Global rights group says Malaysia sliding towards conservative Islam

Source: FMT News

PETALING JAYA: A global human rights organisation today urged Malaysian government officials to speak out against the rising tide of religious intolerance rather than contribute to it.

In its 2018 World Report released in New York, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Putrajaya continued to shift toward a more conservative Islam.

It cited PAS’s plans to introduce amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, allowing shariah courts to impose stiffer punishments on Muslim offenders.

The report also noted the arrest of Turkish academic Mustafa Akyol by the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department, for giving a talk on Islam without official credentials from religious authorities.

HRW Asia deputy director Phil Robertson said Prime Minister Najib Razak should speak out for all Malaysians.

“In a multi-ethnic, multi-religious country, Najib should defend the rights of everyone in the country to speak freely and practise their religion without fear,” he said.

HRW also questioned the claim by Najib that freedom of speech was “thriving” in Malaysia, saying the reality did not reflect this. Read more

MAC, Terengganu govt discuss plight of transgender community

Source: The Star

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC) held a meeting with the Terengganu state government to discuss the plight of transgender community.

In a statement, MAC deputy secretary-general Elisha Kor Krishnan said a meeting with state executive councillor Ghazali Taib on Monday (Jan 15) was refreshing as they were able to push issues concerning the community.

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Stop the blame, shame the predator! — Syerleena Abdul Rashid

Source: Malay Mail Online

BY SYERLEENA ABDUL RASHID

JANUARY 17 — In recent months, stories of sexual harassment have surfaced and highlight the extent of abusive behaviour made towards women. Men in media and now, in government, have been exposed of their inappropriate behaviour, therefore, the onus is on us to rightly remove them from their positions and publically shame them for their vulgarities.

There have been too many disturbing stories of threatening mannerisms and insulting attitudes towards female elected officials, journalists, activists and athletes. Too many reports have been ignored and swept under the rug; and the lackadaisical attitudes we are forced to deal with will only worsen the situation, therefore, the foulness of sexual harassment must be addressed sufficiently, diligently and promptly.

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The quest for gender equality — Shad Saleem Faruqi

Source: The Star

BY SHAD SALEEM FARUQI

Shad Saleem Faruqi - file pic

Shad Saleem Faruqi – file pic

AT the 2018 Golden Globes Award on Jan 7, Oprah Winfrey, the respected American media personality, delivered a stirring call for “a new day” on the horizon for American women. Her speech made me reflect on the faltering quest for gender equality in our own constitutional democracy.

At the outset, it needs to be acknowledged that the ideal of sex equality is so complex and contradictory that everywhere it is buffeted by currents and cross-currents.

On the positive side, Malaysia has plenty of institutions, laws, principles and policies to secure justice for women.

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Racism has to be opposed from the top down — Azmi Sharom

Source: The Star

BY AZMI SHAROM

Dr. Azmi Sharom is a law teacher.

DEMOCRACY takes power away from the few, or the one, and places it in the hands of the many. Which is why we hear phrases like “people power” and “returning power to the people” bandied around when speaking about democratic reform.

Theoretically, if there is a free press, fairly delineated constituencies, independent state agencies and a respect for human rights, then the government of the day will be a reflection of the will of the people.

We, the ordinary men and women, choose our leaders. We can also “fire” them by voting them out. Therefore, we have ultimate power.

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‘Stop all illegal logging’

Source: The Star

picture of deforestation

Scarred landscape: An aerial view showing part of Bukit Enggang cleared due to logging activities in Sik, Kedah. — ZAINUDIN AHAD/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: The Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) is urging the relevant authorities to put a stop to all illegal and unsustainable logging in forest reserves to preserve the vital water catchment areas and their rich biodiversity.

Its president Henry Goh said it was irregular for a large swathe of forest reserve of more than 500ha in Bukit Enggang, Sik, Kedah, to be logged without an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA).

“The villagers living in the foothills of Bukit Enggang have to ‘dam up the river’ to collect water for their daily use.

“This river is heavily polluted by the logging in the forest located upstream which has rendered the water unusable,” he said in a press statement on Tuesday.

Goh said other logging concessions closer to villages were given out for logging in Bukit Enggang without any consideration of the impact on people living in the vicinity.

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Media groups demand anti-sexual harassment policies

Source: Malay Mail Online

Association of Women Lawyers committee member Meera Samantheer (pictured) said sexual harassment has nothing to do with a woman’s dressing. — File picture by Choo Choy May via Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 17 — Media groups urged newsrooms today to enact policies to protect women journalists from sexual harassment in the office and on the field, amid allegations of politicians groping reporters.

The Institute of Journalists Malaysia (IoJM) said media organisations must adopt complaint mechanisms to ensure action is taken in cases of journalists facing sexual harassment from politicians or other public figures.

“Having such strong standards and policies will not only protect female journalists, but would also be useful in stopping those that harass journalists in other ways, including blackmail or bribery,” IoJM said in a statement.

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Malaysian, four Indian nationals to hang for drug trafficking

Source: Malay Mail Online

SHAH ALAM, Jan 18 ― A local man and four Indian nationals were sent to the gallows by the High Court here today after being found guilty on two counts of trafficking 5.8kg of drugs at a house which doubled as a drug processing laboratory five years ago.

Judge Datuk Ghazali Cha handed down the sentence to A. Sargunan, 42, and four Indian nationals, namely Sumesh Sudhakaran, 30, Alex Aby Jacob Alexander, 37, Renjith Raveendran, 28, and Sajith Sadanandan, 29, after finding that the defence had failed to raise reasonable doubts against the prosecution’s case.

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Prosecution appeals again against ‘balloon girl’s’ acquittal

Source: Malay Mail Online

Photo of Bilqis

Bilqis (right) was previously acquitted on July 1, 2017 by the Magistrates’ Court without her defence being called. — Picture by Miera Zulyana via Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 17 — The prosecution has again appealed against the acquittal of dance producer Bilqis Hijjas of a charge of “insulting behaviour” for dropping yellow balloons at a 2015 event graced by the prime minister.

Latheefa Koya, a lawyer for Bilqis, today said: “Our client just informed that she has been served the notice of appeal.”

When contacted, Bilqis — also popularly known as the “balloon girl” — confirmed that she had received the notice of appeal.

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