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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Who and what started the recent 'killings' in Gaza?

Shocked at increasing death toll in Gaza, I was wondering what exactly led to this new round of violence? Found 2 articles below....one from New York Times and one from Al Jazeera

Look Carefully at Who Started the Current Israel-Hamas Conflict

Ghada Ageel
Ghada Ageel is a visiting professor of political science at the University of Alberta and active in the Faculty4Palestine-Alberta. A third generation Palestinian refugee, she was born and raised in the Khan Younis Refugee Camp in the Gaza Strip. 

Updated July 22, 2014, 5:27 PM

Israeli officials think they can get away with murder by blaming everything on Hamas and – in the dehumanizing words of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel – those “telegenically dead Palestinians.” 

Such debased language makes it easier to kill the innocent – a routine occurrence for this month, most obscenely when four boys were killed on a Gaza beach last week. Those were not human shields but four children being children. “There is no safe place in Gaza right now,” Tyler Hicks said after photographing the boys for The New York Times. “Bombs can land at any time, anywhere.”
Blaming Hamas rockets for instigating the Israeli attacks ignores Israel's provocations in the West Bank and a history of subjugation.
Blaming Hamas rockets for instigating the Israeli attacks ignores what preceded those rocket launchings. The Times of Israel reported that Hamas had fired missiles on June 30, for the first time since the November 2012 cease-fire, “in revenge for an Israeli airstrike several hours earlier.” Earlier rocket fire came from other groups in Gaza which, the article notes, Hamas had tried to stop. 

Before that, Israel rampaged through the West Bank after three young Israeli settlers were kidnapped, even though the Israelis apparently knew they were already dead. This ratcheted up tensions over an action that Hamas leaders in Gaza appear not to have authorized. Israel somehow thinks it can kill civilians in the West Bank, arrest hundreds, and harass thousands and not be blamed for starting this round of violence with Palestinians. 

The subsequent grisly slaying of 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir, the brutal police beating of his 15-year-old cousin, the Palestinian-American Tareq Abu Khdeir, and the mobs shouting “Death to the Arabs,” also created an ugly climate on which Netanyahu rode into Gaza. 

Besides, while states have the right to defend themselves, so do people under occupation. Despite the Israeli claim that it no longer occupies Gaza, Israel effectively controls the strip – particularly the air and sea – and, in conjunction with Egypt, the borders, too. 

When Israel demands that Palestinians flee their homes, is it not legitimate self-defense to say Israel did this once before and will pass through my neighborhood over my dead body? 

Seventy percent of Palestinians in Gaza are refugees. We are in Gaza because Israel expelled over 700,000 Palestinians in 1948, including my grandmother and grandfather and both my parents from Beit Daras. 

With over 600 Palestinians killed in the current assault, most of them civilians, a far-reaching cease-fire is now needed. 

Hamas can hold a cease-fire just as it did in November 2012. The real question is whether Israel will give up its brutal control of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, allowing people to move and export products to grow our economy, and live with a semblance of freedom from occupation after years of Israeli siege and subjugation.New York Times,22/7/2014,

Israel, not Hamas, orchestrated the latest conflict in Gaza

Washington's ironclad support for Israel provides effective shield for war crimes 

July 22, 2014 9:30AM ET
 
In the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, the dominant discourse is that the Palestinian militants provoked the hostilities — while Israel, as President Barack Obama affirmed last week, is acting in legitimate self-defense. Many have attempted to problematize this narrative, for instance by arguing that Israel, as an occupying power, does not have a legitimate legal or moral claim to self-defense. Others have argued that rockets fired by Hamas do not constitute an existential crisis for Israel or its citizens and certainly did not warrant the killing of more than 500 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including women and children.

While these are all valid and important points, the broader narrative remains largely unchallenged: Hamas began firing rockets at Israel first, triggering Israel’s latest military incursion. This is not true. In fact, far from acting in self-defense, the crisis is the result of deliberate actions by Israel over the last few weeks — first to stir up anti-Arab sentiment among the Israeli population and then to provoke Hamas into open conflict.

Israeli provocations

The current escalation began with the abduction of three Israeli teenagers from settlements in the West Bank. The fact that the three were kidnapped from settlements is an important detail that is often passed over far too quickly or overlooked altogether. The settlements, what they represent and how the settlers interact with the Palestinian population form a critical part of the episode’s context.

After the kidnapping, for more than two weeks Israeli authorities put on a show of looking for the missing teens — the whole time whipping up anti-Arab sentiment, raising hopes of a recovery and marginalizing voices of dissent. When the abductees were found murdered, the Israeli public was outraged and demanded vengeance. Shortly after the funerals for the youths, another group of Israeli settlers beat and burned to death a 16-year-old Palestinian teen, Mohammed Abu Khdeir. This incident was followed by a brutal assault on Tariq Khdeir, a 15-year-old U.S. citizen and cousin of Mohammed’s by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Another fact that is less known — but perhaps more important — is that within hours of the three teens’ disappearance on June 12, Israeli officials knew that they were dead. Yet for the next two weeks authorities put on a phony rescue effort, instituted a gag order to prevent the public from knowing the truth and rallied the Jewish domestic and diaspora populations in anticipation of their move against Hamas.

Knowing that the teens were already dead, the Israeli government even sent the mothers of the abductees to the United Nations’ Human Rights Council to raise international awareness and plead for their boys’ safe return. Then the IDF launched Operation Brother’s Keeper, the most extensive military operation in the West Bank for more than a decade, under the auspices of saving the missing teens whom, again, they knew to be deceased.

The blame for their abduction immediately went to Hamas, which denied any involvement in the kidnapping. Israel has offered no concrete proof to implicate Hamas — instead identifying as its prime suspects a rogue faction with a history of defying Hamas’ leadership and sabotaging the group’s peace-building efforts. They were identified early on, meaning that Israel knew full well that neither Hamas nor its armed wing (al-Qassam Brigades) were behind the boys’ disappearance. Nonetheless, the IDF began a military campaign against them and de facto the Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza.

Given Washington’s unwavering and iron-clad commitment to Israel and the United States’ veto power at the Security Council, there is no enforcement mechanism to hold Israel accountable. 
 
On June 17, Israel rearrested 50 Palestinian prisoners set free in 2011 as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap with Hamas — a bold provocation that violates its armistice with Hamas. Without cause, the IDF also rounded up a number of clerics, intellectuals and politicians affiliated with or known to be sympathetic toward Hamas. It also raided hundreds of Palestinian sites, including homes, businesses, universities and clinics — in the process pillaging more than $3 million in cash and property, in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Scores of Palestinian civilians were killed in these operations — again, before rockets were fired from Gaza. The misery of the civilian population was compounded by IDF checkpoints and curfews that severely restrict the movement of the Palestinian people, during Ramadan, no less.

In mid-June, in preparation for the reprisal attacks from Hamas that the IDF was attempting to provoke, it moved its Iron Dome batteries into southern Israeli cities. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu then called on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to dissolve the unity government with Hamas — reiterating previous threats of punitive measures unless the union is suspended. Meanwhile, the IDF began calling up reserve troops in anticipation of the ground assault.

All these provocations came weeks before Hamas fired the first rockets into Israel. As such, contrary to Obama’s claims and the widely held narrative in Western media, it was in fact Hamas that was acting in self-defense. Israel doggedly sought out this war, and Hamas gave it to them.

Continued deception

All the illegal and immoral actions related to Operation Brother’s Keeper were justified under the premise of finding and saving the missing teens whom the Israeli government knew to be dead — cynically exploiting the tragedy to whip up public outcry in order to provoke and then confront Hamas. This pattern of deception continues under the ongoing military offensive in Gaza. For example, last week in collaboration with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Abbas, in its efforts to alienate Hamas, Israel announced a bad-faith cease-fire proposal, which Hamas was not consulted on and never agreed to but whose violation supposedly justified Israel’s expansion and intensification of the military campaign into Gaza.

In response to Israel’s faux peace offering, Hamas issued 10 conditions for a 10-year truce, including the release of Palestinian political prisoners, an easing of the blockade at seaports and airports, allowing Gazans to visit Jerusalem to pray at al-Aqsa Mosque and a commitment from Israel to refrain from meddling in Palestinian politics — particularly on matters related to the unity government. Not only are Hamas’ demands reasonable, but they are also aimed at making life in Gaza more bearable. But the Israeli government has not even considered the proposal to date. Hamas then put forward a smaller deal for a truce with Qatar and Turkey, which was given to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to mediate with Israel. There has been little action on this proposal either.

On July 17, Israel ostensibly accepted the U.N.-brokered humanitarian cease-fire, suspending the shelling of Gaza. During this time, the IDF repositioned its assets to launch its ground invasion, which has brought the Palestinian death toll to more than 500 — again, overwhelmingly civilians. U.N.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has condemned Israel’s blatant disregard for international rules and norms as counterproductive. However, given Washington’s “unwavering and iron-clad” commitment to Israel and the United States’ veto power at the Security Council, there is no enforcement mechanism to hold Israel accountable.

The Israeli incursion, which human rights groups have called a war crime, has destroyed hospitals, schools, places of worship, residential areas and critical infrastructure, which explains why most of the Palestinian casualties have been civilians. The same cannot be said of the Israeli fatalities. As of July 21, two Israeli civilians and 25 soldiers have been killed since the latest campaign began. One of those civilians was hit by a mortar while delivering provisions to soldiers at the border with the Gaza Strip. Hence the soldiers and at least one of the civilians were directly involved in a military campaign, making them legitimate targets.

Yet unfortunately for the Palestinians who are trapped in Gaza with no way out, the conflict’s dominant narratives continue to suggest the exact opposite of the realities on the ground.

Musa al-Gharbi is a research fellow at the Southwest Initiative for the Study of Middle East Conflicts (SISMEC). He has an M.A. in philosophy from the University of Arizona.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera America's editorial policy.-Al Jazeera America,22/7/2014,

Friday, July 25, 2014

Suhakam Hopeful Malaysia Will Abolish Mandatory Death Penalty

It has been several years now that Malaysia has been considering the abolition of the death penalty - starting especially with the mandatory death penalty... we hope that Malaysia abolishes the death penalty soonest...

Suhakam Hopeful Malaysia Will Abolish Mandatory Death Penalty

KUALA LUMPUR, July 22 (Bernama) -- Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) is in favour of Malaysia joining a list of countries which have outlawed the mandatory death penalty, especially on drug traffickers.

Its vice-chairman, Dr Khaw Lake Tee is optimistic that officers of the Attorney-General's Chambers who are currently undertaking a comprehensive study on the matter, will come up with positive recommendation by year-end.

"Let's hope something positive will come out of this, since not all those prosecuted in courts are members of drug syndicates or cartels," he noted.

During a media briefing on Malaysia's Second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the Suhakam headquarters here, he said the government had partially agreed on outlawing the mandatory death sentence which was one of the recommendations proposed by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

She said Suhakam had been working with the Malaysian Bar Council, members of parliament, foreign ministry and other stakeholders on the need for courts (judges) to be given discretionary powers in imposing much more appropriate sentences, including life sentences.

UPR is a mechanism established by the UNHRC to improve human rights situation in each of the 193 UN member states by reviewing their human rights records every four-and-a-half years.

Although she agreed that Malaysia was one of the major drug transit points where authorities needed to come hard on drug traffickers, she noted that it should also be taken into consideration that a number of cases of innocent people, including women, were lured as drug mules.

Under Malaysian law, offences related to drugs, murder and waging war against the ruler or Yang-Dipertuan Agong carried mandatory death sentences.

On the possibility of Malaysia voluntarily imposing a moratorium on the death penalty, Khaw said the government did not support the idea since some countries which previously carried out such a move had recently reintroduced its application.

The Suhakam vice-chairman said Malaysia had accepted 150 out of 232 recommendations received from member states.

Perusing on some of the recommendations, Khaw said the Government accepted in allocating more funds for the promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities, particularly in the areas of employment, education and housing.

-- BERNAMA, 22/7/2014

Suhakam hopeful Malaysia will abolish mandatory death penalty - Malaysia Chronicle-Jul 22, 2014

Suhakam hopeful Malaysia will abolish mandatory death ...www.thesundaily.my/news/1120984, The Sun

Suhakam hopeful mandatory death penalty will be abolished - Sin Chew Jit Poh


 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Singapore more transparent than Malaysia - 2 executed - Why no 're-sentencing'? Why no clemency application?

Singapore has executed 2 persons on 18 July 2014, and we know this also because of the statement issued by the Central Narcotics Bureau of Singapore (see the statement below). In Malaysia, we would never know because it is all 'SECRET' - the only way of getting information seems to be by asking questions in Parliament. Malaysia really should follow Singapore, and maybe issue statements not just after a person is hanged BUT before execution is carried out. In Malaysia, in 2014, we were able to save 2 lives

Shocking attempt by Malaysia to hang Philip Michael discovered at the last minute and stopped

Osariakhi Ernest Obayangbon (aka Philip Michael), convicted for murder, to be hanged on 14/3/2014 - Execution stayed & the Malaysian Minister and Attorney General helped in getting the execution stayed.

Chandran Paskaran saved at the last minute from being hanged to death

Chandran s/o Paskaran, convicted for murder was to hang on 7 February 2014 - the swift intervention by civil society groups led to the Sultan of Johore granting a stay of execution of the death sentence

Singapore also amended their laws in 2012 that now allows persons sentenced to death to escape death provided they satisfy 2 conditions...

Following Singapore's amendment of their drug laws, to escape the death penalty, the accussed needs to satisfy 2 conditions - (1) Must get a CERTIFICATE OF SUBSTANTIVE ASSISTANCE from the Attorney General's Chambers, and (2) prove on a balance of probabilities, that his involvement in the offence under section 5(1) or 7 was restricted — to transporting, sending or delivering a controlled drug; to offering to transport, send or deliver a controlled drug; to doing or offering to do any act preparatory to or for the purpose of his transporting, sending or delivering a controlled drug; or to any combination of activities above;

Hence, the Singapore AG (not the court) just has too much power to decide who is hanged and who lives. 

The AG, who is really the prosecutor, has just too much power, and this is not right - this power to determine 'substantive assistance' has been provided really should rest with the judiciary...

Now, 2 persons were executed....for 'drug trafficking', and according to the Central Narcotics Bureau of Singapore statement(see below), both '... Tang Hai Liang and Foong Chee Peng ...did not wish to be part of the re-sentencing process...' - the process that could have resulted in they not being hanged if they satisfied both conditions.

'Tang Hai Liang and Foong Chee Peng both elected not to petition the President for Clemency...' - now, this also strange. Why?

Now, if person knows that he/she is guilty and has accepted their sentence of death, they would 'plead guilty' or just not fight their case...Now, both these persons filed Appeal to the Court of Appeal against their conviction - and the appeal of Tang  Hai Liang was heard and dismissed in July 2011 - so why then would he now not evade being executed by going for the 're-sentencing' process, and also applying for clemency? Likewise, why did Foong  Chee  Peng  file an appeal and then withdraw it?

I recollect the mafia movies ...where people will behave just like this maybe because the 'mafia bosses' out there are demanding silence - threatening maybe the lives of their families, etc  ---   Now, if this was the case - maybe they may be really innocent - or certainly not deserving of death. If this was the case, they may even be scared to reveal the truth...or even effectively defend themselves in court... All the more reason, why we really need to abolish the death penalty...

 

 

Joint Statement on the Executions Carried out on 18 July 2014

The Singapore Working Group on the Death Penalty deeply regrets, and is gravely disappointed at the executions of two individuals that took place today, 18th of July 2014. Inmates Foong Chee Peng, 48, and Tang Hai Liang, 36, were hanged at dawn this morning. Both men were convicted of drug trafficking.

These two executions bring to an end the moratorium that has been in place since July 2011, when the government commenced an internal review of the mandatory death penalty laws. This review took place without any public consultation nor has it been made available for public scrutiny. Subsequently, the changes were passed by Parliament in the exact form proposed by the government in July 2012, despite various warnings about their potential problems.

We also wish to highlight that there is an ongoing application filed by another drug offender before the Supreme Court, challenging the validity of section 33B of the Misuse of Drugs Act because it violates Article 12 of our Constitution. The hearing is fixed before the Court of Appeal on the 18th of August later this year.
Given the fact that the constitutional challenge to the amendments could have a potential bearing on the lawfulness of Foong and Tang’s executions, it was deeply unjust to have executed them before the constitutional challenge was decided.

The injustice is compounded by the fact that we had written to the President and the Minister of Home Affairs yesterday to highlight this situation and urged for an urgent stay of execution until our courts have decided on this constitutional challenge at the very least.

Finally, the executions are a regrettable step backwards for Singapore. The death penalty has not been proven to be a more useful deterrent against crime than alternative forms of punishment. Moreover, once carried out, miscarriages of justice cannot be remedied.

We therefore reiterate our calls for the government to impose a moratorium on all executions and move towards the abolition of capital punishment in Singapore.

We believe in Second Chances
Singapore Anti Death Penalty Campaign
Think Center Singapore


Updated: Friday July 18, 2014 MYT 8:01:43 PM

Singapore hangs two drug traffickers, first executions in over three years

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore hanged two men convicted of drug trafficking on Friday, the first executions carried out in the city-state for more than three years while the country reviewed its use of the death penalty.

Tang Hai Liang, 36, and Foong Chee Peng, 48, both from Singapore, were executed at Changi Prison according to the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB), having been convicted of trafficking heroin.

Singapore put a halt to all executions in July 2011 while it reviewed its use of the mandatory death penalty and now allows judges to have more discretion in certain cases.

Last November, it lifted the death penalty on a convicted drug trafficker for the first time.

When the review took place, all people on death row were allowed to ask to be considered for re-sentencing, though the CNB said Tang and Foong both said they did not want to be considered.

"Tang Hai Liang and Foong Chee Peng had been accorded full due process," the CNB said.

The Singapore Working Group on the Death Penalty, a group of non-governmental organisations, said they believed the executions should not have taken place given another drug offender is making a constitutional challenge against the anti-drug laws.

"It was deeply unjust to have executed them before the constitutional challenge was decided," they said in a statement.

"The executions are a regrettable step backwards for Singapore," they added.

Singapore has some of the toughest anti-drugs laws in the world, and its customs forms warn arriving travellers of "death for drug traffickers" in no uncertain terms.

It has hanged hundreds of people - including dozens of foreigners - for narcotics offences in the last two decades, Amnesty International and other groups say.

(Reporting by Rachel Armstrong; Editing by Robert Birsel) - The Star Online, 18/7/2014,Singapore hangs two drug traffickers, first executions in over three years


1. Two  Singaporeans,  Tang  Hai  Liang,  36,  and  Foong  Chee  Peng,  48,  had  their  death sentences carried out today, on 18 July 2014 at Changi Prison Complex.

2.  Both Tang Hai Liang and Foong Chee Peng were convicted of trafficking in a controlled drug  and  sentenced  to  death.  Tang  Hai  Liang  was found  to have trafficked  89.55g  of  diamorphine  and  Foong  Chee  Peng  was  found  to  have  trafficked  40.23g of  diamorphine.  The  Misuse  of  Drugs  Act provides for the death penalty if the amount of diamorphine (or pure heroin) trafficked is 15g or more.
15g of diamorphine is equivalent to 1,250 straws1, which is sufficient to feed the addiction of about 180 abusers for a week.

3.  A thorough review of the mandatory death penalty in our laws was conducted from July 2011. A  moratorium  on  executions  was  placed  while  the  law was  being  reviewed.  The  changes  to  the mandatory death penalty regime were passed by Parliament in November 2012 after a full debate, and came into force in January 2013. All persons already sentenced to death under the Misuse of Drugs Act by the time the new legislation came into force were given the opportunity to elect to be
considered for re-sentencing under the new regime. 

4.  Tang  Hai  Liang  and  Foong  Chee  Peng  had  been  accorded  full  due  process,  including  the opportunity to appeal to the Court of Appeal and to elect to be considered for re-sentencing under the new regime. Tang Hai Liang and Foong Chee Peng both appeared in person before an Assistant Registrar in the High Court to confirm that they did not wish to be part of the re-sentencing process, and  that  they  understood  the  consequences  of  their  respective  decisions.  Both  of  them  were represented by counsel throughout the legal process, and were also given the opportunity to petition the President for Clemency. Tang Hai Liang and Foong Chee Peng both elected not to petition the President for Clemency. An unsigned petition for Clemency was subsequently submitted on Tang Hai Liang’s behalf. Tang Hai Liang indicated that he did not wish to appeal for Clemency and that the petition had been submitted by his family without his prior knowledge. This petition for Clemency was
turned down and his family was informed of the decision. 

CENTRAL NARCOTICS BUREAU
18 JULY 2014 

1 This is estimated using a typical purity level of  4%, based on drug seizures in recent years. The number of straws that are actually made may vary according to the purity level of the heroin used in the straws.

CNB NEWS RELEASE
18 July 2014
Page 2of 2

ANNEX A 

Details of Cases

Tang Hai Liang

1.  On  15  April  2009,  CNB  officers  arrested  Tang  Hai Liang.  A  total  of  136  packets  of  heroin having a gross weight of about 1,117.66g and 588 tablets of erimin-5 were recovered in his residence. The heroin was found to contain 89.55g of diamorphine after analysis. Prior to his arrest, Tang Hai Liang had been packing the heroin in his possessionand had sold one packet to his client just before he was arrested. On 19 November 2010, Tang Hai Liang was convicted of trafficking in a controlled drug  by  having  89.55g  of  diamorphine  in  his  possession  for  the  purpose  of  trafficking,  an  offence under  section  5(1)(a)  read  with  section  5(2)  of  the Misuse  of  Drugs  Act  (Chapter  185).  Tang  Hai Liang’s appeal against his conviction was dismissed by the Court of Appeal on 6 July 2011.

Foong Chee Peng

2.  On 30 September 2009, CNB officers arrested Foong Chee Peng when officers raided the rented  unit  he  was  staying  in.  A  total  of  913.58g  of  heroin,  2.42g  of  ketamine,  32.73g  of methamphetamine,  3,942  tablets  of  erimin-5,  30  ecstasy  tablets  and  various  drug  trafficking paraphernalia were recovered. The heroin was found to contain 40.23g of diamorphine after analysis. By  the  time  Foong  Chee  Peng  was  arrested,  he  had  already  packed  some  of  the  heroin  in  his possession into 30 packets for sale. On 19 April 2011, Foong Chee Peng was convicted of trafficking in a controlled drug by having 40.23g of diamorphine in his possession for the purpose of trafficking,an offence under section 5(1)(a) read with section 5(2) of the Misuse of Drugs Act. Foong Chee Peng filed an appeal against his conviction but subsequently withdrew his appeal  


[Source:- http://www.google.com.my/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CCUQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cnb.gov.sg%2FLibraries%2FCNB_Newsroom_Files%2FExecution_of_Convicted_Drug_Traffickers.sflb.ashx&ei=yyjKU_-FIoa3uASYp4KACw&usg=AFQjCNF_N2n0HZAjygvSlmZ6nQWnSBrPsA&bvm=bv.71198958,d.c2E]

Friday, July 18, 2014

Don’t blame us for MAS losses, union tells airlines

Don’t blame us for MAS losses, union tells airlines

July 8, 2014
A file photo taken on July 5, 2005 shows a man silhouetted against a Malaysian Airlines plane tail as he looks out through a window at Sydney International Airport. — AFP pic   A file photo taken on July 5, 2005 shows a man silhouetted against a Malaysian Airlines plane tail as he looks out through a window at Sydney International Airport. — AFP pic KUALA LUMPUR, July 8 — The view that the Malaysia Airlines System Employees Union (Maseu) was the cause for the airline’s losses was wrong, said Union Network International-Malaysian Liaison Council president Mohamed Shafie BP Mammal.

In a statement issued here today, he said Maseu always had an open mind and supported any change which did not jeopardise any party.

“Do not point fingers at any employee union when a company suffers losses.  The management is important in maintaining a balance between the role of the union and the company’s operations,” he said.

Mohamed Shafie said a statement which described the union as the main obstacle to the airline’s profits had the risk of worsening the situation.

On July 6, Bernama reported that Institute of Democracy and Economic Affairs chief executive officer Wan Saiful Wan Jan said the main obstacle to MAS regaining profits was its employees’ union.

Wan Saiful felt that every effort made to revamp the airline to enable it to become profitable again would face opposition from the union.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Trades Union Congress vice-president J. Solomon said it was most unfair and naive to blame the trade union for the ills of MAS.

He pointed out that MAS had won many international awards for the quality of its service and this was due mainly to the efforts of its workers.

Solomon, however, contended that over a period of a few decades, huge amounts of public funds had been used to save MAS from corporate failure.

“Each time, there was a promise of a brighter tomorrow with the only predictable outcome being that the public has been disappointed, time and again,” he said. — Bernama - Malay Mail Online, 8/7/2014, Don’t blame us for MAS losses, union tells airlines

Monday, July 14, 2014

MTUC calls for the abolition of the 'labour supplier system'

Abolish labour supplier system




PETALING JAYA: Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) secretary-general, N. Gopal Kishnam said the government has to abolish the labour supplier system and review the recruitment on government-to-government basis to curb human trafficking. 

The government has issued more than 200 licences authorising labour suppliers, also known as "contractors of labour" and "labour outsourcing companies", which has led to human trafficking.

"Since 2007, the government has changed the migrant worker recruitment policy by licensing labour suppliers to flood the country with migrant workers," said Gopal today. 

He added that the government's decision to issue licences to labour suppliers is a contradiction of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act 2007.

"MTUC has repeatedly highlighted the abuses and the suffering of these workers and the Labour Department is fully aware of their predicament but they cannot take effective action as the labour suppliers cannot be traced," added Gopal. - The Sun Daily, 24/6/2014, Abolish labour supplier system

See also:-

Malaysia downgraded to Tier 3 - Trafficking in Persons Report 2014 - contractor for labour system, etc.. blamed?

   
2.    ABOLISH THE ‘CONTRACTOR FOR LABOUR SYSTEM’ – ENSURE DIRECT EMPLOYMENT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN WORKER AND OWNER/OPERATOR OF WORKPLACES

Direct employment relationship with the owner/operator of the workplace known as the principal, is essential to ensure stable employment, noting that employers do have the obligation to ensure worker rights and welfare are best protected. A contractor for labour (COL) should never be employers, and their role, if any, is to supply workers to owner/operators of workplace or alternatively find workers work with employers who need workers, and for the service rendered they should be paid a fee.
It is the owner/operator of workplaces, known as the principal, who should be having direct employment relationship with workers that work at their workplaces. This demand, amongst others, had been made vide the joint statement by 93 groups dated 3/5/2012 entitled, ‘Abolish the ‘Contractor for Labour’ system - Withdraw the 2012 amendments to Employment Act 1955’, and also vide the earlier statement by 115 groups on 28/10/2011 entitled,‘Malaysia Must Protect Worker and Union Rights, and withdraw proposed unjust amendments to Employment Act - Labour Suppliers Should Not Be Employers’. We also draw attention to the Malaysian Bar Resolution of 2012 expressing the same sentiment, which amongst others said ‘The Malaysian Bar takes the stand that labour suppliers and/or contractors of labour should never be or continue to be employers of workers after they are supplied, accepted and start working at the workplaces of principals or owners. Thereafter, these workers shall be employees of the principal or owners of the workplace.’ We also recall the MTUC initiated pickets and protests against the ‘contractor for labour system’.  - 47 Groups :- WORKER AND TRADE UNION RIGHTS MUST BE PRIORITIZED FOR THE WELLBEING OF THE WORKER AND THEIR FAMILIES

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Has Malaysia banned 'outsourcing' - the 'contractors for labour'? Sue the person who holds worker passport?

A multinational electronics company has denied the accusation that it breached the law by utilising outsourcing agents to employ foreign workers. - but which multinational company? Media  scared to name these companies - and this includes alternate media - Malaysiakini, or is there some new media ruling saying that media should not name employers that have allegedly violated worker rights or the law??? 

PASPORT - If some other holds worker passport, and the worker is arrested, detained etc - it is just wrong in law. In fact, the migrant worker would have a right to sue such employer/agent for the suffering of being arrested and the denial of liberty(detention) all brought about because employer/agent wrongly kept the passport of the worker.

One women worker was arrested in this case, maybe MTUC would assist this worker make this a landmark case - sue the said 'outsourcing agent'- and the courts will decide how much compensation should be paid to the worker for ....'suffering, loss of liberty, etc...' - and I am sure after that employers and their agents who hold on wrongly to passports of their workers will STOP doing this....  

MTUC allegations

- passports of foreign workers employed by the said company were being held by the outsourcing agents

“Since they don’t hold their passports, these workers are at a high risk of getting caught by the police.Currently, one has been caught and is still in the lock-up,”- MTUC Selangor division chairperson Wan Noorul Azhar Mohd Hanafiah
- agents - not the company paying the workers wages, and other matters

And, this is wrong because Malaysia has stopped outsourcing companies - does this mean that Malaysia has stopped the use of contractor for labour system - got rid finally of that 3rd party in the employment relationship? Well, this is good but does it only apply to migrant workers or also LOCAL workers.

I did not know this - many did not know this.... I searched for verification and found the following news report - and later the Malay Mail report below... 

But this is Malaysia, and we really do not know what our Government is doing  - there really is no transparency and accountability. A public notice at the relevant Ministry websiite would have been good - a Gazette would have been good. If not, tomorrow the same Deputy Minister or his Minister may come out and say -- the reporters got it wrong...or I did not mean that we have abolished the 'contractor for labour'...or well, that was really about just removing 'recruiters of workers' in government to government arrangements... not so much removing that 3rd party(middle man) from the employment relationships between people who have work requiring workers(principal/employer) and workers...

Malaysian Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Junaidi has announced that the government has terminated the services of outsourcing companies, following the numerous complaints of cheating and abuse of worker rights, reports themalaymailonline.com


Mr Wan Junaidi said:” We stopped using outsourcing companies because of all the cheating and confusion that happened under the system. There is no more outsourcing, now we just use direct dealing with source countries.”  – Malaysia – Government Halts The Use of Outsourcing Companies, 5/12/2013,Staffing Industry Analyst - http://www.staffingindustry.com/row/Research-Publications/Daily-News/Malaysia-Government-halts-the-use-of-outsourcing-companies-28231
See also the Malay Mail Report below ...

 

 Firm denies utilising outsourcing agents


A multinational electronics company has denied the accusation that it breached the law by utilising outsourcing agents to employ foreign workers.

However, according to the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC), passports of foreign workers employed by the said company were being held by the outsourcing agents, which led to the arrest of one such worker.

In making the claim, MTUC Selangor division chairperson Wan Noorul Azhar Mohd Hanafiah (left) told Malaysiakini that although working contracts are from the company, workers’ affairs are handed to the agents to be handled.


The situation involves 200 foreign workers, a majority of them from countries such as Nepal, Myanmar and Indonesia.


“Since they don’t hold their passports, these workers are at a high risk of getting caught by the police.

 
“Currently, one has been caught and is still in the lock-up,” he said.


Initially placed at the Bandar Baru Klang police station, the foreign worker in question was transferred to the Section 9 Shah Alam police station.


A check with the Section 9 Shah Alam police station confirmed she was arrested on July 6.

Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi Wan Jaafar (left) had last year confirmed that the government has terminated the services of outsourcing companies due to complaints of workers’ rights abuses.

Noorul Azhar, meanwhile, said that in the case of this particular company, the agents not only held on to workers’ permits and passports, they were also paying the workers’ salaries.

He claimed that these workers were not awarded any bonuses.


“Since they are absorbed into the main company, they should get the same benefits as the other employees,” said Noorul Azhar.


He added that outsourcing agents were also no longer permitted to handle the renewal of a foreign worker’s permit, as the Labour Department had abolished any form of outsourcing in 2012.


“Existing contracts are allowed to continue until it expires, but they cannot be renewed (by agents),” he said.

Malaysiakini has contacted the company involved and it has denied the allegation that it utilises the services of an outsourcing agent.

The company, however, declined comment further.


Meanwhile, a staff of one of the outsourcing agencies, when contacted, confirmed it was responsible for the handling of some of the foreign workers for the electronics company.


She, too, declined to elaborate further. - Malaysiakini, 12/7/2014,
Firm denies utilising outsourcing agents

Home Ministry: No middlemen to hire foreign labour
Foreign workers hold their passports as they gather outside a labour office, after missing a deadline to correct their visa status. — Reuters pic 
Foreign workers hold their passports as they gather outside a labour office, after missing a deadline to correct their visa status. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 5 — Putrajaya has dropped the practice of going through middlemen and is hiring the foreign workers it needs for its factories and farms directly from the country of origin, Parliament was told today.

A recent report noted Malaysia was still using labour brokers to bring in cheap workers from Third World countries like Nepal, but Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the government has terminated the services of “outsourcing companies” following numerous complaints of cheating and abuse of workers’ rights.

“We stopped using outsourcing companies because of all the cheating and confusion that happened under the system. There is no more outsourcing, now we just use direct dealing with source countries,” he said during Question Time in Parliament here.

Last week, Bloomberg reported that an unregulated network comprising tens of thousands of brokers are still supplying cheap, bonded labour to high-technology production lines owned by international companies based out of Malaysia.

The business wire claimed that tens of thousands of families from Asia’s poorest sectors have ended up deep in debt to buy jobs through brokers to work in factories in Malaysia, a manufacturing hub for the global electronics industry.

The report claimed that interviews with 60 Nepalese workers from 22 companies showed proof of a transnational recruiting system that is rife with abuse, and extends into practically all technology that props up the modern world.

Workers interviewed by Bloomberg claimed to have borrowed money or cleared out their life savings to pay up to US$1,800 (RM5,670) to brokers to secure factory jobs here.

On arrival, many complained of having to leave their passports with their new employers and are even expected to pay fees if they need to leave their jobs for whatever reason.

The report claimed that the labour situation may pit the companies in direct violation of an executive order signed by United States President Barack Obama last year, which bans the selling of jobs, no matter how big or small the fees, to overseas workers for companies that provide any goods or services to the US government, according to lawyers who represent federal contractors and those who help trafficking victims. It also applies to subcontractors.

Some of the companies implicated in the report were Sony, Apple, Western Digital, Motorola and Plexus Corp, though all the companies have denied condoning or having direct knowledge of such practices.

Wan Junaidi today acknowledged that the government faced numerous issues when dealing with complaints from foreign workers, who claimed they were not paid their full salaries, did not enjoy the full benefits promised or had no insurance, among other grouses.

He noted, however, that neither the middlemen nor the employers wanted to take responsibility when confronted with the complaints.

“When these issues came up, (the companies) say we are are not the employer, the employer is the outsourcing company. When we go to the outsourcing company, they say they have already handed over the workers to the hiring company,” he said, in explaining the reasons Malaysia ended the middleman system.

To an earlier question, Wan Junaidi said the government has yet to establish whether or not it can issue temporary work permits to foreign workers who have a case against their employers pending in the industrial court.

He agreed with PSM’s Sungai Siput MP Dr Michael Jeyakumar that these workers will need a source of income while they wait for the court to dispose of their cases, but stressed that issuing a temporary permit could lead to legal complications.

Wan Junaidi said currently Malaysia issues monthly passes to foreign workers pursuing cases in the industrial court so they can stay and see their cases through, though it does not allow them to find another job.

“The biggest obstacle is the contract. When a worker signs on with an employer, there is a contract between the two and if a case is not settled, the contract is still pending.

“If we give them the ability to work elsewhere, that means they will have two contracts and that will lead to legal implications on them, the employers and also effects the job,” he said, noting that the ministry will discuss the matter with the Human Resources Ministry. - Malay Mail Online, 5/12/2013, Home Ministry: No middlemen to hire foreign labour
 
2.    ABOLISH THE ‘CONTRACTOR FOR LABOUR SYSTEM’ – ENSURE DIRECT EMPLOYMENT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN WORKER AND OWNER/OPERATOR OF WORKPLACES

Direct employment relationship with the owner/operator of the workplace known as the principal, is essential to ensure stable employment, noting that employers do have the obligation to ensure worker rights and welfare are best protected. A contractor for labour (COL) should never be employers, and their role, if any, is to supply workers to owner/operators of workplace or alternatively find workers work with employers who need workers, and for the service rendered they should be paid a fee.
It is the owner/operator of workplaces, known as the principal, who should be having direct employment relationship with workers that work at their workplaces. This demand, amongst others, had been made vide the joint statement by 93 groups dated 3/5/2012 entitled, ‘Abolish the ‘Contractor for Labour’ system - Withdraw the 2012 amendments to Employment Act 1955’, and also vide the earlier statement by 115 groups on 28/10/2011 entitled,‘Malaysia Must Protect Worker and Union Rights, and withdraw proposed unjust amendments to Employment Act - Labour Suppliers Should Not Be Employers’. We also draw attention to the Malaysian Bar Resolution of 2012 expressing the same sentiment, which amongst others said ‘The Malaysian Bar takes the stand that labour suppliers and/or contractors of labour should never be or continue to be employers of workers after they are supplied, accepted and start working at the workplaces of principals or owners. Thereafter, these workers shall be employees of the principal or owners of the workplace.’ We also recall the MTUC initiated pickets and protests against the ‘contractor for labour system’.  - 47 Groups :- WORKER AND TRADE UNION RIGHTS MUST BE PRIORITIZED FOR THE WELLBEING OF THE WORKER AND THEIR FAMILIES