Arbitrary Sedition Act makes ‘promoting atheism’ a crime, lawyers explain

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 25 — The Sedition Act could be used by the government against those who promote atheism in limited situations due to the law’s broad definitions and the current state of Malaysia, lawyers have said.

Civil rights lawyer Syahredzan Johan ― Picture by Choo Choy May

Civil rights lawyer Syahredzan Johan said there is no specific legislation that makes atheism an offence under civil laws, further arguing that the Sedition Act cannot be used against someone for being an atheist.

“Being an atheist is not seditious, especially if it is done in private.

“Spreading atheism may be deemed as seditious in certain circumstances, such as if it is done by insulting or undermining other faiths, especially Islam. But that is because the Sedition Act is so wide and arbitrary and can be used in many ways,” he said, adding that this was why the Sedition Act should be abolished. Read more

Lawyers: Change state Islamic laws to match proposed unilateral child conversion ban

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Perlis legislative assembly approved the Islamic Religion Administration Enactment (Amendment) 2016 Bill by a 13-1 majority on 9 December 2016. Image taken from FMT News.

Perlis legislative assembly approved the Islamic Religion Administration Enactment (Amendment) 2016 Bill by a 13-1 majority on 9 December 2016. Image taken from FMT News.

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 11 — All state Islamic laws that currently allow children to be unilaterally converted to Islam should be amended to match a proposed federal law barring such acts, lawyers have said.

Lawyers said that the Perlis amendment of its state law on Thursday — which removed the need for both parents’ consent before a child can be converted to Islam — contradicts and conflicts with a planned federal law amendment.

Lawyer Surendra Ananth said if the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act’s (LRA) planned amendment which will require both parents’ consent before a child from a civil marriage is converted to Islam is passed and comes into force, the conflicting Perlis amendment requiring only either parent’s consent will be “null and void” in such cases.

“The Islamic Enactment made by the Perlis State Legislative assembly is a form of state law. It’s status does not change just because it is a “religious law”. It is like any other State law, and therefore must give way to federal law and the Federal Constitution,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted, citing the Federal Constitution’s Article 75 which says federal law will prevail over inconsistent state laws. Read more

Pesara tentera dihalang bercakap mengenai rang undang-undang MKN

Sumber: The Malaysian Insider

Pengerusi bersama hak asasi manusia Majlis Peguam, Andrew Khoo, memberitahu hadirin, Leftenan Kolonel (B) Mohamad Daud Sulaiman diarahkan TUDM supaya tidak menjadi ahli panel dalam forum bertajuk ‘Rang Undang-undang Majlis Keselamatan Negara – rantaian arahan dikompromi?’. – Gambar The Malaysian Insider oleh Seth Akmal, 18 Disember, 2015.

Pengerusi bersama hak asasi manusia Majlis Peguam, Andrew Khoo, memberitahu hadirin, Leftenan Kolonel (B) Mohamad Daud Sulaiman diarahkan TUDM supaya tidak menjadi ahli panel dalam forum bertajuk ‘Rang Undang-undang Majlis Keselamatan Negara – rantaian arahan dikompromi?’. – Gambar The Malaysian Insider oleh Seth Akmal, 18 Disember, 2015.

Angkatan Tentera Malaysia bertindak menghalang seorang pegawai bersara daripada bercakap pada sebuah forum mengenai Rang Undang-undang Majlis Keselamatan Negara (MKN), undang-undang kontroversi yang menurut kumpulan masyarakat sivil akan meletakkan pasukan tentera di bawah kawalan perdana menteri.

Penganjur forum itu berkata, Leftenan Kolonel (B) Mohamad Daud Sulaiman menerima arahan pada saat akhir untuk tidak berucap pada program anjuran Majlis Peguam itu di Kuala Lumpur malam ini.

Daud, bekas penasihat undang-undang dan dasar Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia (TUDM), dijadualkan menjadi ahli panel pada forum bertajuk “Rang Undang-undang Majlis Keselamatan Negara – rantaian arahan dikompromi?”.

Rang undang-undang itu diluluskan Dewan Rakyat dan akan dibahaskan di Dewan Negara pada sesi kali ini.

Pengerusi bersama hak asasi manusia Majlis Peguam, Andrew Khoo, memberitahu hadirin, Daud diarahkan TUDM supaya tidak menjadi ahli panel untuk program itu malam ini. Read more

Military bars retired officer from speaking at security bill forum

Source: The Malaysian Insider

(From left) President of the Malaysian Bar Steven Thiru, Lam Choong Wah, Andrew Khoo and Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan seen during a forum on the National Security Council in Kuala Lumpur today. Lt-Col (Rtd) Mohamad Daud Sulaiman of the Royal Malaysian Air Force was supposed to be part of the panel today but was ordered at the last minute not to speak at the forum. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Seth Akmal, December 18, 2015.

(From left) President of the Malaysian Bar Steven Thiru, Lam Choong Wah, Andrew Khoo and Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan seen during a forum on the National Security Council in Kuala Lumpur today. Lt-Col (Rtd) Mohamad Daud Sulaiman of the Royal Malaysian Air Force was supposed to be part of the panel today but was ordered at the last minute not to speak at the forum. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Seth Akmal, December 18, 2015.

The Malaysian military has barred a retired officer from speaking at a forum on the National Security Council (NSC) Bill, a controversial law which civil groups claim would give control of the armed forces to the prime minister.

Lt-Col (Rtd) Mohamad Daud Sulaiman of the Royal Malaysian Air Force received last minute orders not to speak at the forum organised by the Bar Council in Kuala Lumpur tonight, the organisers said.

Daud, who is a former legal and policy adviser to the air force, was scheduled to be a panellist at the forum titled “National Security Council Bill – chain of command compromised?”.

The bill has passed through Dewan Rakyat and will be debated at the current session of the upper house Dewan Negara.

Bar Council human rights committee co-chairperson Andrew Khoo told the audience that Daud was commanded by the service to not attend as a panellist.

“There was an order by his superiors not to be part of the panel, so unfortunately he cannot speak to us,” Khoo said as the forum began. Read more

Excerpts from the “National Security Council Act: To Protect or To Oppress?” public forum

Source: Media Rakyat

Recorded at the Public Forum – National Security Council Act: To Protect or To Oppress? held on 10 December 2015 featuring 6 speakers:

  • YB Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader, and Member of Parliament (Gelang Patah)
  • Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, HAKAM President
  • YB Hanipa Maidin, Member of Parliament (Sepang)
  • Assoc Prof Azmi Sharom, University Malaya Law Professor
  • Andrew Khoo, Co-Chair, Bar Council Human Rights Committee
  • Dr Aziz Bari, University Selangor Law Professor

Ambiga Sreenevasan: The NSC Bill is not about security Read more

Lawyers: Unexplained travel bans abusive, violates freedom of movement

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, July 23 ― The Immigration Department’s unexplained move to bar local politicians from leaving the country is abusive and an infringement of their constitutional rights, legal practitioners explained after DAP MP Tony Pua was turned away from KLIA2 yesterday.

Civil liberties lawyer Andrew Khoo said that while the Immigration Department has authority to act on requests from other government agencies to prohibit Malaysians from exiting the country, those affected have the right to know why they are being stopped.

“Anytime your liberty is curtailed, (whether) there’s an arrest, or your right to freedom to travel is curtailed, the onus is on the government to provide and explain and to be upfront and inform people of the reason.

“Otherwise it is an abuse of governmental power. It’s definitely an abuse of power, (and) it’s definitely a breach of human rights,” the co-chair of the Bar Council’s human rights committee told Malay Mail Online when contacted yesterday.

For officers to merely say that they are following instructions from higher-ups is “wholly inadequate and totally unacceptable”, he continued. Read more