NHRAP should be totally rewritten — Proham

Source: Malaysiakini

By Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari & Denison Jayasooria,
The Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham)

The Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham) calls for a total rewrite of the National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP) to ensure that it is consistent with global human rights standards.

Further, Proham calls on political parties in GE14 to declare their commitment to human rights.

Proham is greatly disappointed with the Malaysian government for its lacklustre commitment to human rights as reflected in its formulation of the National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP) as mandated by the Vienna Convention and subsequently suggested by Suhakam in 2001 and also recommended by the Universal Periodical Review (UPR) in 2009 and 2013. Read more

Renewed calls for IPCMC after failure to stop custodial deaths

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, March 2 — Civil society groups have renewed calls for the government to establish an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), calling the current Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) an organisation without “bite”.

In a public forum organised by the Bar Council Task Force on IPCMC today and in collaboration with several other human rights groups at the Bar Council’s new headquarters near Dataran Merdeka, they insisted that the EAIC had failed to stop deaths in custody.

Other participants included representatives from the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam), Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram), National Human Rights Society (Hakam), the Promotion of Human Rights Malaysia (Proham), and Eliminating Deaths and Abuse in Custody Together (EDICT). Read more

Proham: Denying school for stateless children violates UN treaty signed by Malaysia

Source: Free Malaysia Today

picture of class room

Pic drawn from FMT News

Proham says as a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the government has a duty to uphold its commitment to the protection and welfare of all children.

PETALING JAYA: The Immigration Department’s policy requiring stateless children to have a passport before they can attend school is preposterous and violates an international treaty that Malaysia is part of, a rights group said in the wake of a report that a stateless child had been turned away by a school in Negeri Sembilan.

The Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham) said Malaysia was a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, making it the government’s duty to uphold its commitment to the protection and welfare of all children.

“Children’s rights under the convention include the right to association with both parents, human identity, physical protection, food, universal state-paid education, healthcare and the child’s civil rights,” said its chairman Kuthubul Zaman and secretary-general Ivy Josiah.

“Hence, all states being parties to the convention must ensure and guarantee these rights to each and every child irrespective of whether they are citizens, stateless or refugees.” Read more

Malaysians call for corporal punishment to be banned in ALL schools

A petition to the Malaysian Government – The Cabinet
(Click here to sign this petition)

Malaysians call for corporal punishment to be banned in ALL schools

The death of 11-year-old schoolboy Mohamad Thaqif Amin Mohd Gadaffi , who was allegedly abused by his school warden has painfully showed us that corporal punishment has no place in schools. His prayers and pleas as he endured suffering from being beaten on his legs are a stark testimony that no child must ever again experience such abuse and humiliation or death. His pleas to his parents to rescue him are testimony to his suffering in a place that has been his second home.

We, the citizens of Malaysia echo SUHAKAM‘s (National Human Rights Commission of Malaysia) call to reform laws to introduce a clear ban on corporal punishment in all educational institutions as a matter of policy. Read more

Groups upset over lack of female appointments to JAC

Source: The Star Online

Datuk Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari - Pic from the Star.

Datuk Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari – Pic from the Star.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Prime Minister’s appointments to the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) fell short of the Government’s 30% quota for women, said several civil society groups.

The JAC comprises nine members: four are automatic – the Chief Justice, President of the Court of Appeal, Chief Judge of Malaya and Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak; and five are appointed by the Prime Minister – four eminent persons and one Federal Court judge.

The eminent persons and Federal Court Judge’s posts, which were vacant for 66 days, were filled on April 17 and all five were men.

The Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham) chairman Datuk Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari said the body was concerned that there was not a single woman among the four eminent persons. Read more

How to run elections: Rights group points EC to India, New Zealand

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Proham chairman Datuk Kuthubul Zaman highlighted the public’s perception that the EC lacked independence. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

Proham chairman Datuk Kuthubul Zaman highlighted the public’s perception that the EC lacked independence. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 7 — The Election Commission (EC) could be remodelled after its counterparts in India and New Zealand for greater checks and balances in the way it runs elections, the Society of the Promotion of Human Rights Malaysia (Proham) suggests.

Proham chairman Datuk Kuthubul Zaman highlighted the public’s perception that the EC lacked independence, noting among other things that the voting regulator is parked under the Prime Minister’s Department and have its members appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan

Agong on the prime minister’s advice.

“So I think we need to learn lessons from different democracies,” he said at a roundtable discussion last night. Read more

PROHAM Roundtable on Redelineation Exercise: Enhancing parliamentary democracy or undermining it?

PROHAM RTD ON REDELINEATION EXERCISE: “ENHANCING PARLIAMENTARY DEMOCRACY OR UNDERMINING IT?”

DATE: Oct 6, 2016 (Thurs)
Time:  5.30 – 7.30pm
Venue: Brickfields Asia College ( BAC), Jalan Utara, Section 14, Petaling Jaya.

PANEL:

  • Datuk Kuthubul Zaman (PROHAM Chairman)
  • Representative from the Election Commission (Invited)
  • YB Dr Ong Kian Ming (Member of Parliament)
  • Dr Wong Chin Huat, (Penang Institute)

Moderator: Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria (PROHAM Secretary General)

You may pre-register by emailing your name, organization and phone number by Oct 5, to: prohamsecretariat@gmail.com


PROHAM PRESS RELEASE: UPHOLDING CITIZENS RIGHTS & BEST INTEREST IN THE REDELINATION EXERCISE: A CALL BY PROHAM

PROHAM notes with concern the recent proposals by the Election Commission (EC) in its proposed redelineation exercise which the EC announced recently which has implications for 12 parliamentary and 34 state seats. There is a public outcry on this matter and expressions of distrust from different sections of the political divide.

PROHAM reiterates that the exercise of redelineation of constituencies is a fundamental process in parliamentary democracy and that this exercise must be publicly viewed as a non-partisan exercise thereby instilling public confidence in the process and outcomes.

It is of utmost important that such a redelination exercise must be undertaken in an environment of public trust. The exercise must be viewed by all parties as transparent, just and fair with no political advantage for any one political party or group, noting the democratic principle of one citizen – one vote principle.

In this proposed exercise it seems that the size of the constituency matters as some of the urban parliamentary constituencies are extremely large in contrast to the rural and semi urban seats. This matter must be urgently reviewed so as to ensure that the citizens’ democratic rights are well protected.

PROHAM notes the stipulated period for review and objections and calls on political parties and citizen groups to organise parliamentary and state level talks and reviews to encourage active voter participation in this process. This can enhance voter education and active citizen participation in the objection and public hearing process.

Additionally, PROHAM calls on the Election Commission to undertake some proactive public awareness sessions with registered voters at the affected parliamentary and state level before the end of the objection period. This could reduce the level of distrust and scepticism in the public discussions and redelination exercise.

PROHAM encourages an active citizenry participation in this exercise by in-depth review and filing of objections so as to enhance parliamentary democracy.

Issued on behalf of PROHAM by Datuk Kuthubul Zaman (PROHAM Chair),  Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria (PROHAM Secretary General) & Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam (PROHAM Member).

September 22, 2016

Important to widen our view on terror

Source: The Star Online

The bad guys: A file picture of members of the Abu Sayyaf militant group operating in southern Philippines. In 2014, the Abu Sayyaf declared allegiance to the Islamic State. Pic taken from The Star Online.

The bad guys: A file picture of members of the Abu Sayyaf militant group operating in southern Philippines. In 2014, the Abu Sayyaf declared allegiance to the Islamic State. Pic taken from The Star Online.

THERE is nothing Islamic about the so-called “Islamic State militant group” – how many times have we heard this from terror experts, religious scholars and enforcement authorities?

Even Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has noted that the perverted ideology of IS has no place in Islam.

Unfortunately in Malaysia, we cannot escape from religion in discussions about radicalisation and violent extremism, said Nicholas Chan, research director with Iman Research.

As Chan pointed out at the recent Civil Society Conference on National Security in Kuala Lumpur, this is because Islam is entrenched in our security framework.

“National security in Malaysia has been defined largely in religious terms since the early 1980s (especially with the ulama takeover of PAS after party president Tan Sri Mohamad Asri Muda stepped down).

“And since our security is invariably linked to Islam, any discussion of security threats also goes back to the religion, despite our leaders, like the PM, trying very hard to disassociate Islam from groups like IS,” he said. Read more

Better safe than sorry?

Source: The Star Online

Public protection: Military and police personnel guarding KL Sentral. Pic taken from the Star Online.

Public protection: Military and police personnel guarding KL Sentral. Pic taken from the Star Online.

Civil society groups vow to continue questioning the constitutionality of the newly enacted National Security Council Act 2016.

THE army is trained to kill (in combat). They are not trained to engage civilians….”

Former Royal Malaysian Air Force officer Lt-Col (Rtd) Mohd Daud Sulaiman warned of the dangers of using the military in internal security operations, as provided for by the newly enacted National Security Council (NSC) Act 2016.

“The use of the military in internal security operations must be done with care because the way the military is trained and carries out its business is not the same as other enforcement authorities,” he said.

Mohd Daud was one of the speakers at the Civil Society Conference on National Security in Kuala Lumpur held on 18 August 2016, organised by members of civil society, including Amnesty International Malaysia, the National Human Rights Society (Hakam), Institut Rakyat, Persatuan Promosi Hak Asasi Malaysia (Proham) and Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram). Read more

Government urged to address issue of unilateral conversion

Source: The Malay Mail Online

S. Deepa speaks to members of the media at the Federal Court in Putrajaya. — Picture by Yusoff Mat Isa

S. Deepa speaks to members of the media at the Federal Court in Putrajaya. — Picture by Yusoff Mat Isa

PETALING JAYA — The government’s move to give civil courts full jurisdiction in divorce and custody cases involving spouses who convert to Islam has led to discussions on the issue of unilateral conversion.

Lawyer Fahri Azzat, welcoming the announcement on Thursday by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, said the proposed amendments had taken a long time coming as the idea was first discussed in 2009.

“Firstly, the general idea that the converting spouse should be held accountable under civil law is an excellent notion,” he said.

Fahri said this could resolve the issue of conflicting orders such as was the case with his client S. Deepa who obtained a civil order in the custody battle over her two children with her former husband, Izwan Abdullah, obtaining a Shariah court order.

However, he was wary of the issue of unilateral conversion in which the converting spouse had the right to convert his/her child.

Fahri believed children should have the right to decide even before they become majors.

Najib had said the government will table a bill amending the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 when Parliament resumes in October.

Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham) executive committee member Ivy Josiah, who welcomed the announcement, wants the government to address the issue of unilateral conversion. Read more