Archive for category Constitution

Gani Patail fuelling worst crisis of confidence in nation’s history over the role and powers of Attorney-General

The Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail is fuelling the worst crisis of confidence in the nation’s history over the role and powers of the Attorney-General (AG) as a result of his silence over the escalating controversy over non-prosecution of Perkasa President Ibrahim Ali for his threat to burn the Malay-language Bible on the one hand and the sedition blitzkrieg against scores of Malaysians who did not make incendiary statements to create a climate of fear on the other.

This is because the continued absence of satisfactory accountability and acceptable explanation that there have been no arbitrary abuse of the AG’s prosecutorial discretion as highlighted by the decision not to prosecute Ibrahim Ali despite the threat to burn the Malay-language Bible and the mass sedition blitzkrieg have raised serious questions whether the Attorney-General is committed to uphold the Rule of Law and to act as guardian of the public interest.

Gani’s predecessors as Attorney-General, Tan Sri Abu Talib from 1980 to 1993 and Tan Sri Mokhtar Abdullah (1994 – 2000) had their controversies when they served under the country’s most controversial Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir but Gani Patail had put both Talib and Mokhtar in the shade both in the volume and gravity of controversies since becoming AG in 2002.

Gani has gained another distinction of having been criticized by his predecessor, as last month Talib excoriated Gani Patail for undertaking to review the sedition cases against Pakatan Rakyat leaders, academicians and social activists like Prof Dr. Azmi Sharom after the charges were framed, as the barrage of sedition charges came across as “persecution” and not “prosecution”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Has Malaysia got the most powerful Attorney-General in the Commonwealth who is more powerful than the Prime Minister and Cabinet and is not bound by any principle of accountability to Parliament and the nation for the exercise of his discretionary powers

I refer to yesterday’s Malay Mail Online (MMO) report with the headline: “DAP vows to hound Nancy Shukri over Ibrahim Ali’s Bible-burning threat”.

The MMO headline is wrong and misleading as I had never made any vow, threat or statement to justify the headline “DAP vows to hound Nancy Shukri over Ibrahim Ali’s Bible-burning threat”.

For the record, this was what I said in my statement yesterday:

“It may seem unfair that Nancy had been hounded for over two weeks for her parliamentary answer that Ibrahim Ali was not prosecuted for his threat to burn the Malay-language Bible, but this national outrage will not cease simply because right-thinking Malaysians cannot accept the two reasons which had been given for the Attorney-General’s decision not to prosecute – that Ibrahim was protecting the sanctity of Islam and Ibrahim’s action was protected by Article 11(4) of the Constitution.

“Ibrahim Ali’s threat to burn the Malay-language Bible and his ability to get away scot-free enjoying immunity from any sanctions of the law will continue to dog Nancy wherever she goes in the country until the Najib government can give a satisfactory and acceptable accounting on the matter.”

It is not that DAP would “hound” Nancy over the issue, but that she would be dogged by the issue wherever she goes in any part of the country, as this would be the question uppermost in the minds of Malaysians, including the media when they meet her, as the gross miscarriage of justice of the non-prosecution of Ibrahim Ali over such provocative and incendiary threat is so palpable that it stands out in direct contrast to the “white terror” regime of sedition blitz launched recently by the government, resulting in the investigation or prosecution of some 40 Pakatan Rakyat leaders, social activists, academicians and members of the press under the Sedition Act and other laws for the most legitimate and inoffensive expression of views. Read the rest of this entry »

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Nancy is forgetful and confused

– Ravinder Singh
The Malaysian Insider
21 October 2014

In one breath Nancy said that her parliamentary reply “would have been similar, if the threat was to burn the Quran”.

In the very next breath she said “But I had to answer based on what was done, what was carried out. Based on their analysis, there wasn’t enough evidence (to charge), that is their answer,”

So, can Nancy clarify: if the answer she gave was “their answer”, how could she assure the public that “if the threat was to burn the Quran”, “their answer” would be the same, for she would only be reading “their answer” again. No?

She is all confused. While saying that the answer she gave was “their reply”, she is at the same time asserting that it was her reply. For only if it were her own reply, could she give an assurance that she would give the same reply if the threat was to burn the Quran.

If somebody takes her courageous words to heart and threatens to burn the Quran, can she guarantee that her reply would be the same? How would that be since the reply would be prepared by the A-G Chambers, or would she do a ‘copy and paste’ job and would the A-G let her do so? He might charge her for plagiarism. Read the rest of this entry »

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Nancy is right that Cabinet cannot decide prosecutions for AG but wrong when she implied Cabinet is impotent or must accept an AG guilty of selective or malicious prosecution

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Nancy Shukri is right when she said today that the Cabinet could not make decisions on charges against Perkasa President Ibrahim Ali as this would be tantamount to meddling in the prosecutorial discretion of the Attorney-General stipulated in the Constitution.

But Nancy is wrong when she implied that the Cabinet is impotent or must accept an Attorney-General who is guilty of selective or malicious prosecution, like the failure to prosecute Perkasa President Ibrahim Ali despite his threat to burn the Malay-language Bible or the “white terror” regime of sedition blitzkrieg since the beginning of this year to investigate or prosecute some 40 Pakatan Rakyat leaders, social activists, academicians and members of the press under the Sedition Act and other laws for the most legitimate and inoffensive expression of views.

While the Cabinet cannot interfere with the Attorney-General’s prosecutorial discretion under Article 145(3) of the Constitution, Cabinet Ministers, in particular the Prime Minister and the Minister vested with the powers of de facto Law Minister, cannot be indifferent to prevalent public opinion that the Attorney General was responsible for grave miscarriage of justice, whether in the failure to prosecute Ibrahim Ali for his threat to burn the Malay-language Bible threatening the very fabric of Malaysia’s multi-racial and multi-religious society or had violated the larger policy objective of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet to make Malaysia “the best democracy of the world” with the mass dragnet of sedition investigations and prosecutions.

Or is the Cabinet now claiming that the pledge to make Malaysia the world’s best democracy is the personal and individual promise of the Prime Minister, and that he had no mandate to make it on behalf of the Cabinet or Malaysian Government? Read the rest of this entry »

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Cabinet must take collective Ministerial stand to endorse or dissociate from Nancy Shukri’s parliamentary answer that Ibrahim Ali is not prosecuted for his threat to burn Malay-language Bible as he was defending sanctity of Islam and protected by Article 11(4) of the Constitution

The Cabinet at its meeting today must take collective Ministerial stand to endorse or dissociate from the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Nancy Shukri’s parliamentary answer to the Penang Chief Minister and Bagan Member of Parliament Lim Guan Eng that Perkasa President, Datuk Ibrahim Ali is not prosecuted for his threat to burn the Malay-language Bible as Ibrahim was defending the sanctity of Islam and his action was protected by Article 11(4) of the Malaysian Constitution.

Borneo Post, in a report yesterday headlined “Nancy says she does not support Ibrahim Ali or his religious views”, quoted Nancy as making the following statement through her political secretary Kamaluddin Effendie:

“Neither the police nor AG (Attorney-General) can give any reply in Parliament. I, as the de-facto Law Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, had to do it on their behalf. Whatever were the findings of the police or the decision of the AG, I read it out in Parliament because they could not do it there.

“It must be made known that it was the AG’s decision not to charge Dato Ibrahim under the Sedition Act, and the decision was made based on the police investigation.

“As a minister or one of the leaders of the nation, I have to support the rule of the law, but it does not mean I agree with Dato Ibrahim’s extreme views.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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To end Nancy’s agony, the Cabinet tomorrow should (i) reaffirm Najib’s pledge to repeal the Sedition Act and (ii) drop all sedition charges in court

For the past ten days, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri has been at the receiving end of national brickbats, scorn and even opprobrium for her outrageous parliamentary answer to the Penang Chief Minister and Bagan MP Lim Guan Eng that Perkasa President Datuk Ibrahim Ali was not prosecuted for his threat to burn the Malay-language Bible as Ibrahim was defending the sanctity of Islam.

Nancy added fuel to the national firestorm ignited by her answer when she ill-advisedly sought to clarify later with an even more outrageous justification – that Ibrahim’s action was protected by Article 11(4) of the Malaysian Constitution.

These are undoubtedly the worst ten days in Nancy’s political life.

To end Nancy’s agony and ordeal, the Cabinet tomorrow should step in with two decisions, firstly to reaffirm the pledge given by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in 2012 to repeal the colonial Sedition Act; and secondly, to drop all sedition charges and prosecutions currently in court. Read the rest of this entry »

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Explain inaction on racial, religious provocation cases, Bar asks police, A-G

By V. ANBALAGAN
The Malaysian Insider
15 October 2014

Ahead of its peaceful walk to protest the Sedition Act tomorrow, the Malaysian Bar has a list of at least a dozen cases of provocative racial and religious remarks since 2012, and wants the police and Attorney-General to explain the status of each to the public.

The list of cases was appended in a document when the Bar passed a resolution at its extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on September 19 that the Sedition Act should be repealed and a protest march be held.

Its president Christopher Leong said it was not for de facto Law Minister Datuk Nancy Shukri to speak of these matters that came under the responsibility of these agencies.

“It is for the police to explain their non-action while the Attorney-General’s Chambers on why it refused to prosecute certain cases,” Leong told The Malaysian Insider.

He said this in response to the barrage of criticism against Nancy, who last week replied on behalf of the public prosecutor that no charges would be framed against Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali for his statement last year that Malay Bibles should be burnt. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jurists worldwide insist Putrajaya protect lawyers rallying against Sedition Act

Malay Mail Online
October 15, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 15 – An international jurists group urged Putrajaya today to ensure no “police abuse” and disruptions occur during the Malaysian Bar’s planned protest against the Sedition Act 1948 tomorrow.

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) — comprising lawyers, judges and academics — noted that a rally against the colonial-era law that was organised by local human rights group Suaram in Penang last Sunday was disrupted by a rival group.

“The Malaysian government is responsible for protecting the rights of those holding dissenting views, and that includes protecting peaceful protesters from police abuse as well as from violent counter protesters,” ICJ’s international legal advisor on Southeast Asia Emerlynne Gil said in a statement today.

“The Sedition Act is being misused with increasing frequency to muzzle legal professionals who express their views about existing laws,” she added. Read the rest of this entry »

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In rare march, lawyers press Putrajaya to show door to Sedition Act

By Ida Lim
Malay Mail Online
October 16, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 16 ― Malaysian lawyers will trade the courtroom for the streets today, in an uncommon march by the legal profession to demand Putrajaya honour its two-year old pledge to repeal the Sedition Act 1948.

The rare spectacle is set to add to mounting pressure on the government to abolish the colonial-era law whose use in an ongoing crackdown has drawn criticism from both local and international groups including the United Nations.

Christopher Leong, who heads the Malaysian Bar that represents 16,000 lawyers in peninsular Malaysia, pointed out that the prime minister himself has asked moderates to speak up instead of ceding public space to extremists.

“This walk by the Malaysian Bar is part of our response to that call by the prime minister for moderates to stand up and speak out,” Leong said in an interview with local radio station BFM yesterday, adding later that the professional body believes that the national leader was right to decide to pledge the abolition of the law. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib called to account for Sedition Act by Commonwealth lawyers

The Malaysian Insider
15 October 2014

Ahead of the Malaysian Bar’s walk to protest the Sedition Act tomorrow, the German Federal Bar has expressed concern over the use of the law in a letter to Datuk Seri Najib Razak, asking the prime minister for his stand on its widespread against the government’s critics.

The German Bar’s Dr Martin Abend, in a letter dated yesterday, noted that the act had been applied increasingly in Malaysia in the last few months, including against lawyers for voicing their legal opinions.

Abend said that in one particular case, a lawyer’s house was searched and his mobile phone and his laptop seized.

“The German Federal Bar is deeply concerned about these current developments in Malaysia.

“We kindly ask you to inform us if the information available to us is correct and how you view the situation,” Abend said in the letter which was posted on the Malaysian Bar’s website.

He also urged Najib to ensure that the Sedition Act would not be applied to facts relating to the freedom of expression. Read the rest of this entry »

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Is reasoning with Najib and UMNO/BN government about iniquities and injustices of Sedition Act a dialogue with the deaf?

Rank and blatant injustices seem to have become the order of the day in Malaysia – five years after Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s premiership.

The latest example is the police arrest of a protestor who held a slipper against a poster of Najib during a protest outside Parliament last Wednesday.

In fact, nobody knew about the incident until the photograph of the man placing his slipper against the Prime Minister’s poster was circulated online by UMNO/BN cybertroopers.

What the protestor did was wrong but all over the country today, Malaysians are asking what type of justice we have in the country when a person could be arrested for being photographed holding a slipper against a poster of the Prime Minister during a protest against fuel subsidy cuts and the goods and services tax (GST) when the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Nancy Shukri can tell Parliament that Perkasa President Ibrahim Ali would not be charged over his threat to burn the Malay-language Bible as Ibrahim Ali was defending the sanctity of Islam!

What is worse, Nancy compounded her lack of understanding and insensitivity of the gross injustice of her parliamentary statement with the subsequent clarification that Ibrahim Ali’s action was protected by Article 11(4) of the Malaysian Constitution!

If Ibrahim Ali’s threat to burn the Malay-language Bible is allegedly protected by Article 11(4) of the Constitution, is the protestor photographed holding a slipper against a poster of the Prime Minister protected by Article 10 (1) on freedom of expression? Read the rest of this entry »

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Nancy Shukri, Yours is Not to Reason Why?

By Kee Thuan Chye
Yahoo! News
12 Oct 2014

De facto law minister Nancy Shukri is being bombarded left, right and centre for her written reply in Parliament to the question of why Perkasa President Ibrahim Ali has not been charged for his alleged threat last year to burn Malay-language Bibles. And she deserves it.

She has tried to cover up her blunder by insisting that she was not defending Ibrahim Ali’s act and that her critics got her wrong for saying she was. I agree she wasn’t. I agree some of her critics, like Gerakan Youth chief Tan Keng Liang, misread her reply – because, as she has claimed, she was merely conveying a justification handed to her by the Attorney-General’s Chambers without herself subscribing to it. She never said in her parliamentary reply that it was all right to burn Bibles to defend Islam. That is true.

Nonetheless, she can’t get away with not facing up to her responsibility. Her passing of the buck to the A-G’s Chambers is not acceptable as an excuse for not doing her job right, which amounts to not doing her homework and not thinking before acting.

In fact, her admission of conveying only what the A-G’s Chambers told her actually makes her look worse. It clearly shows that she was merely acting as a messenger instead of doing her job as a minister. Read the rest of this entry »

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Nancy Shukri should avail herself of making a Ministerial statement in Parliament to rectify two major errors she committed in Parliament last week

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Nancy Shukri, should avail herself of the opportunity of making a Ministerial statement in Parliament to rectify two major errors she committed in Parliament last week.

She committed the first mistake on the first day of Parliament on Tuesday, 7th October, when answering the question by the Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who asked the Prime Minister whether the government’s use of the law against Pakatan Rakyat leaders, activists and intellectuals was in line with the prime minister’s commitment to make Malaysia more democratic.

Defending the blitz of sedition prosecutions and the “white terror” launched by the authorities in the past few months, Nancy claimed that the Malaysian government practises and upholds the doctrine of the separation of powers and as such the government does not interfere in the Attorney-General’s Chambers affairs.

Here, Nancy made the grave error about the doctrine of separation of powers, as the Attorney-General is part of the executive and not the judiciary in the doctrine of separation of powers among the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib’s 2015 Budget overshadowed by outrageous parliamentary replies and blatant government double standards in past three days

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak would not have expected that his 2015 Budget to be presented in Parliament at 4 pm today would have been overshadowed by outrageous parliamentary replies of his Ministers and blatant government double standards in the past three days.

The reply by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Nancy Shukri to the Penang Chief Minister and DAP MP for Bagan, Lim Guan Eng, on the first day of the current 28-day Budget Parliament on Tuesday must take the cake for being the most outrageous parliamentary statement in the five-year Najib premiership making even the most affable bristle at the cynical contempt for what is right and wrong.

Nancy said in her reply that no action would be taken on Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali over his threat to burn the Malay-language bible as he was “only defending the sanctity of Islam”.

Nancy did not do herself any favours when she said yesterday that the Attorney-General’s Chambers decided not to prosecute Ibrahim under the Sedition Act because his threat to burn copies of the Bible with the term “Allah” was in line with the federal constitution.

It is time the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Gani Patail surfaces and explain where in the Federal Constitution does it give protection and immunity to Ibrahim to utter threat to burn copies of the Bible with the term Allah. Read the rest of this entry »

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Can state Islamic authorities decide what you can’t read?

By Zurairi AR
Malay Mail Online
October 9, 2014

PUTRAJAYA, Oct 9 — In a landmark case that will determine the extent of the freedom of expression in Malaysia, the country’s top court will weigh today the constitutionality of a state Shariah law to ban “religious” publications deemed against Islam.

Local publishing house ZI Publications Sdn Bhd and its director Ezra Zaid are challenging a Selangor state law that essentially criminalises any person who “prints, publishes, produces, records, or disseminates in any manner any book or document or any other form of record containing anything which is contrary to Islamic Law”, or “has in his possession any such book, document or other form of record for sale or for the purpose of otherwise disseminating it”.

If found guilty under Section 16(1) of the Syariah Criminal Offences (Selangor) Enactment 1995, the offender faces a fine not exceeding RM3,000 or two years’ prison, or both.

In addition, Section 16(2) of the same law empowers the state Shariah Court to order any book, document or other form of record to be “forfeited and destroyed”, even when nobody is convicted under Section 16(1). Read the rest of this entry »

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Is Najib Razak the Prime Minister of a two-headed government – whose PM wants Malaysia to be the world “best democracy” but whose AG’s sedition spree aims to make Malaysia the world’s “worst democracy”?

Is Datuk Seri Najib Razak the Prime Minister of a two-headed government – whose Prime Minister wants Malaysia to be the world’s “best democracy” but whose Attorney-General’s recent sedition spree of selective and malicious prosecutions aims to make Malaysia the world’s “worst democracy”.

This question automatically arises from the parliamentary answer today on the recent sedition blitz by the Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who asked the Prime Minister whether the government’s use of the law against Pakatan Rakyat leaders, activists and intellectuals was in line with the prime minister’s commitment to make Malaysia more democratic.

Answering during Parliament’s Question Time, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri defended the spate of sedition prosecutions, claiming that the Malaysian government practises and upholds the doctrine of the separation of powers and as such the government does not interfere in the Attorney-General’s Chambers affairs.

Nancy is very mixed-up as she has made a fatal error about the doctrine of separation of powers, as the Attorney-General is part of the executive and not the judiciary in the doctrine of separation of powers among the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary.
The doctrine of separation of powers is totally irrelevant and does not apply in the blitzkrieg of sedition prosecutions – which is an executive action and not an action of the judiciary. Read the rest of this entry »

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Gani Patail should explain why the sedition blitz has stepped up in pace and intensity after his Sept. 9 pledge to review the slew of sedition prosecutions

The Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail should explain why the sedition blitz to invoke a climate of fear and repression has stepped up in pace and intensity in the past three weeks since his pledge to review the slew of sedition prosecutions.

Gani had said on Sept. 9 that those charged under the Sedition Act, including law professor Dr. Azmi Sharom, were “currently having their cases reviewed”, and he described the review “a normal procedure”.

Is Gani also implying that the intensification of malicious and selective sedition prosecutions and investigations against Opposition leaders and activists during the tenure of such a review is also “a normal procedure”?

Gani said on Sept. 9 that the final decision on the review of sedition prosecutions will be made “soon”.

Can Gani explain how soon is his “soon”? Could it be as long as months and even years, until he steps down as Attorney-General?
Read the rest of this entry »

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A dangerous precedent in Selangor

By P Gunasegaram
Malaysiakini
Sep 24, 2014

QUESTION TIME Most legal authorities and previous judgments on such issues are clear on one thing – the sultan/governor/Agong must choose the candidate who is most likely to command the support of the majority of the state assembly or Parliament for the post of menteri besar/chief minister/prime minister.

And where it is clear that a single candidate commands that majority support, there is no need for the titular head of state to ask for any other names to be nominated but he has to follow the constitutional duty of endorsing the candidate who legally commands the majority support.

This is what a constitutional monarchy is about, where the the head of state lies above politics, does not interfere in the administration of the state, and whose only role here is an important, non-partisan one of ensuring the person who commands the support of the majority of the assembly is the chosen one.

That is the essence of Parliamentary democracy and this must not be allowed to be played around with by any party as the will of the people is reflected through elections in the composition of the state assembly and Parliament. The role of the monarch is to ensure that the will prevails no matter what. Read the rest of this entry »

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All Cabinet Ministers on Wednesday must decide whether they want a new Attorney-General who is committed to the goal of making Malaysia the “best democracy in the world” or they support the current sedition dragnet and “white terror” to turn Malaysia into the world’s worst democracy

The time has come for every Cabinet Minister to take a stand whether he or she supports the goal as promised by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, to make Malaysia the world’s best democracy or the reverse – supporting instead the sedition dragnet and “white terror” unleashed in the past month to turn Malaysia into the world’s worst democracy.

The country should be spared the farce of the Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail announcing last Tuesday that his Chambers will review the cases of several individuals who were recently charged with sedition, including academician Dr. Azmi Sharom, followed by the outrageous response by the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi that the police will not cease and desist from sedition investigations aimed at suppressing criticism and dissent.

In the first place, was Gani sincere and truthful when he said that his Chambers would review the blitz of sedition charges? Let the Attorney-General announce details of such review, who are the officers in his Chambers who are conducting the review, when the review started and the terms of reference including time-frame of such review.

In fact, Gani owes the Malaysian people a full explanation why he gave the green light for such a spree of sedition charges as well as full accountability as to why those responsible in openly inciting racial and religious hatred, ill-will and conflict have been spared from any prosecution, despite the lodging of many police reports against the culprits? Read the rest of this entry »

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How many more will be charged with sedition?

– Ramon Navaratnam
The Malaysian Insider
15 September 2014

Most thinking Malaysians are getting increasingly concerned with the rapid pace of sedition charges levelled at well-known and well-meaning Malaysian personalities and intellectuals.

At the same time, there is considerable anxiety over the relative indifference and excessive tolerance shown to some obvious violators of the very open and loosely worded Sedition Act, which deeds urgent revision or replacement.

We therefore hope that the Attorney-General and the police will exercise more care to ensure that the growing public perception of practising double standards and selective justice will be addressed as a matter of high priority.

If honest opinions expressed in the interests of public debate and intellectual discussion on national policies and their proper implementation can be discouraged and even curtailed so harshly, then where and how is democracy to grow and mature in Malaysia? Read the rest of this entry »

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