Constitutional Law Lecture Series – Sixth Lecture: “Freedom of Speech & Expression in a Functioning Democracy”

Freedom of expression is regarded by many as the cornerstone of a democratic society. It is recognised in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and many other international human rights instruments. The Federal Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and expression as stated in Article 10. It comes as no surprise that attempts to stifle the exercise of one’s freedom of expression has been met with fierce resistence from civil society organisations and concerned citizens.

How have our laws fared in promoting and protecting freedom of expression in Malaysia? Do we have a conducive environment to encourage a vibrant modern democracy? Have we made progress or regressed?

To find out more, join us for the 6th lecture in the Constitutional Law Lecture Series.

Law expert: Recent refreshing apex court ruling could be short lived

Source: FMT News

Going by precedent, judgments that establish legal principles can be set aside, says Gurdial Singh Nijar, reminding the legal fraternity not to be too happy with recent landmark decision that restored judicial power to courts.

Gurdial Singh Nijar – pic drawn from FMT News

PETALING JAYA: A legal consultant has cautioned the legal fraternity that a recent Federal Court ruling that affirmed the rule of law and judicial power of the court could be set aside sooner than expected.

Gurdial Singh Nijar said, going by past precedent, another panel of the apex court could depart from that landmark judicial pronouncement.

“I can see the danger of that decision being overturned by another bench,” Gurdial said in response to a question from the floor at a forum at Universiti Malaya yesterday. Read more

Constitutional Law Lecture Series – Third Lecture: “Freedom of Religion: Constitutional & International Perspectives”

Taken from Facebook

Taken from Facebook

Article 11 of the Federal Constitution guarantees the right of every person to profess and practise his or her religion. This provision brings with it a plethora of issues which leads to heated debate among Malaysians, particularly where an issue concerns both Muslims and non-Muslims. For example, Muslim apostasy and the unilateral custody and conversion of minor children to Islam.

How do we approach these contestations within the spirit of the Federal Constitution? How do other jurisdictions guarantee their citizen’s exercise of freedom of religion, and is their example relevant to us?

To find out more, attend the 3rd lecture in the Constitutional Law Lecture Series.

5.30pm : Registration
5:50pm : Welcome Speech by Organisers
6:00pm : 3rd Lecture by Emeritus Professor Datuk Dr. Shad Saleem Faruqi
7:00pm : Interactive Session
7:30pm : Light Refreshments

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Syariah amendments constitutional, says former judge

Source: The Star Online

Retired Court of Appeal judge Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof said the [amended RUU355] Bill would be constitutional if the crimes it addressed did not overlap with matters included in the Federal List, including murder, rape, robbery and theft.

hudud judge forum

Retired Court of Appeal judge Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof speaking at a lecture on the legality of the proposed amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act (Act 355). Pic taken from The Star Online.

PETALING JAYA: Amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act (Act 355) are constitutional, but the proposed upper limits of its punishments are too high, warns retired Court of Appeal judge Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof.

He said attempting to set higher punishments through the Syariah courts would destroy the precepts that these courts were of limited power.

“Can it be done? Yes. Should it be done? No, I believe the upper limits are simply too high,” he said during a lecture on the legality of the proposed amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act (Act 355). Read more

Constitutional Law Lecture Series – Second Lecture: “Amendments to Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 – Constitutional & Practical Issues”

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16 February 2017 · 5:30 pm—7:30 pm · Auditorium Tun Mohamed Suffian, Faculty of Law, UM

2ND LECTURE

“AMENDMENTS TO SYARIAH COURTS (CRIMINAL JURISDICTION) ACT 1965 — CONSTITUTIONAL & PRACTICAL ISSUES”

Guest Speaker: Dato’ Mohamad Ariff bin Md Yusof

Retired Court of Appeal Judge Mohamad Ariff Yusof - pic from FMT News

Retired Court of Appeal Judge Mohamad Ariff Yusof – pic from FMT News

Dato’ Mohamad Ariff bin Md Yusof is a retired Judge of the Court of Appeal, Malaysia. Beginning with a career as a law lecturer in 1974 and subsequently an Associate Professor and Deputy Dean of the Law Faculty of the University of Malaya from 1974 to 1985, he then practised as an advocate and solicitor from 1986 and was one of the founding partners of Messrs. Cheang & Ariff. He took leave from legal practice between 1993 and 1995 to join the newly-formed Securities Commission of Malaysia and became the first Director of its Market Supervision Department. He became a Judicial Commissioner, High Court of Malaya in 2008, later a Judge of the High Court, and thereafter became a Judge of the Court of Appeal in 2012. He retired from the Malaysian Judiciary in early 2015 and is currently a consultant at Messrs. Cheang & Ariff.


Background:

On 26 May 2016, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, President of Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) presented a Private Member’s Bill in the Dewan Rakyat to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355). The move has re-ignited the ongoing debate over hudud in the country, with proponents of the Bill insisting that the Bill merely seeks to strengthen the powers of the Syariah Courts, and not about introducing hudud into the existing legal system. What exactly are the changes sought to be brought about by the Bill? Can the proposed changes be implemented within our existing constitutional framework? What are the constitutional implications and practical issues that could arise from the amendments, if any? To find out more, join us for the 2nd lecture in the Constitutional Law Lecture Series.


Program:

5:30 pm Registration
5:50 pm Welcome Speech by Organisers
6:00 pm 2nd Lecture by Dato’ Mohamad Ariff bin Md Yusof
7:00 pm Interactive Session
7:30 pm Light Refreshments

[Postponed] Constitutional Law Lecture Series – Second Lecture: “Amendments to Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 – Constitutional & Practical Issues”

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The organisers wish to announcement this lecture has been postponed on account of the speaker having fallen ill with dengue fever


8 December 2016 · 5:30 pm—7:30 pm · Auditorium Tun Mohamed Suffian, Faculty of Law, UM

2ND LECTURE

“AMENDMENTS TO SYARIAH COURTS (CRIMINAL JURISDICTION) ACT 1965 — CONSTITUTIONAL & PRACTICAL ISSUES”

Guest Speaker: Dato’ Mohamad Ariff bin Md Yusof

Retired Court of Appeal Judge Mohamad Ariff Yusof - pic from FMT News

Retired Court of Appeal Judge Mohamad Ariff Yusof – pic from FMT News

Dato’ Mohamad Ariff bin Md Yusof is a retired Judge of the Court of Appeal, Malaysia. Beginning with a career as a law lecturer in 1974 and subsequently an Associate Professor and Deputy Dean of the Law Faculty of the University of Malaya from 1974 to 1985, he then practised as an advocate and solicitor from 1986 and was one of the founding partners of Messrs. Cheang & Ariff. He took leave from legal practice between 1993 and 1995 to join the newly-formed Securities Commission of Malaysia and became the first Director of its Market Supervision Department. He became a Judicial Commissioner, High Court of Malaya in 2008, later a Judge of the High Court, and thereafter became a Judge of the Court of Appeal in 2012. He retired from the Malaysian Judiciary in early 2015 and is currently a consultant at Messrs. Cheang & Ariff.


Background:

On 26 May 2016, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, President of Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) presented a Private Member’s Bill in the Dewan Rakyat to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355). The move has re-ignited the ongoing debate over hudud in the country, with proponents of the Bill insisting that the Bill merely seeks to strengthen the powers of the Syariah Courts, and not about introducing hudud into the existing legal system. What exactly are the changes sought to be brought about by the Bill? Can the proposed changes be implemented within our existing constitutional framework? What are the constitutional implications and practical issues that could arise from the amendments, if any? To find out more, join us for the 2nd lecture in the Constitutional Law Lecture Series.


Program:

5:30 pm Registration
5:50 pm Welcome Speech by Organisers
6:00 pm 2nd Lecture by Dato’ Mohamad Ariff bin Md Yusof
7:00 pm Interactive Session
7:30 pm Light Refreshments

Ambiga: Brake on MPs’ freedom of speech erodes democracy

Source: FMT News

HAKAM President Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan – The Malaysian Insider file pic, October 15, 2015.

HAKAM President Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan – The Malaysian Insider file pic, October 15, 2015.

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Human Rights Society has expressed concern that certain parties are explicit that non-Muslims MPs should not debate the hudud Bill while Muslim lawmakers must vote ‘aye’ for the law.

“These two statements undermine our parliamentary democracy,” its president Ambiga Sreenevasan said.

The lawyer made the remarks when she took to the podium at the inaugural lecture “Reclaiming our Federal Constitution – Preserve, Protect & Defend” at the University of Malaya Thursday.

Saying she would not go into the merits of the Bill, which is scheduled to be tabled by PAS President Abdul Hadi Awang when Parliament begins its session next week, Ambiga lamented:

“They are saying that non-Muslim MPs cannot discuss the legislation that is coming before Parliament. They are also saying that Muslim MPs have no choice but to vote.

“And we never had such a situation in the past. Of course, when it comes to the (party) whip, that is a different thing. So those are the things that worry me.” Read more

Reclaiming our Federal Constitution — Tunku Zain Al-’Abidin

Source: The Malay Mail Online

constilawlectureseries-inaugural

OCTOBER 14 — Among our citizens, vastly different interpretations of our Constitution exist. Each formed from different worldviews, each proclaiming legitimacy. If this trend continues unabated, greater polarisation will occur.

That is why steps need to be taken to ensure the vast majority of Malaysians accept a common understanding of the supreme law of the land.

To reclaim it, we need to understand how it came into being. Those who possessed sovereignty and political power agreed our new nation required a constitution, and one was duly drafted and approved. But when was their understanding of this document contested to the extent it became necessary to say we need to reclaim it?

Early opponents of our Constitution were easy to identify since they rejected it outright; but later, the tools of reinterpretation and amendment were used to slowly change its character. This was a political process, often using racial or religious language, accompanied by the centralisation of power. Read more