Friday, October 09, 2015

Candlelight Vigil Protest -10/10/2015, 7.30pm - to protest arrest of lawyer? SOSMA?

SOSMA - is not an ISA replacement  

SOSMA is a law that provides for ‘special measures relating to security offences for the purpose of maintaining public order and security and for connected matters’.  There are ‘special measures’ from the point of arrest until the end of trial, which do undermine the rights of the suspect and/or accused, including the right to a fair trial.

When SOSMA is used, the police no longer need to get a Magistrate’s order for the purposes of remanding a suspect for more than 24 hours. All that is required by SOSMA for detention beyond 24 hours is that ‘a police officer of or above the rank of Superintendent of Police…’ to ‘…extend the period of detention for a period of not more than twenty-eight days, for the purpose of investigation’. As such, the necessary check and balance provided- MADPET Calls For Repeal Of SOSMA, And Offences Criminalizing Activities ‘Detrimental To Parliamentary Democracy’,
0R -

Mahathir wrong in saying ISA better than SOSMA?

Sosma cannot bypass normal procedures, safeguards, rights (FMT News)

OPPRESSIVE LAWS: Repeal SOSMA & offences criminalizing activities ‘detrimental' democracy’ - MADPET (Malaysia Chronicle)

The Malaysian Bar denounces the intimidation, harassment, arrest or detention of any Member of the Malaysian Bar in the discharge of his or her duties or obligations for and on behalf of any client.  

The Malaysian Bar will hold a candlelight vigil to reaffirm the independence of the Bar, as follows:

Date:  Tomorrow, 10 October 2015 (Saturday)

Time:  7:30 pm to 10:00 pm

Venue:  Bar Council, 15 Leboh Pasar Besar, 50050 Kuala Lumpur

Press Release | The Police Must Not Misuse SOSMA, and Must Not Ignore the Solicitor-Client Relationship 

Friday, 09 October 2015 08:31pm
ImageThe Malaysian Bar is outraged over the detention of Matthias Chang — a Member of the Malaysian Bar and one of the lawyers representing Dato’ Sri Khairuddin Abu Hassan (“Dato’ Sri Khairuddin”), a politician and vocal critic of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (“1MDB”) — under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (“SOSMA”).  The detention is reportedly for investigations into allegations of having committed offences under Sections 124K (sabotage) and Section 124L (attempt to commit sabotage), both under the Penal Code. 
Matthias Chang was arrested by the police yesterday after visiting his client, who is currently being detained at the Dang Wangi District Police Station.  It has been reported that Matthias Chang is now to be detained for up to 28 days.

It had been earlier reported that Matthias Chang and his client had both been barred from travelling outside Malaysia on 18 September 2015, and that they were about to travel to New York for the purpose of meeting with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in relation to allegations of financial impropriety concerning 1MDB.[1]   Subsequently, Matthias Chang was questioned by the police on 28 September 2015 and 2 October 2015, as a witness in respect of the allegations levelled against his client. 

It is inexplicable that the police have now detained Matthias Chang under SOSMA, as he has been cooperative in presenting himself for questioning by the police thus far.  His arrest is an absolute misuse of the power of arrest and detention under Section 4 of SOSMA.

The Malaysian Bar expressed reservations over the use of SOSMA on Dato’ Sri Khairuddin in our press release dated 2 October 2015.[2]   These same concerns apply to Matthias Chang.  SOSMA was legislated to address terrorism threats and violent conduct. SOSMA must not be misused as a replacement for the repealed Internal Security Act 1960 (“ISA”).  The manner in which the police have resorted to SOSMA against Dato’ Sri Khairuddin and Matthias Chang is disquieting, as it appears that SOSMA is becoming the new ISA. 

The Malaysian Bar denounces the intimidation, harassment, arrest or detention of any Member of the Malaysian Bar in the discharge of his or her duties or obligations for and on behalf of any client.  Every Member of the Malaysian Bar is obliged to, and must be allowed to, act without fear or favour in the client’s interest, with due regard to the rule of law and the administration of justice.   

The Chief Justice of Malaysia, The Right Honourable Tun Arifin Zakaria, has observed that “… the lawyer does not merely carry out the duties he is professionally trained for, but assumes a special role in safeguarding the sanctity of the legal system and more importantly to uphold the rule of law.”[3] 

It is also important to note that Articles 16 and 18 of the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, adopted by the Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders in 1990, state that:

16. Governments shall ensure that lawyers (a) are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference; (b) are able to travel and to consult with their clients freely both within their own country and abroad; and (c) shall not suffer, or be threatened with, prosecution or administrative, economic or other sanctions for any action taken in accordance with recognized professional duties, standards and ethics.


18. Lawyers shall not be identified with their clients or their clients’ causes as a result of discharging their functions.

The Malaysian Bar further condemns any attempt to transgress or erode the principle of legal professional privilege or solicitor-client privilege, in the guise of a purported investigation of a lawyer. The rationale underpinning the principle of legal professional privilege is that:

(a) it is of fundamental importance, for the proper administration of justice, that clients should enjoy absolute confidence in respect of all communications with their lawyers for the provision of legal advice and/or representation;
(b) the principle promotes the public interest, because it assists and enhances the administration of justice by facilitating the representation of clients by their legal advisors; and 
(c) the system of administration of justice depends for its vitality on full, free and frank communication between those who need legal advice and those who are best able to provide it. 

The principle of legal professional privilege must remain inviolate and absolute, as it protects all information provided by a client to the lawyer for the purposes of legal advice or representation, whereby the information cannot be divulged by the lawyer to anyone, unless the client waives the privilege.  This principle is codified in Section 126 of the Evidence Act 1950, with two limited exceptions that render the privilege inapplicable, namely, where there is “(a) any such communication made in furtherance of any illegal purpose; (b) any fact observed by any advocate in the course of his employment as such showing that any crime or fraud has been committed since the commencement of his employment”.

The police must scrupulously adhere to this salutary principle — well-entrenched in both statute and common law — of legal professional privilege, and must not seek to obtain from Matthias Chang any information given to him by his client, Dato’ Sri Khairuddin, by ignoring or breaching this long-standing principle. Any interference with the principle is wholly abhorrent, and obverse to the administration of justice.
The Malaysian Bar demands that the police recognise and respect the role and responsibilities of Matthias Chang as a lawyer, release him immediately, and refrain from any action that is likely to harass, impede or obstruct him from performing his duties to his client.

Steven Thiru
Malaysian Bar

9 October 2015      


The Malaysian Bar denounces the intimidation, harassment, arrest or detention of any Member of the Malaysian Bar in the discharge of his or her duties or obligations for and on behalf of any client.  

The Malaysian Bar will hold a candlelight vigil to reaffirm the independence of the Bar, as follows:

Date:  Tomorrow, 10 October 2015 (Saturday)

Time:  7:30 pm to 10:00 pm

Venue:  Bar Council, 15 Leboh Pasar Besar, 50050 Kuala Lumpur

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Malaysian MPs - Party or People's Representative? Abolish the WHIP?

People's representatives - that is what a Member of Parliament(MP) is supposed to be , and that means acting without fear or favour to uphold the cause of justice - for the good of  the people of Malaysia...

BUT do Malaysian MPs do that?

OR are Malaysian MPs just 'YES MEN' to their own political party 'bosses'? - they will follow what their 'party bosses' say even if it means failing their responsibilities to the people they represent OR acting for the best interest of the country..(or the people)..

HOW DO YOU REMOVE A PRIME MINISTER? (Same as how to remove a Menteri Besar..)

Malaysian Federal Constitution Article 43(4) provides the answer..
(4) If the Prime Minister ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the House of Representatives, then, unless at his request the Yang di-pertuan Agong dissolves Parliament, the Prime Minister shall tender the resignation of the Cabinet.
So, the majority of our MPs must openly express that they no longer have the confidence in Najib Tun Razak being the Prime Minister...

Now, for the MPs 

-  Do MPs have the GUTS to make up their own mind and act for the good of the people of Malaysia?
-  Do MPs have courage to act in accordance to their values, sense of justice, consccience, etc?
Do MPs exercise their own freedom of expression and/or freedom of opinion?

Sadly, many of our MPs are only 'GOOD FOLLOWERS' ...
- they just say and do what their leaders tells them to do
- the opinion they express is only the opinions of their leader - hardly an opposite view, 
- they vote according to what their leader(or party), vide the WHIP, tells them, 
- some even raise only issues that their leaders allow them to, and all the issues of the people.. 


Freedom of Expression and Opinions are discouraged, especially when it goes against the party leaders...

Sadly, some of the political leaders and parties insist on that kind of people...

- they still use the 'WHIP' (i.e. where the party directs how the MP/ADUN and even Local Councillors cast their vote) - sadly, this happens not just in the BN but also in the then Pakatan Rakyat(PR). 

Hence, the culture of not even being bothered about debates or considering other views or even making up one's mind on how to vote - like Robots they vote as directed by the party leadership(or party) - as informed by the 'Party Whip'...
 "If a BN MP is not agreeable to the Whip and does not agree to toe the party line when voting in Parliament, the MP can resign and contest as an Independent and vote based on conscience...."Even opposition MPs are also bound by their own Whip system, party discipline and regulations. "

The usage of the WHIP - really should be restricted to the most urgent of matters, maybe like the passing of a Financial Bill (i.e. necessary for continued spending of the government come the following financial year), but otherwise MPs should be allowed to vote as per what they believe is right - guided by the principles of justice, and for the good of the people (not just the good of Malaysia - but the good of all people in Malaysia).

- Many political parties even make it a WRONG for a member of their party to be seen supporting a view expressed by the Opposition, a wrong to even attend meetings and consultations organized by the Opposition - yes, for the BN, this seem to extend to also activities outside the Parliament (latest - being the case involving Saifuddin, and now the threat to sue former MCA President).

Saifuddin, who was censured for attending the September 22 roundtable dialogue by opposition parties and civil society organisations, recently said he wanted Umno to clarify the show cause letter given to him. - See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/saifuddin-crazy-for-questioning-show-cause-letter-says-umno-sec-gen#sthash.uIi1To5R.dpuf

Two Barisan Nasional backbenchers who broke ranks in supporting an Opposition motion are facing the prospect of disciplinary action. Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is the BN whip, hauled up Datuk Bung Moktar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan) and Datuk Mohamed Aziz (BN-Sri Gading) and said he would refer them to the Cabinet refer them to the Cabinet as they had breached party policy. The two had supported a motion by Opposition leader Lim Kit Siang to refer International Trade and Industry Ministry secretary- general Datuk Sidek Hassan to the Committee of Privileges - New Straits Times, 10/4/2005
See also the article that appeared in the Sun (below) - Bound by Whip at all times

Many of the MPs seem to be just too worried about the consequences - the risk of being 'sacked' from the party, the risk of not being allowed to contest in the upcoming elections, the risk of being removed from the Cabinet...or maybe other posts like 'Commissioners' or 'Directors', etc,... in short, these worries seem be rather self-centered ...

In my opinion, MPs should be restored their freedom of expression, freedom of opinion and definitely the freedom to vote according to their own conscience...

A MP should be guided by the principle of upholding the cause of justice (and/or causes for the good of the Malaysian people) without fear or favour...even from their own political party.

Do the right thing irrespective of the consequences, and people will respect you for that..

How many of such MPs do we have in our Malaysian Parliament today?


If Najib loses the confidence of the majority - he can no longer be Prime Minister, and some other who has the confidence of the majority will then be appointed Prime Minister...

So, will the various political parties allow their MPs to vote according to their conscience and for the good of the people...OR will they still tell them how to vote or face the consequences...

More importantly, will our MPs, no matter the risks or potential consequence, vote  according to their own conscience and for the good of the people...

MOTION OF NO CONFIDENCE - our Opposition parties have been talking about this, but really that is really not the ONLY way, or even the best way. Such a motion could also be stopped by the Speaker...

And, if we look at how the Selangor MB was removed and changed - no motion of no confidence here... I believe the same happened in Trengganu too..

And, if we look at how the Perak PAS MB was removed - again there was no motion of no confidence here... 

Hence, all that is required is for the loss of confidence to be brought to the attention of the Yang Di-Pertuan Agung (and maybe also the people of Malaysia).

Now, sadly even the Opposition parties are trying to make deals and impose conditions...Priority now is saving Malaysia - not freeing Anwar? 

Even if there is to be a change of Prime Minister, more likely than not it will be a new BN Prime Minister - so maybe the Opposition is also not too keen about the removal of Najib, hoping maybe that his continuing to be Prime Minister may help them in the next General Elections...I wonder.

In any event, maybe the Opposition (if not all political parties) should now declare that they will stop using the WHIP, save for voting on particular important legislations..like Financial Bills; And change their policies restoring freedom of expression and opinion to their MPs - including also supporting causes raised by other political parties, or even if it goes against the position of their current leaders...

Let MPs be people's representatives - someone who the people can go lobby on different issues. For now, no use wasting time with individual MPs - the only people that matter seem to be the party leader at the national level... 

The effect is that many people today only go to our MPs for favours and monies - not to communicate their stance so MPs can then be true representatives of the people, no more representatives of political parties. 

A lot of REFORM is needed...

Bound by Whip at all times

KUALA LUMPUR: Government backbenchers are bound by the chief Whip at all times throughout parliamentary sessions, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said today (May 9, 2006).

"They are bound by party rules and discipline. The Whip is only relaxed when it is lifted by the chief or the deputy chief Whip," he said at a media briefing after a 45-minute meeting with the BBC committee at Parliament.

"The question of allowing backbenchers to vote according to their conscience does not arise. It is also not right to say the Backbenchers Club (BBC) does not come under the whip which is perpetually in force until otherwise."

On Monday (May 8, 2006), BBC secretary Datuk Rosli Mat Hassan, with the backing of about 30 government MPs, issued a statement asking the executive to allow them to vote according to their conscience in the absence of a direction from the chief Whip.

Nazri said the BBC committee had unanimously accepted his explanation that the current whip had been in force since 1955.

"It was wrong for Datuk Zaid Ibrahim (BN-Kota Baru) to say otherwise on this by quoting the practice in other Commonwealth countries," he said.

Nazri said there had been occasions when the Whip had been relaxed, citing an emergency motion by Salahuddin Ayub (PAS-Kubang Kerian) on the insurgency in southern Thailand last year (2005).

"Although no voting was involved, they could only speak in support of the motion because we gave them the green light," he said.

"In future, if a situation arose which required the Whip's directive, backbenchers can call for time-out to discuss and reach a decision on the matter.

"It has been done before. In the last (parliamentary) session, there was some confusion with the Road Transport Department Act and a 15-minute break was taken to discuss because members were confused.

"If a BN MP is not agreeable to the Whip and does not agree to toe the party line when voting in Parliament, the MP can resign and contest as an Independent and vote based on conscience.

"At this moment the only MP who can speak and vote based on his conscience is Sandakan (Independent) MP Chong Hon Ming.

"Even opposition MPs are also bound by their own Whip system, party discipline and regulations. "

On the position of Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad (BN-Johor Baru), Nazri said it was obvious that the former BBC chairman had breached party regulation and discipline when he supported the opposition motion.

Nazri said if Shahrir had not acknowledged his wrongdoing and resigned, disciplinary action could have been taken against him in the form of suspension.

"If the backbenchers had re-elected him after the Whip had accepted his resignation, it would have been a mockery of the disciplinary process within the BN," he added.

He said the BN had previously suspended Deputy Natural Resources and Enviornment Minister Datuk S.Sothinathan for going against the Whip and two MPs, Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan) and Datuk Mohamed Aziz (BN-Sri Gading), were given warning letters for rooting for the Opposition.

"What will it look like if Shahrir is re-elected. He would have only served a suspension for about two to three days," he said.

Nazri said BBC deputy chairman Datuk Raja Ahmad Zainuddin Raja Omar (BN-Larut) is now acting BBC head until a new chief is elected. - The Sun - http://www.thesundaily.my/node/174041

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

500 protest in front US Embassy on 2nd October?

Another peaceful assembly in Kuala Lumpur - this time in front of the US Embassy (sadly the news report is not very clear about the issue/s that led to the protest)...

An urgent response like a peaceful assembly has to be done fast - the imposition of giving notices in advance, like 10 days - are obviously absurd...

For a peaceful assembly - there must not be any restrictions - maybe a request for organisers to just inform the police..

Now, in Malaysia - the police behave as though they have the POWER to say "YES' or 'No' to the exercise of the right to peaceful assembly. The police must remember their role - they are public servants. All they need to do is maybe to be around to ensure that the exercise of the right of peaceful assembly and protest is carried out without obstruction by others. Maybe, also to ensure smooth traffic flow..

Crowd protests at US embassy over Al-Aqsa intrusion

Shakira Buang     Published     Updated   

Approximately 500 people gathered in front of the US Embassy today in protest of the intrusion of the Al-Aqsa mosque by the 'Zionist regime'.

The protest was held as a reaction to the intrusion which had led to clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians.

The demonstration which was attended by 45 Muslim NGOs and started after Friday prayers.

Majlis Perunding Pertubuhan Islam Malaysia (Mapim) president Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid denounced the action by the Israeli regime in not respecting the mosque’s position as one of the most sacred for Muslims around the world.

Azmi submitted a memorandum to a security officer at the US embassy as part of the protest. The memorandum, he claimed, was made on behalf of 'all Muslims and political parties in the country'.

He also urged US ambassador to Malaysia Joseph Y Yun to stop making excuses and to forward the memorandum to US president Barack Obama.

“We ask that Joseph Y Yun stop making excuses. This memorandum is meant for Obama and he must take action as the US president has a huge influence over Israel,” said Azmi, to the cries of 'takbir' from the crowd.

Faxed to Obama

He added that Obama must also ensure that Israeli forces retreat from Jerusalem.

Azmi stressed that he and the other NGOs will not stop at this juncture and will submit the memorandum to Washington by way of fax.

“We will fax this memorandum to Washington so that the message will reach Obama. We will fax this memorandum this evening,” he said.

The demonstration which started around 2.30pm ended an hour later after the memorandum was delivered to the US embassy.

The protesters had brandished banners bearing the words 'Free Al-Aqsa mosque' and 'Free Palestine', among others, during the peaceful demonstration. - Malaysiakini

Al-Aqsa mosque anger misguided – Mahsa Amiri

The protest in front of the American Embassy in Kuala Lumpur on October 2 was to condemn the United States over its apathy towards the events in the Al-Aqsa mosque but it showed some inconsistencies, which a critical eye would not leave unnoticed.

First, it was not a routine event devoted to Quds Day, which is normally held on the last Friday of Ramadan.
This “Day of anger” concerned the recent clashes in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem after some radical Jewish groups called for the removal of Al-Aqsa mosque from the Temple Mount, which believers of both faiths used to visit.

Several people were injured. Outraged by the accident, Malaysian activists from more than 40 non-governmental organisations decided to pass the note of protest to the American embassy, the main ally of Israel, which according to their idea must take immediate action against Tel Aviv or at least issue a statement. It appears that with the passage of time protesters appealing to the Palestinian cause find themselves in the snarl of various struggles and causes under the same flag.
Initially, the Palestinian struggle was by no means a Muslim struggle. It was a purely nationalist struggle for land and sovereignty against another nationalist-, not religious-oriented group calling for the creation of an independent Jewish state.
Let’s remember that the leaders of the Zionist movement not only were not a strong believers, but rather irreligious people who accepted that religion might only be the factor attracting more supporters.
The main proof to it was that several options of location for the establishment of the state of Israel had been explored before Palestine was eventually picked.
You need to visit Madagascar with its authentic culture or Cyprus with its traditionally relaxed Greek spirit to contemplate that they might have been picked from the list instead of Palestine. Would there be a chance to label the struggle as Islamic then? Would Muslims in Malaysia bother then?
The struggle for Palestine was “Islamised” not without Iran’s effort, whose Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979 introduced the Quds Day which gathers protests annually worldwide.
Would the main proponents of rooting out Shia minority in the country or punishing Iran for alleged proselytising consider that the nature of the protest they are expressing was defined by the enemy of their version of Islam?
So here is the first inconsistency – in Malaysia, drawn into the endless discussion about race and religion, can we decide, is it the struggle for Palestinian lands or for Muslim lands? If we are to talk about the latter, then should we exclude non-Muslim Palestinian Arabs from the list of beneficiaries?
“The attacks on the Al-Aqsa mosque done by Jewish settlers were intended to incite Muslim anger”, says the memorandum delivered by the representatives to the embassy.
Why then non-Muslims were also encouraged to take part in the demonstration and deliver a speech? If the struggle is Muslim, why it is so important to show that non-Muslims are concerned, too?
For whom exactly they must be concerned – for Muslims, for Palestinian inhabitants, or should they be outraged with injustices?
If we are returning to the humane side of the conflict and being concerned about human losses, demolished houses, displaced people, how can the struggle be reduced to Muslim anger?
Or if it is solely Muslim, why were there no protests on other occasions, let’s say American intervention in Syria or the Saudi-led coalition destroying Yemen?
The second inconsistency is that the message was addressed to the American embassy. However, the whole meeting was mostly conducted in Bahasa Malaysia.
Of course, the protesters were barred from approaching the embassy close enough for the American diplomats to hear, but the message was still addressed to an English-speaking audience.
In fact, however, it turned into what it was called – fuelling the anger.
Third, quite a number of participants were apparently Arabs – that is, foreigners from Palestine or elsewhere, but having the speeches delivered mostly in Bahasa many alleged beneficiaries of the event might not have understood their content.
It was very ironic to see many protesters with yellow ribbons on the heads and necks, remembering that this colour adopted by Bersih 4 protesters was banned more than a month ago, and now again it found its way into the street protest.
The cause, which is to fight against oppression, is noble.
The big question about this protest is if the participants were aware about the history, structure of the conflict, its actors, beneficiaries and nature, to see the United States as the main evil-doer in the whole story?
No need to be an intelligent professor with degrees and study the subject inside out. It is enough to have a proper self-respect to not allow the others manipulate one’s emotions and be able to earn a bit information about the cause.
In the middle of a national corruption saga (where the very Muslims along with the other citizens were misled about the public spending), the major indifference to the consequences of signing the TPPA by Putrajaya, and eventually, the whole complexity of the Palestinian struggle, the last thing that would help is to provoke people’s anger by blocking Jalan Tun Razak.
Returning to work after Friday prayers or doing some reading on the subject would probably prove more effective.
And if after that, the emotions about injustices in Palestine were still there, feasible things must be done – attempts to push the Malaysian government to change its foreign policy, to boycott the Israeli goods, to donate for charity for the Palestinian cause.
American foreign policy is unlikely to be affected by the public rallies, while Malaysian minds are manipulated and distracted from the real problems of their society which require immediate solutions.
It’s time to be angry, not at Al-Aqsa, but at the fact Malaysians have procrastinated too long to care about what matters for them most. – October 4, 2015.

* Mahsa Amiri reads The Malaysian Insider.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.
- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/sideviews/article/al-aqsa-mosque-anger-misguided-mahsa-amiri#sthash.5b7a8PPU.dpuf

Malaysia and Israel are ‘booming’ trade partners, says Israeli paper

Monday September 15, 2014
11:46 AM 
Israeli media has reported that trade between Malaysia and Israel has been valued at US$1.5b despite not having diplomatic ties, Sept 15, 2014. — Reuters picIsraeli media has reported that trade between Malaysia and Israel has been valued at US$1.5b despite not having diplomatic ties, Sept 15, 2014. — Reuters pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 15 — Malaysia has been trading with Israel quietly in a  “blossoming” relationship over the years despite lacking diplomatic ties, the Times of Israel reported, citing data from Israel’s statistics bureau.

The paper said official data published by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics  “tells of a booming, but very discreet, trade relationship that is blossoming between the two countries”, with trade reaching US$1.529 billion (RM4.8 billion) for 2013 or almost double that of 2012.

“Every shipment is duly recorded in Israel’s foreign trade statistics but studiously ignored by Malaysia. In addition to the officially recorded movement of goods, there is a heavy current of trade flowing beneath the surface, making it hard to calculate the value,” the report said.

According to the report, a large amount of the trade boom between the two countries can be traced to Kiryat Gat south of Israel, where global giant Intel has a plant churning out computer chips which are then exported to a second assembly plant in Malaysia.

Trade relations between Israel and “hostile” Muslim countries like Malaysia and Indonesia have been ongoing for decades through third party players like Singapore and Turkey, which explains why trade records leading to Israel are nowhere to be found in their official data, the report added.

For Malaysia and Indonesia, Singapore is often the middle-man for trade, the paper said.

“Israel’s embassy there says that most trade is done this way, and in the case of Indonesia, with the embassy’s assistance, “ it added.

Including deals done through a third country, the estimated value of trade between Israel and Indonesia ran as high as high as US$250 million last year, ten-times the US$24.9 million of direct trade detailed in official figures, it said.

“Israel does a lot of trade with many countries that we do not have formal diplomatic relations with and we are more than happy with this,” the report quoted foreign ministry spokesman Paul Hirschson as saying.

“It is no secret that we have periodically engaged in dialogue with these countries. We would like nothing more than to establish diplomatic relations and representative offices”.

Hirschson was also quoted as saying that trade relations with Malaysia is “pleasantly surprising”.
Like most Muslim countries, Malaysia has no diplomatic ties with Israel.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed had said that Putrajaya has no control over Malaysian goods that end up in Israel.

He added that it is common international practice for multinational companies that invest and operate in Malaysia to do the same in many other countries, including Israel, as part of their global supply and value chain.- Malay Mail
- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/malaysia-and-israel-are-booming-trade-partners-says-israeli-paper#sthash.nIyVevG2.dpuf  

Monday, October 05, 2015

Najib says we take '3,000 Syrian migrants' - 'refugees'? Now, over 150,000 refugees/asylum seekers in Malaysia

Najib goes and tell the United Nations that Malaysia will 'open our doors to a further 3,000 Syrian migrants over the next three years' {Full text of Najib's speech to the UN to be found below}

Malaysia, at present do not in our laws recognize refugees and asylum seekers - and, so we have just been treating them as though they 'illegal immigrants'(or undocumented migrants) - and,  what Malaysia does to them is that we arrest, detain, whip, imprison, deport them out of Malaysia...

Yes - Najib did not even use the word 'refugees' and 'asylum seekers' in his speech - he merely called them 'Syrian migrants'. As such, all refugees in Malaysia are 'illegal' migrants..

Malaysia really needs a law the recognizes refugees and asylum seekers - which will also state how they will be treated by the government, their rights, etc..ENACT A LAW ON REFUGEES/ASYLUM SEEKERS

Malaysia is also still not a signatory or party to 1951 UN Refugee Convention...and there are currently about 153,880 refugees and asylum seekers registered in Malaysia (probably more given the fact that time for processing is long...)

As of end August 2015, there are some 153,880 refugees and asylum-seekers registered with UNHCR in Malaysia.  

- 143,050 are from Myanmar, comprising some 48,310 Chins, 48,800 Rohingyas, 12,290 Myanmar Muslims, 7,180 Rakhines & Arakanese, and other ethnicities from Myanmar.

- There are some 10,830 refugees and asylum-seekers from other countries, including some 3,610 Sri Lankans, 1,230 Pakistanis, 1,100 Somalis, 970 Syrians, 860 Iraqis, 490 Iranians, 490 Palestinians, and others from other countries.

Some 57% of refugees and asylum-seekers are men, while 43% are women.

There are some 33,710 children below the age of 18. -
UNHCR Malaysia Website

Malaysia has so many refugees here in Malaysia - refugees from Myanmar/Burma(including the Rohingyas), Sri Lanka....

There are also 'economic refugees' - people coming over from neighbouring ASEAN and Asian nations in search of employment and income... which we call ' undocumented migrants'

There are at present at least 2.5 million (possibly even more than 5 million) undocument migrants in Malaysia...

So, why does Najib go and proclaim at the UN that Malaysia would open its doors to a further 3,000 Syrian 'refugees' - when here in Malaysia already so many -  153,880. These persons are considered 'undocumented migrants' - not being able to work and earn a living legally in Malaysia. Of course, UNHCR also does not provide board or lodging for them whilst they await re-settlement in a 3rd country.

And, of course, there will be the question 'Why Syria?' - Why not Palestine? What not a general offer to accept refugees - priority maybe from ASEAN?

What really is the Malaysian position on Syria? Is Malaysia in support of the government of President Bashar al-Assad?  Or is Malaysia supporting the US-UK position? Or the Russian position? ...it requires a longer discussion to understand what is happening in Syria, especially since 2011.
'This is why Malaysia has taken, over the years, many people fleeing war, starvation and persecution. We currently have hundreds of thousands of irregular migrants, and we took in more earlier this year when there was a dire humanitarian situation in the Andaman Sea.I am pleased to announce today that, to help alleviate the current refugee crisis, Malaysia will do its share, and open our doors to a further 3,000 Syrian migrants over the next three years.New international solutions are needed to deal with the migration crises. The millions fleeing are people – like us. They should concern us all. We must respect our common humanity. - Najib Tun Razak

Published: Friday October 2, 2015 MYT 7:49:00 AM
Updated: Friday October 2, 2015 MYT 8:09:28 AM

Full text of PM’s speech at UN General Assembly

Statement by Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia, at the General Debate of the 70th session of the UN General Assembly

Mr President,

Congratulations on your appointment as President of the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Your experience and wisdom will be invaluable in guiding us.

This session’s theme – “The United Nations at 70: the Road Ahead for Peace, Security and Human Rights” – is timely. For we urgently need to find new approaches, to rise above the political divide and put people first, in an age when the old ways are proving inadequate to the challenges we face today. 

We are a world of nation states. But new conflicts and threats imperilling our peace and security do not recognise borders. Non-state actors, such as the so-called Islamic State, threaten to destroy sovereign states. 

They don’t confine their horrific acts of cruelty within official boundaries. Expert at using social media to recruit followers in faraway countries, they lure them with false promises, persuading many young people that their barbaric actions will bring them closer to God. 

It is sickening, and there could be no greater a slur on Islam – a religion of peace, moderation and justice. But these extremists cannot be defeated by traditional military means alone.

Mr President,

Five years ago I stood before this assembly and called for a Global Movement – of moderates of all religions, of all countries – to marginalise extremists, reclaim the centre, and shape the agenda towards peace and pragmatism. We in Malaysia have followed up, both with practical action and by building intellectual capacity.

Central to this effort is reaffirming Islam’s true nature, as we must acknowledge that we are not winning the propaganda war against the so-called Islamic State. Their twisted narrative is not being adequately countered to prevent many misguided people from joining or supporting from afar.

So it is more important than ever that we spread awareness of authentic Islam. Most especially when conflicts persist and people lose hope. For it is there that extremism finds fertile soil. And those who fight for extremism – for a perversion of true Islam – are one of the main drivers of the current migration crisis from the Middle East.

Islam unequivocally prohibits killing civilians during war. It explicitly protects minorities and respects those of other faiths. It urges the pursuit of knowledge, and stresses both justice and compassion. As the Prophet Muhammad said: “You will not enter Paradise until you have faith; and you will not complete your faith, till you love for one another what you love for yourselves.”

This means there should be no strife among Muslims. Not between Shia and Sunni, who may take different paths, but seek the same destination.

Islam condemns the destruction of historical sites that are part of the world’s cultural heritage. The lies of IS include the claim that it is their duty to destroy historical sites, because the Prophet Muhammad destroyed the idols that had been introduced into the Ka`ba in Mecca.

This is based on a false analogy. The Ka`ba was built by the Prophet Abraham for the worship of the One True God, and later generations added the idols. The Prophet Muhammad was commanded to purify the Ka`ba of these idols for its use by his followers, to bring it back to its original form.

The historical sites being destroyed by IS were never used for the worship of the One God and then later desecrated; so the argument for destroying them does not and cannot apply. Moreover, God informs us that these sites we travel by, and which denote past civilizations — some of which were global superpowers of their time, but are now no more — are signs to remind us not to be arrogant, but to walk the earth humbly.

We must combat IS’ warped ideology in this way: explaining why their path is un-Islamic; why their actions are evil, theologically incoherent and a travesty of Islam – which commands us to be knowledgeable, compassionate and humble. 

Mr President,

The Malaysian Government has helped develop an important body of scholarship that does just that. An international group of Sunni and Shia scholars representing a cross-section of the global Muslim community was convened in Kuala Lumpur. Its mission was to define an Islamic State, based on the continuity of Islamic religious thought through the past 14 centuries.

It is nothing like the entity in Syria and Iraq that usurps that name. The scholars unanimously emphasized that an Islamic State must deliver justice in all its forms – political, economic and in the courts – to its citizens. It must be based on the objectives of Shariah, or Maqasid Shariah, which is to protect and enhance life, religion, intellect, property, family and dignity.

An Islamic State must defend the different peoples under its rule, and preserve their religions, languages and historic sites – because God commands us: “Indeed, we have made you nations and tribes, that ye may know one another.”

He could have created us as one religious community, but He did not do so – in order to test us – and orders us to compete with each other in being virtuous. A true Islamic State therefore aids God’s Divine Intent in testing humanity, and urges us to compete in virtue, in knowledge, kindness, compassion and humility – but, crucially, not coerce us in this.

These are Islam’s true principles. The so-called Islamic State knows nothing of Islam’s noble ideals, of its compassion, or of the solemn duty to care for and learn about our fellow man. They are violating the Divine will. They are desecrating the name of our religion through their self-proclaimed caliphate – to which no true Muslim will pledge allegiance.

This is the message we must spread, to Muslims and non-Muslims. And I call on the Umma to rise with one voice, and let the world ring when we say to IS: You do not represent us.

Mr President,

Let no one doubt how seriously Malaysia regards the problem of militants: both those who wish to use Kuala Lumpur as a transit point, and those who wish to sow violence and destruction at home.

Much of this work cannot be revealed for security reasons. This may lead some to think that because Malaysia has not suffered from a successful terrorist attack, we do not have national security challenges. That is not the case. 

Our tireless, ever-vigilant security forces have intercepted many would-be IS recruits transiting through Kuala Lumpur. It is because of our efforts that they have not fallen into the darkness that blights Syria and Iraq. 

But some have. We have identified 39 Malaysians who have travelled to join IS. And we have arrested over 100 of our citizens suspected of links to IS. These threats are real. 

There are people who want to bring terror to our streets.

We will not stand for it, neither will they succeed. For Malaysia has been, and will always be, a land where many faiths and ethnicities freely prosper and thrive.

But we must strive harder to combat this threat together. Militaries and intelligence services need to share information, and countries need to collaborate more, daring to pre-emptively arrest as necessary. 

We have instituted legislation to allow this. When evidence is irrefutable, we will unhesitatingly take action. If our citizens’ lives are threatened by bombing a mall or a station, we would be negligent of their trust not to intervene before it is too late.

Mr President, 

2015 gave us examples of inspiring new approaches. For example, the United States restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba. This was a historic achievement, an exemplary display of moderation in action. It took courage. It would not have happened had those wishing to cling to old political divisions held sway. 

Forward-thinking leaders put their people’s interests first. Similar courage, Mr President, is needed to permanently address the injustice suffered by the Palestinians since 1948.

Decades of impunity and the systematic dehumanisation of Palestinians has culminated in increasing violence, increasing illegal settlements, and increasing violations of rights. The frustration and anger felt by Palestinians resonates with Muslims worldwide.

If the world continues to turn a blind eye to their sufferings, we risk another catastrophe in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. We will also fail to uphold the right to self-determination, which was at the very basis of the United Nations when it was created 70 years ago.

On that note, given the Rosh Hashanah violations of Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and aggression against its worshippers three weeks ago, I call on the Israeli government to live up to Judaism’s highest ethical principles, and the essential message of the Torah as succinctly expressed by the first century BC sage Hillel. 

When asked to describe the Torah in a soundbite, he said, “That which is hateful to you, don’t do to your fellow human being.”

This dictum, known universally in all religions as the Golden Rule, could herald the dawn of a much needed revised relationship between Muslims and Jews.

Currently Israel has forced its authority over Islam’s Third Holiest Site – in defiance of the jurisdiction of King Abdullah of Jordan, the lawful Custodian. It is therefore Israel’s duty to facilitate Muslims from around the world to visit. For this is an aspiration that all devout Muslims harbour and pray to be able to realise in their lifetime.

Mr President,

Putting people first will not always be easy. But the problems of today require new and global solutions.
Malaysia will raise these issues as a member of the UN Security Council – and reforming the Security Council to better reflect 2015’s realities, not 1945’s, represents a good start towards building a new, adequately responsive global architecture. 

We in Malaysia know how much that is needed. We were extremely disappointed that the proposed resolution to set up an international tribunal into the shooting down of flight MH17 did not go through because a veto was imposed. We will continue to seek justice through other legal options, because we owe it to the families of those who perished in this outrageous crime.

But whether it be reform of the UN, tackling extremism or dealing with migration, greater mutual effort is necessary. We must look into ourselves and our own traditions to create new mechanisms. We believe that moderation is key. 

Moderation is not about being weak. On the contrary, it is courageous and shows strength. The strength to push for peace and put the people first.

It is a principle that runs through all civilisations and faiths. Islam embodies it in the concept of “wasatiyyah”, Confucianism as “chung yung” – both of which mean “middle path” or “the Golden Mean.” But this is a principle we must rediscover, and at the 26th ASEAN Summit in Malaysia this April, we reaffirmed our commitment to this approach when we adopted the Langkawi Declaration on the Global Movement of Moderates.

Malaysia stands ready to share its experience; of upholding Islam and marginalising extremism; of implementing the objectives of Shariah while practicing democracy; of maintaining a multi-ethnic society where different faiths coexist and prosper; and showing that Islam can not only succeed, but drive progress and successful economic development.

Mr President,

As we cooperate to solve the scourges of poverty, hatred, war and man-made and natural disasters that have given us the refugee crises we see today, we must draw from our spiritual traditions – and that generosity of spirit which goes beyond legal requirements.

Sura `Abasa, the 80th chapter of the Quran, opens with God criticizing the Prophet Muhammad – whom we Muslims regard as God’s Beloved – because he frowned and turned his face away when one of his followers, a poor blind man, interrupted to ask him a question while he was occupied preaching to a rich and powerful unbeliever.

If God promptly rebuked the Prophet Muhammad, how much more will we, the community of Muslim world leaders especially, stand to be rebuked by our Creator if we “frown and turn our faces away” from our fellow-Muslim poor and marginalized, now fleeing Syria in massive numbers – causing social and economic stresses in Europe? Don’t we stand partly responsible for any ensuing European hostility towards Islam, the faith we love, and towards our fellow Muslims?

This is why Malaysia has taken, over the years, many people fleeing war, starvation and persecution. We currently have hundreds of thousands of irregular migrants, and we took in more earlier this year when there was a dire humanitarian situation in the Andaman Sea. 

I am pleased to announce today that, to help alleviate the current refugee crisis, Malaysia will do its share, and open our doors to a further 3,000 Syrian migrants over the next three years.

New international solutions are needed to deal with the migration crises. The millions fleeing are people – like us. They should concern us all. We must respect our common humanity.

For it is only when we transcend the silos of race and faith; 

Only when we look at images of desperate migrants, the victims of extremists, and those whose lives are degraded by hunger and poverty – and see not strangers, but our brothers and sisters; 

And it is only when we see that dreadful picture of three year old Alan Kurdi washed ashore – and recognise our own children in that tragic boy’s innocent face – that we will act as our better selves.

People around the world cry out for our help. We cannot – we must not – pass on by.

Thank you.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

MTUC: Workers losing jobs due to automated toll systems (ALIRAN)

MTUC: Workers losing jobs due to automated toll systems

Image: themalaysianinsider.com
N Gopal Kishnam urges the government to reverse or restrict the move by highway operators to replace human workers with automated toll booths.

The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) is disappointed with the loss of jobs for workers at toll booths, by reason of automation or the electronic toll collection (ETC) system. 

Many local workers, especially women workers, have lost their jobs as a result of this move by highway toll operators. The Malaysian government has failed to protect the employment of workers, when these companies choose to do away with human workers in favor of automation.

Many local workers prefer to be with and stay with their families in their hometowns, especially women workers, and jobs as toll operators at nearby toll booth were a real option for many of these workers, especially those living in smaller towns and rural areas.

In the past, many local workers were willing to migrate to larger towns for work. But due to low wages, the increased cost of living and a poor quality of life, many workers have moved back to their smaller hometowns and rural communities.

Working at toll booths was a real option for many of these workers, and the government should have done what was needed to ensure that these employment opportunities were preserved.

It must also be noted that despite the existence of Smart card and Touch ‘n Go lanes at toll booths, a large number of people still used the cash payment lanes. These cash lanes were also used by taxis and other vehicles that were charged different rates compared to the rates for normal users. Many employers still insist on receipts before reimbursement for travel is paid to workers.

Prepaid cards only benefit one travel card company, Touch ‘n Go. Many low-wage workers, whose regular income is also uncertain due to an unchecked increase in precarious employment in Malaysia and a rise in the loss of regular employment, prefer the ‘pay as you use’ method.

This gives workers real access and control over money in hand. They prefer not to pay in advance money that is effectively stuck and irretrievable in Touch ‘n Go cards.

This preference can also be seen among the many who still avoid regular auto-payment methods, preferring rather to make cash payments when the bill arrives. Likewise, the preference to use prepaid, rather than being obligated to pay higher fixed rates, for their telephony needs – as many a time, they upload small amounts, especially when money is tight.

Only about 4.5 per cent of workers in the private sector in Malaysia are unionised. With the rise in precarious employment practices, including the use of short-term contracts and the use of workers from third parties at the workplace, freedom of association (in unions) is becoming a right that exists but effectively difficult to claim and benefit from, for many workers in Malaysia.

The existing restrictions in law now only allow trade unions, especially national and regional trade unions, for workers ‘within any similar trades, occupations or industries. This is no more practical or just.

The time has come to liberalise these strict requirements, enabling the formation and registration of trade unions of workers in the private sector within particular geographical areas irrespective of what sector, trade or industry they work for. This will also enable workers with employers with a smaller workforce to finally enjoy freedom of association and become members of trade unions.

Currently, national and regional trade unions’ attempts to organise and represent workers in a particular workplace are often defeated by employers, who argue that their employees do not fall within the scope of a particular union. The time may have come to liberalise this in favour of allowing workers the full right of freedom of association. If workers choose a particular union to represent them, that choice must be respected and not be defeated by existing law.

The Malaysian government needs to ensure that employment opportunities are not lost to automation or in other ways, especially where it concerns local workers, more so in town and rural areas.

The MTUC urges the government to reverse or restrict the current move by highway operators to replace human workers in favor of automation.

N Gopal Kishnam is secretary general of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress.

Source: ALIRAN