with loads of steamed rice, stir-fried vegetables and a melon-chicken soup shared among the many of us and the host family. Our kind hosts, including the children, had
waited many hours for us to arrive. In keeping with custom, they would only eat after the guests had done so.

The chilly night breeze carried tales of those who had made great fortunes harvesting the rich low-lying jungles leading to the mighty Mt Trusmadi, the second highest peak in Borneo.

The landscape, once clean and green, is now scarred by the crude, muddy tracks of timber-laden lorries and tractors. The once pristine streams of the lower slopes are now polluted and their water unfit for humans. Read more

Street protest: Three activists need not enter defence for now

Source: Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 12 — The High Court here today has deferred its decision to summon three activists, including two assemblymen, to enter their defence against a charge of participating in a street protest, two years ago.

Judge Datuk Azman Abdullah arrived at the decision after finding that there were constitutional issues involved.

The three individuals are Teja assemblyman Chang Lih Kang, 37, Semambu assemblyman Lee Chean Chung, 36, and special officer to the Batu Member of Parliament, Rozan Azen Mat Rasip, 40.

The deferment is due to an almost similar case involving activist Adam Adli Abdul Halim who was acquitted and discharged by the Magistrate’s Court here on Nov 27 of all charges of participating in the #KitaLawan rally two years ago. Read more

KLIA immigration officers arrested over smuggling Bangladeshis

Source: The Star

PUTRAJAYA: Several immigration officers based at KL International Airport have been arrested as part of investigations into the smuggling of Bangladeshis by syndicates.

Immigration director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali said the investigations would determine if the officers had a hand in the illegal activities.

He vowed to take severe action against those who violate the department’s code of ethics and integrity and has not ruled the possibility of more arrests. Read more

Women fooled by empty promises — Marina Mahathir

Source: The Malaysian Insight

BY MARINA MAHATHIR

THERE is something about campaign promises that is pleasantly stupefying. They numb the brain and lull the senses so we take them at face value and allow ourselves the high of actually believing them.

So it was with last week’s many promises of a glorious future, where dinosaurs will be remade into lean, mean and youthful fighting machines with only the rakyat in mind.

Unfortunately, there are some of us who are a bit OCD about words and impulsively cast a sceptical eye on every pronouncement particularly those that elicit loud outbursts of cheering.

In fact the louder the cheer, the bigger the scepticism even though I do understand how everyone gets carried away with the charged atmosphere. It brings tears to your eyes.

For instance, some women were in paroxysm of gratitude when it was announced the number of women senators would be increased to 30%.

As everyone gazed adoringly at their Dear Leader, nobody noticed this seemingly delicious little morsel means virtually nothing when the real power is in the Dewan Rakyat, not the Dewan Negara. Read more

Keep online speech free — Gurdial Singh Nijar

Source: The Sun Daily

BY GURDIAL SINGH NIJAR
(Deputy President, HAKAM)

FORTY-SIX people are facing possible imprisonment and fines for sending online messaging to others. Through tweets, SMS, WhatsApp, blogs and the like. Cartoonists, politicians, activists and the like have all been hauled up.

This is under section 233(1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998. It is a crime to send a public electronic message that is obscene, indecent, false, menacing or offensive with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass another person. The offender can be jailed for up to one year or fined RM50,000 or both; as well as a further fine of RM1,000 for every day the offence is continued after conviction.

How really can you measure whether or not a message is annoying or menacing? And who decides? These terms are not defined. Nor any criteria spelt out to guide people.

Read more

Freedom of speech in Malaysia — Emmanuel Joseph

Source: The Malaysian Insight

BY EMMANUEL JOSEPH

MALAYSIA often promotes itself as a democracy, with all its hallmarks of fair and free elections, freedom of religion, and of course, freedom of speech. Believers of this often quote Article 10 of the Federal Constitution as evidence of these rights – Clause 1a guarantees freedom of speech and expression, 1b, freedom of association and 1c, freedom of assembly.

But skeptics would point out the qualifying statement immediately preceding those declarations, followed by three lengthier clauses that significantly limit those rights, makes them rights far from absolute.  Read more

Pakatan backs calls to curb PM’s power to appoint, promote judges

Source: The Malaysian Insight

The Malaysian Insight

The current laws do not oblige the prime minister to give any reason if he rejected judges nominated by the Judicial Appointments Commission, which gives the perception that Malaysia’s judiciary lacks independence. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, December 12, 2017.

THE power of the prime minister to influence the appointment and promotion of judges is too strong and needs to be curbed to protect the independence of the judiciary, said Pakatan Harapan parties.

DAP said the matter should be included in its election manifesto.

PKR’s N. Surendran said the prime minister has the power to appoint judges as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong was required to act on the advice of the prime minister under the federal constitution.

“Article 122B as it stands, gives the power to appoint judges to the prime minister. This is because by virtue Article 40(1), the (Yang di-Pertuan) Agong is bound by the prime minister’s advice.” Read more