Parliament passes controversial re-delineation report

Source: The Malaysian Insight

THE Dewan Rakyat has accepted the motion to redraw the electoral boundaries, which the opposition has repeatedly called a gerrymandering exercise to boost the ruling Barisan Nasional government’s chances in the coming general election.

The bill was passed after a bloc vote was called, with the final vote in favour of the current Barisan Nasional government.

BN used its majority and ensured the motion was carried with 129 votes for and 80 votes against. Read more

Citizen group wants local council election to be restored

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 — A group of individuals representing various civil societies has called for the government to reinstate local council elections, arguing that it is critical for community leaders to be beholden to taxpayers.

During a discussion organised by the Civil Society Caucus for Policy Reform on March 23, the group said that historically Malaysia had conducted local elections since before independence but that right was suspended in 1965 when Indonesia launched its ‘Konfrontasi’ against the nation.

“The current appointment system of local councillors lacks accountability because they do not need to face discontent from community, there is no check and balance by the residents if any councillor fail to perform. Read more

Special Anti-Trafficking in Persons court proof of govt’s commitment to combat human trafficking, says CJ

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Chief Justice Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif ― Malay Mail pic

KLANG, March 28 — The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Sessions Court established today is proof of the government’s commitment to combat human trafficking and smuggling of migrants into the country, said Chief Justice Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif.

“The Malaysian judiciary is committed to ensuring that trials and the time frame to settle human trafficking cases are expedited. Klang was chosen as the location for the pilot project of the ATIP court in view of Selangor recording the highest number of human trafficking cases in the country,” he said.

By the end of this year, ATIP courts would also be set up in five other locations in stages namely in  Ipoh, Melaka, Muar, Kota Kinabalu and Balik Pulau, he told a media conference after opening the first ATIP court at the Klang Court Complex here today. Read more

Malaysia launches special court for human trafficking

Source: The Malaysian Insight

The first special court for human trafficking is in the Sessions Court complex in Klang. It is set up to spare trafficking victims the ordeal of a lengthy legal process.– The Malaysian Insight pic, March 28, 2018.

MALAYSIA launched its first special court for human trafficking in the Klang Sessions Court complex today.

Chief Justice Raus Sharif said five more will be set up within the year in Ipoh, Penang, Malacca, Muar, and Kota Kinabalu, in that order.

“We selected Klang to be the location for this pioneer project because statistics wise, Selangor has the highest concentration of human trafficking cases registered among all the other states in Malaysia,” said Raus in his speech.

Judge Unaizah Mohd will preside over 12 cases registered in this new court in Klang.

Only senior sessions court judges with at least 25 years of experience in the judicial and legal service are qualified to preside in the special court on human trafficking, he said.

“Previously human trafficking cases were assigned as normal cases to judges. With this specialised court, the judges can concentrate on these cases only. That’s why we’re confident the cases can be disposed of within nine months,” Raus told reporters after the launch. Read more

Anti-redelineation protesters march to Parliament against police orders

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (left) speaks during the Bersih 2.0 protest against the Election Commission’s electoral redelineation report in Kuala Lumpur March 28, 2018. ― Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 ― A few hundred people marched through a police barrier in front of Parliament to protest against the tabling of the Election Commission’s (EC) redelineation report today.

The protesters led by several Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders, including PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar and Amanah president Mohamad Sabu, were stopped by another police barricade made up of Light Strike Force officers near the Parliament building bridge.

A group of 10 representatives were then allowed entry into Parliament for the memorandum submission, while the remainder held a sit-in protest outside the bridge around 11.40am. Read more

Sabah excluded from EC’s redelineation report despite state amendment to increase seats

Source: The Malay Mail Online

The 14th general election is due in four months and the EC’s current redelineation proposal is largely expected to be gazetted and be used in time for the national polls. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 ― The Election Commission (EC)’s redelineation report tabled today in Parliament did not include any recommendations for electoral boundary changes in Sabah.

This is despite the Sabah state government amending the state constitution in August 2016 to increase the amount of state assembly seats there from 60 seats to 73 seats, around the same time the EC started their redelineation study nationwide. Read more

Born and bred in Malaysia: Stateless persons — Jamie Chai Yun Liew

Source: The Malay Mail Online

BY JAMIE CHAI YUN LIEW

MARCH 28 — Malaysia has a statelessness problem but not in the way that many expect. Stateless persons in Malaysia are not foreigners, migrants or even “illegals”. They are born and bred in Malaysia.

Between January and April 2018, I conducted research in Malaysia interviewing stateless persons, lawyers, paralegals, NGOs, and academics. Over the course of examining legal cases, reading news articles, and talking to Malaysian experts working in the field, I discovered there are six categories of stateless persons in Malaysia. These six categories include: (1) persons who were citizens before Malaysian independence (including those persons who came to work in plantations); (2) persons who have lost important documentation such as birth certificates or marriage licenses; (3) abandoned children (foundlings) and adopted children born in Malaysia; (4) children of mixed marriages or children born before a marriage was registered; (5) Indigenous persons; (6) some refugees and migrants. Read more

Now, Sabah-born top-scorer pleads for citizenship too

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Arly Mai Geanga who failed to obtain citizenship despite being born in Sabah to a Malaysian father and Filipino mother, wants a chance to further her studies at a public university and work in Malaysia. Image from FMT News

PETALING JAYA: A high-scoring stateless student from Sabah yearns for similar assistance as that given to top academic achiever Roisah Abdullah in her pursuit of citizenship, so that she can further her studies and find a job in Malaysia.

Arly Mai Geanga, 22, who obtained seven As in her PMR examination and 8As and a B in SPM, said she could not get an identity card despite having been born at the Lahad Datu Hospital in Sabah.

She said she was unable to gain entry into local public institutions of higher learning, and private university fees were too expensive for her family.

“I am hoping that my case can be highlighted too, and something can be done by the relevant authorities to help me,” she told FMT. Read more

Delineation: Courts can inquire into complaints, says lawyer

Source: Free Malaysia Today

PUTRAJAYA: The judiciary can declare the Election Commission’s (EC) exercise in redrawing the electoral boundaries as illegal if guidelines in the 13th Schedule of the Federal Constitution have not been followed, the Court of Appeal heard today.

Constitutional lawyer Cyrus Das said in Malaysia it was the constitution that was supreme and not Parliament.

He said the judiciary could not abdicate its powers to some other organs of the government under the doctrine of separation of powers.

“If a legal or constitutional objection is made, it is not for Parliament to decide based on a vote count but for the court to rule on law and facts,” Das said in his submission.

The Selangor government is appealing against a High Court ruling last year which dismissed the state’s judicial review application to challenge the EC’s exercise. Read more

Indira Gandhi nominated for US International Women of Courage award

Source: The Malay Mail Online

M. Indira Gandhi (left) smiles with her mother after the Federal Court annulled the unilateral conversion of her three children in Putrajaya January 29, 2018. — Picture by Zuraneeza Zulkifli

IPOH, March 27 ― Kindergarten teacher M. Indira Gandhi, who won a high-profile court battle against the unilateral conversion of her children to Islam, has been nominated for the US Department of State’s International Women of Courage award.

Indira will be honoured at a reception, held in conjunction with International Women’s Day 2018 and Women’s History Month, at the residence of United States Ambassador Kamala Shirin Lakhdir in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow.

“I had known about this for a while, but I tried to keep it to myself. It’s a strange and wonderful feeling because it’s something I never expected,” she told Malay Mail today.

“This was never part of my agenda, because I only wanted to get my children back. But I’m excited and grateful to be honoured in this way.” Read more