Archive for October 16th, 2014

Open memorandum to the Prime Minister of Malaysia — Malaysian Bar

Malay Mail Online
OCTOBER 16, 2014

1. The Malaysian Bar has walked to Parliament today as part of our on-going campaign for the repeal of the Sedition Act 1948. It is in order to rid ourselves of an unjust law and unneeded crutch, and for the realisation of a better Malaysia.

2. The Malaysian Bar’s walk today is called the “Walk for Peace and Freedom” because we wish to promote a peace anchored by bonds of unity, lasting harmony and true mutual respect amongst Malaysians. We walk for the freedom from fear and intimidation; freedom from extremism; freedom from divisiveness; freedom from exploitation for personal, sectarian and selfish gains; freedom to question, criticise, discuss and debate; freedom to learn; and freedom to grow and mature.

3. The Sedition Act 1948 is inherently flawed. It is designed to subjugate, suppress and oppress. It is NOT designed to promote peace, harmony and unity. As a piece of criminal legislation, it is repugnant to the rule of law because it punishes freedom of speech and expression of thought by the use of imprecise and ill-defined offences. It does not require any proof of ill intention or intention to create disorder. Truth is not a defense. Hence, the Sedition Act 1948 in fact criminalises the truth.

4. The Walk for Peace and Freedom is part of the Malaysian Bar’s response to Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Razak’s call for all right thinking and moderate Malaysians to stand up and speak out. The Malaysian Bar walks so as to give voice to such Malaysians. Read the rest of this entry »


What is the rankings’ message for varsities?

By Dr I Lourdesamy
Oct 15, 2014

The Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2014-2015 has caused some concern in Malaysia, and rightly so. There is not a single Malaysian university in the top 400 positions. What is more discomforting is the decision of Universiti Malaya (UM) and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) to opt out from participating in the THE ranking exercise. They argue that the THE ranking is less relevant to their direction and focus.

They are featured in the QS World University Rankings, which seems to present a more favourable picture of their performance. Their decision to accept the QS ratings and reject the THE ratings has only compounded the problem, for it seems to reflect a lack of academic honesty. At one time UM was on the THE list but as its rankings began to fall, UM decided not to participate in the survey.

Several criticisms have been levelled at Malaysian universities for their poor showing in international rankings of educational institutions. Malaysian universities are constantly compared with Singapore where the National University of Singapore (NUS) secured a world ranking of 25 in the THE list for 2014-2015 and Nanyang Technological University was placed 61.

Several universities in East Asia have also shown high rankings, with the University of Tokyo leading the pack at position 23.

What is the message for Malaysian universities, especially for UM which started off at the same time as NUS? Read the rest of this entry »


To end Nancy’s agony, the Cabinet tomorrow should (i) reaffirm Najib’s pledge to repeal the Sedition Act and (ii) drop all sedition charges in court

For the past ten days, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri has been at the receiving end of national brickbats, scorn and even opprobrium for her outrageous parliamentary answer to the Penang Chief Minister and Bagan MP Lim Guan Eng that Perkasa President Datuk Ibrahim Ali was not prosecuted for his threat to burn the Malay-language Bible as Ibrahim was defending the sanctity of Islam.

Nancy added fuel to the national firestorm ignited by her answer when she ill-advisedly sought to clarify later with an even more outrageous justification – that Ibrahim’s action was protected by Article 11(4) of the Malaysian Constitution.

These are undoubtedly the worst ten days in Nancy’s political life.

To end Nancy’s agony and ordeal, the Cabinet tomorrow should step in with two decisions, firstly to reaffirm the pledge given by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in 2012 to repeal the colonial Sedition Act; and secondly, to drop all sedition charges and prosecutions currently in court. Read the rest of this entry »


Explain inaction on racial, religious provocation cases, Bar asks police, A-G

The Malaysian Insider
15 October 2014

Ahead of its peaceful walk to protest the Sedition Act tomorrow, the Malaysian Bar has a list of at least a dozen cases of provocative racial and religious remarks since 2012, and wants the police and Attorney-General to explain the status of each to the public.

The list of cases was appended in a document when the Bar passed a resolution at its extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on September 19 that the Sedition Act should be repealed and a protest march be held.

Its president Christopher Leong said it was not for de facto Law Minister Datuk Nancy Shukri to speak of these matters that came under the responsibility of these agencies.

“It is for the police to explain their non-action while the Attorney-General’s Chambers on why it refused to prosecute certain cases,” Leong told The Malaysian Insider.

He said this in response to the barrage of criticism against Nancy, who last week replied on behalf of the public prosecutor that no charges would be framed against Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali for his statement last year that Malay Bibles should be burnt. Read the rest of this entry »

1 Comment

Jurists worldwide insist Putrajaya protect lawyers rallying against Sedition Act

Malay Mail Online
October 15, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 15 – An international jurists group urged Putrajaya today to ensure no “police abuse” and disruptions occur during the Malaysian Bar’s planned protest against the Sedition Act 1948 tomorrow.

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) — comprising lawyers, judges and academics — noted that a rally against the colonial-era law that was organised by local human rights group Suaram in Penang last Sunday was disrupted by a rival group.

“The Malaysian government is responsible for protecting the rights of those holding dissenting views, and that includes protecting peaceful protesters from police abuse as well as from violent counter protesters,” ICJ’s international legal advisor on Southeast Asia Emerlynne Gil said in a statement today.

“The Sedition Act is being misused with increasing frequency to muzzle legal professionals who express their views about existing laws,” she added. Read the rest of this entry »

No Comments

In rare march, lawyers press Putrajaya to show door to Sedition Act

By Ida Lim
Malay Mail Online
October 16, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 16 ― Malaysian lawyers will trade the courtroom for the streets today, in an uncommon march by the legal profession to demand Putrajaya honour its two-year old pledge to repeal the Sedition Act 1948.

The rare spectacle is set to add to mounting pressure on the government to abolish the colonial-era law whose use in an ongoing crackdown has drawn criticism from both local and international groups including the United Nations.

Christopher Leong, who heads the Malaysian Bar that represents 16,000 lawyers in peninsular Malaysia, pointed out that the prime minister himself has asked moderates to speak up instead of ceding public space to extremists.

“This walk by the Malaysian Bar is part of our response to that call by the prime minister for moderates to stand up and speak out,” Leong said in an interview with local radio station BFM yesterday, adding later that the professional body believes that the national leader was right to decide to pledge the abolition of the law. Read the rest of this entry »

No Comments

Najib called to account for Sedition Act by Commonwealth lawyers

The Malaysian Insider
15 October 2014

Ahead of the Malaysian Bar’s walk to protest the Sedition Act tomorrow, the German Federal Bar has expressed concern over the use of the law in a letter to Datuk Seri Najib Razak, asking the prime minister for his stand on its widespread against the government’s critics.

The German Bar’s Dr Martin Abend, in a letter dated yesterday, noted that the act had been applied increasingly in Malaysia in the last few months, including against lawyers for voicing their legal opinions.

Abend said that in one particular case, a lawyer’s house was searched and his mobile phone and his laptop seized.

“The German Federal Bar is deeply concerned about these current developments in Malaysia.

“We kindly ask you to inform us if the information available to us is correct and how you view the situation,” Abend said in the letter which was posted on the Malaysian Bar’s website.

He also urged Najib to ensure that the Sedition Act would not be applied to facts relating to the freedom of expression. Read the rest of this entry »

1 Comment