Hundreds protest against government in new year rally

Source: The Malaysian Insight

The Malaysian Insight

Malaysians protesting against Prime Minister Najib Razak and his government in the streets of Kuala Lumpur, just an hour before the 2018 New Year celebration at Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur on yesterday. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Nazir Sufari, January 1, 2018.

HUNDREDS of Malaysians ushered in the New Year with a rally in central Kuala Lumpur against the Najib administration and demanded that petrol prices be brought down in 2018.

Protestors at the “Turun” rally flooded Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman in front of the Sogo shopping complex where they began to chant ‘Turun Minyak, Turun Najib’’ (bring down petrol prices, down with Najib).

The 500-strong crowd of mostly activists and politicians then started marching towards Dataran Merdeka at 11pm to the beat of drums.

The crowd marched peacefully and stopped about 30m in front of Dataran Merdeka where they were prevented from going any further by police.

After more singing and cheering, the group began to disperse at 11.45pm as part of the conditions set by police.  Read more

Street protest: Three activists need not enter defence for now

Source: Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 12 — The High Court here today has deferred its decision to summon three activists, including two assemblymen, to enter their defence against a charge of participating in a street protest, two years ago.

Judge Datuk Azman Abdullah arrived at the decision after finding that there were constitutional issues involved.

The three individuals are Teja assemblyman Chang Lih Kang, 37, Semambu assemblyman Lee Chean Chung, 36, and special officer to the Batu Member of Parliament, Rozan Azen Mat Rasip, 40.

The deferment is due to an almost similar case involving activist Adam Adli Abdul Halim who was acquitted and discharged by the Magistrate’s Court here on Nov 27 of all charges of participating in the #KitaLawan rally two years ago. Read more

TTDI residents fume over broken promises as developer gains ground

Source: The Malay Mail Online

People attend a protest against a proposed condominium project that would encroach into Taman Rimba Kiara in Taman Tun Dr Ismail. ― Picture by Azneal Ishak

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 26 ― Over 300 people attended a sit-in protest at Taman Rimba Kiara in Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) today over continued inaction by authorities while a threat to the green lung grows more imminent.

Some attendees were irate that there has been no update from the authorities, especially when Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor pledged during a November 3 town hall meeting to confer again with concerned groups.

Instead of another meeting, however, they learned that the  Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) has given the developer of the offending project approval to build a showroom, even as a lawsuit by some residents to stop the development remains before the courts.

Save Taman Rimba Kiara group co-ordinator Leon Koay said they have tried repeatedly to contact Tengku Adnan to follow up on the matter, but to no avail.

“We feel perplexed by their silence. When we were at the forum, the minister seemed serious in exchanging information with us on Taman Rimba Kiara; however, now it seems that is not the case,” he said. Read more

Address discrimination back home before championing Rohingya rights, Putrajaya told

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Maina Kiai (left), UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Assembly, speaking at Institut Integriti Malaysia (IIM) in Kuala Lumpur, December 5, 2016. — Picture by Choo Choy May

Maina Kiai (left), UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Assembly, speaking at Institut Integriti Malaysia (IIM) in Kuala Lumpur, December 5, 2016. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 5 — A United Nations (UN) representative today lauded Malaysia’s efforts to fight for the marginalised Rohingya community, but said that the country should also address human rights issues back home.

“I am really happy to see Malaysian government take up Rohingya issues. That is a great thing to do, but it should also take up issues in own countries.

“Have the same concern for discrimination in Malaysia. For election reforms in Malaysia,” the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the rights to peaceful assembly and association Maina Kiai said today.

“But we should also ask them to have the same amount of concern for issues domestic and international. Not just about Rohingyas. We want Rohingyas to exercise their right, but we also want Malaysians to exercise their right,” he added. Read more

Testing time for the Constitution — Shad Saleem Faruqi

Source: The Star Online

BY SHAD SALEEM FARUQI

Shad Saleem Faruqi - file pic

Shad Saleem Faruqi – file pic

Two Bills and several recent developments are giving legal experts plenty to talk about.

IT has been an extraordinary fortnight for constitutional lawyers. A multitude of issues has surged up against the Constitution. There are two important Bills in Parliament and a number of developments that impact constitutionalism in the country.
Read more

Monash University told to issue ‘genuine apology’ after Malaysia protest warning

Source: The Guardian

Monash University is under increasing pressure to issue a “genuine apology” for appearing to threaten its Malaysian students with disciplinary action if they took part in anti-government street protests.

The university has apologised for an email it sent last week warning students at its Malaysian campus not to take part in the protests, which have called for greater government transparency and accountability following a multibillion-dollar misappropriation scandal.

The email, sent by the registrar of Monash University Malaysia, Dr Susheela Nair, suggested the gatherings may be “illegal” and warned students against any involvement.

“You are advised not to participate in any illegal gathering/related activity which contravenes Malaysian laws,” he wrote. “Any student found to be participating in such gathering/activity or who is arrested by the authorities for doing so may be subjected to disciplinary proceedings.”

The email was widely interpreted as a threat by Monash students in Malaysia and many took to social media, attacking the university for undermining their democratic rights.

Following a significant backlash online, the university issued an apology the next day, stating that the email “did not properly convey the intent of the message”. Read more

Parliamentarians call on Malaysian authorities to release Bersih activist

Source: Asean Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR)

maria-chin_law_6001_1aphr-logoJAKARTA — Parliamentarians from across Southeast Asia today joined the growing chorus of civil society groups and human rights advocates calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Maria Chin Abdullah, Chairperson of Bersih 2.0, a movement for clean government and free and fair elections in Malaysia.

MPs also called for the repeal of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA), an anti-terror law which was invoked following Ms. Chin’s arrest on Friday.

“SOSMA is a security law designed to arrest terrorists. There is no justification for its use in this case and it is clearly being abused. Maria Chin Abdullah is not a terrorist; she is a human rights defender and a committed citizen promoting peaceful public activism. She must be immediately and unconditionally released,” said Charles Santiago, a member of the Malaysian Parliament and Chairperson of ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR).

Maria Chin Abdullah was arrested the night of Friday, 18 November under Section 124C of the Penal Code, which outlaws “attempts to commit an activity detrimental to parliamentary democracy.” On Saturday authorities revealed that she was also being investigated under SOSMA, which allows for her detention without charge for up to 28 days. Read more

Malaysia should drop charges and release Bersih organisers and supporters — Human rights groups

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 21 — The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD), Fortify Rights, Human Rights Watch, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), and Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA), acting as international observers of the Bersih 5 rallies and related events, are calling on the Malaysian authorities to drop all charges against the Bersih organisers and activists. The authorities should return all items confiscated from the Bersih offices and stop making further arbitrary arrests in connection with these events. We consider these arrests to be violations of the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (or in Malay “Gabungan Pilihanraya Bersih dan Adil”), otherwise known as Bersih (which means “clean” in Malay), is a coalition formed in 2006 by Malaysian non-governmental organisations calling for free, clean, and fair elections. Since its founding, Bersih has organised four previous peaceful assemblies. These public assemblies have attracted support from thousands of Malaysians throughout the country and among Malaysians living abroad. In the past year, Bersih faced harassment from multiple sources, including the Malaysian Government, which has leveled charges against Bersih and its chair Maria Chin Abdullah for organising and participating in peaceful activities.

To date, four Bersih organising committee members and more than 20 pro-Bersih supporters are currently facing a range of criminal charges, including under Section 124(c), 147, 153 and 511 of the Penal Code and the Sedition Act. The arrests were made in the lead up to and after the Bersih 5 rallies that took place on November 19, 2016 in Kuala Lumpur and other locations in Malaysia. Read more

Putrajaya promised not to use Sosma for dissent, lawyers say

Source: The Malay Mail Online

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 21 — Putrajaya reneged on its pledge never to apply the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012, or Sosma, against political dissent when it used the law against Bersih 2.0 chief Maria Chin Abdullah, civil liberties lawyers said.

They pointed out that this was even codified in the Act itself, and stressed that the law was meant to address terrorism and violent uprisings rather than peaceful rallies such as the Bersih 5 organised by Maria’s group.

In 2012, the government took pains to convince the public that the preventive detention in Sosma would never be used in the same way as the repealed Internal Security Act that it was meant to replace.

“Section 4(3) of Sosma states that ‘No person shall be arrested and detained under this section purely for his political belief or political activity’,” lawyer New Sin Yew told Malay Mail Online.

“One of the definitions of ‘political belief or political activity’ under Section 4(12) of Sosma is engaging in a lawful activity through ‘the expression of an opinion directed towards any Government in the Federation’.”

“The work and activities of Maria and Bersih are lawful. The courts in the past have held that Bersih is a lawful organisation and the public assemblies held were lawful,” he added. Read more

Suhakam presses Putrajaya to explain pre-rally dragnet

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Protesters sit on the road at Jalan Ampang during the Bersih 5 rally in Kuala Lumpur November 2016. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

Protesters sit on the road at Jalan Ampang during the Bersih 5 rally in Kuala Lumpur November 2016. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 20 — Authorities had no reason to detain over a dozen activists and political leaders before and after the Bersih 5 yesterday, the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) said today.

In a statement commending Malaysians for exercising their right to assemble, the commission also pointed out that the Bersih 5 rally in Kuala Lumpur as well as associated events nationwide proceeded peacefully despite police action.

“Suhakam cannot find justification in the arrests of several key assembly organisers,” it said in a statement. Read more