Archive for April 8th, 2015

An open letter to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

By J.D. Lovrenciear
Free Malaysia Today
April 5, 2015


In thirty-odd years of writing (over 10,000 pieces in the media), I have never once written in the first person. But today, inspired by your open admissions and determined manifestations of recent weeks, I appeal to you, Sir, to put a stop to the reality of the day, i.e. that Malaysians are walking in shame in the eyes of the world community of professionals, honourable investors, and within the revered hallways of academia.

Tun, never has a nation in recent times had its citizens walk in such shame as is happening in Malaysia.

The unstoppable reports of corruption, extravagance, inept leadership, wastage and profiteering at the expense of nationhood, systemic attacks and compromises on our institutions of nationhood and the horrendous crime against Altantuya – all of these and many more that you are cognizant of have eroded the dignity, honour and reputation of this nation.

Yes, there is no perfect nation. But when Malaysians are forced to bow their heads and walk with so much shame, what do we do? Read the rest of this entry »


Sedition Act revisions worst ever attack on free speech, lawyers say

by Boo Su-Lyn
The Malay Mail Online
April 8, 2015

Amendments to the Sedition Act 1948 that allow people to be jailed up to 20 years for their remarks is an attempt to stifle all dissent, according to lawyers who dubbed these the “most serious” attack on freedom of speech Malaysia has ever seen.

Civil liberties lawyer Syahredzan Johan also questioned the denial of bail for suspects charged with sedition offences that cause bodily injury or property damage, saying that while prosecutors may try to justify this, it should be the courts’ discretion to decide.

“This Bill makes for a chilling read,” Syahredzan told Malay Mail Online.

“I would say that it’s the most serious assault on freedom of speech and expression that we have seen in this country,” the lawyer added.

Under the Sedition (Amendments) Bill 2015 that was tabled in Parliament yesterday, those who cause bodily harm or property damage with their sedition crimes will now face jail terms of between five and 20 years. Those convicted of general sedition crimes face imprisonment of between three and seven years. Read the rest of this entry »


Putrajaya has no respect for judiciary, says Ambiga after Sedition Act changes

Elizabeth Zachariah
The Malaysian Insider
8 April 2015

The people need to understand how little respect Putrajaya has for the country’s judiciary, said former Bar Council president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, after the government yesterday tabled amendments to the Sedition Act, which will also include refusing bail to those charged under the colonial-era law.

She said Putrajaya did not seem to care that the constitutionality of the act was being challenged in the court by academic Dr Azmi Sharom and as such, any amendments to it was “absolutely appalling”.

Azmi was charged under Section 4(1)(b) and Section 4(1)(c) of the Act over his comments in a news article titled “Take Perak crisis route for speedy end to Selangor impasse, Pakatan told”.

Azmi then filed an application, saying that Section 4 was unconstitutional and violated Article 10 of the Federal Constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech. The case was referred to the Federal Court.

“The Sedition Act is being challenged by Azmi with the argument that it is unconstitutional and is, therefore, null and void,” she said in a forum titled “What is a moderate Malaysia for Malaysians?” in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur last night.

“And what does the government do before the decision by the court? They put in amendments. They don’t care what our federal courts have to say about the Sedition Act. To me, this is absolutely appalling.”

Ambiga, who is the patron of people’s movement Negara-ku, said Putrajaya had not discussed the amendments with any stakeholders, including civil society and the opposition, before tabling the amendments which were “extreme”. Read the rest of this entry »


Security must not come at the price of liberty, Suhakam tells Putrajaya

The Malay Mail Online
April 8, 2015

The government’s duty to ensure the country’s safety does not negate its responsibility to uphold citizens’ rights and the rule of law, the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) said in criticising Putrajaya’s decision to revive detention without trial.

While expressing support for government efforts to combat the risk of terrorism, the commission insisted that laws such as the Prevention of Terrorism Bill 2015 (Pota) must still be consistent with local and international human rights standards.

“Although the government has an obligation to ensure that the constitutional rights of its citizens are protected by taking positive measures to counter threats of terrorism and extremism, the Commission reiterates that such measures must not pose disproportionate challenges to fundamental human rights and the rule of law, and jeopardise the principles of democracy,” Tan Sri Hasmy Agam, the chair of Suhakam, said in a statement yesterday. Read the rest of this entry »