The Refsa Future of Democracy Lecture 2017 by Mustafa Akyol

The REFSA Future of Democracy Lecture 2017

Delivered by Mustafa Akyol

IS DEMOCRACY STILL RELEVANT?

The experience of Malaysia, Turkey and other nations

Tickets are free, register here to confirm your attendance.
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-refsa-future-of-democracy-lecture-2017-by-mustafa-akyol-tickets-37800405029

Background:

The emergence of Donald Trump as the American president has shocked the world, especially for those who believe in democracy, freedom and human rights. For a nation that talks a lot about such values, it is a farce to see that the United States now is seeing the emergence of right-wing extremism, racism and religious bigotry.

Besides the United States, the rise of racism, religious violence and bigotry is also happening in many parts of the world. To make things worse, the erosion of democracy in a number of countries occurs with the sanction of the government of the day. Many of these were elected governments but they have decided to abuse the very same democracy that puts them in power.

While direct violence has yet to hit Malaysia, we too are facing similar backsliding of democracy. Racism, religious bigotry, discriminatory practices are putting democracy at risk. Does this mean democracy is no longer relevant?

The Future of Democracy Lecture:

REFSA as a progressive, not-for-profit research institute providing relevant and reliable analysis on social, economic and political issues is proud to organise a special lecture to address this issue.

While the topic is global in nature, it is still part of REFSA’s role to deal with the issue as it also affects Malaysians. It is REFSA’s duty to promote open and constructive discussions that result in effective policies and good governance to address those issues.

About the speaker:

The REFSA Future of Democracy Lecture will feature Mustafa Akyol, renowned Turkish writer and acclaimed journalist. He is the author of Islam without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty and a number of other books. He is also a columnist for the International New York Times and the Hurriyet Daily News.

With his wide and vast experience, Mustafa Akyol will discuss issues relevant to the topic of this lecture. With his Islamic and liberal democratic background, he will share his views as well as to clear misunderstandings surrounding the problem and complexities of modern democracy.

PROGRAMME

7:00 pm-8:00pm Dinner

8:00 pm-8:15pm Introduction & Welcome Address

Liew Chin Tong, REFSA Chairman

8:15pm-8:30pm Opening remarks

Dr Syed Azman Syed Ahmad Nawawi

8:30pm-9:30pm “Is Democracy Still Relevant?”

Speaker: Mustafa Akyol

9:30pm -10:00pm Q & A session

Moderator: Wan Hamidi Hamid

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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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”

constilawlectureseries

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

Upgrading Democracy: Soft Laws, Good Laws and Effective Protection of Human Rights

What is democracy, and how do you guard the elected guardians and other public officials in a democracy?

Democracy is more than a mechanism to elect the Government once every few years. A true democracy requires democratic governance — effective and robust mechanisms to keep the Executive honest and ensure that the Executive does not abuse its powers, acts fairly and works hard for the people. Benchmarks such as accountability, transparency, fairness and independence are useful indicators of democratic governance. The traditional tripartite model of government consisting of the Executive, the Legislature and the Courts is outdated and inadequate to explain the complex tapestry of governance in a modern democracy. A more accurate model sees the Courts as simply one of several forces that comprise democratic governance in a true democracy.

In many older democracies, soft law institutions have been established and evolved to play a critical role in democratic governance, far from the glare of publicity surrounding court cases. Without relying on litigation, the courts or even a written constitution, these mechanisms operate effectively on a day-to-day basis to shape the conduct and thinking of public officials. Two examples will be discussed: (a) The Ombudsman, with reference to New Zealand (and first-hand experience advising a major New Zealand Ministry); and (b) The Crown Prosecution Service headed by the Director of Public Prosecutions in the UK.

Good laws play a critical role in democratic governance. Laws should meet certain criteria to be fit for purpose in a democratic society. Among those criteria is general compatibility with international benchmarks and international best practice. Particular attention should be paid to international human rights norms, as safeguards of basic freedoms that are the cornerstones of democracy, such as freedom of expression. International human rights norms are the common law of common sense. A regional court with power to make legally binding rulings on a regional human rights convention is immensely useful to safeguard democracy and to provide regionally- and culturally-appropriate guidance for policymakers, Parliament and the Executive. An example of this is the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

The talk will conclude with a few general recommendations for upgrading democracy in Malaysia.

About the Speaker

Roy Lee is an “old boy” of Victoria Institution Kuala Lumpur. He graduated from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand with an LLB (Hons) degree, and is enrolled as a barrister and solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand and the Supreme Court of Victoria, Australia. He was a solicitor in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in New Zealand for several years before venturing out in sole practice and as a legal consultant. Over the last two decades or so, he has practised public law, drafted legislation and consulted in Australia, New Zealand, Guernsey, the Caribbean (Guyana), Central Asia (Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan) and the South Pacific (Cook Islands and Kiribati). He has also trained lawyers in New Zealand and legislative drafters in the Caribbean.

His former clients include the World Bank, IMF, UNDP, European Commission, Commonwealth Secretariat, and UNICEF.

Since 2009, he has been one of several Legislative Counsel in the Law Officers’ Chambers in Guernsey. His work includes drafting legislation, advising law enforcement and prison officers, advising on regulatory enforcement and prosecutions, and advising on the interpretation and application of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. His professional areas of practice include prison, customs, imports and exports, medicines, controlled drugs, medical and health professions, and police complaints.

You can view his profile at: https://gg.linkedin.com/in/roy-lee-32390610

To register, and accompanying terms & conditions, download flyer & registration form, complete and return to organiser with payment.

Constitutional Law Lecture Series – Inaugural Lecture: “Reclaiming Our Federal Constitution – Preserve, Protect & Defend”

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The Federal Constitution as the supreme law of the Federation preserves the central pillars of democratic governance and rule of law in the country. It goes without saying that all Malaysians must be armed with the knowledge of the Federal Constitution, an understanding of the rights and limits of the institutions of the government, and the rights of every Malaysian.

Nevertheless, how many of us know what is in the Federal Constitution? How many of us are aware of our rights enshrined in the Federal Constitution? More importantly, why must we all know and understand the Federal Constitution?

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

5:30pm : Registration
5:50pm : Welcome Speech by Organisers
6:00pm: Inaugural Lecture by Yang Amat Mulia Tunku Zain Al’Abidin ibni Tuanku Muhriz
6:30pm: Interactive Session
7:30pm : Light Refreshments

constilawlectureseries

Jeffrey Cheah Distinguished Speakers Series | Lecture on Human Rights and Religion

The Jeffrey Cheah Distinguished Speakers Series (JCDSS) at Sunway University seeks to give the community and the public an opportunity to listen to outstanding experts speak on a variety of issues, providing a platform for intellectual discourse and lifelong learning.

This is one of the many activities which Sunway University has embarked on to further boost its Social Responsibility efforts in education. All public lectures under the Series are free and open to the public. All are invited.

This lecture by John Bowers QC, Principal of Brasenose College, University of Oxford, UK, will be held at 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm, at Auditorium JC 2, Level 1, Sunway University (New Building), Jalan Universiti, Bandar Sunway, 47500 Selangor, on 16 Dec 2015 (Wednesday).  Admission is free.

Please register using the link posted at : http://sunway.edu.my/university/JCDSS

Jeffrey Cheah Distinguished Speakers Series | Lecture on Human Rights and Religion (16 Dec 2015)

Jeffrey Cheah Distinguished Speakers Series | Lecture on Human Rights and Religion (16 Dec 2015)