Human Rights Day 2019 – HAKAM Urges Government to Expedite Pro-Human Rights Reforms

In conjunction with Human Rights Day on 10th December 2019, HAKAM urges the Government to expeditiously fulfill its manifesto promises in respect of human rights reforms.

There is no doubt that the Government has achieved praiseworthy progress on the human rights front. Some of these include:

  • lowering the voting age to 18;
  • automatic voter registration;
  • abolishing the Anti-Fake News Act 2018;
  • amending the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012;
  • creating the environment for a relatively freer press;
  • appointing independent & credible judges to key positions in the Judiciary;
  • tabling SUHAKAM report for debate in Parliament for the first time in 19 years; and
  • establishing a Parliamentary Select Committee on Human Rights & Constitutional Affairs and a Parliamentary Select Committee on Gender Equality & Family Development;

But the Pakatan Harapan Government was elected on 9th May 2018 by an electorate which expects more substantial human rights reforms and cementing of the rule of law. It has been 1 ½ years since the Government was elected into power, yet there is much more that needs to be done.

HAKAM hereby urges the Government to quicken its pace and to steadfastly carry out the following human rights reforms in Malaysia:

  • Establish an effective Independent Police Complaints & Misconduct Commission (IPCMC);
  • Abolish the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA);
  • Abolish the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015 (POTA);
  • Abolish the Prevention of Crime Act 1959;
  • Abolish the Sedition Act 1948;
  • Abolish the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984;
  • Abolish the National Security Council Act 2016;
  • Abolish the death penalty in all forms; and
  • Enact a Freedom of Information Act

There will no doubt be forces which will resist such reforms. But all of these reforms are promises which were made in the Pakatan Harapan manifesto. The Government must be bold and resolute in fulfilling the same.

Rest assured that civil society and many segments of the rakyat will be behind the Government in carrying out such reforms.

Lim Wei Jiet

Secretary-General of HAKAM

Special committee set up to study security laws

Source: Borneo Post

KUALA LUMPUR: The Home Ministry has set up a special committee to review existing laws, especially those in relation to national security which are allegedly contrary to human rights, its Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said.

Muhyiddin said the committee, which was set up last week, is chaired by the ministry’s Secretary-General Datuk Seri Alwi Ibrahim.

“We will look at and review the laws that come under the Home Ministry. Among those raised are the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA), the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015 (POTA) and the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (POCA).

“Our goal is to determine in implementing domestic laws the people do not feel that they are being used  for political purposes, to punish certain parties due to differences in ideology and so on,” he said. Read more

Muhyiddin: Home ministry to review seven ‘unsuitable’ national security laws

Source: The Malay Mail

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin speaks at the Department of Home Affairs in Putrajaya May 22, 2018. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana

PUTRAJAYA, May 22 — The Home Ministry will review seven laws relating to national security which are no longer suitable in today’s landscape, said the new Home Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

He said these laws were the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, Sedition Act 1948, Peaceful Assembly Act 2012,  Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (Poca), Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma), Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015 (Pota), and mandatory death sentence.

Muhyiddin said the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam), non-governmental organisations and social activists would be asked to give their views on these laws.

“These laws will be reviewed and, if necessary, replaced. It will need a bit of time, but not up to five years until the next general election,” he told reporters when asked for the time needed to complete the review.

Muhyiddin was speaking at his first press conference as the new Home Minister after attending a briefing given by heads of departments and agencies under the ministry. — Bernama

Poca, Sosma detention rose considerably in 2016, Suaram report shows

Source: The Malay Mail Online

According to Suaram’s statistical breakdown, 102 people were detained for terrorism offences under Sosma, 39 for human trafficking and immigration offences, while other cases totaled 45. Pic from AFP.

KUALA LUMPUR, June 6 — There has been a considerable increase in the number of detentions under the Prevention of Crime Act (Poca) as well as the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 last year, Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) said in its 2016 Human Rights Report released today.

In the report, Suaram said 189 cases Sosma detentions were recorded by the NGO last year, as compared to less than 50 cases in 2015.

According to the report, 278 arrests were also made under Poca.

According to Suaram’s statistical breakdown, 102 people were detained for terrorism offences under Sosma, 39 for human trafficking and immigration offences, while other cases totaled 45. Read more

Retrenchment fund focus of May Day rally by 15 NGOs, PSM

Source: FMT News

Authorities must address issues faced by workers who have lost their jobs due to companies going bankrupt, relocation or even the government's budget cuts, says group. Pic from FMT News.

Authorities must address issues faced by workers who have lost their jobs due to companies going bankrupt, relocation or even the government’s budget cuts, says group. Pic from FMT News.

KUALA LUMPUR: A peaceful rally will be held on May 1, in conjunction with International Workers’s Day, which is also known as Labour Day, demanding the government start a fund for the benefit of workers who have been retrenched.

The organising committee comprising 15 NGOs and Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) held a press conference today announcing the assembly, which is called “Hilang Kerja, Pekerja Merana: Worker’s Retrenchment Fund Now!”

The key demand for the establishment of a workers retrenchment fund is to address issues faced by workers who have lost their jobs due to companies going bankrupt, relocation or even budget cuts by the government. Read more

Countering religious fundamentalism: Lessons from Malaysia

Source: Channel NewsAsia

Malaysia police arrest 3 suspected Islamic State militants planning attacks on the eve of National Day. (Photo: Malaysian police counter terrorism unit)

Malaysia police arrest 3 suspected Islamic State militants planning attacks on the eve of National Day. (Photo: Malaysian police counter terrorism unit)

SINGAPORE: Individuals tend to be drawn to fundamentalist ideology out of a desire to escape personal, familial, or social problems, rather than out of religious piousness, said Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

This understanding can inform how authorities should counter the influence and spread of religious fundamentalism, noted Mr Zahid, who shared key lessons from Malaysia in a keynote address at the Asia-Europe Counter-Terrorism Dialogue on Tuesday (Nov 1).

“Young girls, as young as 14 years old, from Malaysia were also influenced. She was caught at the airport when she was about to board the plane. She was so attracted by the young, handsome, bearded potential husband,” he said, adding that the girl had been radicalised through materials on the internet.

“Why was she influenced? It’s not because of religious belief… It’s because of escapism, because they would like to get out of the problems that they are facing in their family, in the society, with employers.” Read more

IGP: New security laws ‘better than ISA’

Source: The Malay Mail Online

PUTRAJAYA, July 26 ― There is no need to revive the abolished Internal Security Act (ISA) as the newly legislated security laws are much more effective, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said today.

The Inspector General of Police (IGP) said that laws like the Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota) has made the ISA irrelevant.

“We don’t need ISA anymore, we have Poca, Sosma and Poca. I think these combined laws are better than ISA.

“We can forget about ISA, because we are more comfortable now with these new laws. We are confident we can maintain law, peace and order with these laws,” he told reporters during a press conference today after attending the Asean Police (Aseanapol) conference here today.

The other laws that Khalid was referring to is the Prevention of Crime Act (Poca) and the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act [Sosma]. Read more

Suhakam: POTA, Sedition Act tweaks regressive

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Suhakam vice-chairman Datuk Dr Khaw Lake Tee speaks to the media at a press conference on current affairs, August 24, 2015. — Picture by Zurairi AR

Suhakam vice-chairman Datuk Dr Khaw Lake Tee speaks to the media at a press conference on current affairs, August 24, 2015. — Picture by Zurairi AR

KUALA LUMPUR, April 20 — The National Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) reiterated today its demand for the abolition of the Sedition Act 1948 on grounds that the law contravened freedom of speech.

The Commission, in its 2015 report, also called the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015 (POTA) regressive, citing provisions of the law that allow for arbitrary detention without trial which Suhakam said violated one’s constitutional guarantee for a fair hearing.

“The commission in various settings has expressed its views on the use of the Sedition Act. The use of Sedition Act is unjustified as the authorities may seek recourse through other laws or legal remedies.

“The commission since its inception has continually urged and called upon the government to repeal the Sedition Act to give full meaning to citizens’ right to freedom of expression and speech as enshrined under Article 10 of the Federal Constitution,” the report said.

Suhakam said while it acknowledged the positives in the amendments made to the British colonial-inherited law, it maintained its position that the continued use of the Sedition Act was unjustified.

On POTA, Suhakam vice chairman Datuk Dr Khaw Lake Tee described the anti-terrorism law as “a step forward and two steps backwards”.

MORE TO COME

The current state of human rights in Malaysia – Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari

Source: Malaysiakini

BY KUTHUBUL ZAMAN BUKHARI

The federal constitution of Malaysia provides guarantees and safeguards of the various fundamental rights and liberties of its citizens and people. These fundamental rights and liberties can be found in Articles 5 to 13 of the federal constitution. Though these rights are clearly enshrined in our constitution, of late, there has been a total breakdown in the rule of law and these rights have openly been trampled by those in power.

In a year where a major corruption scandal came to light and the persecution of opposition leaders and activists, 2015 saw a steep plummet in the Malaysian government’s respect for human rights. In an effort to hush up any criticisms, the powers that be have intensified their crackdown on the freedoms of the Malaysian people.

Article 8 (1) of the federal constitution provides that all persons are equal before the law and are entitled to its equal protection. However, are the laws applied equally to everyone in Malaysia?? It comes to no surprise that the answer to that question is a resounding “No”. Read more

Hak asasi manusia di Malaysia mundur dengan Akta MKN, kata Suhakam

Sumber: The Malaysian Insider

Hak asasi manusia di Malaysia makin mundur jika Rang Undang-undang Majlis Keselamatan Negara (MKN) 2015 dijadikan sebahagian undang-undang negara, kata Pengerusi Suruhanjaya Hak Asasi Manusia (Suhakam) Tan Sri Hasmy Agam. – Gambar fail The Malaysian Insider, 3 Januari, 2016.

Malaysia akan semakin mundur daripada segi hak asasi manusianya jika Rang Undang-undang (RUU) Majlis Keselamatan Negara (MKN) 2015 dijadikan sebahagian undang-undang negara, kata Pengerusi Suruhanjaya Hak Asasi Manusia (Suhakam) Tan Sri Hasmy Agam.

Dalam satu wawancara sebelum berakhirnya tempoh perkhidmatan beliau pada April, Hasmy berkata, beliau melihat hak asasi manusia di negara ini sekurang-kurangnya sejak 5 tahun lalu sehingga kini, tidak menyaksikan perubahan besar.

Ini kerana, langkah positif yang diambil seperti memansuhkan Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri (ISA) kemudiannya dibatalkan dengan penggubalan undang-undang baru yang menyekat kebebasan awam.

Komen Hasmy ini mengungkapkan satu tahun yang gelap daripada segi hak asasi manusia di Malaysia ketika Putrajaya mengukuhkan lagi undang-undang yang menyekat kebebasan bersuara dan pihak berkuasa mengambil tindakan keras terhadap pengkritik pentadbiran Najib.

“Setakat ini, kita (Malaysia) tidak banyak melakukan perubahan besar. Walaupun terdapat beberapa perkembangan positif seperti pemansuhan ISA, terdapat juga perubahan yang meletakkan kita jauh ke belakang dalam hak asasi manusia. Read more