Sunday, May 02, 2021

Covid - Workers affected by pandemic - loss of job/income need Raya AID - not Raya Bonus for civil servants?

PN-BN Plus government ignores the suffering all other workers this RAYA...  save for civil servants. Same to with some Opposition governed states...

Because of Covid-19, so many workers lost jobs and income - this is the current REALITY in Malaysia. They were in the private sector and/or the self employed

Civil Servants(Public Servants), on the other hand did not lose their jobs - and there was no impact on their monthly incomes - Many of these civil servants have regular employment until retirement, and thereafter they receive pension until they die(and thereafter their spouses continue to receive a slightly reduced pension until they die).

Comparatively, many in the private sector still do not enjoy REGULAR employment - they are on fixed term employment contracts, and worse is that they are mere 'supplied workers' of some Contractor For Labour. Because of Covid - many lost jobs/employment and income...

But the Federal PN-BN Plus government seems to not care for these other workers - and like years before, is just again giving Raya Bonuses to the civil servants ... 

If this bonuses was just for the lower income civil servants, say those earning RM5,000 or less, then we may say it is OK ...but now, the Federal government is giving this bonus to 'Civil servants on Grade 56 and below' - Grade 56, well do they not earn about RM15,000.

RM500 aid should be for all those who have lost employment, income, businesses, etc - BE CARING MALAYSIA.

Pensioners are getting RM250 aid - but this is really former civil servants who receive monthly pensions - Should aid not be given to all RETIREES, all those above the retirement age ---

After all, we are talking of Malaysians' monies, and we should care for all Malaysians ...especially the most needy.

PN-BN plus government response already DISCRIMINATES against non-civil servants employees or pensioners. For the others, the government just asked them to take out their OWN 'old-age savings' in KWSP/EPF  - and spend it now? As it is, EPF/KWSP has already warned us many times, that these 'old age' savings for most will only last for about 5 years - meaning they will have no money to live on until they die...do we not care? Malaysia needs a National Pension Scheme for all - that would provide some monthly living income until we die.

How much monies are we wasting by provision of PENSIONS for the very rich, former Ministers, former MPs/SENATORS, etc ... Wonder if Muhyiddin Yasin is receiving pensions as former MB of Johor? How much PENSIONS are we paying to Najib? Tell us...be transparent...

Not just the Federal Government, but also the state government is doing the same for civil servants - is there a different position in States governed still by the Pakatan Harapan plus or PAS? Selangor is giving half month pay or a minimum of RM1,000 ...

Gone are the days when civil servants were more disadvantaged compared to those working in the private sector or those who were self-employed or running their 'small businesses' -...

Government is not in the best state financially ... more so because of this Covid-19 pandemic --- so, could we have not done away with such 'celebration bonuses' - and focused on 'celebration aid' for the many who have lost job/income and also the many retirees who do not get any regular monthly pensions? 

The government could have used it to get computers for every poor student and get internet access so they can attend schools online when schools are closed..

Some believe that these 'raya bonuses' are possibly nothing more than 'bribes' to secure the votes of the civil servants and their families for the incumbent government - Remember all Malaysian workers, the unemployed, self employed and the small businesses are also contributing equally to the economy and well-being of Malaysia and we all pay taxes. 

When the government forgets the OTHER voters, in providing aid for Raya, they will certainly remember come next elections...

Many do not see any difference whether Malaysia is ruled by BN, PH Plus, PN-BN Plus and that is a concern - do we not have an alternative choice, parties/coalitions with a more just principles/values?

Malaysians care - and they would want the most needed to be aided with our monies...

Civil servants to get RM500 aid for Hari Raya 

Thursday, 22 Apr 2021

PUTRAJAYA: Civil servants on Grade 56 and below will be getting a special Hari Raya Aidilfitri aid of RM500 from the government.

In a statement, the Prime Minister’s Office said the one-off payment would be credited on May 6, together with the May salary.

“This aid is a form of appreciation towards the sacrifices of civil servants in delivering service to the people, especially during these challenging times.

“The aid is given earlier compared to previous years as the government wants to help the people with their preparations for the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations.

“The government hopes this special assistance will ease financial burdens, and may it be a motivator for civil servants to continue serving with full dedication, ” said the PMO.

The RM500 assistance also applies to contract and temporary staff, as well appointments under MySTEP (Short-Term Employment Programme).

Pensioners will receive a payment of RM250.

The aid is set to benefit some two million civil servants and pensioners in the country. - Star, 22/4/2021

 

 

Penjawat awam di Pahang terima bonus raya RM1,000

Astro Awani
Penjawat awam di Pahang terima bonus raya RM1,000
Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail berkata, peruntukan keseluruhan bayaran khas kewangan itu berjumlah RM8 juta meliputi semua gred. - Gambar fail
 
KUANTAN: Kerajaan Pahang mengumumkan bantuan khas bersempena Aidilfitri sebanyak RM1,000 kepada 8,000 kakitangannya yang akan dibayar pada 7 Mei depan.
 
Menteri Besar, Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail berkata, peruntukan keseluruhan bayaran khas kewangan itu berjumlah RM8 juta meliputi semua gred.
 
Menurut satu kenyataan media bertarikh 28 April, turut menerima pemberian ini sebagai sagu hati Kerajaan Negeri Pahang, ialah penjawat awam Persekutuan bergred JUSA C dan ke atas, yang berkhidmat di negeri Pahang.
 
"Keputusan ini dicapai pada mesyuarat Majlis Mesyuarat Kerajaan Negeri yang saya pengerusikan pagi oleh Wan Rosdy ini. Ia dibuat berasaskan kemampuan kewangan negeri serta sikap peduli Kerajaan Negeri terhadap rakyat termasuk dalam kalangan penjawat awam sekalian," katanya Pejabat Menteri Besar dalam kenyataan yang diedarkan pada Rabu.
 
Menteri Besar juga berharap wang pemberian tersebut dapat digunakan sewajarnya.
 
"Pada Badan-badan Berkanun Negeri dan Pihak Berkuasa Tempatan dinegeri ini , saya sarankan agar mereka dapat turut membuat pemberian yang serupa kepada pegawai dan kakitangan masing-masing," jelas kenyataan itu lagi. - Astro Awani, 28/4/2021
 

MB announces special Hari Raya cash aid of at least RM1,000 for S'gor civil servants

  • Nation
  • Friday, 23 Apr 2021

Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari. -filepic

SHAH ALAM: Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari has announced a special Hari Raya Aidilfitri incentive of half-a-month's salary or a minimum of RM1,000 for the state's civil service.

The announcement was made at a morning gathering of civil servants at the state secretariat's Dewan Jubli Perak on Friday (April 23).

"Although we are facing big challenges, our collections were good," said Amirudin.

Besides the civil servants, executive councillors and elected representatives will also receive the bonus.

The special payout will also be extended to the various levels of community leaders.

Amirudin said in his speech that everyone was in a situation they had never expected with the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the Mentri Besar, not only was the annual budget passed last year but also three economic stimulus packages.

He said having such a big financial commitment was a trying challenge given the slow movement of economic activities due to the pandemic.

"We managed to go through it stoically and because of our patience and strength, we did not have a deficit but instead a surplus in state funds," said Amirudin.

Amirudin said a bigger challenge was awaiting as the state has embraced digitalisation to move towards becoming a smart state.

He added that digilisation must not only be at the state administrative level but also throughout the state.

Amirudin added that the state and its civil servants must also be prepared to face and handle more challenges. - Star, 23/4/2021

 

Friday, April 30, 2021

Did PM just embarass Malaysia? Sending refugees back to countries they fled from? Violation of principle of non-refoulement?

Did our Prime Minister just say that Malaysia will be sending back refugees to the country that they fled from? 

'...Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin told Asean leaders today that Malaysia wants Myanmar asylum seekers, including Rohingya refugees, to be granted "safe return" due to “anti-refugee sentiments” in the country....'

Even, if Malaysia can no longer house these asylum seekers/refugees, the Malaysia should maybe ask the UN or the UNHCR to immediately move them to some 3rd country ...OR Malaysia could make arrangements to send them to some third country - BUT NEVER MUST MALAYSIA send asylum seekers/refugees back to the countries they have fled from..

Refugees are people who have fled war, violence, conflict or persecution and have crossed an international border to find safety in another country.

Refugees are defined and protected in international law. The 1951 Refugee Convention is a key legal document and defines a refugee as: “someone who is unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.”

Let's also not forget about  the principle of non-refoulement?

What is the principle of non-refoulement? The principle of non-refoulementforms an essential protection under international human rights, refugee, humanitarianand customary law. It prohibitsStates from transfer-ring or removing individuals from their jurisdiction or effective control when there are substantial grounds for believing that the person would be at risk of irreparableharm upon return, including persecution, torture, ill-treatmentor other serious human rights violations.

If our Prime Minister said this about Malaysia sending back refugees/asylum seekers back to the country they fled from, then he has just embarrassed Malaysia and all Malaysians, and it is time we have a new Prime Minister who will uphold justice and human rights. 

It is interesting that PAS and BN did not come out with an alternative position - are they with Muhyiddin on this?

What about Pakatan Harapan and other Opposition parties - did they speak up...or did they think it was 'politically wise' not to speak up for asylum seekers and refugees in Malaysia?

Historically, Malaysia is seen as a just and caring nation - and we opened our doors to many asylum seekers and refugees - and, now, that image is 'shattered' if our current PM said that Malaysia will send back this 'asylum seekers/refugees' back safely to the very country they fled from....mmmm. Hopefully, the PM will clarify this.

LATELY, 

MALAYSIA just recently embarassed itself, when they proceeded to send back some 1,086 back to Myanmar despite there being a court order not to do so.

Did PM of DG Immigration even APOLOGIZE or 'justify' why Court Order ignored? Government goes against Court Order? What is the Judiciary's response?

Contempt of Court against DG of Immigration for deporting migrants despite court order? Recalling the 2001 contempt action against DG Immigration?

Then, of course, there is this still that 'SECRET' Royal Commission Inquiry report concerning Wang Kelian - where most probably the victims killed and/or detained(possibly tortured) were most likely victims of human trafficking. WHY we all must wonder?

Wang Kelian - Muhyiddin - DPM when it happened, then Home Minister after RCI done, now PM? What is the government HIDING?

Wang Kelian - 130 Who Died Requires Prompt Prosecutions to Ensure Justice be Done -RCI Report’s Delay in Disclosure Unacceptable and Raises Questions-(MADPET)(Malaysiakini) 

Wang Kelian - Recalling the NST Special Probes Teams 'shocking' disclosures? Prosecution?Trials? 130 dead?

 
 

Malaysia is and was a caring nation State - but now, under the PN-BN Plus government, is our government doing things that will affect our image?

Many may be busy combating Covid, but then such fundamental change in our countries values and principles cannot be ignored.

We know many Malaysians have lost employment and/or income - and it is the government's duty to help us out - have they done enough? The government is in control of the peoples' money - so, what is happening - are we still continuing to lose money due to kleptocracy, corruption, abuse of powers, etc?   

Past/current government failures gets 'highlighted' during this Covid pandemic - schools closed and online classes > but did you know that so many Malaysian kids have NO computers, and some even have no internet access? How then do we effectively have online classes...Do you know that many parts in Malaysia still do not have fibre optic cables and are still using the old copper cables - where maximum internet you can get is 1 Gig...and Pahang has always been a BN state?




Citing rising xenophobia, PM wants 'safe return' for Myanmar refugees

24 Apr 2021, 8:02 pm

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin told Asean leaders today that Malaysia wants Myanmar asylum seekers, including Rohingya refugees, to be granted "safe return" due to “anti-refugee sentiments” in the country.

This is despite the currently violent political instability in Myanmar where the military is accused of opening fire at protestors.

Speaking at the Asean Leaders’ Meeting in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, he called for an end to the violence but also pointed out how regional nations like Malaysia were affected by it.

Muhyiddin said detention centres in Malaysia were more than full while xenophobia was high.

“Our resources and capacity are stretched in the management of refugees and asylum seekers, further compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Our detention centres are now already overcrowded and the promise from third countries to resettle these displaced persons (has) not been forthcoming.

“Within Malaysia, they were once accorded sympathy, but the mood on the ground has turned from affinity to anger, with anti-refugee sentiment rapidly building up,” he said.

Expressing concern that the 200,000 Myanmar refugees in Malaysia were vulnerable to human traffickers and terrorist recruiters, Muhyiddin called for them to be returned to their country of origin.

“It is on that note that we strongly call for a voluntary, safe and dignified return of displaced persons to Myanmar and for all Asean member states to have a collective responsibility in handling displaced persons in this region.

“With the return to normalcy, we wish to see the continuation of the agreed repatriation mechanism reached between Bangladesh and Myanmar,” he said.

Min Aung Hlaing (left) arrives for the Asean Leaders Meeting in Jakarta 

Malaysian law does not recognise refugees and often classifies them as undocumented migrants. They are not legally allowed to work or attend public schools.

Let Asean in

The Asean Leaders Meeting is controversial for according recognition to Myanmar’s junta leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing who led a coup on Feb 1 to topple the country’s elected civilian government.

Chaired by Brunei ruler Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, the meeting’s aim is to seek a solution to the Myanmar crisis which has seen more than 700 people killed.

In his speech, Muhyiddin wanted an “immediate” stop to the violence and political dialogue between Myanmar and Asean.

He also reiterated Malaysia's call for all political detainees to be freed.

The Myanmar junta has continued to detain Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, President U Win Myint and several cabinet members.

“This would be a good starting point and ease international pressure on Myanmar and Asean,” he said.

He stressed that Asean must intervene and urged Myanmar to grant the bloc access to the country.

“This is much needed for Asean to provide an honest and unbiased observation.

“If Asean is allowed access, this can demonstrate to the world that it is on track in helping Myanmar restore normalcy in the country,” he said.

Muhyiddin also proposed Asean collaborate with Myanmar to provide “regular updates” and said the bloc would extend humanitarian help to those affected by the crisis. - Malaysiakini, 24/4/2021

 

Muhyiddin: Asean principle of non-interference cannot be reason for inaction

KUALA LUMPUR: The principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other members that is being upheld by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) should not be at the expense of ignoring a serious situation compromising peace, security, and stability of the bloc and its wider region.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said although the principle of non-interference was embedded in the Asean charter, it should not be treated as justification for the inaction among the 10-member countries of the crisis that is taking place in Myanmar.

"This principle of non-interference is not for us to hide behind, it cannot be a reason for our inaction. The crisis that happens in one Asean member state is not going to solve itself without affecting other member states.

"There is a tremendous expectation on the part of the international community on how Asean is addressing the Myanmar issue. The pressure is increasing, and there is only so much that Asean can do."

The prime minister said this in his intervention at the in-person Asean leaders' summit in Indonesia today.

Chaired by Sultan of Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, the special meeting, which took place at the bloc's Jakarta headquarters, was held to discuss and find solution to the crisis that is enveloping in Myanmar.

Malaysia, said Muhyiddin, was "extremely concerned" about the situation unfolding in Myanmar in recent months and had wanted the country to de-escalate the situation on the ground and stop the killing and violence against civilians immediately.

The second of three proposals put forth by Malaysia during the summit was for the release political detainees promptly and unconditionally.

This, said Muhyiddin, would make way for a meaningful and inclusive political dialogue that would be a good starting point and ease international pressure on Myanmar and Asean.

Malaysia also proposed for the Asean chair and the bloc secretary-general to have access into Myanmar including to all the parties concerned, which the prime minister described as the step forward to resolve the crisis following the on-going protest against the February's military coup.

"This is much needed for Asean to provide an honest and unbiased observation.

"If Asean is allowed access, this can demonstrate to the world that it is on track in helping Myanmar restore normalcy in the country.

"And if Asean can provide regular updates with the full participation of Myanmar, this will demonstrate the willingness of the country to engage constructively and move forward," said Muhyiddin.

If the situation in Myanmar improves, he said, it would open the door for Asean to extend humanitarian assistance to those badly affected by the current situation.

"We fear a worsening situation in Myanmar will exacerbate spillover effects to the region including Malaysia," he said.

Malaysia, he said, had been greatly affected by the instability in Myanmar, not only recently, but for the past few decades.

He said Malaysia currently hosts around 200,000 displaced persons from Myanmar, particularly from the Rakhine State.

"Our resources and capacity are stretched in the management of refugees and asylum seekers, further compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Our detention centres are now already overcrowded, and the promise from third countries to resettle these displaced persons have not been forthcoming.

"Within Malaysia, they were once accorded sympathy, but the mood on the ground has turned from affinity to anger, with anti-refugee sentiment rapidly building up," he said, adding a prolonged displacement would make them vulnerable to be victims to human traffickers and terrorist recruiters.

Hence, Malaysia, said the prime minister, called for a voluntary, safe, and dignified return of displaced persons to Myanmar and for all Asean member states to have a collective responsibility in handling displaced persons in this region.

"With the return to normalcy, we wish to see the continuation of the agreed repatriation mechanism reached between Bangladesh and Myanmar." - NST, 24/4/2021

 

Compounds on SOP violation - An Offer - not a sentence? Choice to refuse offer of compound

Right to refuse offer to Compound - Compound is not a FINE. It is simply an offer made by authorities, which can refuse. Where is the LIST of those who accepted compound offers - this needs to be disclosed.


How much money has the government made through compounds - and how has these monies been spent in combating Covid-19? Are some being arrested and others not? Questions...questions that government must disclose.

The law provides the OFFENCE and the punishment if Convicted - Only the courts after a FAIR TRIAL will determine whether one is GUILTY or not - then comes the sentencing, where the courts will consider the Aggravating Factors and the Mitigating Factors before one is given a JUST sentence.

For certain crimes, the relevant law enforcement bodies can OFFER the suspect a COMPOUND - where the suspect can CHOOSE to accept or not. If the suspect accept the offer and pay the compound sum, then this will be the end of it - the suspect will not be charged and/or tried in court.  Compounds are usually offered to minor offences ...and now it is being offered for breaches of 'SOPs' during this Covid-19 pandemic. In Malaysia, it is also offered for some traffic offences..

WHEN the suspect accepts the Compound OFFER - then the law enforcement bodies/Prosecutor do not have to work on proving the guilt BEYOND REASONABLE doubt in court anymore...

WHY do people accept the Compound Offer? Well many(innocent and/or guilty) accept offers of compound simply because they want to avoid court cases or simply the other hassles of ongoing investigations. So, many innocent persons simply elect to accept compound offer ... Remember, in accepting compound offers, one is inadvertently admitting guilt ...

Rejecting Compound Offer for breach of SOP offences is a RIGHT - if you reject the compound offer, then the Prosecution will have to charge you in court, and before doing that they will consider whether they do really have sufficient evidence... 

And even if charged in court, there is the option to plead guilty before trial starts, and if you do so, the courts generally cut a third of the sentence to the said offence. Then, when it comes to sentencing, the courts will consider all relevant factors - including how poor you are, etc - the court will be more fair and just than the relevant  authorities when they make an offer to compound.

Even if one does not plead guilty, then in trial, the prosecution must proof beyond reasonable doubt whether you are guilty or not - and this is not an easy task. Do not worry if you are poor, because legal aid provides lawyers for the deserving in such criminal trials.

When one rejects a COMPOUND offer, the authorities may come back with a new lower offer...

REMEMBER if you are going to fight it - refuse compound offer - exercise your right of 'SILENCE' - do not assist the authorities get the evidence that they can use against you. In Malaysia, the enforcement authorities is not allowed to use violence, threats, etc ...to get anyone to answer questions or confess. 

COMPOUNDS - well, the law may provide the maximum sum, and it still is based on the relevant enforcement officers (and now the prosecution) to fix the compound sum - the choice is yours at the end of the day. But when compound offered is just TOO HIGH ...it is a problem for the low income earners or those who have lost jobs/income...

Whether an offence can be compounded or not depends on the existing law - the law must specifically provide for offers of compound, and sometimes the law also provide for maximum(or minimum) compounds that will be offered - if there is NO such provision of COMPOUND in the said law - then compound cannot be offered, accepted and paid.

 25  Compounding of offences

The Director General or any public officer authorized for this purpose by him in writing may compound any offence under this Act or any regulations made under this Act which has been prescribed by regulations as compoundable by collecting from the offender a sum of money not exceeding one thousand ringgit.

As of 11/3/2021, by virtue of an Emergency Ordinance, this section was amended and came into force, to now read:-

25. Compounding of offences

The Director General or any authorized officer authorized for this purpose by the Director General in writing may, with the consent in writing of the Public Prosecutor, at any time before a charge is being instituted, compound any offence under this Act or any regulations made under this Act which has been prescribed by regulations as a compoundable offence by making a written offer to the person reasonably suspected of having committed the offence to compound the offence upon payment to the Director General—

(a) in the case of a person who is an individual, a sum of money not exceeding ten thousand ringgit; or

(b) in the case of a body corporate, a sum of money not exceeding fifty thousand ringgit.”.

Before this, the power to compound offences existed in  PREVENTION AND CONTROL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES (COMPOUNDING OF OFFENCES) REGULATIONS 1993, but that did not include new offences that came into being by virtue of new regulations.  

Vide the PREVENTION AND CONTROL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES (COMPOUNDING OF OFFENCES) (AMENDMENT) REGULATIONS 2020, which came into force in  on 30/3/2020 - the schedule of compoundable offences was added to include 'All offences under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within the Infected Local Areas) Regulations 2020 [P.U. (A) 91/2020].

BUT then, this  Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within the Infected Local Areas) Regulations 2020, this regulation itself did not specifically state the new specific offences created were compoundable - hence, the legal question arises whether a simple new listing of the 2020 Regulations in another Regulations dealing with compounding was sufficient - should not the said Regulations that created 'new offences' also specifically state whether any(or all) of these 'new offences' created by the any new Regulations are compoundable.

NOW, if before 11/3/2021, you paid COMPOUND - it may be 'ILLEGAL' - because then the law that applied required the REGULATIONS itself to say - '...which has been prescribed by regulations as compoundable...'

After 11/3/2021,  things may have changed but has it now? 

 


Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Zahid, UMNO and BN forgets that it is the government now - a PN(50 seats)-BN(42 seats) Plus others government?

Zahid Hamidi seems confused - he seems to forget that he(and UMNO) is part of coalition government - and it is NOT A PN GOVERNMENT - but a coalition government - and UMNO has the 2nd most number of seats.

If UMNO says convene Parliament - Muhyiddin Yasin has really no choice ...so, what is Zahid and UMNO doing ...just 'pretending' to be an Opposition alternative to PN. [Pemember in PN Bersatu has 31 seats and PAS has 18 seats > that makes the BN with its 42 seats, the strongest in the coalition that rules Malaysia.

ALL MISTAKES AND FAULTS BY THE PRESENT GOVERNMENT - THE BN-PN Plus coalition - who is to be blamed?

PN(Perikatan Nasional) does not govern Malaysia - what we have is a COALITION GOVERNMENT - made up of PN, BN, PAS, GPS, PBS, and STAR.

PN itself, which comprises of mainly  Malaysian United Indigenous Party(BERSATU), Malaysian Islamic Party(PAS), Homeland Solidarity Party, Sabah Progressive Party and Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia(GERAKAN).- They have about 50 seats in the Dewan Rakyat. The PN was registered in

Then, there are the 4 Independents.

In the 2018 General Elections, BN won about 79 seats, and then by reason of 'party hopping' and also a mass exodus of BN member parties, sees BN now just having 4 member parties - UMNO, MCA, MIC and Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah. There are several allied members too - but not members.

The BN today has only 42 seats in the Dewan Rakyat - all UMNO, save 2 from MCA and 1 from MIC.

BERSATU after the 2018 elections won 13 seats - but today it has 31 seats thanks primarily to 'party hopping'

REMEMBER THE MOMENT MUHYIDDIN YASIN NO LONGER ENJOYS THE MAJORITY SUPPORT FROM THE MPs, HE HAS NO CHOICE BUT TO RESIGN, AND THEN THE KING WILL APPOINT A NEW PRIME MINISTER...OR CALL FOR ELECTIONS. At this time, most likely the King will choose another PM rather than go for General Elections...

BN, with its about 42 seats  can play a significant role in who the next PM will be...

Sitting in the current BN-PN Plus Coalition government and lamenting government failures is a JOKE when the BN has the power to do more...

Zahid Hamidi is a government back-bencher, and so he has a duty to be an effective check and balance to Muhyiddin and his Cabinet ...but here, he is talking as President of UMNO. 

Will all UMNO MPs pull out of Cabinet to pressure Muhyiddin to advice the King to re-convene Parliament...or lift the Emergency ...

Or is UMNO and Zahid simply trying to 'confuse' the people - in preparation for the next General Elections? 

Will the Perikatan Nasional( a political party) survive? Will PAS continue to be a member of PN? Or will it soon crumble...BERSATU maybe the most vulnerable if the PN collapse....after all, many wonders whether BERSATU candidates would have won any seats if not for the fact that it was part of the PH coalition.

Either way, people are getting fed up with all these 'political plays' - when rightfully all these political parties must be focused on better governance and policy in Malaysia during this Covid-19 pandemic, where so many are suffering loss or jobs and income...

Sadly, some media is just giving too much space to all these 'political party' stories - many simply do not care about party in-fighting or comments.

If not happy with the way the present government is doing things - THEN tell the people what different should be done...for the benefit of Malaysia and its people. If you have no better alternatives or suggestions, my proposal is that you simply keep quiet.

PH got the peoples' support because they told us what they would do differently ...and what they would do to correct bad laws and policies > BUT sadly, after they came into power - many of these promises seems to have been forgotten. Some say, that they(the PH) was going to do but suddenly they got ousted too soon - I do not know. 

But, was not the PH Plus ouster caused by its own members' party hopping or member parties leaving the PH coalition? 

Next General Election will be most confusing...

BN will still be suffering the consequences of exposed and/or charged/convicted kleptocracy, corruption. UMNO may have had a better chance, if it had excluded allegedly tainted leaders and had a new set of leaders - not happening as elections there will be postponed, it seems.

PAS will suffer for 'its new relationship' with UMNO - are they OK with a relationship with a party having already convicted leader, and many others facing trials now - let us not even suggest that all these cases are 'political' - I would like to believe our prosecutors and judges are INDEPENDENT...PAS also will have difficulties justifying to its grass-roots supporters the new 'friendship' with UMNO - its almost 4 decades or more primary political foe...

and there is more to be said of many of the other parties too...(maybe later)

 

 

 

After Zahid's 'mistake', Umno formally calls to reconvene Parliament

Published
Modified 25 Apr 2021, 10:15 pm

Umno today formally called on the Perikatan Nasional government, which it is part of, to lift the suspension on Parliament.

This came more than a month after Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (abovemade the call in his capacity as BN chairperson, which led to confused reactions as his statement was highly similar to the statement issued by Pakatan Harapan on the same topic. 

The BN secretariat later withdrew Zahid's statement, claiming that it was a "mistake".

The call by Umno today, however, was endorsed by the party's supreme council.

Umno secretary-general Ahmad Maslan, in a statement, said the party supreme council decided to demand the government to allow Parliament and all state assemblies to reconvene.

He said this was in line with Yang Di-Pertuan Agong's comment that the legislature can still convene even during the emergency, which came into force on Jan 11. 

The Agong had said this was possible if Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin advised him to reconvene Parliament but his government is refusing to do so.

Umno secretary-general Ahmad Maslan

"The government cannot be seen to be emasculating parliamentary democracy.

"Parliament and the state assemblies are where elected representatives conduct checks and balances to ensure the government does not act on a whim at the expense of the people's welfare," Ahmad said.

More so at a time when the people are struggling due to economic conditions, unemployment and the rising price of goods, he added.

Ahmad said there must be accountability in the way the government spends public funds.

He noted that the government had invoked emergency powers to dip into the National Trust Fund to purchase vaccines.

Prior to that, the government had also invoked emergency powers to spend from the consolidated fund and come up with supplementary budgets without Parliament's approval.

"Investor confidence will continue to be eroded if parliamentary democracy is suspended that there is no longer good governance and checks and balances on the government," Ahmad said.

He added that standard operating procedures (SOP) should be set to allow Parliament to convene like democracies across the world. - Malaysiakini, 25/4/2021

Zahid wants Parliament to reconvene immediately, says can be done through 'science and data'


  • Nation
  • Sunday, 21 Mar 2021

PETALING JAYA: Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi wants the Parliament to reconvene immediately, saying it can do so using "science and data".

He said it has been 25 days since the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had given his royal decree, allowing Parliament to reconvene during the state of emergency.

"However, until now, no dates have been set by the government to enable Parliament to reconvene," he said in a Facebook post Sunday (March 21).

The Cabinet on March 3 had advised the Yang di-Pertuan Agong that the Parliament sitting will not be convened during the Emergency, says Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan.

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The de facto law minister said the statement made by the Palace was to explain that there will be no Parliament sitting, and any decision to convene a sitting must be made by the Cabinet.

Ahmad Zahid said the function of Parliament was to act as a check and balance as part of the country's democratic system but was suspended based on the excuse of "science and data".

"It must be reminded that Parliament is the highest function in the democratic system.

"Parliament is also a forum for the rakyat to express their grouses via their representatives that are chosen during the general election.

"It is also a federal legislative body that checks on all the government's policies in the interests of the country," said the Bagan Datuk MP.

"Protecting the separation of powers between the executive, legislative and judiciary will avoid abuse due to centralisation of power," said the former deputy prime minister, who is currently facing graft charges.

"So, I believe that it is time for the democratic practices to be reinstated based on the evidence of science and data," he added.

He listed several suggestions on how Parliament can reconvene including through virtual platforms that are practised in other countries.

"Many lawmakers have already received their Covid-19 vaccine since the roll out of the National Covid-19 vaccination programme.

"Many social activities including schools have reopened and are operating as usual, so there is no reason for Parliament to remain closed," he added.

He also said that the Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker had posted on Facebook that he had a "run around" the Parliament building.

"This means Parliament is a safe area and will remain safe when everyone attends and adheres to the standard operating procedures (SOP), ” he said.- Star, 21/3/2021


Saturday, April 24, 2021

Death Penalty imposed for Drug Trafficking - Does not Malaysia already have an alternative sentence to death?

Well, those still charged with 'drug trafficking' are being sentenced to death, despite the amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act in that allows the court to not sentence a person to death... 

Remember that section 37 presumption about 'trafficking' - if you are found with above a certain quantity of drugs like 15 grammes or more in weight of heroin or morphine, you are presumed to be a trafficker. If some 'enemy' places this in your room, car, etc without your knowledge  ... and the police catches you with the drugs, you are presumed to be a 'trafficker' - and you have to prove in court that the drugs were not use - an onerous and near impossible task really.... ABOLISH SUCH LEGAL PRESUMPTIONS, AND PROSECUTION SHOULD BEAR THE BURDEN OF PROVING ALL ELEMENTS OF THE CRIME - just like in all other criminal offences.

The new amendment that came into force in March 2018, now allows the court to impose also an alternative sentence other than the death penalty. 

(2A) In exercising the power conferred by subsection (2), the Court in imposing the sentence of imprisonment for life and whipping of not less than fifteen strokes, may have regard only to the following circumstances:

(a) there was no evidence of buying and selling of a dangerous drug at the time when the person convicted was arrested;

(b) there was no involvement of agent provocateur; or

(c) the involvement of the person convicted is restricted to transporting, carrying, sending or delivering a dangerous drug; and

(d) that the person convicted has assisted an enforcement agency in disrupting drug trafficking activities within or outside Malaysia.

[(2A) Ins. Act A1558:s.2]

BUT, the problem is that the COURT can only consider a fixed number of circumstances as stated in section 39B(2A) - i.e. (a) OR (b) OR (c)  .... this is not too bad, but then comes the AND that mandatory (d) - that the person convicted has assisted an enforcement agency in disrupting drug trafficking activities within or outside Malaysia.

Has he assisted? YES - but then maybe no sufficient to lead to the 'disrupting drug trafficking activities within or outside Malaysia'. Who decides on this - the enforcement agency or the judge?

An innocent person naturally will not be able to assist any enforcement agency ...

In a criminal trial, should an innocent person simply PLEAD guilty or simply admit his involvement  - just to evade the death penalty?

In any criminal trial, a person found guilty can APPEAL to higher courts - to the Court of Appeal, and thereafter to the Federal Court, if needed. Why should he compromise his appeal rights - just to save his life...

Is the conviction EVIDENCE of guilt in drug trafficking cases - not really, because the very existence of them 'legal presumptions' that shifts the burden of disproving the presumptions itself is UNJUST....and, as such that law results in violation of one's right to a fair trial.

Should anyone be sentenced to DEATH when the crime committed does not directly result in any death or grievous injury? There are too many HUMAN actors in the administration of justice - and humans are not perfect and do make mistakes - hence, the Death Penalty should be abolished..
 
Maybe, this recent death penalty was imposed for a crime committed before March 2018 - so the new law does not apply yet.....not enough facts known from news report..
 
But, the question is whether all now in death row - waiting to be hanged should have their sentences commuted to life imprisonment or imprisonment - the fastest way to do is by the enactment of a NEW Act.
 
After, Malaysia too is moving towards the abolition of the death penalty...we now seem to have a MORATORIUM on executions pending abolition... 


Kuala Lumpur High Court sentences widower to death for drug trafficking

Judicial Commissioner Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid handed down the sentence to Shahfary Sabri, 47, after finding that the defence had failed to raise reasonable doubts against the prosecution case.— Reuters pic
Judicial Commissioner Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid handed down the sentence to Shahfary Sabri, 47, after finding that the defence had failed to raise reasonable doubts against the prosecution case.— Reuters pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 22 — A widower was sent to the gallows by the High Court here today after he was found guilty of trafficking 149.5 grams of methamphetamine three years ago.

Judicial Commissioner Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid handed down the sentence to Shahfary Sabri, 47, after finding that the defence had failed to raise reasonable doubts against the prosecution case.

The father of six was charged with trafficking the drugs in a hotel room here on October 19, 2018, under Section 38B(1)(a) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 and punishable under Section 39B(2) of the same law, which provides the mandatory death sentence upon conviction.

The prosecution called a total of five witnesses while the accused was the sole defence witness who testified at the trial which began on September 3, 2020.

Deputy public prosecutor Annur Atiqah Abd Hadi prosecuted, while Shahfary was represented by lawyer Haris Salleh Hamzah. — Bernama - Malay Mail, 23//4/2021

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Abolish 'period/menstruation spot checks' of women in Malaysia? Respect privacy and dignity of women. Menstrual Leave?

If never HIGHLIGHTED, many would not be aware of such rights violations, which can amount to 'sexual harassment' too, that is happening in some places in Malaysia. If a girl/women says that she is having her period - then TRUST HER - respect her. The proceeding with physical bodily tests, or the need to show proof, is just not acceptable 

'...showing their blood-soaked sanitary pads, doing swabs of their vagina with either cotton buds, tissues, or their fingers, or having a teacher, warden or school prefect pat them down at the groin to feel if they are wearing a sanitary pad...'
STOP THESE UNJUST PRACTICE IMMEDIATELY 

NEXT, we need to consider WORKERS - WOMEN WORKERS.

Women have to go through menstruation every month. We acknowledge for some when their period comes, they suffer more than others - severe menstrual cramps making it most difficult to work. Many may be forced to utilize the paid annual leaves and/or their paid sick leave - but maybe, it is time to introduce as a right - paid menstrual leave. 

The Malaysian government/s can start now - and for the rest, there needs a law to make it a Legal Entitlement - annual paid maternity leave for women - they call this 'MENSTRUAL LEAVE' - and it already exists in some countries.

Menstrual leave is a type of leave where a woman may have the option to take paid or unpaid leave from her employment if she is menstruating and is unable to go to work because of this.

'...Japan's period leave entitlement has existed for more than 70 years, and the country isn't alone in Asia in having such a policy. South Korea adopted period leave in 1953. And in China and India, provinces and companies are increasingly adopting menstruation leave policies with a range of entitlements....' - CNN, 21/11/2020 

When '...a short video clip surfaced in November 2005 of a nude woman doing the ketuk ketampi (nude squats) in a police lock-up...' surfaced, this led to public outcry - and now the government has enacted laws that says how any body searches ought to be done.

In 2010,'...in Sivarasa vs Badan Peguam Malaysia & Anor (2010), the Federal Court stated that the right to personal liberty, as enshrined in Article 5(1) of the Federal Constitution, includes the right to privacy. The right of privacy has three dimensions — the right to be left alone; the right to exercise control over one’s personal information; and, the right to have a set of conditions necessary to protect one’s individual dignity and autonomy...To look at the law from a different perspective, there are three kinds of privacy — physical privacy (freedom from unlawful search, use of our DNA); information privacy (right to protect personal information such as our age, address, sexual preference); and, freedom from excessive surveillance....' - NST, 1/3/2019, Urgent Need For A Privacy Act

As it stands today, Malaysia only have a law that protects personal data, i.e. Personal Data Protection Act 2010 - Not enough, we need a PRIVACY ACT - that will protect even our bodies and dignity being violated.

Gender differences need to be recognized, but we also need to acknowledge the differences amongst women - there are those that really suffer serious cramps(or other effects) on the first(or first few days) of period, and others do not.

Be that as it may, there is a need for Menstrual Leave (paid leave) entitlement.

We now have maternity/paternity leave - but all women have menstrual cycles, and some justly need LEAVE, especially when they are really in a condition where they cannot work or it is just too 'torturous' to work

Would such an entitlement be abused? Well '...A Japanese government survey in 2017 found that only 0.9% of female employees claimed period leave...In South Korea, usage is also dropping. In a 2013 survey, 23.6% of South Korean women used the leave. By 2017, that rate had fallen to 19.7%...' (see below for full report)

There is much that need to be reformed - and when people HIGHLIGHT matters, it comes to our attention, and REFORMS can be fought for and implemented. 

 

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NEWS

Schoolgirls 'shamed, groped and violated' in period spot checks

Alyaa Alhadjri

Girls in multiple schools in Malaysia have to undergo “period spot checks” where they are told to physically prove they are on their period through means which violate privacy, according to current students and those who left school up to 20 years ago.

The measures include showing their blood-soaked sanitary pads, doing swabs of their vagina with either cotton buds, tissues, or their fingers, or having a teacher, warden or school prefect pat them down at the groin to feel if they are wearing a sanitary pad, they said.

Over a dozen individuals reached out to Malaysiakini in less than 24 hours after a call for stories was made. They recalled how the behaviour towards menstruation at boarding schools was “shameful” but was accepted as “normal practice”.

Many of the girls were from boarding schools but this was also said to be a practice at day schools and Islamic private schools, Malaysiakini was told.

They narrated how their years of growing up from young girls to teenagers, marked by the start of menstruation, became a source of trauma and shame that still haunts them to this day.

A key trigger was the practice of teachers or seniors demanding “proof of menstruation” from girls who did not join daily congregational prayers which are commonly held in residential or religious-based schools.

In Islam, women or girls who are menstruating do not perform ritual prayers.

The ingrained belief that such practices should be accepted often prevented the girls from telling their mothers or guardians, even when feeling violated.

The individuals approached Malaysiakini with their stories, after responding to a question by a Twitter user on whether such practices still exist in school. The Twitter thread sharing these stories has been shared more than 6,000 times.

Those who came forward said they wished to see an end to the harassment and normalised acts of “period shaming”.

They called for more awareness of the rights of students to body autonomy - for them to decide what happens to their bodies without external influence or coercion by not only their peers but also by their teachers and parents.

All names have been changed to protect the identities of those involved.

"We were groped from behind"

Siti N* was a student at a co-ed private Islamic school, an institution comprising both primary and secondary classes.

From Mondays to Thursdays, she said, students were made to join compulsory congregational prayers, while girls on their period would stay in one room where their menstruation cycles were tracked in a record book.

“At times, they would give us a piece of paper or tissue, asking us to go to the toilet and provide a glimpse of our period blood,” she said via WhatsApp.

“I remember at one point, they had asked us to assemble at the football field.

“The teachers and representatives had to check our panties one by one by groping our behind. It was rather demeaning and I felt sick to the stomach,” said Siti who is now in university after completing her secondary education at a different school.

She said she left the school in Form 2, feeling anxious yet relieved to escape the toxic environment and start afresh.

“At the time I thought such acts were something normal for the greater good,” she said, adding that victim-blaming was also a common message indoctrinated in students.

At the age of 13, Adriana* said she entered boarding school with little knowledge of her menstruation cycle and bodily functions, including differentiating between normal vaginal discharge and period blood.

She stayed back in the prep room during the compulsory congregational prayers one night, she said, only to be caught during a “spot check” as having no sign of bleeding.

“The senior in charge thought I was lying and cursed me out of the room, along with other seniors.

“I was traumatised and since then, I will reuse the same pad throughout the day to make sure there will be blood,” she said.

“Looking back, it was so disgusting that I have to use the same pad with blood from the day, just to really prove I am on my period,” said Adriana, now 21.

Vulgar insinuations from teacher

DH* has never opened up about the disturbing incidents during her primary and secondary years at two girls' schools in Kelantan.

To this day, the 35-year-old said her experiences had affected her relationship with her body, from being put off against using a tampon, to overall hesitance to start her own family.

She said congregational Zohor prayers were compulsory for all students in the afternoon session and they would be subjected to random spot checks.

“If it was an ustazah (female teacher) on duty, we would run and hide, or else she will drag us to the toilet and make us ‘swipe our blood’ on tissue.

“If anyone was found to be wearing a tampon, she will shame them, asking ‘are you itching to have a penis in you?’ That comment put me off from using tampons until I was in my 20s,” DH said.

“It wasn’t okay 20 years ago, and it certainly is not okay today in this day and age,” she said, in supporting calls for Sex Education to be taught as a separate subject in Malaysian schools.

Irregular cycles caused suspicion

As recent as five years ago, Ash* said such incidents were a routine occurrence at her government boarding school in a southern peninsula state, with the perpetrators from a “religious squad” targeting groups of girls sitting outside the school’s surau.

“What they would do is they would make us stand in line outside the toilet, taking turns to go in, and one or two squad members would just run their finger through the vaginal area.

“Oftentimes it would just be through the fabric of our skirt, but even then it felt very weird,” she said.

Like the others, Ash said their ignorance led to fear and silence, and she is still seeking mental health treatment for her personal traumas.

“Back then I had very irregular cycles and it caused the squad members to always be suspicious of me.

“Sometimes they would call me out, four or five of them would confront me and they even threatened to make me pull down my underwear entirely,” said Ash, adding that she eventually left the residential school at 16 to enter an ordinary school.

Faekah* was in Form 1 at a boarding school when she was exposed to spot checks and she said that not only was she traumatised but that hygiene was clearly compromised.

“I didn’t know much about my period at that time and if there was vaginal discharge, I would also think it was my period. So one day there was discharge on my panties and because of that, I had to stay in the prep room. But at night, during the spot check, I didn’t have any discharge, and my senior thought I was lying.

“Since that time, if I have the period the whole day, I will still re-use the same pad to pass the spot check at night. But looking back it was so disgusting that I have to use the same pad which had blood from the morning just to please them and to really prove that I was having my period,” she added.

During a menstrual cycle, it is recommended that sanitary pads be changed at regular intervals of not more than three to four hours. Wearing a pad for too long can lead to an infection, including yeast infections, says Healthline.com.

Practice still ongoing

At least two girls who spoke to Malaysiakini under conditions of strict anonymity, as they are still students at the residential schools, confirmed that the “normal practice” is still in place today.

Bee*, who attends Ash’s former school, said the “period swab” to prove inability to perform daily prayers is still being done, and there was an even more disgusting punishment in place targeting girls on their menstruation.

“Many of us, when we were juniors, were made to squeeze our bloodied pads because supposedly we didn’t dispose of it properly.

“That still haunts my mind until now,” she said, adding that many students still remain fearful of speaking out.

Beyond physical harassment, Jana* another current student, also responded with her story of a teacher’s cruel remark, targeting those who avoided the period swab test.

“Those whose periods often did not come must be pregnant,” said a warden at her residential school, according to Jana.

“We were only in Form 1 at the time and her words hurt a lot.”

She said it should be unacceptable for a teacher to make such remarks against a student, particularly at such a young age.

Experts say such tests are invasive, excessive

Penang mufti Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor told Malaysiakini that no one should embarrass another by checking the private parts of the individual for any reason because everyone has self-dignity that must be respected by others, including the right to cover the private parts of their body from being seen by others.

"Islam strictly forbids its followers from looking at other people's aurat, even on the pretext of performing the required duties such as to prevent a female student from making excuses to abandon the obligation of prayer," Wan Salim told Malaysiakini.

The president of the Association of Islamic Doctors of Malaysia (Perdim), Dr Ahmad Shukri Ismail, also sees the act of checking private parts to prevent students from skipping prayers as excessive.

"It is sufficient with a statement from the individuals involved and there is no need to check the sanitary napkins.

“In Islam, there is no element of coercion. Let's not develop a situation where people see Islam as too rigid," Ahmad said.

UKM professor Dr Harlina Halizah Siraj

Dr Harlina Halizah Siraj, professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Medical Education (Clinical Teaching) with the Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), said that such actions really encroach on women's privacy and she does not see why it has to be done this way.

"As an obstetrician and gynaecologist, I believe a young woman should not have to prove that she is having her (menses). You should take a woman's word for it," Harlina told Malaysiakini.

Meanwhile, Fadhlina Sidek, head of legal and community development of Wanita PKR, said she objects strongly to period-shaming.

"The act of groping girls to make sure whether they are menstruating or not is sexual harassment, while the act of asking them to show their bloody pads as evidence of menstruation is a crime of bullying, degradation, and disturbs the emotions of girls," Fadhlina said.

Women's groups react

Reacting to the issue, the All Women’s Action Society (Awam), Sisters In Islam (SIS) and Pertubuhan Pembangunan Kendiri Wanita dan Gadis (Women:Girls) demanded that the Education Ministry addresses issues of sexual harassment, body shaming as well as violation of personal autonomy.

"This was done via the excuse of disciplinary punishments but borders on harassment and abuse of power.

"Period spot checks; physically invasive spot checks for ‘forbidden items’; body, clothing and intimate relationship shaming in public; child grooming; molestations; and slapping and pinching of nipples as punishment, are just a few of the violating incidents experienced by students in Malaysian schools that have been brought to the public’s attention recently," said the women's groups in a joint statement.

They said the incidents were reported to have taken place in kindergartens, primary schools, secondary schools, boarding schools and universities.

"This reflects a systemic toxic culture of patriarchy, sexism, harassment, abuse, bullying and religious policing, with our nation’s young people on the receiving end.

"This denotes a chilling prediction for our future adult citizens. Instead of being safe spaces of learning where students can fulfil their greatest potential, our local schools are now sites where:

  1. Young women are learning to fear, be insecure about and shameful of their clothes and their bodies;
  2. Adult women not only enduring years of severe mental stress and trauma since their student days but also having this trauma negatively affecting their current relationships, university, and career performance; and
  3. Young student leaders learning by example about the acceptability of abuse of power and privilege, and are at risk themselves of normalising such behaviour in their own lives."

These are degrading and abusive treatments that violate the physical body and personal boundaries without consent, they said, adding that the abuse is made worse because most survivors are or were underaged when the incidents took place.

They said under the Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017 and outrage of modesty under Section 354 of the Penal Code, these cases would be considered as criminal offences and are punishable by law.

"By carrying out such actions or allowing such actions to be carried out by teachers/wardens/matrons, our Malaysian school authorities are teaching all students that it is okay to violate another person’s body without their consent and treat them without respect or dignity," said the groups.

Meanwhile, former deputy education minister Teo Nie Ching said it is so far unclear whether there are ministry guidelines that specifically address the methods used to determine whether a girl is having her period or otherwise.

“I cannot recall whether we have anything written to say that a teacher can do so or cannot do so. But I think this is (an issue of) common decency.

“I think once the Education Ministry receives a sufficient number of complaints, of course, it would be better for the ministry to put it in writing, stating what teachers can or cannot do,” Teo, the MP for Kulai, said.

Malaysiakini has also reached out to current Education Minister Radzi Md Jidin for a response. - Malaysiakini, 22/4/2021





Should women be entitled to period leave? These countries think so

Hong Kong (CNN Business)Sachimi Mochizuki has worked in Japan for two decades, but she's never taken a day off for her period.

That's mostly because Mochizuki is lucky — her periods aren't a big problem. But she's also been reluctant to use Japan's long-standing leave entitlement as that would have involved telling her managers, most of whom have been male, that she was menstruating.
 
 
"It's very private and, especially in Japan, that's still kind of a taboo," said Mochizuki, who works in event management. "We don't want to talk about it with any men."
 
Japan's period leave entitlement has existed for more than 70 years, and the country isn't alone in Asia in having such a policy. South Korea adopted period leave in 1953. And in China and India, provinces and companies are increasingly adopting menstruation leave policies with a range of entitlements. 
 
The landscape on the other side of the world, however, looks a lot different. Period leave policy is almost nonexistent in the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe.And even in countries that do have period leave, feminists are split on whether period leave is a step back or a sign of progress when it comes to women's rights. Some argue that it's as necessary for working women as maternity leave, while others say that it casts women as less able than men and could lead to further discrimination.

Widely available, but rarely used

Japan introduced its period leave policy in 1947 to address labor rights concerns. 
 
For at least a decade, female factory workers had been granted period leave to give them a reprieve from harsh labor and poor sanitary conditions, while struggling with menstrual pain. After Japan's defeat in World War II, the country wrote period leave into its new labor laws as a right for all female employees whose periods are "especially difficult."
 
At first, there was a relatively high take-up — around 26% in 1965, according to local media. Estimates vary on the proportion of women globally who experience dysmenorrhea, or period pain so bad that it interferes with daily activities, but all point to it being a common condition. 
 
As time went on, fewer women took the option. A Japanese government survey in 2017 found that only 0.9% of female employees claimed period leave. 
 
In South Korea, usage is also dropping. In a 2013 survey, 23.6% of South Korean women used the leave. By 2017, that rate had fallen to 19.7%. 
 
There are a few reasons that might explain this. Although all companies in Japan have to give women period leave when they request it, they are not required to pay. And some woman may not even know that it's available to them, as companies don't typically advertise it, said Yumiko Murakami, the head of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) Tokyo Center.
 
But the bigger issue in both South Korea and Japan is cultural.
A woman browses products on a shelf in a discount store in the area of Shibuya in Tokyo, Japan, on March 1, 2013.
Women already face an uphill battle in both countries, which have some of the highest gender pay gaps in the OECD and some of the lowest shares of female managers. Although it's illegal to discriminate against female employees in Japan, they often face pressure to quit once they become pregnant, Murakami said. And workers of all genders in Japan are discouraged from taking leave of any kind, Murakami added.
 
Mochizuki remembers one colleague taking her period leave once. "I thought, 'Why?' and, 'How can you do that, how can you tell your boss?'" Instead, she thinks more general sick leave would work better than menstruation leave for helping women with particularly difficult periods.
 
On top of that, periods remain a sensitive subject. When women buy tampons from the store, for example, the clerk puts them in brown paper bags, as if they are something that need to be hidden, said Murakami.
 
"If you tell people you're taking leave because of your period, that will be seen as you're not as good as men," she said.

The case for period leave

In other parts of Asia, companies aren't just using period leave to support their workers — they're also making a political statement.
 
Indian food delivery company Zomato, for example, said when it rolled out its policy in August that it wanted to change perceptions in India where periods are shrouded in shame.
 
"At Zomato, we want to foster a culture of trust, truth and acceptance," founder and CEO Deepinder Goyal told staff in an email, which was released publicly. "There shouldn't be any shame or stigma attached to applying for a period leave. You should feel free to tell people on internal groups, or emails that you are on your period leave for the day."
 
A biker from food delivery company Zomato in Bikaner, India.
The announcement was notable in a country where women are sometimes not allowed to cook or touch anyone when they are menstruating. Girls in India typically miss 20% of the school year because of their period, and 70% of mothers consider menstruation "dirty," according to a 2014 report by philanthropic organization Dasra.
 
But Zomato's announcement was still met with backlash on social media, where critics argued that the policy could make women look weak or discourage managers from hiring female workers. Some of those opposing the move were women.
 
According to University of Sydney professor Elizabeth Hill, who researches gender and employment, the reason period leave is so hotly contested even among feminists is because there is little data on whether period leave helps or hinders women in the workplace.
 
Hill says many of the arguments against period leave are similar to those that have been made against maternity leave. Opponents argued that making employers pay maternity leave could discourage them from hiring women.
 
But Hill also said there's now evidence to suggest that generous maternity leave policies encourage women to stay in the workforce rather than push them out.
 
That's particularly important in India, which has one of the lowest female participation rates in the workforce, at 35%.
 
"It's a wonderful reframing of what the problem is — the problem is work, not women," said Deepa Narayan, a social scientist and former senior adviser at the World Bank.
 
An Indian man looks on as he walks along a wall painting about female menstruation at the school for underprivileged children, Parijat Academy, on the Menstrual Hygiene Day in Guwahati on May 28, 2019.
Guneet Monga, who produced an Academy Award-winning short documentary called "Period. End of Sentence" about menstruation in India, said Zomato's move seems progressive, but, even if it trickles into other workplaces, it won't make an impact to the millions of women in India not working in office jobs.
 
"I think that this whole concept of women's rights and equality and feminism is not a choice at the lower economic level. They just work day to day to feed. They work on an existential crisis," she said. 
 
"I encourage the conversation at one level, but I do think it is a long way before we see a change."

Why period leave hasn't taken off in the West

Every few years, the topic of period leave hits the headlines in Western countries. Just as often, it's accompanied by scathing think pieces about why it's a bad idea.
 
After Zomato's announcement, the Washington Post ran an opinion piece titled: "I'm a feminist. Giving women a day off for their period is a stupid idea." The article argued that period leave is a "paternalistic and silly" proposal that "reaffirms that there is a biological determinism to the lives of women."
 
And after the Victorian Women's Trust, an Australian advocacy group for women's rights, introduced a menstruation leave policy for its staff in 2017, Brisbane newspaper The Courier-Mail ran an opinion piece with the headline: "As a working woman in Australia I'm insulted by this crazy plan."
 
Employees of Myna Mahila Foundation, an Indian charity championing menstrual hygiene, prepare sanitary pads at their office in Mumbai on April 10, 2018.
 
Hill, the Sydney professor, said there was anecdotal evidence that younger women and men in the West tend to be more receptive to the idea, while older women are more opposed. Older women often feel that because they struggled through work while menstruating, younger women should do the same, Hill said.
 
She noted that there were different designs for period leave — and not all policies were created equal. 
 
Some argue that there should be more personal leave entitlements for people of all genders, Hill said. 
 
Others advocate for increasing sick leave to include period leave, although critics argue that women aren't sick when they have their period — they are just experiencing a normal, biological process.
 
Evidence suggests there is some desire — and need — for period leave in the West.
 
A survey of 32,748 Dutch women published in the British Medical Journal last year found that 14% had taken time off from work or school during their period. Even when they called in sick due to their period, only 20% gave the real reason.
 
Around 68% said they wished they had the option of more flexible work or study hours during their period. But most — just under 81% — turned up to work anyway, even though they felt less productive as a result of their symptoms. Lost productivity amounted to almost nine days a year, according to the study
 
At the Victorian Women's Trust, executive director Mary Crooks said the benefits of period leave have been "absolutely palpable" for her office which has 13 female staff members.
 
"You shouldn't have to be dishonest about why you can't come to work, and why you can't perform productively at work," she said, adding that the reproductive cycle was crucial to women's physical and mental health.
 
The trust's policy gives women options: a comfortable spot to work in the office, permission to work from home or to take up to 12 paid days of menstrual leave each year.
 
In the four years since it was introduced, staff have only taken 21 paid period leave days between them, Crooks said.
 
The culture has become more supportive and staff feel more comfortable discussing their menstrual needs and care for themselves better, she said. Because employees feel respected by their company, they also work more productively, Crooks added.
 
"I think there's nothing but positives that have come about in our workplace as a result of it," she said. 
 
"To us, the removal of shame and stigma is one of the great big jigsaw pieces in the gender equality picture."
 
That's certainly the case in Japan, where stigma still exists.
 
Part of the reason women aren't taking period leave, according to the OECD's Murakami, is that the culture around leave and menstruation makes women fear that taking it could lead to discrimination by their employers.
 
"I do think the law itself is actually meant to help women, but if it's not implemented well it could hurt women," she said.