Archive for category Constitution

Double advice to Ka Siong – don’t tell a bare-faced lie and don’t be caught immediately for such downright dishonesty

Let me give a double advice to the MCA deputy president Wee Ka Siong: Don’t tell a bare-faced lie and don’t be caught immediately with such downright dishonesty.

Ka Siong committed both sins today when he rebutted my media conference statement in Batu Pahat yesterday that the MCA President, Liow Tiong Lai had missed a “golden opportunity” to say “No” to the Prime Minister and UMNO President, Datuk Seri Najib Razak who had attended the launch of the MCA’s “Stronger Together” programme at Tunku Abdul Rahman University College in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday that MCA cannot accept Najib’s unilateral and arbitrary announcement in Alor Star last Thursday that the Barisan Nasional Federal Government had never rejected hudud.

This was because what Najib said was not the original Barisan Nasional stand, and furthermore, violates an important BN principle that any change of Barisan Nasional policy must be the result of the consensus of all component parties and not unilaterally and arbitrarily by any one party, even if it is UMNO.

Ka Siong should know better than anyone that the Barisan Nasional Federal Government’s stand, even going back to the UMNO, MCA and MIC founders like Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak, Tun Hussein, Tun Tan Cheng Lock, Tun Tan Siew Sin and Tun V.T. Sambanthan was that hudud was inconsistent with the secular 1957 constitution. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia on US watch list for limitations on religious freedom

BY ELIZABETH ZACHARIAH
The Malaysian Insider
May 03, 2014

Malaysia has been placed on a watch list by an advisory body of the United States government over concerns about its limitation on freedom of religion, putting it on a par with countries like Afghanistan, Cuba, Indonesia, Laos, Russia and Turkey.

In its 2014 annual report, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) placed Malaysia on Tier 2, one level down from Tier 1 (countries of particular concern) which lists countries like Myanmar, China, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Sudan, among others.

“USCIRF found that the intertwining of religion, ethnicity, and politics in Malaysia complicate religious freedom protections for religious minorities and non-Sunni Muslims,” the commission said in the report.

USCIRF is an independent US government advisory body that monitors religious freedom worldwide and makes policy recommendations to the American president, the secretary of state and Congress. Read the rest of this entry »

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Hudud’s practical problems: The non-Muslim witness, state boundaries and the Constitution

by Boo Su-Lyn and Joseph Sipalan
The Malay Mail Online
MAY 4, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, May 4 — Even if PAS wins Parliament’s nod for its hudud bid, lawyers say the Islamist party will face even greater hurdles when the controversial law is implemented in Kelantan.

They said not only does the Islamic penal code run contrary to the Federal Constitution, it would also have limited reach in that it could not prescribe punishment on criminals who flee the state’s borders.

To complicate things further, the Shariah Court cannot compel a non-Muslim witness to testify before it and cannot cite them for perjury or contempt of court as its jurisdiction only covers Muslims, they said.

“It’s unworkable because non-Muslims will not be subject to those provisions, which means your witnesses, your accomplices who are non-Muslims, will not appear in those cases,” Malaysian Bar president Christopher Leong told The Malay Mail Online.

“It’s non-compellable. I don’t have to answer your questions, let alone attend court,” he added. Read the rest of this entry »

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Hudud has no place in present constitutional structure, say legal experts

by V. Anbalagan
The Malaysian Insider
May 01, 2014

Hudud can be enforced in Malaysia only after a new constitution is drawn up to make the nation an Islamic state, constitutional law experts said.

They said the 1957 Merdeka constitution declared that Malaysia was a secular state and Islamic criminal law cannot co-exist with other federal penal legislation.

The lawyers said a legal challenge could be mounted even if the constitution was amended to implement hudud as this would amount to causing irreparable damage to the basic structure of the supreme law.

Furthermore, they said any attempt to introduce a private member’s bill to implement hudud in Kelantan could be legally challenged for going against the constitution. Read the rest of this entry »

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Karpal’s last thoughts on hudud, sedition act and ties in Pakatan

The Malaysian Insider
APRIL 29, 2014
LATEST UPDATE: APRIL 29, 2014 04:59 PM

In one of his last interviews before his sudden death in an auto accident on April 17, Karpal Singh spoke to DAP mouthpiece The Rocket on matters close to his heart and his political struggle, including the hudud, the Sedition Act that he was charged with, and inter-party relations with PAS and PKR.

Karpal’s (pic) interview, which is available on The Rocket’s website and its April edition, is reproduced with permission.

Q: You have been frank about issues close to your heart and never hold back in taking a strong stand on issues that other DAP leaders don’t dare to vocalise. Why?

I have been elected by my constituents and it is my duty as an elected member of parliament to speak the views of the people. As long as one abides by the law and is in line with democratic principles under which we operate, no leader should be afraid to air his views.

It would be a sad day for DAP if we hold back just so we don’t get into trouble. It won’t be in the interest of the party or the country. I articulate certain things and issues that are close to the hearts of the people I represent, not just a party stance per se. Of course the party stance is also in line with the constitution.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Why hudud is unconstitutional and impractical

– Low Teck Kuan
The Malaysian Insider
April 26, 2014

PAS has recently been extremely persistent in pushing for the implementation of hudud in Kelantan. Despite numerous warnings by other political parties against their agenda, PAS seems hell bent on introducing a Private Members Bill in Parliament to further their own political agenda.

However, here lies the big question: Is it possible to implement one set of criminal law (hudud) in one state and have the rest of other states and Federal Territories obeying another set of criminal law?

Certainly no, because let’s be clear on this, you cannot have one set of law for one state on crime and another set of criminal law for other states. Not only it is impractical, it also seeks to disrupt the basic structure and relationship between the Federal and the states which was laid down by our founding father Tunku Abdul Rahman. It is also unconstitutional as PAS’s constant attempt at introducing hudud also seeks usurp federal powers at the same time.

Part VI of the Federal Constitution defines the relations between Federal and the states, where therein lies Article 73 to 79 of the Federal Constitution which laid down Parliament’s (Federal level) exclusive power to make law. Specifically, Article 74 (1) states that “…Parliament may make laws with respect to any of the matters enumerated in the Federal List or the Concurrent List…” while Article 74(2) states that “…the Legislature of a State may make laws with respect to any of the matters enumerated in the State List…” Read the rest of this entry »

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Assemble peacefully without fear, Malaysians told

BY V. ANBALAGAN AND EILEEN NG
The Malaysian Insider
April 26, 2014

The public can now assemble without fear following a Court of Appeal ruling yesterday that a breach of a provision in the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) does not amount to an offence, human rights lawyers and lawmakers said.

They said the unanimous decision of the three-man bench led by judge Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof upheld a fundamental right under the Federal Constitution, which is the right to assemble peacefully.

This means the upcoming May Day anti-GST (goods and services tax) rally will no longer be deemed “illegal” and the public need not worry about the any action being taken against them unless they destroyed properties or committed criminal offences.

The lawyers also saluted the judges who were prepared to uphold the supreme law of the land instead of allowing a basic right that should be enjoyed by citizens to be a mere illusion.

The judgment also said those who went against public order could only be charged under the Penal Code, the Road Transport Act or local government by-laws.

In declaring the punishment provided under the PAA as unconstitutional because it violated the right to assemble peacefully, the appellate court also struck out the charge against Selangor legislative assembly deputy speaker Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad for failing to give 10 days notice under the Act before organising the May 5 Blackout Rally last year. Read the rest of this entry »

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Karpal Singh a political man of his times

Bridget Welsh
Malaysiakini
Apr 23, 2014

TRIBUTE Much has been written about the recently deceased Karpal Singh.

His skills as a lawyer, his fight for basic rights and contributions to the law, his commitment to his family and his struggle for ordinary people as a humanitarian are just some of the themes raised in the many eulogies and reflections in the past few days since he and his friend and assistant Michael Cornelius lost their lives.

The reactions from ordinary Malaysians have reaffirmed the spirit of dignity and humanity that are an integral part of the national character and stand in stark contrast to the uncouth provocative remarks of a handful of individuals who, blinded by insecurity and hubris, revealed how far they have deviated from common decency.

I knew Karpal Singh as a politician, and the remarks that follow are some of my observations on his important role in Malaysian political life and his political legacy. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib and Hihammuddin should intervene and drop all charges against RMAF pilot Major Zaidi Ahmad who should be rewarded and not penalised for speaking up about the indelible ink fiasco in 13GE

I call on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the Defence Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein to intervene and drop all charges against Royal Malaysian Air Force pilot Major Zaidi Ahmad who should be rewarded and not penalised for speaking up about the indelible ink fiasco in the recent 13th General Elections.

If Pakaktan Rakyat is running the Federal Government in Putrajaya, I would have recommended that Major Zaidi should be promoted for showing utmost patriotism going beyond the ordinary call of duty instead of indulging in the mean and petty vindictiveness of clipping his pilot’ wings and reassigning him to a desk job, followed by charges before a court martial which could land him in jail for two years.

Why is the Najib government so unreasonable and even perverse as to want destroy Malaysia’s fragile international image with the latest scandal of sending a patriotic air force pilot to jail for two years not because of any heinous crime or moral turpitude but because of the basic honesty of a decent human being in speaking the truth about the “indelible ink” used in the last general elections which was in fact quickly washabke and deletable?

In contrast, the really corrupt and heinous characters in Malaysia, particularly the “big sharks” of corruption who steal tens and hundreds of millions of ringgit of public properties and wealth, enjoy total immunity and impunity,. Read the rest of this entry »

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Second Open Letter to Najib and Cabinet – Are BN leaders prepared to work with PR leaders to ensure that there could not be another repetition of May 13 riots in Malaysia?

For the second time this year, I am taking full advantage of the Age of Information Technology which enables the instant communication of information with information travelling at the speed of light to pen this Second Open Letter this year to the Prime Minister and all Cabinet Ministers just before their third Cabinet meeting of the New Year of 2014.

Members of the Cabinet who have not read or not informed of this Second Open Letter before the Ministers meet for their third Cabinet meeting later this morning clearly belong to the dinosaur epoch and are not fit to be in the Cabinet – and the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak would have a very strong reason to get rid of these dead-wood and half-past six Ministers in a Cabinet reshuffle.

In my first Open Letter to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet before their first Cabinet meeting on 8th January 2014, I urged the first Cabinet meeting to send our a clear and unmistakable message to end the national drift and loss of leadership and direction to create an united, harmonious, just, and competitive and great Malaysian nation.

I zeroed in on the nation’s quintuplet of crisis which warranted priority and immediate attention by the Cabinet, viz: Read the rest of this entry »

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Putrajaya imposes ‘very high’ restrictions on religion, global study finds

by Trinna Leong
The Malaysian Insider
January 15, 2014

Putrajaya’s restrictions on religion are among the worst in the world, revealed a study by American think tank Pew Research Centre.

The report, Restrictions on Religion, which covered 198 countries, found that Malaysia is among the 24 nations with “very high” government restrictions on religion.

It also found that the number of countries with “high or very high level of social hostilities involving religion reached a six-year-peak in 2012”.“A third (33%) of the 198 countries and territories included in the study had high religious hostilities in 2012, up from 29% in 2011 and 20% as of mid-2007,” said the report.

Placing Malaysia on par with countries like Egypt, Syria, Somalia, Russia, Sudan and Iraq, the report measured “government laws, policies and actions that restrict religious beliefs and practices” for its Government Restrictions Index (GRI).

The report, which covered more than 99.5% of the world’s population, had looked at “efforts by governments to ban particular faiths, prohibit conversions, limit preaching or give preferential treatment to one or more religious groups”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Between God and Allah

Wall Street Journal
Jan 14, 2014

Malaysia tries to stop Christians using the Bahasa word for God.

For nearly 200 years non-Muslim residents of present-day Malaysia used the Arabic and Bahasa word “Allah” to refer to God. Seven years ago, the government began an unnecessary and provocative push to ban them from doing so in print. Now Malaysian police are accusing a Catholic priest of sedition after he announced that churches in the state of Selangor would continue using the A word in their local-language services.

At the heart of the dispute is prominent Catholic priest Lawrence Andrew. In 2007, Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar banned Father Lawrence Andrew’s church newspaper from printing “Allah.” Father Andrew fought the ban in the courts and eventually lost in the Court of Appeal last October. In November, the sultan of Selangor took the campaign a step further and extended the ban to Bahasa-language Bibles and churches. Now Father Andrew is being investigated for violating the edict under the draconian Sedition Act. Read the rest of this entry »

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The ‘Allah’ Issue in Perspective – Part 2

By Kee Thuan Chye
news.malaysia.msn.com
14 Jan 2014

Yesterday, I looked at the ‘Allah’ issue from the time it started to what it has become today, and how we are now trapped in a web of confusion spun from diverse interpretations of the Court of Appeal’s decision on the use of the word ‘Allah’ by The Herald, as well as the “one-policy, two-countries” implication arising from Prime Minister Najib Razak’s 10-point solution.

In the midst of such confusion, how do we judge who is right – those who claim that ‘Allah’ is exclusive to Muslims or those who insist that it is their constitutional right to practise their religion the way they have been doing it for ages, including referring to God as ‘Allah’?

How do we deal with the rising fervour on both sides, Muslim and Christian, as they seek to defend what they think is right? With Father Lawrence Andrew, the editor of The Herald, who said on December 27 that Christians would continue to use ‘Allah’ in all Selangor churches, and with the Solidariti Umat Islam Klang members who protested in public against his statement?

How do we deal with Perak Mufti Harussani Zakaria’s demand for the arrest of the Malays who turned up at a church in Klang to show solidarity with Christians? Read the rest of this entry »

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The ‘Allah’ Issue in Perspectiv​e — Part 1

By Kee Thuan Chye
news.Malaysia.msn.com
Jan 13 2014

As the ‘Allah’ issue rages on, particularly after the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) raided the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) and seized 300-plus copies of the Bible in Malay and Iban on January 2, let’s take a moment and look at it in perspective.

How did it start?

Not, as falsely claimed by former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, because Malaysia has become more liberal and Malaysians are testing the limits of their “new-found freedom”. Not, as he says, because some groups “purposely come up with something to annoy people” or that they want to run down other religions.

That is the usual kind of poppycock for which he has of late been fond of spinning.

The whole mess started in 2009 with Syed Hamid Albar, who was home minister then, banning the Catholic weekly The Herald from using the word ‘Allah’ in its Bahasa Malaysia section. Prior to that, there had been no issue. Christians in Sabah and Sarawak had been using it for ages, long before they joined the Federation of Malaysia. No one had raised a hue and cry. Read the rest of this entry »

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Show courage in ‘Allah’ row, Zaid tells Pakatan

The Malay Mail Online
January 14, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 14 — Pakatan Rakyat (PR) must stand firm in its support of non-Muslims’ use of “Allah” and not allow itself to be cowed by fears of a backlash from the Muslim community, former minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim said today.

The former PKR member said the pact should have shown the courage to support the proposal of three Selangor DAP assemblymen to amend the state law at the centre of the current religious row, instead of criticising them for their “hastiness”.

“Pakatan can only lead the country if it is brave enough to offer solutions to the difficult religious and ethnic issues that Umno seems adept at creating.

“Pakatan can only be stronger if they can take on Umno on these issues by presenting comprehensive solutions and not shying away as they are prone to do,” he wrote on his blog today. Read the rest of this entry »

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First Cabinet meeting of the year is the farce of the decade – decision not to have a decision!

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak disappeared for ten days just before 2013 and the start of 2014, leaving behind a government which seems not only clueless but rudderless about the clutch of five national crises which came to a head during this period – nation-building, economic, educational, security and on good governance.

When Najib resurfaced to chair the first Cabinet meeting of the year after a disappearance of 10 days – will the Prime Minister’s Office please inform Malaysians where he went to as no one knows where was our Prime Minister between Dec. 25 to January 5! – Malaysians heaved a sigh of relief, expecting that there would at last be leadership and direction to end the drift and lack of leadership and vision in the critical 10-day transition from 2013 to 2014.

But a great disappointment was in store for Malaysians for there was only deafening silence from the Cabinet the whole of yesterday. Read the rest of this entry »

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Silence is golden for some Barisan leaders in latest ‘Allah’ row, say analysts

by Eileen Ng
The Malaysian Insider
January 09, 2014

Several top Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders are sitting out of the latest row over who can use the word “Allah”, believing reticence is better than stepping on a political landmine, say analysts.

There have been no statements from top leaders of MCA, MIC and Gerakan, who mainly represent non-Malays and non-Muslims in BN, since a firestorm ignited over Christians insisting they are not bound by a Selangor royal decree and the seizure of some 300 Malay and Iban Bibles by the state Islamic authorities.

“It is a no-win situation for them, so in this case, silence is golden,” Professor James Chin, a political analyst with Monash University Malaysia, told The Malaysian Insider.

He also said that component parties were caught in a bind as anything they say would offend either religious or political groups. Read the rest of this entry »

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Was AG Gani Patail remiss in his duties in failing to carry out a comprehensive briefing of top government officials on the 10-Point Solution to resolve the Bible controversy which would have averted the Jais raid on BSM?

It has been reported that the Selangor police have wrapped up their investigation against Father Lawrence Andrew over his allegedly seditious remarks on the “Allah” issue.

According to a report on Astro Awani, Selangor police chief Datuk Mohd Shukri Dahlan said that the investigation papers for the case will be submitted to the Attorney-General’s office as early as today.

The police chief also confirmed that the case is being investigated under Section 4 of the Sedition Act 1948.

Including Andrew, the editor of Catholic weekly The Herald, a total of 99 individuals have had their statements recorded on the issue.

Malaysians are asking why the police acted so swiftly on the Father Lawrence case when it has as yet to act on the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) raid on the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) and the confiscation of Malay and Iban Bibles, which were not only illegal and unconstitutional but clear violation of the 10-Point Solution endorsed by the Federal Cabinet in April 2011 to resolve the Bible controversy.

The Jais raid and the confiscation of the Malay and Iban Bibles would not have taken place if there had been good understanding and proper respect for the 10-Point Solution, both in letter and spirit, by both Jais and the Malaysian police. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jais wrong as Allah ban only for Herald, not Bibles, say critics

by V. Anbalagan
The Malaysian Insider
January 08, 2014

Selangor’s religious authorities were wrong to seize Malay and Iban language Bibles and must return them as the ban on using the word Allah is only for the Catholic weekly Herald, say lawyers and politicians.

They said the Bible, be it in any language, was never banned in Malaysia and as such, the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) had no right to seize the holy books from The Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) last Thursday as the Allah issue only centred on the Herald case.

Human rights lawyer Andrew Khoo Chin Hock said the Court of Appeal ruling last October that barred Herald from using the word Allah had included Bibles in the 10-point solution endorsed by the federal Cabinet in 2011.

“So Jais’s raid and seizure has no basis at all because the 10-point solution covers the holy book,” Khoo told The Malaysian Insider, referring to the agreement that the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government had made with the Christian community ahead of the Sarawak state election. Read the rest of this entry »

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In faith, human will and intellect cooperate with grace

– May Chee Chook Ying
The Malaysian Insider
January 06, 2014

Yesterday was an epiphany of sorts. It was our (my husband, daughter and I) first time at the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes. Beautiful church, meaningful service that kept us rooted to the pew (I’m truly guilty of wanting to run out in the midst of some homilies, so help me, God!) and much, much, more than that – that picture of grace that greeted us outside the church.

Cameras were clicking away. As usual, the “roses” held court, but I did notice some “thorns” mingling around.

Kudos to Azrul Mohd Khalib and other coordinators of the “solidarity gathering” who managed to band together Malaysians of different religions and ethnicities to turn up at the church as early as 8am to be one with their Christian brothers and sisters.

This “In the Name of Allah” initiative is truly reminiscent of the one in Egypt where we saw Muslims protecting Christians during mass, and Christians forming a circle around their Muslim brethren while they prayed during protests.

All of you who turned up yesterday at The Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, including Marina Mahathir, members of the Sisters of Islam and fellow Malaysians who are non-Christians, you have our utmost respect and thanks. Read the rest of this entry »

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