Archive for category Human Rights

Zahid should not assume that although Pakatan Rakyat is opposed to IS and Islamic extremism, he has a blank cheque to enact anti-terrorism laws without proper consultation with the Opposition and the civil society

Home Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi is mistaken if he thinks that although Pakatan Rakyat is opposed to Islamic State and Islamic extremism, he has a blank cheque to enact a spate of anti-terrorism laws without proper consultation with the Opposition and the civil society.

I am quite disturbed by Zahid’s complacency and cavalier attitude as reflected by his statement after the presentation of the spate of anti-terrorism bills like the Prevention of Terrorism Bill 2015 (POTA) that he is confident the opposition will back POTA and that rejection would most likely come from activists and human rights’ lawyers.

Up to now, in finalizing the spate of anti-terrorism bills, Zahid has never bothered to consult with Pakatan Rakyat MPs and the civil society or seek their views on adequate safeguards against abuses of far-reaching powers. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly


The price some of us pay for freedom, democracy

BY Syerleena Abdul Rashid
The Malaysian Insider
3 April 2015

About 158 arrests have been made so far and Malaysians can expect more as our country continues to spiral downwards into an age of iniquity. Racial tension and religious intolerance are at an all-time high, threats and other forms of negative verbal exchanges go on quite frequently with very little consequences and now arrests are being made on a daily basis. As a result, even the more moderate ones who walk among us are now beginning to feel the paranoia and the distrust.

Nelson Mandela once said, “There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.” Having spent half of his lifetime behind bars, his name has become synonymous with valiant values like fortitude and perseverance. Mandela understood what struggle meant and knew the importance of believing in the aforementioned values; he was imprisoned simply because certain individuals were not comfortable with his wisdom. Much like how our brothers and sisters in Malaysia are being imprisoned because of differing political ideologies, daring exposes and unwillingness to succumb to conventionalism or maintaining the status quo.

What triggers our irritation is how the well-off and the well-connected celebrate their lives in the most extravagant ways while we grumble about the 6% tax increment being shoved down our throats and worry if we can ever afford sending our children to good schools, but what really sets it off is when innocent Malaysians are being hauled in for the silliest “crimes” ever imagine, while the murders, rapists and bigots roam free. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly


Defer the seven anti-terrorism bills for debate in next Parliamentary meeting starting on May 18 while establish Select Committee to study and make recommendations

Today’s arrest of two more editors, Edge publisher Ho Kay Tat and The Malaysian Insider (TMI) chief executive Jahabar Sadiq, in addition to the arrest of three senior TMI editors, Lionel Morais, Amin Shah Iskandar and Zulkifli Sulong yesterday are the latest in the police crackdown in the past week and a campaign to impose the reign of white terror in the country.

These arrests raise one disturbing question – whether the police and the government-of-the-day can be trusted with untrammelled powers, like the one they are asking under the anti-terrorism laws.

This question could not have come at a more appropriate time as Parliament was presented with seven anti-terrorism bills, which would empower the Executive with the untrammelled power of indefinite detention without trial that cannot be challenged in court. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

1 Comment

Has the IGP gone bonkers as to order the police probe of UM lecturer raising the most legitimate questions about political protest and protest policing?

I read, re-read and read a third time the article “Who owns the police” by University of Malaya senior lecturer, Dr. Khoo Ying Hooi in The Malaysian Insider on 16th March 2015 and I still cannot fathom how it could be the basis for two police officers to question Khoo for one-and-a-half hours under Section 500 of the Penal Code for criminal defamation of the police – without committing a gross abuse of police power.

Has the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Bakar gone bonkers in his latest tweet-trigger happy response to Khoo’s article on the same day, saying

“KYH’s article in MI is misleading the readers, When did @PDRMsia allow the 7th street protest?”

Khoo, in her article, had said that police “had earlier allowed the #KitaLawan rally on March 7 to carry on smoothly, but began their ‘arrest spree’ the next day” – with 11 people, including DAP Youth leader and MP for Rasah Teo Kok Seong, PKR Secretary-General and MP for Pandan, Rafizi Ramli, PKR Youth Chief and Selangor State Exco Member Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad arrested over the March 7 rally.

When Khoo said the police had earlier “allowed” the March 7 rally to be held smoothly, it did not and need not mean that the Police had issued a police permit to hold a rally, as all that it meant was that the Police did not disturb or disrupt the rally and permitted it to be held smoothly.

What is wrong with that statement?

What is the “criminal defamation” against the police in such a statement?
Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly


Why is IGP Khalid declaring war on Pakatan Rakyat when he should be declaring war on Islamic State? Is IGP for UMNO/BN or for all Malaysians?

DAP MP for Rasah and DAPSY Chief Teo Kok Seong is the sixth victim of the police crackdown on organisers of the Kita Lawan peaceful rally last week.

He was arrested under Section 143 of the Penal Code when he reported to the Dang Wangi district police headquarters at 11 am this morning, for his statement to be recorded as arranged beforehand.

The Kita Lawan rally was held peacefully to protest against the five-year jailing of Parliamentary Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The other five who had been arrested for the peaceful rally are PKR Youth chief and Selangor Exco Member Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, PKR Vice Chairman/Secretary-General/ MP for Pandan Rafizi Ramli, PKR Youth leader Saifullah Zulkifli, PKR Supreme Council member Fairiz Musa and PAS Youth treasurer Fakhurazi Mokhtar.

PKR Vice President and MP for Lembah Pantai Nurul Izzah Anwar is expected to be the next target.

Kok Seong has been sent to the Jinjang Police Station where he would be remanded overnight. Is the police planning for a longer remand for Kok Seong, like the further three-day remand in the case of Nik Nazmi?

This is a gross abuse of power. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly


Why am I ‘wasting’ my time at Sogo on 307?

— Kenneth Cheng
The Malay Mail Online
MARCH 4, 2015

MARCH 4 — I have to be frank, this is by far the worst Chinese New Year that I have ever celebrated, not because Anwar Ibrahim has been incarcerated in what is widely perceived as a travesty of justice or the farcical strategic development company 1MDB that may cripple our economy and financial sovereignty.

It is certainly not the advent of GST which 40 per cent households with an income of less than RM1,500 per month will suffer the most. Additionally, I have learn to turn a deaf ear towards Cabinet Minister’s race inciting hate comments which seek to further divide Malaysia and divert the attention away from his sheer incompetency.

Last but not least, I would expect nothing less than RM1,200 worth of hair treatment from our very dear first lady, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor given her “modest” and prudent financial management lifestyle.

Yet, I was crestfallen during this festive period simply because friends and family who I visited, choose to remain dispassionate and detach themselves from the recent political development of our country. Furthermore, questions arise among my peers concerning the rationale of holding massive #kitalawan protest in Sogo. They generally empathise with the partisans and resolve to punish the corrupt regime in the next General Election, but deem there is no meaning in participating in the social movement.

As much as I appreciate their attentiveness toward this political issue, nevertheless I need to accentuate that social progress is very much attainable by effective social movements, be it small or big. Therefore, with the interest of the amnesiac public in mind, it is of vital importance to revisit history and to remind the rakyat how humanity and society have constantly made substantial progress through social movements. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

No Comments

Stop Arrests and Harassment on Those who Exercise Their Constitutional and Internationally-Recognized Right to Freedom of Expression

Malaysia: Open Letter to the Prime Minister
William Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Ambassador
27 February 2015

(LONDON) – Dato’ Sri Mohammad Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak
Prime Minister of Malaysia Office of the Prime Minister
Main Block, Perdana Putra Building
Federal Government Administrative Centre
62502 Putrajaya, MALAYSIA
Via facsimile: +60-3-8888-3444

Malaysia: Stop Arrests and Harassment on Those who Exercise Their Constitutional and Internationally-Recognised Right to Freedom of Expression

Mr. Prime Minister,

We, the undersigned human rights organisations and individuals, write to you to register our grave concern over the continued crackdown on freedom of expression in Malaysia, including the latest arrests and investigations against those who criticised or commented on the Federal Court’s decision to uphold the conviction of Anwar Ibrahim of sodomy charges earlier this month.

Since May 2014, more than 40 individuals have been arrested under the Sedition Act and the Penal Code for the exercise of their right to freedom of expression. Over 70 arrests have been made since May 2013.

We are alarmed by your government’s continued abuse of the Sedition Act, exemplified by the following recent cases: Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

No Comments

Have an opinion? Stuff it!

Fa Abdul | February 24, 2015
Free Malaysia Today

How come freedom of speech is limited to a select few who can say what they please while the majority spend a night in the lock-up for doing the same?


When I was growing up, reading the daily newspaper and watching the 8pm news was a must in my home. And every day during family time, my dad would open the floor for discussion. We used to discuss (and sometimes debate) various issues – politics, social, religion, entertainment, the works. Sometimes we got too excited over certain issues that we continued the same discussion for a few days.

Thanks to my dad, my brothers and I grew up having the ability to form our own opinions on matters that concerned us. And having strong opinions meant standing up to it as well.

But lately, I’ve begun to wonder if my dad made a big mistake having raised us the way he did. Because of my dad, I now have a tough time keeping my thoughts to myself and my mouth shut.

Like the other day, when I wrote about why I wasn’t offended by the Charlie Hebdo cartoons – I received piles of hate messages.

And then there was one time when I politely advised the security guards in my apartment that it was against the law for them to hold a visitor’s important documents – and the head of security raised his baton over my head.

Since when did freedom of speech and expressing oneself become an offence?

This reminds me of an acquaintance of mine who was arrested recently on a sedition charge for criticising the Federal Court judgement over the Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy case.

All he did was to post his opinion of the case on Facebook. He had to spend one night in a lock-up filled with creepy crawlies simply because he had trouble zipping his mouth. I bet he too was raised to stand up for what he believed in.

Looks like we can no longer call a spade, a spade. Freedom of speech can get us into lots of trouble these days. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

1 Comment

Malaysia’s flawed democracy

Syerleena Abdul Rashid
The Malaysian Insider
6 February 2015

According to The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index, only 12.5% of the world’s population in under governments that practice “full democracy”. The EIU index further identifies that only 24 countries are “ull democracies” whereas 52 countries are regarded as “flawed democracies”. Malaysia, our great nation, is one of these countries.

Flawed democracies are defined as countries that even with the presence of free and fair elections,therein lay considerable drawbacks and limitations that magnifies the inadequacy of present political systems.

Although basic liberties or rights are recognised, they may sometimes only exist in theory and may not be practiced or applied. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly


Malaysian Cabinet probably the worst in Malaysian history – acting like the traditional three monkeys with eyes that see not, ears that hear not and mouths that speak not

The Malaysian Cabinet Edition 2015 is probably the worst in the 58-year Malaysian history – acting like the traditional three monkeys with eyes that see not, ears that hear not and mouths that speak not.

Did the Cabinet repudiate and reprimand the Urban Well-being, Housing and Local Government Minister, Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan for his irresponsible and reckless statement that the restoration of local government elections could worsen racial polarization when supporting the equally bizarre statement by the PAS President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang that the restoration of the third vote could cause a repeat of the May 13 race riots?

Abdul Rahman is the most irresponsible Local Government Minister in the nation’s history for no other Local Government Minister had ever made such a statement in the past 50 years since the suspension of local government elections on March 1965 on the ground of threat from Indonesian Confrontation.

And yet nobody in Cabinet dared to confront him and propose that the Cabinet should reprimand him and dissociate itself from the Local Government Minister’s irresponsible and reckless remarks on the restoration of local government elections.

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had dismissed the previous Cabinet as “half-past six” and former Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin had shown utter contempt of what he described as “deadwood” Ministers. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly


So what’s your freedom worth?

Syerleena Abdul Rashid
The Malaysian Insider
23 January 2015

As the world experiences the worrying expansion of global radicalism, reports of violence and killings committed in the name of religion evoke all sorts of emotions – it propels humanity into extreme ends: you either strongly disagree or strongly agree with the atrocities committed in the name of God, religion and faith.

Many of us are still trying to make sense of the recent attacks in Paris, the battles fought by Isis and the massacres carried out by Boko Haram. These aggressions aren’t just about a series of offensive cartoons or the overzealousness of installing an Islamic caliphate or even the evil of Western education, but it is a declaration of war against freedom of expression and human rights. Most of all, it signals the breakdown of logic – the raison d’être of religious wisdom and prudence; it indicates an abrupt shift to feverish radicalism.

Every heinous attack committed by religious extremists leaves many of us wondering: what is it about religion that makes one more inclined to embrace violence and lose one’s sense of humour or common sense? Where do you draw the line between jest and insolence? Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly


When an opinion becomes a criminal matter

13 January 2015

It took no fewer than 20 policemen to arrest Eric Paulsen last night, just hours after Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin asked for an investigation into the human rights lawyer’s tweet that religious authorities were promoting extremism through Friday prayer sermons.

And it took no less than the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar to use the same Twitter microblogging network to announce Paulsen’s arrest – akin to revealing a major breakthrough in solving crime or arrest of kingpins.

Impressive, to say the least, considering that Paulsen was left unmolested when he lodged a report earlier yesterday over death threats following his tweet, which he had taken down after a barrage of criticism.

There was no move to arrest him then although the IGP had already said there would be a probe into the lawyer’s tweet under the Sedition Act. None. Like clockwork, action was only taken after the DPM commented on the matter.

What is even more impressive is that Paulsen had yet to be remanded for the federal police chief to send off a series of tweets on Paulsen’s opinion about Malaysia’s Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) sermons promoting extremism. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

1 Comment

Will criticising Umno now be labelled seditious?

by Sheridan Mahavera
The Malaysian Insider
28 November 2014

The hardliners in Umno have won and they want every Malaysian to know this.

Any criticism that even touches on Islam, the Malays and the rulers will be seen as an attack against Umno, and vice versa.

This is the message from the first day of the Umno assembly and the party’s conservatives have proved how influential they are as they have managed to get their president, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, to go back on his own word.

And this has serious repercussions for the man on the street, said noted political analyst Prof James Chin, as it could signal an increased clamp down on legitimate dissent. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

1 Comment

Greater democratic space and a just and inclusive economy are the two great challenges for democrats, whether socialist, Muslim or any other denomination

I would firstly like to thank the organisers for allowing me the opportunity to address this distinguished audience gathered here at the inaugural “World Forum of Muslim Democrats” conference.

The objective of the forum, as stated in its concept paper, is to “moderate and ameliorate the negative voices of intolerance, extremism and exclusivism with the voices of moderation, tolerance, understanding and inclusivism.” Our discussion here is most timely, given the recent rise of religious bigotry and extremism all over the world.

In war-torn Middle East, a militant force that originated as a regional branch of al-Qaeda has forcibly gained control over parts of western Iraq and north-eastern Syria, styling their unrecognised territory as the “Islamic State.”

Whilst claiming religious authority over Muslims the world over as a born-again “caliphate,” the Islamic State has in fact been carrying out a systematic campaign of sectarian brutality particularly against Muslim minorities. Just yesterday, reports have come in about the massacre of 322 members of an Iraqi tribe in the western Anbar province, including some 50 women and children whose bodies were dumped unceremoniously into a well.

Though the Islamic State has committed great crimes through its inhumane “executions” and ruthless massacres, they have committed a greater crime by misusing the name Islam in the propagation of its abhorrent ideology. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly


The regression of our society

– Joshua Wu
The Malaysian Insider
17 October 2014

I refer to the video on YouTube on the attack on Gerakan Hapus Akta Hasutan’s (GHAH) Penang coordinator Ong Jing Cheng as well as a few others during their peaceful gathering at Speaker’s Square in Penang.

“Unacceptable, abhorrent, repulsive, barbaric, uncivilized, undemocratic, illegal, insolent, untenable, quixotic, unscrupulous, boorish, cockamamie, craven, dastardly, egregious, odious, and asinine” were some of the words that flashed through my mind as I watched the seven minutes and thirty seconds video.

Aren’t the troublemakers worried about the civil and criminal repercussions of their actions? Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

1 Comment

We are the weeds with fire

By Sharon Chin
Sep 30, 2014

COMMENT I’ve wondered what it was like to be grown-up during Operasi Lalang. I was seven that year – truly a child of former premier Mahathir Mohamad, who came to power in 1981, and ordered the government crackdown on political dissidents and activists in 1987. Over a hundred people were arrested under the Internal Security Act, and many of them got sent to jail.

People who lived through that time are calling this recent spate of arrests and convictions under the Sedition Act ‘Ops Lalang 2′. DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang blogged about a “…climate of fear in the country, as if we are in the midst of a ‘white terror’…” Former Bersih co-chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan declared to rousing applause at a forum: “…We are no ‘lalang’ (weed). We’re going to stand up today.”

Perhaps the confusion and fear in 1987 was the same as ours is now. Maybe parents chided in lowered voices about being careful what you write or say, at least until “this blows over. You never know”.

The same but not the same. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

1 Comment

Saying one thing but doing another

Terence Fernandez
The Malaysian Insider
17 September 2014

“Sedition and seditious and defamatory libel are arcane offences – from a bygone era when freedom of expression wasn’t seen as the right it is today.

“Freedom of speech is now seen as the touchstone of democracy, and the ability of individuals to criticise the state is crucial to maintaining freedom.

“The existence of these obsolete offences in this country had been used by other countries as justification for the retention of similar laws which have been actively used to suppress political dissent and restrict press freedom.”

The above statement is the words of UK justice minister Claire Ward in 2009 when she announced that the government was doing away with sedition offences. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly


Najib must take a clear stand – whether he is with the moderates or the extremists, whether he is for 1Malaysia or the very antithesis of 1Malaysia

On 5th May 2014, the first anniversary of the 13th General Elections, Malaysians were torn by grave disillusionment with the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for a year of failed policies and the dire prospect of a break-up of Pakatan Rakyat over hudud law.

The next day, the beginning of the second year of Najib’s second administration as Prime Minister could not have started on a more ominous note, heralding that Malaysia is heading for a new dark age where all the grandiloquent pledges and slogans of 1Malaysia, World’s Best Democracy and Government Transformation Programme would be consigned to the dustbins of history and replaced by undemocratic, repressive, unjust and draconian rule.

In the morning, the PR/DAP MP for Seputeh Teresa Kok was charged in Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court with sedition over her Chinese New Year “Onederful Malaysia” video, a 11-minute clip lampooning and criticising various failures of government policies.

It is supreme irony that one of the five criticisms in her video alleged to be seditious was about the security situation in East Sabah especially after the abduction of the Taiwan tourist in an island resort off Semporna in November last year – as on the morning that Teresa was charged, news were received of another abduction of a Chinese national in a nearby island off Lahad Datu at about 2.45 a.m. the same day!

Teresa was telling the truth, but telling the truth has become sedition in Najib’s Malaysia as the Prime Minister has forgotten his promises to repeal the draconian and colonial Sedition Act. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly


Obama’s Visit: Any Value and Is Anyone Listening?

Koon Yew Yin

President Obama has come and gone. His visit to KL has generated much feedback. Analysts concerned with the political direction of the country have been especially disappointed with his refusal to meet the opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim. It was like him visiting Myanmar and refusing to meet Aung San Suu Kyi.

One commentator, Dennis Ignatius, has called this decision “an astonishing betrayal by a country that has often portrayed itself as a world champion of democracy and human rights. It sends an unmistakable signal to corrupt and abusive governments everywhere that disrespect for human rights and the curtailing of democratic governance will be overlooked in exchange for pro-American policies.”

The critic noted that surely the US leader is not “unaware of what is going on in Malaysia – the corruption and abuse of power, the tainted elections, the harassment and jailing of opposition leaders, the racial and religious incitement, the intolerance of dissent, the narrowing of our democratic space.”

In one sense, I share the above view of the critic who incidentally is not any ordinary Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly


Open letter to the President of the United States

– Tony Pua
The Malaysian Insider
April 26, 2014

Dear President Barack Obama,

Welcome to my country, my home, my beautiful Malaysia.

We Malaysians are extremely proud that an American president, the first in 48 years, decided to visit our humble country.

Although you are an American, Malaysians together with the rest of the world celebrated with you when you won the historic presidential election in 2008.

To quote your predecessor, President George Bush, your “journey represents a triumph of the American story”.

I was personally moved and inspired by your victory acceptance speech in Chicago, “If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer… at this defining moment, change has come to America.”

Hence you would surely remember and appreciate the struggles of African Americans in the history of the United States for freedom, justice and equality. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly