Bersih will go to court for EC’s land mass data

Source: FMT

Land mass data can be used to justify the size of constituencies that have undergone resizing by the Election Commission, says Bersih 2.0. Pic taken from FMT News.

Land mass data can be used to justify the size of constituencies that have undergone resizing by the Election Commission, says Bersih 2.0. Pic taken from FMT News.

GEORGE TOWN: In a bid to review the actual movement of voters in the latest redelineation exercise, Bersih 2.0 will seek a court order to compel the Election Commission (EC) to reveal land mass data.

Its chairperson, Maria Chin Abdullah, said the land mass information was vital to determine how significant the change was in a particular constituency.

She said with such information, the public can lodge a protest against the redelineation of their constituency.

“Without the information, it would be very difficult for the public to make any objections. So, we will be filing our case.

“It is very important for us to find out how much of the land mass is altered as well,” she told reporters after opening the Bersih photography exhibition at the Town Hall here today.

Chin said the electoral reform group had previously sent in its protest over the transfer of 118,000 voters early in September. Read more

Who will save Malaysia? — Mariam Mokhtar

Source: FMT

BY MARIAM MOKHTAR

People at the top react to scandals only after the tipping point has been reached.

The tragedy of the 1MDB scandal is that people at the top react only after ordinary lives have long been severely affected. The influential in society try to show concern only when it has become obvious that the stakes are high.

Money had started haemorrhaging from the system long ago, reducing funding for government agencies. So the GST, among other things, was used to prop up the system, bleeding the ordinary citizen dry. Meanwhile, people at the top remained in power.

The CIMB Chairman, Nazir Razak, said in a fairly recent interview with Euromoney that he was upset to be dragged into the 1MDB scandal. He also said that with Malaysia’s reputation tarnished, it was difficult to represent Malaysia on the world stage.

Last March, in a written statement to the Wall Street Journal, he confirmed receiving nearly US$7 million, which he said was afterwards disbursed to Barisan Nasional politicians as campaign funds for the 13th general election. He said he thought the money was from donations from companies and individuals.

Corruption is not the only issue making it difficult to promote foreign investment in Malaysia. There are many others: poor governance, disrespect for the rule of law and for human rights, confrontations between pro-people and pro-government NGOS, racial and religious intolerance, and the declining standard of education. Read more

‘Political funding laws good for Malaysia’

Source: The Star Online

PUTRAJAYA: Having a set of laws to regulate political funding will have a positive impact on Malaysia as it will improve the country’s image in terms of integrity and accountability, says Senator Datuk Paul Low.

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said the recommendations by the National Consultative Committee on Political Financing could be an effective tool to improve governance because if political parties were transparent in their financial activities, the Government would also be seen as having high integrity.

Low said parties which had reservations on the recommendations should look at the proposal “in total”.

“It depends on what they are not happy about but generally, the recommendations can be effective as disclosures will have to be made so that they must be accountable on the expenditure and source of the funds.

“If we want to see an improvement of governance in the country, we have to deal with the issue of political funding. This is what I told the committee which made the proposal,” he told reporters after opening the Corporate Integrity Pledge Conference 2016.

On reservations voiced by several opposition lawmakers, Low said he could not fathom their concerns, saying that the proposed laws would be good for the country. Read more

MP hands in 200 objections to redelineation exercise

Source: FMT

Election Commission’s redelineation exercise breaks “local ties” and goes against the concept of a multiracial Malaysia, says Klang MP Charles Santiago.

SHAH ALAM: The Election Commission’s (EC) redelineation proposal gives the lie to the 1Malaysia slogan, Klang MP Charles Santiago said Friday.

Saying state constituencies in Klang were fairly multiracial, the MP noted that under the new redelineation exercise, several areas would be predominantly of one race.

This, he said, was going against what Malaysia was trying to portray itself as – “a multiracial and multicultural country.”

Saying the redelineation was going against the Federal Constitution, he added it also broke up “local ties” in several constituencies.

He cited the state constituencies of Kota Alam Shah and Pandamaran as an example of how local ties would be broken if the two areas were joined as one under the new redelineation. Read more

HRW calls for charges against activists to be dropped

Source: FMT

Malaysia’s blanket ban on street marches was legal overreach, betrays paranoia about organized protests.

KUALA LUMPUR: Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on authorities in Malaysia to drop charges against eight activists and politicians who allegedly participated in “street protests” in Kuala Lumpur in February and March last year.

The street protests, noted Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, were “peaceful”.

He was commenting on the Federal Court hearing, on October 10, on the constitutional challenge on the ban on street protests.

“Malaysia’s blanket ban on street marches was legal overreach,” said Robertson in a statement. “It betrays paranoia about organized protests.”

However the Federal Court rules, he said, the government should return to the drawing board for a law that respects the right to peaceful assembly.

Peaceful marches and street protests are a legitimate way of expressing dissent, added the NGO Chief. “They should not be the basis for criminal charges.”

Robertson reiterated the Malaysian Government should immediately drop the charges against all the KitaLawan protesters. “It should also amend the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) to comply with international standards,” he stressed.

The right to peaceful assembly was not limited to static protests, he pointed out. “It also protects processions and other forms of ‘moving’ assemblies.” Read more

Rukunegara be made the preamble to the Malaysian Constitution? Go for it, G25 says

Source: Astro Awani

Civil society, human rights activists and the public can refer to the Rukunegara and cite its fundamental principles in seeking fairness and justice.

KUALA LUMPUR: G25, a group of moderate Malaysians concerned about the peace and national unity among the various races, issues this public statement to support the suggestion from Dr Chandra Muzaffar that the Rukunegara be made the preamble to the Malaysian Constitution.

The Rukunegara is the national ideology for creating a united and prosperous country and it is therefore appropriate that it be elevated to be the preamble to the constitution, which is the supreme law in our parliamentary democracy.

Dr Chandra’s suggestion is timely in view of the current state of national unity which is still fragile despite the country achieving remarkable progress in its 60 years of economic development.

While in terms of income and key social indicators Malaysia is fast approaching the status of a developed country, all these impressive statistics will have little meaning if we continue to be a divided nation. Indeed, unless we resolve the socio-political issues of race and religion that continue to cause friction among the population, and which often create barriers in formulating strong policies for growth, quality education, talent development, meritocracy, innovation and creativity, there  will always be doubt about the sustainability of our development process and our progress towards a truly united nation. Read more

Forging ahead in moderation — Dr Nasharudin Mat Isa

Source: NST Online

BY DR NASHARUDIN MAT ISA

Every once in a while, there comes a most kairotic moment, and for Malaysia, such a defining moment came in 2010 in the august hall of the United Nations General Assembly when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak implored and declared the need for a global movement of moderates — of all faiths — to once more seize the initiative of the global world from the hands of extremists.

Admittedly, the concept of moderation is not a novelty, but the movement and alliances of moderates represent a new paradigm in the field of international relations, and with such grandiose plans and ventures of man, the onus certainly falls upon him to not only manage expectations, but ultimately to also deliver.

Nov 1 will mark the first year of my tenure spearheading the Global Movement of Moderates Foundation (GMM), and unmistakably, while a number of engagements and initiatives have been made to realise my initial goal of “bringing back GMM onto its initial track”, much needs to be done, be it in the most decisive of manner or in the most strategic of senses.

In a period of much confusion, there remains the crucial need to address issues of the world, from rampant extremism to reactionary Islamophobic acts and policies, to subsequent elements of the human migration crises and manipulation of human rights.

These issues need to be addressed through the most just and wisest of approach. The old adage goes that Rome was not built in a day, but rest assured, Malaysia is on the right track to maintain its elegance and decisiveness in manoeuvring diplomacies of the global world. Read more

Do we want to promote more money politics? — Ramon Navaratnam

Source: Malaysiakini

BY RAMON NAVARATNAM

Most Malaysians are wondering why the chairperson of the National Consultative Committee on Political Financing (NCCPF), YB Paul Low, and his able committee members have casually recommended the removal of the cap on funding and spending during future election campaigns?

Is it their purpose to promote and expand money politics, instead of controlling this somewhat callous and corrupting bad electoral practice?

Does this new election recommendation help to promote ‘state capture’, where the rich and powerful will be able to provide limitless political funding, that is even tax free, to elect favoured candidates of the rich and to keep them in power ad infinitum or, forever and ever, as the old song goes?

YB Paul Low succeeded me as the former president of Transparency International-Malaysia and so he would definitely know that we were all opposed to likely and real abuses that usually occur in election campaign financing.

The election abuses and the resultant rot get to be excessive and intolerable, particularly when there are no limits whatsoever on election funding and expenditures. This is where we could go wild in our financing elections if there is a no cap policy on election campaign expenditures.

Presently, there are clear cut limits on campaign spending of RM200,000 for federal elections and RM100,000 for state elections, for each election candidate.

Now YB Paul Low and his merry Committee have happily recommended that the sky is the limit for campaign election fund raising and spending. Furthermore, contributors to political funding can also enjoy tax exemption. Good grief, now please explain to us simple voters – what has happened to the well-tried principles of good governance? Read more

Time for Malaysia’s Najib to Step Aside

Source: The Diplomat

The premier needs to give his country a much-needed respite.

Prime Minister Najib Razak insists he will cooperate with international authorities charged with investigating a massive misappropriation of funds from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), saying he is equally concerned about good governance.

But if he was serious – and believed his own sermons about the strength of Malaysia’s governance – then he would listen to pro-democracy advocates, like Bersih, and live up to the best of democratic traditions by standing aside until investigations are completed.

“We are equally concerned about good governance in Malaysia and the rule of law,” the prime minister recently told journalists. “So within the bounds of good governance and the rule of law, Malaysia will do its best to cooperate and to do whatever is necessary.”

Rarely has any regional leader come under attack for such a sustained period amid a raft of controversies linked to stolen money, murder, international finance, and military contracts. Read more

UN appoints Vitit to protect LGBT rights worldwide

Source: The Star Online

LONDON: The UN Human Rights Council appointed Vitit Muntar­bhorn (pic) as its first independent investigator to safeguard the rights of homosexual and transgender community across the world amid strong objections by Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries.

The first independent investigator’s main job will be to help protect homosexual and transgender people worldwide from violence and discrimination.

The UN expert Vitit will have a three-year mandate to investigate abuses against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBT) people.

Vitit is an international law professor at the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand, and has served on several UN bodies, including inquiries on Syria and as a special rapporteur on North Korea. Read more