Archive for July 4th, 2014

Judges must remain neutral even out of office, says Ambiga

by V. Anbalagan
The Malaysian Insider
4 July 2014

Biased or discriminatory views expressed by judges even after their retirement reflect negatively on the judiciary and undermine public perception of their independence, former Bar Council chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan said.

“The prestige of the judiciary is determined by judges themselves, not just when they were on the bench but even when they retire,” she said in a statement, responding to former chief justice Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad’s criticism of the Bar Council’s role in the drafting of the National Unity Consultative Council’s (NUCC) three bills to replace the Sedition Act and aligning the Bar with the opposition.

On Monday, Hamid said he did not want to join the NUCC as he feared being used by certain parties, who wanted to cast aside Malay rights and the position of Islam in the country.

He said the opposition had “taken over” the NUCC, and questioned why the opposition, particularly the Bar, was allowed to determine policies and according to their agendas. Read the rest of this entry »


Under Isis, Iraqi women again face an old nightmare: violence and repression

Yifat Susskind
3 July 2014

The militants are using rape and brutality to control women who have not stopped mobilising since the US occupation

In a PBS NewsHour video report in June, Isis extremist militants parade through Mosul, Iraq, one of the first cities to fall to their onslaught in early June. The armed men are hanging off the back of trucks, as the crowd films them. One fighter leans out a car window, wagging his finger. The footage provides a translation. The fighter has spotted a woman, and he is ordering her to cover up.

This is how an extremist agenda is imposed: on women’s bodies. That fighter had barely arrived in Mosul yet his first order of business gives us a chilling glimpse of a broader strategy, one that targets women with repression and violence. In recent weeks, women living under Isis control have been seized from their homes and raped. They have been ordered to cover themselves fully and stay in the house.

As Iraq descends into war, women are not only on the frontlines: they are the battlefield. But here is the part that too many media reports have missed: they are not just victims; they are critical first responders. Read the rest of this entry »

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Our varsities neutered and muted, say academics

by Sheridan Mahavera
The Malaysian Insider
4 July 2014

A culture of fear and pressure to follow the dictates of political masters built over three decades has made public universities anti-intellectual and mediocre, say academics.

They told The Malaysian Insider that while universities were supposed to be the conscience of society, they, however, have been neutered and muted.

They said political pressure to “toe the line” is a daily reality in universities, and those who are critical are harassed while those who kowtow are rewarded with plum posts.

At the same time, cronyism and racism have led to genuinely hardworking researchers being passed over for salary raises and promotions, while others less qualified, but on good terms with the top administrators, are easily elevated.

If the culture continues, the academics warn, standards in these varsities could plunge, making their degrees virtually worthless and their graduates almost unemployable. Read the rest of this entry »