Archive for category Human Rights

Why was the monstrous and pernicious National Security Council Bill passed like “a thief in the night” in a late-night session on the last sitting of the 25-day Parliamentary meeting without any prior notice to the major stakeholders in the land?

Both the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid owe Parliament and the nation a full and satisfactory explanation as to why the monstrous and pernicious National Security Council (NSC) Bill was passed like “a thief in the night” in a late-night session on the last sitting of the 25-day Parliamentary meeting without any prior notice to the major stakeholders in the land?

Najib’s kitchen Cabinet of trusted Ministers and top government officers and advisers must be congratulated for pulling off one of the most remarkable feats in Malaysian government history, keeping the monstrous and pernicious NSC Bill completely under wraps without any one knowing about it, and even the snooping journalists with the most trained noses to sniff out the goings-on in the corridors of powers, have been completely bamboozled this time.

But this adds to the mystery – why was the NSC Bill kept under such tight lock-and-key that when it was first tabled in Parliament for first reading on Tuesday, 1st December 2015, it did not attract widespread attention and alert that it was such a monstrous and pernicious bill which not only usurped the powers of Yang di Pertuan Agong, the Cabinet and the powers of autonomy of the Sarawak and Sabah state, but would set the country off on the long dark road to a dictatorship? Read the rest of this entry »

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3 reasons you should be worried about the National Security Council Bill

Julia Yeow
The Malaysian Insider
6 December 2015

Just before the stroke of midnight last Thursday, December 3, Parliament passed the National Security Council Bill that nobody, not even the hawk-eyed opposition or the wide network of civil society groups, had any premonition of before it was tabled a mere two days earlier.

All peace-loving Malaysians regardless of your political affiliations, or even if you really couldn’t give two teh tariks for politics, have good reason to be concerned when this security law comes into force.

The manner in which it was bulldozed in Parliament, the ease with which it was passed and the ramifications of the vast executive powers it confers to members of the National Security Council (NSC) have left little to the imagination as to the sinister undertones of this Bill. Read the rest of this entry »

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Parliament inflicted three black eyes on itself in one day – quite a feat!

It’s quite a feat – Parliament inflicted three black eyes on itself in one day!

Yesterday was one of the darkest days in the history of the 56-year Parliament in Malaysia, for in one day, it scaled a new height of shame and dishonour with a trio of disgraceful parliamentary episodes, viz:

• The “cop-out” in the three-minute Ministerial statement by the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi dismissing some 90 parliamentary questions about Najib’s RM2.6 billion and RM50 billion 1MDB twin mega scandals in the 25-day budget parliamentary meeting;

• The petty and spiteful persecution of PKR Vice Chairman and MP for Lembah Pantai, Nurul Izzah Anwar virtually convicting her of disloyalty and treason to Malaysia, and referring her to the Parliamentary Committee of Privileges under terms of reference which can only allow the Committee to propose the “commensurate” penalties to be meted out to her; and

• What has been fittingly described by a former Malaysian ambassador as “the final step in the Zimbabweisation of Malaysia”.

It is to the eternal shame of Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia that so many shameful and disgraceful records could be set by the Malaysian Parliament in one day under his Speakership! Read the rest of this entry »

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Parliament should speak in one voice tomorrow on behalf of 30 million Malaysians to condemn the senseless mass massacre by IS suicide bombers in Paris on Friday night

The Malaysian Parliament should set a world example and speak in one voice tomorrow on behalf of 30 million Malaysians to condemn the senseless massacre in a series of co-ordinated attacks by Islamic State (IS) suicide bombers and gunmen in Paris that left at least 129 people dead and 352 injured.

As Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak is already in Turkey for the Group of 20 (G20) Summit, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi should move an emergency motion tomorrow immediately after Question Time, and he can be assured of full support by Pakatan Harapan Members of Parliament.

I do not of course speak on behalf of the PAS Members of Parliament.

However, I think on this issue of the condemnation of the Paris massacre, Members of Parliament, regardless of party, race, religion, gender, age or region, should unite to unanimously adopt an emergency motion in Parliament not only to condemn the killing of innocent lives in Paris on Friday night but also to urge on Parliaments and legislatures in all nations of the world to similarly condemn such dastardly and uncivilized savagery as unmitigated crimes against humanity which cannot be mitigated by any ground or reason. Read the rest of this entry »

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Police and MCMC raid of Malaysiakini and Star Online must be condemned in strongest possible terms as part of a repressive plan to create culture of fear to stifle freedom of expression and dissent in country

The police and Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) raid of Malaysiakini and Star Online yesterday must be condemned in the strongest possible terms as part of a repressive plan to create a culture of fear to stifle freedom of expression and dissent in the country.

Pakatan Harapan leaders had been on the receiving end of lies and criminal defamation for years but I do not see the police and MCMC taking any action against the UMNO/BN and pro UMNO/BN media or cybertroopers for these flagrant lies and falsehoods.

A classic case is the Utusan Malaysia front-page report that the DAP wanted to create a Christian Malaysia, which was not on a most mischievous, malicious and diabolical lie – but no action had been taken by the authorities against Utusan Malaysia not only in this instance but also many similar such cases by the same guilty parties. Read the rest of this entry »

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Twenty-eight years and eight days ago…

— Lee Yew Meng
Malay Mail Online
November 4, 2015

NOV 4 — On Oct 27, 1987, The Star managing director Datuk Steven Tan told his top management that the newspaper’s publishing permit had been withdrawn with immediate effect. The letter was hand-delivered earlier during a downpour.

The front page on that day read: “DETAINED — 19 picked up in swoop”. The masthead was in black, dramatising the events of the previous day.

I have no recollection of what was discussed during that meeting. Stuck in my head was: “Hey, this is ridiculous. Our chairman is Tunku Abdul Rahman (our first prime minister) and we are owned by MCA, a senior coalition partner in the government.”

All employees were on a quarter-month’s pay henceforth. It was a double whammy for couples on The Star’s payroll. Read the rest of this entry »

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Was there a draft charge sheet in the Attorney-General’s Chambers against the Prime Minister related to corruption before Gani Patail was sacked as Attorney-General on July 27?

Today is the 28th anniversary of the Operation Lalang dragnet of Oct. 27, 1987 which saw the mass arrest of 106 people under the detention-without-trial Internal Security Act, with 49 persons, including Members of Parliament and social activists, served with formal two-year detention orders and the closure of three major newspapers.

It is sad and tragic that today’s 28th anniversary for one of the darkest periods for democracy and human rights in the nation’s history coincides with a global report which is a damning indictment on widespread abuses of power against critics and dissenters by a Prime Minister who had come to power six years ago promising a new era for democracy and human rights in Malaysia, who even had the temerity to launch a global movement of moderates which now lay in ruins.

The New York-based watchdog Human Rights Watch (HRW)’s 145-page report “Creating a Culture of Fear: The Criminalisation of Peaceful Expression of Malaysia” documents not only Najib’s repeated breach of his promise to repeal repressive and draconian laws, but the institution of new regime of fear and terror where criticism has become a crime.

This regime of fear and terror have escalated in the country with the twin mega-scandals of RM50 billion 1MDF and RM2.6 billion “donation” in Najib’s personal banking accounts spiralling out of control, not only in the country but internationally, with half a dozen foreign countries opening separate investigations. Read the rest of this entry »

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Purveyors of hate

– Sheela R
The Malaysian Insider
8 September 2015

Voices of hatred seem bent on gaining traction in our nation, with their exclusivist agenda. Sadly, history seems to have taught us little.

In the 1930s, the Nazis, obsessed with a vision of a racially pure society, employed a series of cunning strategies, to ensure the realisation of their goals. These included:

Reshaping intellectual and public perception through the banning of books, articles, magazines, newspapers, and public displays of burning literature that were deemed to be incompatible with Nazi ideals. Such literary materials were deemed to foster “liberal decay”. Read the rest of this entry »

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The paranoid government

Syerleena Abdul Rashid
The Malaysian Insider
4 September 2015

“You’re either with us or not” – this is the fact that the ruling regime has hammered into the minds of many Malaysians for the past several decades.

Fact is, although, they may have succeeded with our predecessors, they have lost their iron clasp hold on this generation and this is something the ruling regime is fully aware of.

The recent Bersih 4 rally – and like the other three rallies that came before, showed them just how upset Malaysians are. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib should halt all “demonisation” campaign of Bersih 4 and offer hand of friendship and co-operation to Bersih organisers to make a success of August 29/30 overnight rally which would break the jinx of unending bad news for Malaysia for over a month

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak should halt all “demonisation” campaign of Bersih 4 whether directly by his Ministers, lieutenants and UMNO/BN leaders or indirectly by pro-UMNO/BN NGOs and personalities, and instead, offer the hand of friendship and co-operation to Bersih organisers to make a success of the August 29/30 overnight rally, turning it into a Human Rights Carnival or Festval,, which will break the jinx of unending bad news for Malaysia for over a month.

This is particularly pertinent as SUHAKAM, which was set up by Parliament to advise the government on human rights, has made three important points:

1. that as far as the Bersih rally is concerned, public assemblies cannot be banned. After the repeal of Section 27 of the Police Act, the concept of illegal assemblies no longer exist.

As Suhakam Chairman, Hasmy Agam has put it succintly, “an assembly is to be considered peaceful if its organisers have clarified that its intentions are peaceful”.

2. The police must not prevent, hinder or restrict a peaceful assembly, except in the interests of security of the country or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

3. To protect all participants from individuals or groups of individuals, including agent provocateurs and counter-demonstrators, who aim at disrupting or dispersing the assembly. Such an obligation does not rest on the organisers. Read the rest of this entry »

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Suhakam: No such thing as ‘illegal assembly’ now

Malaysiakini
Aug 21, 2015

In light of the upcoming Bersih rally, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) today emphasised that peaceful public assemblies cannot be banned.

This follows the repeal of Section 27 of the Police Act 1967, following which the concept of illegal assembly no longer exists, it said.

“As such, an assembly is to be considered peaceful if its organisers have clarified that its intentions are peaceful and have duly conveyed them to the authorities,” said Suhakam chairperson Hasmy Agam in a statement.

Suhakam’s reminder comes after Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed said police were right to ban the Bersih 4 rally scheduled for Aug 29 and 30.

“Consequently, the authorities not only have an obligation to protect peaceful assemblies, but should also take measures to facilitate them, and to comply with the many international human rights standards on freedom of assembly as this right is protected constitutionally in Article 10 of our Federal Constitution.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Stop demonising human rights

Syerleena Abdul Rashid
The Malaysian Insider
21 August 2015

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said this at an international Islamic forum: “Even though universal human rights have been defined… in our country, human rights are defined in the context of Islam. Though it is difficult to defend internationally, we must defend our definition of human rights.”

Throughout the forum, he continued to demonise several communities – especially the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered – which echoed the diatribe he unleashed at the National Quran Recital Competition a little over a year ago, where both ideals of humanism and liberalism were reduced to being “retrograde as it glorifies human wants and desires”.

Islam has always been a religion that upheld peacefulness, egalitarian values and humanism. Islam is never the type of religion that curbs personal liberties and freedom.

By definition, Islam in Arabic means submission and surrender to Allah, the Almighty. The Quran upholds the sanctity and absolute value of human life (Surah 6: 151) and reiterated that “the life of each individual is comparable to that of an entire community and, therefore, should be treated with the utmost care” (Surah 5: 32) – both clearly representing the essence of universal values. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ambiga: Why we need Bersih 4

By Ambiga Sreenevasan
Malaysiakini
Aug 20, 2015

COMMENT We have to fix this nation for the next generation. We cannot hand them a broken nation

There is no change in the usual anti-Bersih rhetoric. “It is anti-government, it will ruin businesses, it will cause chaos.”

Pictures of (Bersih chairperson) Maria (Chin Abdullah) are being defiled. They have simply run out of ideas, and no one is really listening to them.

Judging by the thousands of t-shirts being sold every day, Bersih 4 is set to see a massive turn out. Why? Because people are sick to death of the dishonest governance of our beautiful nation.

And it is time our leaders know they are not fooling us with their ridiculous responses. Read the rest of this entry »

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Has Malaysia become a police state?

By John R Malott
Malaysiakini
Aug 9, 2015

COMMENT How ironic it is that many Malaysians are now being threatened for taking actions that are “detrimental to parliamentary democracy.” Actually, they are the very people who are struggling for democracy and political freedom.

As someone who follows developments in Malaysia closely, I believe that the greatest threat to parliamentary democracy in Malaysia today is Prime Minister Najib Razak, and the head of the national police force that he controls, Khalid Abu Bakar.

It is Najib and Khalid who actually should be investigated for violating Section 124B of the Penal Code.

Najib wants to stay in power, no matter what. For any politician, that is understandable.

For whatever reason, Khalid has chosen to be Najib’s lackey. He is ready to do Najib’s bidding and deploy his police force in wilful violation of the law and the fundamental guarantees of Malaysia’s constitution. Read the rest of this entry »

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Travel ban on MPs, media owner politically motivated, says lawyers’ group

The Malaysian Insider
22 July 2015

Putrajaya’s move to prevent two lawmakers and a media owner from leaving the country is politically motivated, legal rights advocacy group Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) said today.

Its executive director, Eric Paulsen, said barring opposition MPs Tony Pua and Rafizi Ramli, as well as The Edge Media Group owner Datuk Tong Kooi Ong, from leaving the country was likely due to their criticism and exposes on 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

Paulsen said the authorities should remember that freedom of movement was guaranteed under the federal constitution.

Freedom of movement was also subject to security, public order, public health and the punishment of offenders, but Paulsen said these reasons were not applicable to the trio who are barred from leaving Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »

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MALAYSIA: AS THE ECONOMY WEAKENS, AUTHORITARIANISM CREEPS IN

by Nithin Coca
Equal Times
2 June 2015

First, it was the opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. Then, senior journalists and editors at the country’s top independent media website.

Bloggers followed, even a political cartoonist.

Over several months, Malaysia’s leaders have, piece-by-piece, used colonial-era laws to turn the country, long considered one of the shining lights of south-east Asia, firmly towards authoritarianism.

“Over the past year, the government has harassed, targeted and even imprisoned a wide range of individuals considered possible ‘threats’ – including opposition politicians, human rights defenders, lawyers and journalists,” said Josef Benedict, Asia-Pacific Campaigner for Amnesty International, based in Malaysia’s capital city of Kuala Lumpur.

Behind this unprecedented crackdown are signs of a ruling party losing grip on power, as its rule, built on an economy dependent on natural resource exports and a fragile racial and religious balance, threatens to unravel. Read the rest of this entry »

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Death camps are a ‘blight on the soul of the nation’

— MCCBCHST
Malay Mail Online
June 2, 2015

JUNE 2 — The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) is deeply saddened by the discovery of mass graves of migrants at the Malaysian/Thai border in Perlis. We are distressed to read reports that they were victims of abuse and torture at the hands of human traffickers and that several members of our police force may have been complicit.

The exploitation, torture and killing of our fellow human beings at these “death camps” on Malaysian soil are a blight of our nation and humanity. These victims deserve more than the indignity of un-mourned deaths and unmarked graves and their souls call for our prayers and for justice.

As such the MCCBCHST calls on Malaysians of all faiths to hold prayer sessions for the solace and rest of the victims and to ask for those responsible for these “death camps” to be brought to justice.

We call upon regional and national leaders to legislate and enforce sustainable humane solutions to the long-standing challenge of refugees, migrants and stateless people being exploited and abused by human traffickers across our borders. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why do Malaysians hate migrants?

Syerleena Abdul Rashid
The Malaysian Insider
29 May 2015

When a racial riot broke out in southern Italy sometime in early 2010, the mindless attacks on African immigrants prompted Pope Benedict XVI to respond by reminding people that, “an immigrant is a human being, different in background, culture and tradition, but a person to be respected, and possessing rights and duties”.

Malaysians tend to get emotional when such issues arise and share the same concerns with the rest of the world when it comes down to how we feel about migrants.

Whether you want to believe or not, Malaysia is one of those countries made up of migrants. Read the rest of this entry »

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The young boy who ‘shook’ Malaysia

Khoo Ying Hooi
The Malaysian Insider
1 June 2015

My diary on May 30 was marked as this, “Joshua Wong, Dubook Press, 9am”.

I was eager to meet Joshua in person when I found out about his road tour in Malaysia. Then my “dream” was crushed as he was barred from entering Malaysia on the morning of Tuesday, May 26.

I was keen to hear his talk. Apart from him being a high-profile teenager, I wanted to meet him in person, as I wanted to know how a young boy at his age manages to mobilise or influence his peers to engage in acts of civil disobedience. Read the rest of this entry »

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The hell refugees go through for freedom

by Syerleena Abdul Rashid
The Malaysian Insider
15 May 2015

Imagine this.

You are forced to leave your country, your home and everything you grew up with. As much as you would wish you could stay, you simply cannot.
The country you grew up in and the government entrusted to protect its citizens are unable to.

In some cases, it is the government itself that prosecutes its very own citizens because of some deeply rooted destructive bigotry or some horrifically oppressive regulation created by traditional warlords.

You’re forced to leave behind relatives apart from your intermediate family but of course, that is usually debatable.

If you’re well off, you can afford to escape with your loved ones; if not, you’re forced to leave them behind and pray that somehow you can return someday to rescue them.

You end up paying your “journey to freedom” with your life savings to someone who promised to take you to some far off land that can ensure economic prosperity, security and above all – a better life.

But as soon as you board that boat, you find yourself in a situation so sinister, all you want to do is escape. Read the rest of this entry »

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