Landmark case set to decide how much Putrajaya must pay for rights breach

Source: The Malay Mail Online 

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 7 ― The Federal Court granted leave today in a landmark gender discrimination case to decide how to determine damages for a breach of constitutional rights, which could set a precedent for other such violations by the government.

The plaintiff, Noorfadilla Ahmad Saikin, posed three questions of law to the apex court to answer: whether damages must be specifically proven when assessing damages for breach of the constitutional right to gender equality under Article 8(2) of the Federal Constitution; whether the quantum of damages should reflect a sense of public outrage, emphasise the importance of the constitutional right and the gravity of the breach; and whether the quantum of damages should deter against further breaches.

Noorfadilla had won in 2014 RM300,000 in damages for breach of her constitutional right to gender equality after she sued the government for revoking her appointment as a temporary teacher due to her pregnancy. But the Shah Alam High Court slashed last year her award to RM30,000, claiming that the original sum amounted to a “handsome profit” for the woman.

“It’s really important because so far, we don’t have any case in Malaysia on how to assess the quantum of damages,” Noorfadilla’s lawyer Honey Tan told Malay Mail Online. Read more

Could a permanent national task force resolve Malaysia’s stateless problem?

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Human rights lawyer Honey Tan said the authorities’ discretionary nature of granting citizenship poses a 'big challenge'. — File picture by Choo Choy May

Human rights lawyer Honey Tan said the authorities’ discretionary nature of granting citizenship poses a ‘big challenge’. — File picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, March 25 — The federal government should set up permanent task forces in every state in Malaysia to ensure stateless children with genuine cases are recognised as citizens, a lawyer has proposed.

Simon Siah said the federal government would from time to time announce the formation of task forces to register stateless children, but noted that these task forces are only “temporary measures” and that most people didn’t even know they exist, let alone how to approach them.

He noted that there is currently a task force in Sarawak to help register stateless children and to assist the Home Ministry by providing recommendations after the National Registration Department (NRD) officials investigate such claims, but noted it will only run until year end.

“Such move is a move in the right direction but I would suggest that the Task Force to be made permanent so that each State under the ministry of women and children can assist to ensure that genuine application are approved and these children are given an identity as a Malaysian,” he added. 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

Legal Lab with Honey Tan: On Marital Rape & Domestic Violence [New Date]

DomesticViolenceLegalLab

What does the law say about marital rape? Does marriage imply consent? What needs to change?

Join us at for a conversation on domestic violence and marital rape with human rights lawyer and activist, Honey Tan. We will dissect the relevant laws in Malaysia and learn about the lived realities of domestic violence victims.

Admission is free and open to all.

The Legal Lab series is brought to you by UndiMsia! and KPUM.

Background/cover image by Juan Eduardo Donoso Rosas