Friday, July 01, 2016

Is the charging of Guan Eng a indication that in Malaysia even PMs and Chief Ministers are not above the law?

Positive sign when Lim Guan Eng, the Chief Minister of Penang, is taken to court and charged for corruption...

Well, in Malaysia sadly, we have not seen this often, whereby a Prime Minister, Minister or some politician is taken to court and charged for an alleged wrongdoing like corruption or abuse of power...and, hopefully this will be the start of a new positive trend when public servants in enforcement agencies and those with prosecutorial powers will act bravely and investigate and/or prosecute even those in power without fear or favour...

Is Lim Guan Eng guilty? Well, that is another matter - that will be for the court to decide. Some are angry because their party leader or one of the Opposition leader is being taken to court and charged... but let us not forget for that is exactly what we want - nobody is above the law, friend or foe, and we need the administration of justice to apply to all equally...

Now, I believe that our judiciary is independent and will be fair - and the decision on this case would be important for all Malaysians...the court will have the opportunity to set the standard as to what is corruption...let the court be only guided by the desire to do justice - and not some other irrelevant factor > like his current position or his political affiliation..

'Double Standards' - well, a lot of people are saying this, and maybe the anti-corruption agencies and the Public Prosecutor may have to seriously reflect on this - is it true? If Najib, our Prime Minister, was in a similar situation - would they have acted in the same way - investigated thoroughly, prosecuted efficiently, etc...

As it is, Malaysia really do not have a good track record at present...we recall the case of
Former land and cooperative development minister Tan Sri Kasitah Gaddam..., and note what the judge said 
Justice Suraya said the failure of the prosecution in not calling six board members who were present in the meeting was detrimental to the case as it had created a big gap over the question of whether the board members were actually cheated by the accused.- Star, 13/8/2009, Kasitah freed of corruption charges
Let us also relook at what the judge was reported saying in the case of Eric Chia..
Akhtar said the most glaring setback was the prosecution’s failure to call two material witnesses, who would have been able to confirm whether payment was needed for the technical assistance agreements (TAA) signed between Perwaja Rolling Mill Development and NKK Corporation. He said former Perwaja company secretary R.R. Durai Rajasingam, who was involved in all Perwaja’s contracts, would have known the actual contents of the TAA. “Yet the prosecution never called him. The question is why? I see nothing to say that he would be a hostile witness or give evidence against them.” The judge also questioned the prosecution’s reluctance to call the five Japanese witnesses,.. - Star, 27/6/2007, Eric Chia acquitted of CBT

Well, I hope that the prosecution will do their work properly and adduce all relevant evidence and call all required witnesses. The prosecution should also bring all evidence that is favourable for the accused to the attention of the court. We want a fair trial...

Well, the Attorney General personally is leading the prosecution team....maybe it demonstrates his commitment against corruption, especially if it involves leaders of Malaysia and its States...Wonder what is happening with the investigation against Najib Tun Razak?

LIM GUAN ENG - should he step down as Chief Minister? Obviously no - because he is to be presumed innocent until proven guilty... and, even if he is found guilty by the first court, he need not resign until all his appeals are heard and disposed of. 

Now, what we all want is a free and fair trial by an independent judge for Lim Guan Eng...Personally, the bail amount, in my opinion, was excessive - but then, normally for corruption cases, it is high. However, It really should have been more reasonable - maybe equivalent to one month's wages in cases of public servants like Guan Eng, who has no other known sources of income. Bail is to ensure attendance in court for your trial and, I do not believe that Guan Eng is a flight risk... The setting of the high bail also affects public perception of the judge...has he already made up his mind or is he still independent and capable to ensure a fair trial... Well, this is just my opinion.

And we want the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission and the Public Prosecutor to act in the same way from now on against all in power, be it the Prime Minister, Minister, Menteri Besar or Chief Minister...that is whall all good Malaysians want. No one should be above the law...especially persons given the trust by Malaysians to govern...

See also related post:- 

Tunku Abdul Aziz, MACC advisory board chairperson, should be focussing on corruption not Dr. M?



Charged with two counts of corruption, Lim Guan Eng strikes defiant tone

Charged with two counts of corruption, Lim Guan Eng strikes defiant tone
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, centre, said on June 30, 2016, "BN can victimize me but will not crush my spirit." Photo: Lim Guan Eng's Facebook

Published: 3:13 PM, June 30, 2016
Updated: 11:32 PM, June 30, 2016
 
PENANG — The Malaysian authorities on Thursday (June 30) charged senior federal opposition leader Lim Guan Eng with two counts of corruption, a move government critics say is part of a crackdown on those opposed to Prime Minister Najib Razak’s administration.
“I am all right,” a smiling Lim told reporters as he arrived at the court. Lim, who is the secretary-general of opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Chief Minister of Penang, pleaded not guilty to both charges. 

He was granted RM1 million (S$338,100) bail. He is due to return to court on Sept 22 when trial dates are expected to be fixed and faces up to 20 years in jail if convicted.

“BN (Barisan Nasional, the ruling coalition) can prosecute me but it will not kill my passion to free Malaysia from corruption,” he said yesterday in a defiant statement after he was granted bail. “BN can victimise me but will not crush my spirit to free Malaysia from those who steal our children’s future.” 

Leaders from the Pakatan Harapan opposition pact condemned the legal action. DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang (Lim’s father) said it was the latest in concerted efforts “to destroy the opposition and defend Najib’s political position”. 

Mr Azmin Ali, the Chief Minister of the state of Selangor and deputy president of Parti Keadilan Rakyat, an opposition party, criticised the swift action in handling Lim’s case amid the “innumerable reports” lodged against Mr Najib. Mr Azmin also called on the opposition to come together and focus on its struggles.

“BN can humiliate me by unnecessarily detaining me overnight but will not succeed in changing white to black and black to white. Right cannot become wrong and wrong cannot become right,” Lim said in the statement.

He was kept overnight at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC’s) Penang headquarters in George Town after the authorities picked him up on Wednesday evening from his office.

“BN will not break my party’s unity ... If BN feels that they can bend or break me by arresting me, they are wrong! I will die standing than live on bended knees,” he added.

The ruling party has called for Lim’s resignation as Penang’s Chief Minister, but the DAP’s Penang Chapter said yesterday that Lim will remain in charge pending the outcome of the trial.

Dr Wong Chin Huat, head of political and social analysis at Penang Institute, a public policy think-tank, told TODAY that the high-handed manner Lim’s case was handled had angered many Malaysians.

“The MACC and AGC (Attorney-General’s Office) have little credibility in the public’s eyes, more so after the change in leadership of both recently and last year related to the 1MDB investigation,” he said, referring to state investment firm 1Malaysia Development Berhad, which was at the centre of a corruption investigation linked to Mr Najib.

Dr Wong said that if Lim was convicted for corruption, this would likely make him a martyr in the eyes of more than half of Malaysians. “If Lim’s charge is followed by more prosecution of more opposition leaders under one law or another, Lim’s martyr image will only loom larger.”

Lim was charged in relation to investigations over his purchase of a house, which was allegedly linked to the sale of state land.

He was charged under Section 23 of the MACC Act and Section 165 of the Penal Code.

Under Section 23, he is accused of using his public office or position to obtain gratification for himself and his wife, Ms Betty Chew, by approving Magnificent Emblem’s application to convert agricultural land into a residential one. In return, Lim is alleged to have purchased his house from Phang Li Koon, a director of Magnificent Emblem, for RM2.8 million, which was below the property’s market value of RM4.27 million in July last year.

Phang has been charged with abetment under Section 109 of the Penal Code. The charges come as Mr Najib tightens his grip on power despite being battered by the scandals surrounding 1MDB for the past year.
Despite the scandal, Mr Najib has consolidated his power within the United Malays National Organisation, the ruling party that is part of BN.

BN also won against the opposition during the recent Sarawak state elections and twin by-elections in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar. The victories took place amid the opposition’s divide over whether the Islamic penal code should be implemented in the state of Kelantan.

Observers have suggested that snap elections are on the cards.

Iseas-Yusof Ishak Institute deputy director Dr Ooi Kee Beng told TODAY that even if Lim is not convicted or locked up, the damage done to the opposition will be quite substantial.

“Much of their appeal has depended on the idea of hope, and of something transparent and new. Even by leaving the case undecided, much uncertainty can be sowed in the opposition camp,” he noted. 

“One has to speculate if all these moves are just to silence critics or if there is a greater purpose. That would of course be snap general elections, perhaps already this year.” AGENCIES - Today Online, 1/7/2016



 

 


 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Amnesty calls on Malaysia to stop harassing lawyers and HR Defenders?

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
PUBLIC STATEMENT

AI Index: ASA 28/4340/2016
28 June 2016

Malaysia: Drop charges against lawyer N. Surendran

The Malaysian authorities must immediately and unconditionally drop all charges that have been brought against N. Surendran, a lawyer and opposition lawmaker, solely for criticizing a court verdict in 2014 concerning his client, the de facto opposition leader and prisoner of conscience, Anwar Ibrahim.

On 24 June 2016, the High Court of Kuala Lumpur found the Sedition Act to be constitutional, and that sedition charges brought against N. Surendran are still valid.  This decision sets a dangerous precedent not only for the continued use of the Sedition Act against government critics, human rights defenders and activists, but also raises concerns on the right of individuals to legal representation and defence. N. Surendran’s lawyers filed their appeal against the decision of the High Court on 27 June 2016 to the Court of Appeal.

Amnesty International believes that the criminal charges brought against N. Surendran are politically motivated, prevent him from carrying out his work independently, and amount to harassment and intimidation. According to international human rights standards, governments should ensure that lawyers are able to perform their professional functions without intimidation, harassment, hindrance or improper interference.

The organization is also concerned about increasing attempts by the authorities to silence lawyers expressing critical views and opinions about the government. More recently, on 31 March 2016, police hauled up four lawyers Karen Cheah, Charles Hector Fernandez, Francis Pereira and Shanmugan Ramasamy to record their statements. This was carried out due to a motion that was tabled at the Annual General Meeting of the Malaysian Bar, calling on Attorney General Mohamed Apandi Ali to resign over his handling of a corruption case involving Prime Minister Najib Razak and his alleged link to financial scandals.

By prosecuting lawyers that call for accountability of the government or are simply carrying out their professional duties, the Malaysian government is undermining the rule of law.  Lawyers, like other individuals are entitled to freedom of expression, belief, association and assembly. In particular, they have the right to take part in public discussion of matters concerning the law, the administration of justice and the promotion and protection of human rights, to join or form local, national or international organizations and attend meetings, without suffering restriction by reason of their lawful action or their membership in a lawful organization.

Ever since 2013, critics of the Malaysian government have faced an unprecedented crackdown on dissent.  In 2016 alone 21 individuals have been either arrested, investigated, charged or detained under the Sedition Act for a wide range of acts, from sharing caricatures of the Prime Minister to Twitter comments onroyalty.

The Malaysian authorities’ relentless use of the Sedition Act amounts to a serious assault on freedom of expression that has had a chilling effect on public debate in the country.

Amnesty International calls on the Malaysian authorities to immediately end continuing harassment and intimidation of lawyers, drop all charges against lawyers, human rights defenders and other individuals prosecuted under the Sedition Act, and to quash all convictions under the Act.

Background

In August 2014, two separate sedition charges were brought against N. Surendran, both connected with critical comments made in connection with Anwar Ibrahim’s criminal appeal of his sodomy charge. The first was related to a press statement he issued claiming the decision of the Court of Appeal in this case was ‘flawed, defensive and insupportable’, while the second was for commenting on the court decision on a Youtube video. This is the first incident of a lawyer being prosecuted under the Sedition Act 1948 when carrying out his duties in providing legal representation to his client.


Link to statement as follows :  

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Is Selangor government failing to respond to unemployed/retrenched workers in the State?

Well, a government is supposed to take care of the people, and it is disappointing that the Opposition Coalition Selangor government seems to be rather quiet in this issue of workers in Selangor losing jobs. It is true, that it is the Federal Government, in particular the Ministry of Human Resources and other Ministries, that is responsible for matters of labour and unemployment - but there is also the State government that holds some responsibility.
Kerajaan sepatut menjaga kebajikan rakyat, dan agak mengecewakan melihat kerajaan Pembangkang Selangor berdiam diri saja mengenai isu pekerja di Selangor yang kehilangan kerja (dan pendapatan). Memang benar, bahawa kerajaan Persekutuan, khususnya Kementerian Sumber Manusia dan Kementerian lain,yang harus bertanggungjawab mengenai isu tenaga kerja dan kehilangan kerja - tetapi Kerajaan Negeri juga mempunyai tanggungjawab.. 
The BN Federal Government has yet to put in place a scheme like in Thailand, where unemployed or retrenched workers, are paid an unemployment benefit (which, if not mistaken is equivalent to 50% of the last drawn salary, for a maximum period of six(6) months - of course, on the condition that the workers take efforts to find new employment - in which the government also helps. 
Sehingga kini, kerajaan BN gagal mengadakan skima sapertimana terdapat di Thailand, di mana mereka yang kehilangan pekerjaan atau dibuang kerja, akan di bayar Faedah/Bantuan Kehilangan Kerja, yang jika tak salah adalah pembayaran 50% gaji bulanan untuk jangkamasa enam(6) bulan atau sehingga pekerja berkenaan mendapat kerja baru - di mana kerajaan juga membantu pekerja mencari kerja baru...
Well, if BN fails in its duty - what about the Opposition led-government of Selangor, with a PKR Menteri Besar Azmin Ali? What are they doing to overcome the 'problems' faced by these workers in their own State? 
Jika BN gagal dalam tanggungjawab mereka - bagaimana pula Kerajaan Pembangkang di Selangor, dengan Menteri Besar PKR Azmin Ali? Apakah yang mereka melakukan untuk membantu pekerja di Selangor mengatasi masalah yang kini dihadapi?
Well, recently it was reported that in Bangi, that around 32 workers will lose their jobs when their iron processing factory ceases operation on 15 July. There are many more cases of workers in Selangor losing their jobs - hence their income. 
Baru-baru ini dilapurkan bahawa lebih kurang 32 pekerja di kilang besi di Bangi akan kehilangan kerja apabila kilang mereka berhenti beroperasi pada 15 Julai. Ada banyak lagi kes mengenai pekerja di Selangor yang kehilangan kerja mereka - justeru kehilangan sumber pendapatan.
What is the Selangor government doing about this? Are they providing interim assistance to these workers until they get a new job? Is the Selangor government helping these workers find new jobs? 
Apakah yang dilakukan oleh kerajaan Selangor mengenai perkara ini? Adakah mereka memberikan bantuan interim kepada pekerja sedemikian sehingga mereka berjaya mencari kerja baru? Adakah kerajaan Selangor membantu pekerja berkenaan mencari pekerjaan baru?
Now, in this factory, some of the workers affected are over 50 years old - and it is really going to be very difficult for them to find new employment or any other employment with the same income they were earning. What will the Selangor government be doing to help these workers in Selangor who are in great need? Will the Selangor government step in and negotiate with banks/financial institutions where some of these workers may be expected to make monthly payments, ensuring that these  banks/financial institutions show mercy? 
Dalam kes kilang besi ini, ada pekerja terbait yang sudah berusia lebih 50 tahun - dan mereka akan susah mencari pekerjaan baru, atau pekerjaan lain yang akan memberikan mereka pendapatan yang sama sapertimana mereka mendapat kini. Apakah yang akan dilakukan oleh kerajaan Selangor untuk membantu pekerja yang sangat memerlukan bantuan ini? Adakah kerajaan Selangor akan cuba berunding dengan bank/institusi kewangan yang memerlukan pekerja terbabit teruskan bayaran bulanan menjelaskan hutang supaya ada kelonggaran - mungkin 'tak perlu bayar sehingga dapat kerja baru'? 
Good to note that the Acting President of MTUC is also a PKR Member of Parliment from Selangor...
Harus diingat bahawa President(Acting) MTUC kini juga seorang Ahli Parlimen PKR dari Selangor..



Lagi pekerja hilang pekerjaan menjelang Raya

 | June 28, 2016 
Lebih menyedihkan apabila ia membabitkan pekerja beragama Islam yang bakal menyambut Hari Raya Aidilfitri pada bulan yang sama mereka diberhentikan kerja.

kilangbesi

BANGI: Kira-kira 32 orang pekerja sebuah kilang besi di sini putih mata selepas operasi kilang tersebut dikhabarkan akan ditutup pada 15 Julai akan datang.

Lebih menyedihkan apabila ia membabitkan pekerja beragama Islam yang bakal menyambut Hari Raya Aidilfitri pada bulan yang sama mereka diberhentikan kerja.

Zainuddin Salam, 57, berkata tindakan majikannya itu menyebabkan sambutan Hari Raya Aidilfitri pada tahun ini kurang meriah.

“Saya belum membuat apa-apa persiapan pun untuk sambutan hari raya yang tidak lama sahaja lagi. Saya tak sampai hati sambut dalam situasi begini.
“Majikan boleh memberi pelbagai janji manis, tetapi jika soal pampasan tidak dipertimbangkan, masalah besar bagi saya dan pekerja lain seperti saya,” katanya sewaktu ditemui pemberita, di Pejabat Tenaga Kerja, Bangi, hari ini.
Pekerja juga mengeluh bahawa pemberhentian kerja secara serta-merta mungkin akan menyebabkan mereka menanggung beban hutang bersendirian.

Balakrishnan Sinalagan, 51 berkata selain risau akan hilang punca pendapatan, beliau bimbang masih belum menerima sebarang notis pampasan sedangkan notis penutupan operasi telah diberikan.
“Saya sudah tua, siapa lagi yang mahu mengambil saya bekerja? Saya masih terikat untuk bayar balik hutang yang banyak setiap bulan. Mulai bulan depan, kewangan saya akan menjadi rumit dan saya tidak pasti bagaimana untuk uruskannya,” katanya yang sudah bekerja lebih 20 tahun di syarikat berkenaan.

Ketiadaan kata putus mengenai pampasan menjadi kebimbangan utama pekerja yang rata-rata bekerja untuk tempoh yang agak lama.

Sementara itu, AJK Pusat Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) S. Arutchelvan menggesa Kerajaan Persekutuan menubuhkan Tabung Pemberhentian Kerja bagi membela nasib pekerja yang semakin ramai terperangkap dalam kekangan ekonomi ini.

“Krisi ekonomi melanda negara setiap 10 tahun sekali dan impaknya kepada majikan daripada meneruskan operasi dan pekerjanya yang terpaksa dihentikan kerja.

“Syarikat muflis dan pekerja hilang punca pendapatan secara tiba-tiba. Lebih buruk, pekerja tidak dibayar gaji dan pampasan. Walaupun menang di mahkamah buruh, peluang untuk pekerja mendapat ganti rugi amat tipis,” katanya. - FMT News, 28/6/2016

Tunku Abdul Aziz, MACC advisory board chairperson, should be focussing on corruption not Dr. M?

It was disheartening to read that Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) advisory board chairperson Tunku Abdul Aziz Tunku Ibrahim was making such statements attacking Dr Mahathir. If he was not advisory board Chairperson, he was free to make any such comments..,

But now, we wonder whether this statement is an indication of his 'independence'? Is he pro-Najib? Could he give proper advice when Najib is the subject of corruption investigations?

Secondly, is he a 'racist'? Does he want Malays and Indians always to win - but not Chinese? Either way, his credibility as MACC Chairperson of Malaysia - where we are all Malaysians comes into question.

Maybe, we should insist on someone who is better - more independent and brave enough to fight corruption no matter what.. 

As Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) advisory board chairperson, he should be focusing on combating corruption irrespective of who it is who is being investigated...he certainly should not be publicly criticizing Dr M - for after all, Dr M has his freedom of expression or opinion just like any other person... in Malaysia, and certainly all of us are free to express our opinion about present Prime Minister Najib or the current government for are we not in a democracy?

Stone-hearted Dr M doesn't care if Chinese win, says Tunku Aziz

24 Jun 2016, 11:47 am

Dr Mahathir Mohamad does not care if the Chinese are allowed to win while the Malays squabble among themselves, said Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) advisory board chairperson Tunku Abdul Aziz Tunku Ibrahim.

He claimed this is because the former premier was "stone-hearted" and willing to do anything to achieve his personal agenda.

The former DAP leader also accused Mahathir of behaving like the "second prime minister" since he continued to disturb the current administration.

He said other world leaders, upon relinquishing their posts, spent time with their families, gave lectures and helped their governments from behind the scenes.

However, Abdul Aziz pointed out this was not the case with Mahathir.

"Look at (former) US president Bill Clinton, after retirement, he has been an invited speaker, writing and the latest, helping his wife Hillary in her presidential campaign.

"Our closest southern neighbour Singapore had the late Lee Kuan Yee who served as prime minister longer than Mahathir... before becoming a senior minister.

"But did Malaysians ever see him behave like Mahathir?" he was quoted as saying by Utusan Online.

Therefore, Abdul Aziz asked if it could be concluded that Mahathir was not prime minister for 22 years, but rather 35 years.

"This is because since relinquishing his post in 2003 to Abdullah Ahmad Badawi until today, 13 years later, he has never stopped disturbing the prime ministers after him," he said.

Abdul Aziz was commenting on the warning by former chief justice Abdul Hamid Mohamad that Mahathir's pact with DAP and Parti Amanah Negara is detrimental to the Malays. - Malaysiakini, 24/6/2016

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Nancy Shukri said March 2016, and in Oslo embarassingly no commitment when will abolish Death Penalty?

Nancy Shukri, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, was given a great honour by being the first government Minister, called to share 'good news' about Malaysia's move towards the abolition of the death penalty - but alas, she was disappointing and never gave any firm commitment about when Malaysia will be abolishing the death penalty...I personally expected a praiseworthy commitment from my Minister - at least the assurance that there will be no more executions for now, and amendments SHALL be tabled at the next Parliamentary session.


Remember, that this was the same Minister that assured us that amendments to the law that will abolish death penalty will be tabled in March 2016 - Well, it is now almost end June 2016, and no such amendments have been tabled. 

In Oslo, sadly it was embarrassing that she could not even give a date when such amendments will be tabled - all she said was maybe sooner than 3 years. Malaysia also never gave any commitment that no executions will be carried out during this period..

End of Malaysia’s mandatory death sentence on the horizon - Nancy Shukri, de facto Law Minister

The minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said today she hopes to take her proposal to amend the Penal Code and abolish the mandatory death sentence to the Dewan Rakyat as early as March next year....Under Malaysia’s current law, the death sentence is a must for firearms, drugs, treason and murder related offences...However, Nancy said the threat of a death penalty has done little to reduce the number of such crimes committed.- Malay Mail, 17/11/2015

Remember that our current Attorney General Tan Sri Apandi Ali, also has taken a public position that he wants the mandatory death penalty abolished...

Attorney-General Tan Sri Apandi Ali said he will propose to the Cabinet that the mandatory death penalty be scrapped, so that judges are given the option to choose between sentencing a person to jail or the gallows... He said mandatory death sentences were a "paradox", as it robbed judges of their discretion to impose sentences on convicted criminals... "If I had my way, I would introduce the option for the judge in cases where it involves capital punishment. Give the option to the judge either to hang him or send him to prison..."Then we're working towards a good administration of criminal justice," Apandi told The Malaysian Insider in an exclusive interview. He said that this would be in line with the "universal thinking" of capital punishment, although he denied calling for the death penalty to be abolished altogether....Not to say that I am for absolute abolition of capital punishment, but at least we go in stages. We take step by step," he said. – November 13, 2015. Malaysian Insider.
Hence, it is clear that the Attorney General's Chambers is not the hurdle for the Abolition of the Mandatory Death Penalty - and, so, who really is procrastinating here? Is it Nancy Shukri...or maybe it is Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and his Cabinet? Tabling amendments to abolish the mandatory death penalty could easily be done speedily - the required amending laws could be tabled in Parliament at the upcoming sitting of the Dewan Rakyat...and I do hope, it is done then.

Now, there also is the question of abolishing the death penalty for drug trafficking where many in government have also realised, that not only is it not a DETERRENT - but that the victims are arrested and convicted are often just 'mere mules' - not the kingpins. This sentiment was also captured in the words of the Attorney General..
Apandi told The Malaysian Insider that many judges were actually reluctant to pass the death sentence on "mere mules", those assigned to carry drugs for syndicates...The judges are also hesitant to pass the death sentence on mere mules, the drug trafficker who (is) just earning RM1,000 to feed his family," he said.


 


Wednesday, 22 June 2016 | MYT 10:49 AM

Nancy: Malaysia one step closer to amending death penalty

KUCHING: Malaysia is one step closer to amending the mandatory death sentence, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri (pic) said.

Nancy told the World Congress Against The Death Penalty in Oslo, Norway, recently that a government-backed study on the death penalty had been completed and a paper is being readied by the Attorney General’s Chambers.

“There are positive signs in Malaysia and a steady momentum towards possible change in the death penalty legislation,” Nancy said.

The study was conducted by the International Centre For Law and Legal Studies (I-CeLLS). The consultant was then Professor Dr Roger Hood, Professor of Criminology and Emeritus Fellow of All Souls College Oxford.

Currently, in Malaysia, the death penalty is mandatory for 12 offences while 20 other offences are punishable with discretionary death penalty.

Murder, drug trafficking, and offences related to security are instances of offences which are punishable with death.

However, Nancy said empirical studies showed that the death penalty had not led to “the deterring effect that such a penalty was created”.

“Although Malaysia is generally in compliance with international standards in so far as the relevant safeguards (on capital punishment) are concerned, Malaysia’s position on death penalty has always been subjected to national and international criticisms.”

The global anti-death congress was the sixth edition. Nancy expressed her “deepest appreciation to Norway” for inviting Malaysia to participate. - Star, 22/6/2016

Death Penalty is not a Punishment and must be abolished?

A punishment for person who has committed a crime is for the purpose of getting the person's repentance and to rehabilitate him/her for reintroduction into society, and, as such the Death Penalty fails to satisfy the object of a punishment. Hence, another good reason why the death penalty needs to be abolished.

In the recent  Sixth World Congress Against the Death Penalty that was held in Oslo, Norway from 21-23 June 2016, one of the persons who gave an opening address was Pope Francis, and he did say some things that matter and deserve our consideration. His Message is found here..
 

“Rendering justice” does not mean seeking punishment for its own sake, but ensuring that the basic purpose of all punishment is the rehabilitation of the offender. The question must be dealt with within the larger framework of a system of penal justice open to the possibility of the guilty party’s reinsertion in society. There is no fitting punishment without hope! Punishment for its own sake, without room for hope, is a form of torture, not of punishment.


Message of His Holiness Pope Francis

Sixth World Congress Against the Death Penalty

Oslo, 21-23 June 2016
I greet the organizers of this World Congress against the death penalty, the group of countries supporting it, particularly Norway as its host country, and all those representatives of governments, international organizations and civil society taking part in it. I likewise express my personal appreciation, along with that of men and women of goodwill, for your commitment to a world free of the death penalty.
One sign of hope is that public opinion is manifesting a growing opposition to the death penalty, even as a means of legitimate social defence.  Indeed, nowadays the death penalty is unacceptable, however grave the crime of the convicted person. It is an offence to the inviolability of life and to the dignity of the human person; it likewise contradicts God’s plan for individuals and society, and his merciful justice.  Nor is it consonant with any just purpose of punishment. It does not render justice to victims, but instead fosters vengeance. The commandment “Thou shalt not kill” has absolute value and applies both to the innocent and to the guilty.
The Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy is an auspicious occasion for promoting worldwide ever more evolved forms of respect for the life and dignity of each person. It must not be forgotten that the inviolable and God-given right to life also belongs to the criminal.
Today I would encourage all to work not only for the abolition of the death penalty, but also for the improvement of prison conditions, so that they fully respect the human dignity of those incarcerated“Rendering justice” does not mean seeking punishment for its own sake, but ensuring that the basic purpose of all punishment is the rehabilitation of the offender. The question must be dealt with within the larger framework of a system of penal justice open to the possibility of the guilty party’s reinsertion in society. There is no fitting punishment without hope! Punishment for its own sake, without room for hope, is a form of torture, not of punishment.
I trust that this Congress can give new impulse to the effort to abolish capital punishment. For this reason, I encourage all taking part to carry on this great initiative and I assure them of my prayers.

Source: Vatican Radio website

Friday, June 24, 2016

Women Human Rights Defenders and Villagers Oppose Coal Mining and Demand Climate Justice ?

Statement: Women Human Rights Defenders and Villagers Oppose Coal Mining and Demand Climate Justice

by apwldadmin · June 16, 2016

Solidarity Statement

This statement originates from the solidarity activity held at Ban Haeng, Lampang on June 9, 2016 organized by Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD), Protection International (PI) and Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) which was attended by more than 100 villagers, the community-based Rak Ban Heng organisation and human rights defenders from nine (9) countries[1].

Photo credit: Alexandra Salmon-Lefranc Gennai

WE, the undersigned members of Asia Pacific civil society, representing different constituencies, movements and organisations, express our solidarity with the Ban Haeng community opposing the coal mine in Tambon Ban Haeng, Ngao District, Lampang and condemn the threats and harassment committed against the villagers and community organisers in the area.

Since 2010, the community members of Ban Haeng have been vocal in their opposition to the proposed coal mining project in their area. In the absence of due process and genuine community consultation, the people living and farming the area have organized into the Rak Ban Heng Conservation Group. The group aims to ensure the conservation of the forests, natural resources, the environment, community and traditional culture and values. The community is steadfast in opposing the lignite mining because of the destructive nature of the project which is expected to have a huge impact on the health and livelihood of the community.

Despite community resistance, a mining concession was granted to Green Yellow Co. Ltd. in August 2015 by the Ministry of Industry. On October 22, 2015, 386 villagers filed a complaint at the Chiang Mai Administrative Court, requesting the court to revoke the concession permit and to issue a temporary injunction against mining operations in the village. As the exploratory concession expires in August 2016, the tensions between the corporation and the State on the one hand and the community on the other continue to rise.

Various forms of intimidation, including close physical surveillance by unidentified men, harassment from military officers, threats of death and enforced disappearance have been made to Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs). Among the WHRDs who have experienced harassment is Waewrin Buangern who has pending criminal complaints against her but to date has not received sufficient assistance from the Thai Justice Fund[2] to pay for bail and legal fees.

This pattern of harassing environmental and women human rights defenders is not unique to Ban Haeng. In 2014, Southeast Asia was considered among the riskiest places to be a human rights activist, with 21 recorded killings in Thailand alone.[3] Last week, on World Environmental Day, three United Nations Special Rapporteurs highlighted the alarming trend of targeting environmental human rights defenders “as if they were enemies of the State”[4]. They urged states to meet their obligations to protect environmental rights, defenders and members of marginalized and vulnerable communities.[5]

The struggle in Ban Haeng contributes to global campaigns for climate justice, energy democracy and Development Justice. The solidarity activity held in Ban Haeng amplifies the call for a feminist fossil fuel free future – a future that empowers women; a future that paves the way for redistribution of power from the elite to the many; and a future that is free from dirty energies and dirty, exploitative economies.

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Lignite is the dirtiest of all fossil fuels. It creates dirty, dangerous environments locally and emits high levels of carbon emissions. If we are to restrict global warming to 1.5 degrees above preindustrial levels (the target set in the Paris Agreement), 80% of fossil fuel reserves must stay underground[6]. As a result, no new fossil fuel power plants should be allowed while decentralised, locally-owned, clean and renewable energy projects should be promoted.
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The event in Ban Haeng is part of the Women’s Global Call for Climate Justice[7] where women from every region in the world are demanding climate justice now!

In solidarity with the women leaders and the villagers of Ban Haeng, we support the call of the villagers and community-based organizations to live in peace in the land they have lived in for generations and to craft their own development agenda. The people of Ban Haeng should not be deprived of their right to their lands in order to accommodate a project which has negative impacts on their livelihood and the environment.
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Photo credit: Alexandra Salmon-Lefranc Gennai

We join the people of Ban Haeng in their efforts to protect the community’s livelihoods, local environment, and community rights to participation in public affairs. We stand with the villagers in denouncing a development agenda that is beneficial only to the elite and causes irreversible damage on the environment. We call on the Thai Government and local authorities to revoke the concession permit granted to Green Yellow Co. Ltd., to withdraw all charges against community leaders and to work with the community to achieve Development Justice.

Source: APWLD Website - http://apwld.org/statement-women-human-rights-defenders-and-villagers-oppose-coal-mining-and-demand-climate-justice/

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Nancy: Malaysia one step closer to amending death penalty


Wednesday, 22 June 2016 | MYT 10:49 AM
Nancy: Malaysia one step closer to amending death penalty

KUCHING: Malaysia is one step closer to amending the mandatory death sentence, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri (pic) said.
Nancy told the World Congress Against The Death Penalty in Oslo, Norway, recently that a government-backed study on the death penalty had been completed and a paper is being readied by the Attorney General’s Chambers.
“There are positive signs in Malaysia and a steady momentum towards possible change in the death penalty legislation,” Nancy said.
The study was conducted by the International Centre For Law and Legal Studies (I-CeLLS). The consultant was then Professor Dr Roger Hood, Professor of Criminology and Emeritus Fellow of All Souls College Oxford.
Currently, in Malaysia, the death penalty is mandatory for 12 offences while 20 other offences are punishable with discretionary death penalty.
Murder, drug trafficking, and offences related to security are instances of offences which are punishable with death.
However, Nancy said empirical studies showed that the death penalty had not led to “the deterring effect that such a penalty was created”.
“Although Malaysia is generally in compliance with international standards in so far as the relevant safeguards (on capital punishment) are concerned, Malaysia’s position on death penalty has always been subjected to national and international criticisms.”
The global anti-death congress was the sixth edition. Nancy expressed her “deepest appreciation to Norway” for inviting Malaysia to participate. - Star, 22/6/2016

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Govt open to replacing death with life

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Govt open to replacing death with life

Prego
WHILE the study on whether to keep the death penalty is ongoing, the Government is open to proposals on the matter.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri says the Government is considering suggestions to improve the current justice system including whether to replace the death penalty with life imprisonment, as mooted by several parties including the Malaysian Bar.
“I really want to see the amendment to the mandatory death penalty be passed and implemented prior to the 14th general election,” she tells Sunday Star.
Nancy, who is the minister in charge of law, points out that the study requires a long time as a very comprehensive review needs to be carried out.
The Government needs to balance the interest of the accused, victim and public at large before making a decision.
“Whatever decision made will be done in the best interest of the rakyat,” she says.
Presently, the Attorney-General’s Chambers is conducting an in-depth study on the death penalty in Malaysia, studying the legal issues, policies and effectiveness of the punishment.
Concurring with Amnesty International’s call to abolish the death sentence, the Malaysian Bar hopes that it can be replaced – with life imprisonment instead.
Bar Council Human Rights Committee co-chairman Andrew Khoo says the Bar has passed several resolutions over the years, calling for capital punishment to be done away with.
“We also call upon the Government to repeal all mandatory death sentences, because judges should be given the discretion in sentencing,” he urges.
He explains that mandatory sentencing robs judges of the opportunity to exercise their discretion to hand down other forms of punishment apart from the death penalty.
“It is an executive interference in the independence of the judiciary,” Khoo adds.
He also says the Government should release the findings of the study conducted on the death penalty once it is completed.
There are some who believe the death sentence should remain.
Former Court of Appeal judge Datuk Seri Shaik Daud Md Ismail stresses that Malaysia still needs the current mandatory death penalty for serious offences like drug trafficking and murder.
“Things should remain as per status quo. If we abolish the death sentence, there will be more crimes like drug trafficking.
“Although the death penalty has not reduced such cases in the past, removing it will only cause the number of cases to spike drastically,” he opines.
Shaik Daud, once a prosecutor with the Attorney-General’s Chambers, believes the death sentence is a deterrent and doing away with it will only embolden more criminals.
He also says that the death penalty should continue to be made mandatory for serious crimes such as terrorism and drug trafficking.
“In the past, before the death sentence was made mandatory for drug trafficking, judges had the option of handing down life sentences as an alternative.
“When I was prosecuting in such cases last time, most judges went for the alternative but it wasn’t a strong deterrent,” he says, adding that the Government later decided to do away with the alternative punishment and imposed the mandatory death sentence.
It is also more practical for the Government to keep the death sentence, he says.
“If we change all death sentences to life imprisonment, the Government would have to bear the costs of housing and feeding them (the convicted) to look after them for the rest of their lives.
“Why should tax payers be burdened by this when the criminals have done heinous crimes?”
Shaik Daud notes that such prisoners would have time to reflect on their deeds before their execution.
Senior lawyer Tan Sri Khalid Ahmad Sulaiman says the death penalty should be used based on circumstances and only if the intent to commit serious crimes especially murder, is proven.
“Otherwise, it should be replaced with life imprisonment,” says the former Advocates and Solicitors Disciplinary Board chairman.
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