Archive for category Constitution

Why do we still need the Sedition Act?

by Boo Su-Lyn
Malay Mail Online
April 9, 2015

APRIL 9 — We are just five years away from our goal of becoming a developed nation by 2020.

Yet,in this day and age, we still have a law dating back from the colonial times guarding our speech and worse, the government is attempting to enhance punishments under the Sedition Act 1948.

People convicted of seditious speech can be imprisoned for up to 20 years under the proposed Sedition Act amendments, with a minimum jail term set at three years. No bail is allowed either.

Speech deemed to be seditious under the Sedition (Amendment) Bill 2015 involve issues of race and religion, secession, the rulers, and Bumiputera privileges, among others.

These are matters crucial to our democracy that Malaysians are prohibited from discussing freely.

The revised Sedition Act outlaws exciting “ill will, hostility or hatred” on grounds of race and religion, but such terms are extremely vague. Read the rest of this entry »

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Kelantan’s hudud breaks basis of secular Malaysia, Sarawak churches say

The Malay Mail Online
April 8, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, April 8 — Kelantan’s hudud enactment violates the secular foundation upon which Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak had formed Malaysia, Sarawak churches said today.

The Kuching Ministers’ Fellowship (KMF), a network of church pastors and leaders in Sarawak, joined the Sabah Council of Churches in criticising the passing of the Kelantan Shariah Criminal Code II Enactment 1993 (amendment 2015) last month in the east coast state run by Islamist party PAS.

“The recently-passed Kelantan hudud enactment is in direct contradiction to the aspirations of founding fathers of our nation to keep Malaysia a secular state as evidenced in several historical documents that explicitly state this,” KMF chairman Pastor Daron Tan said in a statement.

“The introduction of hudud law is a fundamental breach and deviation from the expressed commitment to complete religious freedom, a key term underpinning the Malaysia Agreement signed in July 1963 between Sarawak, Sabah and Malaya,” he added. Read the rest of this entry »

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In Sedition Act changes, detractors fear clampdown on calls for Borneo autonomy

by Boo Su-Lyn
The Malay Mail Online
April 9, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Apr 9 — Critics of Putrajaya’s proposed amendments to the Sedition Act 1948 claim the changes would not only criminalise calls for Sabah and Sarawak’s secession from Malaysia but may also be abused to punish those seeking more rights for the east Malaysian states.

Once the revisions to the Act are approved and gazetted by both houses of Parliament, analysts and lawmakers alike fear that authorities may choose to interpret any demand for greater autonomy in east Malaysia as prompting secession.

Universiti Malaysia Sabah senior anthropology lecturer Dr Paul Porodong stressed that it should not be considered secession for east Malaysians to call for a review of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 — the treaty upon which Malaysian federation was founded — press for greater state autonomy, or to demand more oil royalties.

“My worry is they’ll lump everything into secession and silence the voice of the people,” Porodong told Malay Mail Online. Read the rest of this entry »

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Renegotiate Federal Constitution if Kelantan must have hudud

— Civil Society Organisations of Sabah and Sarawak
The Malay Mail Online
April 8, 2015

APRIL 8 — We — Civil Society Organisations of Sabah and Sarawak — hereby call for a thorough renegotiation of the Federal Constitution if Kelantan insists to enforce its Shariah Criminal Code II (1993) 2015.

We solemnly hold the following positions:

1. In forming Malaysia with Malaya and Singapore in 1963, Sabah and Sarawak signed up for a secular federation, not a theocratic one where any religious criminal justice system may be in force in any part of the Federation.

2. Religious freedom was amongst the top demands of Sabah and Sarawak in the Malaysia negotiations which produced the Inter-Governmental Committee Report and eventually the 1963 Malaysia Agreement. Sabah and Sarawak would not have been part of Malaysia if Shariah criminal law was an item in the negotiation.

3. Secular justice system on crimes as a federal jurisdiction is part of the entire constitutional package embodied in the Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution. Any fundamental change to this packaged deal requires a thorough renegotiation of the Federal Constitution. Read the rest of this entry »

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Thanks to DAP’s opposition and PKR support, Hadi’s private member’s bill on hudud implementation will not be passed in Parliament next week

Thanks to DAP’s opposition and PKR support, PAS President and MP for Marang, Datuk Seri Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill on hudud implementation will not be passed in Parliament next week.

It is now more than two weeks since the initial claims of the MCA President, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and Gerakan President, Datuk Mah Siew Keong that the Cabinet had discussed and taken a stand to oppose Hadi’s private member’s bill and that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak would come out with an unequivocal statement declaring UMNO/BN’s opposition to Hadi’s private member’s bill.

But these claims have been debunked by two events:

Firstly, Najib’s 15-day silence on the issue, as Liow and Mah had leaked the “exclusive news” that the Prime Minister would be making such an announcement two Fridays ago on 20th March 2015;

Secondly, the denial by three UMNO Ministers, the Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, the International Trade and Industry Minister, Datuk Mustapha Mohamad and the Youth Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin that the Cabinet had discussed, let alone taken a stand on, Hadi’s private member’s bill on hudud implementation.

These three UMNO Ministers are virtually calling Liow a “liar” with the MCA President insisting today (Sin Chew) that the Cabinet had discussed Hadi’s private member’s bill at its meetings on March 20 and 27. Read the rest of this entry »

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As Parliament’s debate on anti-terrorism bill is also a debate on Islamic State and Islamic extremism in Malaysia, Zahid and Khalid are guilty of gross dereliction of duty in not giving MPs latest updates on these threats

Nine months after the glowing and laudatory tribute paid by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak to Islamic State, even urging UMNO members to emulate the courage and dedication of Islamic State (IS) fighters, the nation was yesterday given the most grim and bleak picture about the threats posed by Islamic State and Islamic extremists in the country.

And this “grim and bleak picture” of the threats to Malaysia posed by IS and Islamic extremists did not come from the Prime Minister himself, or the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi or the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, but by the Bukit Aman’s counter-terrorism director Datuk Ayub Khan Mydin at the first special briefing for civil servants where said that evidence gathered so far of Malaysian involvement in the Islamic State (ISO) has led the police to believe that attacks by the groups on Malaysian soil is imminent.

Ayub said it “was just a matter of time” before an attack is launched.

“It is not a matter of if we will be attacked but when,” he declared.

The counter-terrorism director also revealed that Malaysian IS members have made direct threats to attack Malaysia, including plans to bomb entertainment spots as part of its plan to “punish” Malaysia for being an “apostate” country.
“They view us as apostates. First they deem us bidaah (deviant), then they say we are apostates and then then next thing is to say our blood is halal,” Ayub revealed. Read the rest of this entry »

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PAS may suffer a double whammy in next general elections, completely wiped out in Johor, Perak and Malacca, virtually wiped out in Pahang and Kedah and may even lose power in Kelantan after 25 years of rule

If Pakatan Rakyat cannot be saved, it will cost all the three component parties dearly, as a result of the popular disenchantment of the voters throughout the country over the grave breach of trust and failure of the PR parties to be loyal and sincere to the Pakatan Rakyat Common Policy Framework and the operational principle of Pakatan Rakyat consensus that no single party or leader could exercise a veto in PR.

In the three Pakatan Rakyat parties, it will be PAS which is likely to suffer the most in the 14th General Elections in such circumstances.

PAS is in danger of losing nearly all of its parliament and state assembly seats outside the northern states as a result of the enactment of the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code 2015 and PAS President and MP for Marang, Datuk Seri Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill on hudud implementation.

With a loss of 30% of non-Muslim votes, PAS will lose 7 parliament and 29 state seats it won in the 13GE in 2013.

PAS will be completely wiped out in Johore, Perak and Malacca and virtually wiped out in Selangor, Pahang and Kedah.

In Johore, PAS will lose all 4 state seats, namely Sungai Abong, Maharani, Parit Yaani and Puteri Wangsa.

In Perak, it will lose all the five state seats, namely Titi Serong, Gunong Semanggol, Selinsing, Changkat Jering and Sungai Rapak.

In Malacca, it will lose its sole State Assembly seat of Bukit Baru.

In Selangor, it will lose all its parliamentary seats (Hulu Langat, Shah Alam, Kota Raja, Sepang) and 14 out of the 15 state seats in Selangor. The Selangor state assembly seats currently held by PAS which are in danger are: Sabak, Taman Templer, Gombak Setia, Hulu Kelang, Lembah Jaya, Chempaka, Dusun Tua, Seri Serdang, Paya Jaras, Meru, Selat Klang, Sijangkang, Morib and Tanjong Sepat. The only Selangor seat PAS may win again will be Bangi.

In Pahang, it will lose two out of three state states, namely Beserah and Tanjung Lumpur.

In Kedah, it will lose the five state assembly seats of Alor Mengkudu, Kubang Rotan, Kuala Ketil and Merbau Pulas. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why is secularism a ‘non-argument’?

By Wong Chin Huat
Mar 23, 2015

COMMENT Many human right lawyers, minority rights advocates, women right advocates and liberals have vigorously and rigorously defended the secular nature of the Malaysian state.

The most outstanding examples include the late parliamentarian Karpal Singh, Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF) chairperson Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa and Noor Farida Arifin who leads the Group of 25 Eminent Malays (G25).

Their courageous defence of secularism, while cheered by many members of minorities and liberals, change little the debate amongst the Malay-Muslims.

As the ultimate defence on secularism lies with the judiciary, that increasingly Muslim judges are observing a trend of religious political correctness suggests this may be a losing battle.

Former top judges championing Malay-Muslim ultra-nationalism certainly leaves no room for optimism. Read the rest of this entry »

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A New Coalition Post-BN and Post-PR with new Prime Minister should be based on five fundamental principles starting with defending the Malaysian Constitution

Time is running out for the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak in the next 24 hours when the Cabinet holds its weekly meeting on Friday (during Parliamentary meetings) as to whether Najib has deviated from the stand of the first five Prime Ministers, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak, Tun Hussein, Tun Mahathir and Tun Abdullah and the bedrock UMNO/Barisan Nasional nation-building principle and policy that hudud law is against Malaysian Constitution, the 1963 Malaysia Agreement and not suitable for a multi-racial and multi-religious nation like Malaysia.

For nearly 60 years, every Prime Minister if asked will have no hesitation to declaring the Federal Constitution and the Malaysia Agreement of 1963 will not permit the implementation of hudud laws.

The question is why the fifth Prime Minister has been agonizing for a week as to whether to reiterate what is UMNO/Barisan Nasional/Alliance policy for 58 years from Merdeka and 52 years since the formation of Malaysia.

If under Najib, UMNO/BN policies have taken a tectonic shift whereby the Prime Minister cannot open reiterate and reaffirm what had been UMNO/BN/Alliance bedrock nation-building principles for 58 years, in accordance with the 1957 Merdeka Constitution and the 1963 Malaysia Agreement that hudud law is against the Federal Constitution, the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and unsuitable for a multi-racial and multi-religious nation like Malaysia, then I invite all Malaysians to seriously think of the possibility of a new Malaysia coalition which is post-BN and post-PR with a new Prime Minister to “Save Malaysia” to defend the Federal Constitution and the rule of law. Read the rest of this entry »

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Govt must respond to Musa’s call on hudud

Ramon Navaratnam
Free Malaysia Today
March 23, 2015

Umno’s near silence on whether it supports hudud or not is causing grave uncertainty as to the future of Malaysia.


Former deputy prime minister Musa Hitam probably reflected the deep concerns of Malaysians when he said he was “disappointed with Umno for not making its stand on hudud clear”.

A significant number – perhaps even a majority – of thinking Malaysians have long been expecting the Umno-led government to come out unequivocally on this vital issue. Its near silence is causing national anxiety and grave uncertainty as to the future of our country.

As Musa correctly pointed out, this is a national issue “with far reaching implications to the country, both domestically and internationally”.

Confidence at home and abroad can dramatically decline as Malaysians see themselves at the crossroads of their destiny. We all ask whether we will continue to adopt secular ways to go forward or take the hudud highway and perhaps go backwards?

These uncertainties will also probably cause a further weakening of the ringgit, an increase in capital outflows, a worsening of the brain drain and even a rise in inflation. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why police presence at EC public hearing, asks DAP

by Desmond Davidson
The Malaysian Insider
7 March 2015 8:11 PM

Sarawak DAP has accused the Election Commission (EC) of breaking its rigid “closed door” rule in the public objections to its proposed redrawing of the electoral boundary in Miri with the presence of four police personnel, believed to be from the Special Branch Unit.

DAP Senadin branch chairperson, Eunice Lim questioned why the cops were allowed to take part but barred the public and media from the series of hearings in Kuching and other major towns in the state.

“Why were the SB officers allowed inside the hearing?” she asked.

“Their presence create a sort of fear to those who were making their presentation,” Lim said, referring to an incident last Thursday.

“I did not realise their presence when I was making my presentation,” she said.

“We only came to know about it when my colleague (Piasau assemblyman Alan Ling) spotted the officers sitting with the EC officers before making his own presentation.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Pastoral letter in reference to Herald case

– Julian Leow
The Malaysian Insider
27 January 2015

My Dear People of God,

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7

We have come to the end of a long journey which began in 2008 when we were told that we cannot call God in the way the majority of our Catholics in Malaysia have been used to for centuries.

We mounted a challenge in the court to exercise our constitutional right to manage our own religious affairs. The Church took the position that the minister’s restriction went against the spirit as well as the letter of our Federal Constitution. Read the rest of this entry »

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Supremacy of the Federal Constitution

Azrul Mohd Khalib
The Malay Mail Online
January 21, 2015

JANUARY 21 ― The indignant tone that recently came out of Jakim’s Director General Datuk Othman Mustapha, who denounced the questioning of religious authorities as being part of a liberalism movement, is representative of the larger problem we have with the government religious institutions in this country.

They feel that they are above criticism. That they can do no wrong and are infallible. That to criticise them is to question Islam.

Yet, the attitude and actions of the religious authorities over the past decade have shown all too clearly why the Shariah system in Malaysia is where it is in our Federal Constitution.

There is an actual risk of abuse and misuse of power. It is not abstract or theoretical. It is very real. Ask Nik Raina of Borders. Read the rest of this entry »

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Decentralisation is about effective governance

Published: 20 January 2015
The Malaysian Insider

A recent article I wrote proposing greater decentralisation of powers in Malaysia has managed to attract criticism and attacks by Umno apparatchiks, such as Kepala Batas MP Datuk Seri Reezal Merican and Umno-owned national daily Utusan Malaysia. They said my suggestions were nothing short of an attack on the Federal Constitution and, unsurprisingly, seditious (what isn’t, these days?).

I quickly responded by pointing out the obvious – that there is in fact an explicit provision in the Federal Constitution (Article 76A) that effectively allows the delegation of federal power to state authorities. In other words, decentralisation of powers from the federal to the state is not merely allowed but in fact envisioned by our country’s highest law.

Also, I ridiculed Umno’s hypocrisy on the matter. If it is considered seditious or unconstitutional to devolve powers from the centre to the periphery, then why isn’t it the other way around?
Read the rest of this entry »

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A wretched, horrendous year, with little cheer

31 December 2014

2014 has been a wretched and horrendous year for Malaysia, with very little spots of sunny cheer for Malaysians. All 52 weeks have seen us angry and sad – not quite the happy Malaysia Truly Asia that we portray in tourism advertisements.

Grief has been Malaysia’s main point of unity – from the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on March 8 to flight MH17 that was shot out of the sky on July 17 to the tragic crash of AirAsia Bhd Indonesian affiliate’s flight QZ8501 on December 28, in the last days of the year.

Three commercial plane crashes linked to Malaysia in just a year – what are the chances of that?

And while that dominated the headlines, there has been other events that added to Malaysia’s grief. Statistics showed that 189 people died of dengue so far this year, up from 95 in 2013. Read the rest of this entry »

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Court ruling affirms religious authorities are limited by law

30 December 2014

There is the law and no one, including religious authorities, can overstep the limits of the law even if they invoke religion as a right.

For too long now, some state religious authorities in Malaysia have issued fatwas (opinions) and treated them as immutable regulations that can be imposed at will and without recourse.

Today, the Court of Appeal affirmed that these state religious authorities have no such power when it upheld a lower court’s ruling that the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) was wrong in raiding and seizing copies of a controversial book from a Borders bookstore in Kuala Lumpur.

The book, “Allah, Liberty and Love” by Irshad Manji, was seized before a fatwa banning it was issued and, as such, Jawi’s actions were deemed illegal and unconstitutional. Read the rest of this entry »

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No point in my attending any future PR Presidential Council meetings if PAS pushes for implementation of hudud in December 29 Kelantan State Assembly special meeting

I fully endorse what the Selangor Mentri Besar and PKR Deputy President Azmin Ali said yesterday, that hudud is not a common policy of Pakatan Rakyat, hence PAS should bring the issue to the Pakatan Rakyat presidential council for discussion.

Azmin referred to the September 28, 2011 meeting of Pakatan Rakyat Presidential Council at the PAS Headquarters attended by over 30 top leaders of DAP, PKR and PAS, which was also attended the then DAP National Chairman, Karpal Singh, and Kelantan exco members, and the consensus was that hudud was not part of PR joint common policy framework until all parties agreed to it.

As Azmin said: “If there is any new opinion or suggestion, it has to be brought back to the original consensus which was agreed among Pakatan, meaning that it has to go back to Pakatan’s presidential council.”

But PAS has never brought this matter to Pakatan’s presidential council.

In fact, the headline of The Malaysian Insider report on the Sept. 28, 2011 PR Presidential Council meeting was: “Pakatan: Hudud only if all parties agree.” Read the rest of this entry »

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December 29 Kelantan State Assembly special sitting to implement hudud will be a point of no return for both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat

The December 29 Kelantan State Assembly special sitting to implement hudud will be a point of no return for both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat.

The stand of the first three Prime Ministers, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak and Tun Hussein Onn were crystal clear, that hudud laws are at variance with Malaysia’s Constitution that Malaysia is a secular state.

This was also the position of the other MCA and MIC founding fathers of the nation, Tun Tan Cheng Lock, Tun Tan Siew Sin and Tun V.T. Sambanthan – as well as Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu who was the second MCA President in 1958 and subsequently left MCA and became the second President of Gerakan from 1969 – 1980.

Indisputably, this was also the position of all the founding fathers of Malaysia from Sabah and Sarawak.

If the Kelantan UMNO Assemblymen are allowed to vote in support of the proposal to implement hudud at the Kelantan State Assembly special sitting on Dec. 29, the whole character and basis of Barisan Nasional would have undergone its most radical transformation in the history of the ruling government coalition in the country.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Champion open debate and discourse on Islamic law — 25 prominent Malays

Open Letter
December 8, 2014 06:54 AM

DECEMBER 8 — We, a group of concerned citizens of Malaysia, would like to express how disturbed and deeply dismayed we are over the continuing unresolved disputes on the position and application of Islamic laws in this country. The on-going debate over these matters display a lack of clarity and understanding on the place of Islam within our constitutional democracy. Moreover, they reflect a serious breakdown of federal-state division of powers, both in the areas of civil and criminal jurisdictions.

We refer specifically to the current situation where religious bodies seem to be asserting authority beyond their jurisdiction; where issuance of various fatwa violate the Federal Constitution and breach the democratic and consultative process of shura; where the rise of supremacist NGOs accusing dissenting voices of being anti-Islam, anti-monarchy and anti-Malay has made attempts at rational discussion and conflict resolution difficult; and most importantly, where the use of the Sedition Act hangs as a constant threat to silence anyone with a contrary opinion.

These developments undermine Malaysia’s commitment to democratic principles and rule of law, breed intolerance and bigotry, and have heightened anxieties over national peace and stability.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Passed over for promotions, Sarawak Dayaks seethe at civil service discrimination

by Desmond Davidson
The Malaysian Insider
30 November 2014

A list of promotions, purportedly in the Sarawak Road Transport Department, has sparked outrage among Dayak professionals and civil servants in the state over what they see as proof of discrimination against non-Malay Bumiputera in the federal civil service.

The list, which has been posted on a blog and on Facebook, names eight Malay enforcement officers as “berjaya” (successful) in securing promotions from the N27 scale to N32, while three Dayak officers were listed as “simpanan”, or reserve.

To Dayaks – as Sarawak’s indigenous people are called – the list confirms what they have felt all along and what has also been noted in the just-released Malaysia Human Development Report 2013 – that discrimination exists within the Bumiputera working in the civil service, with Malays given preference over natives.

The list was posted on November 25 on, a blog on Dayak interests which has a wide following among Ibans, a branch of the Dayak people.

“Dayaks are only qualified to become ‘reserves’ until when? I fear the ‘tsunami of young Dayaks’ could undermine the Sarawak government if nothing is done to help the Dayaks,” wrote the author of the post, Mr J. Read the rest of this entry »

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