Monday, January 15, 2018

ELECTION MANIFESTO - Vague pronouncement or Detailed Commitments?

MANIFESTO - What is the Opposition Parties' Manifesto for the Upcoming Elections? It must be comprehensive dealing with a variety of issues - it must not be simply 'slogans' that are vague with no specific details... (Oh...by the way, the Pakatan Harapan has still not issued their Manifesto ...that's why we cannot find it on the internet)

In Malaysia, as some political parties come together to form a 'COALITION' or even an 'Electoral Pact' - it is important that there is NOW an agreement with regard to many issues...

The problem with the previous 'Pakatan Rakyat' seemed to be that after the elections, the running and administration of the various states won by the Pakatan Rakyat seem to have been left just to the Menteri Besar/Chief Minister that was elected - and problems emerged as some states like Kedah(under a PAS MB) seems to have simply done many things including policies that swayed from what PR, or the parties in it, pronounced...and stood for. So, how do we ensure that this does not happen again...

We need a detailed Manifesto ...not simply something vague just about 1MDB, FELDA, etc... 

Will the Opposition when they win, investigate and take action against members of the previous government, their cronies and even public servants who did wrong ...or will it be simply 'Forgive' and move on...Where was the EXPOSE and the prosecution ...when the Opposition won in Penang and Selangor....?

Malaysians are not stupid – we demand detailed assurances  by the Opposition coalition, Opposition parties and other political parties  in their Election Manifestos…

Detention Without Trial Laws – POCA, POTA, DD(SPM)A. Will the Detention Without Trial Laws be immediately abolished, and the current victims be immediately released? When? Well, it should be done within 100 days…Some argue, that some of these people may be guilty of a crime – well, then charge them and try them in an OPEN COURT. Remember that even preparing or instigating a crime is already an offence in the Penal Code…and they could be charged, tried and convicted if proven guilty.

Freedom of Expression, Opinion,…. Abolish Sedition Act… Abolish laws that undermine these Freedoms

DEMOCRACY 
– Local Council Elections…within 100 days. 
- Senators to be elected by the people …so Senatorial Elections…
- Elections of local community leaders by the community – kampong, kampong orang asli, Taman, …All these can be done in 100 days …Government will deal with matters concerning these communities through the Elected representatives
[*An elected MP and/or ADUN, whether they wre in the party/ies governing the State or not, will be accorded a right to sit in Local Councils as an Observer, with a right to be heard...which is logical since he/she is the elected peoples' representative]

HEALTHCARE – Now, Malaysians are still paying for healthcare …Most obvious is heart healthcare …Now, the IJN(Institute Jantung Negara) charges tens of thousands ringgit….if you are not a public servant or a government pensioner – so, it affects all other Malaysians. Immediate policy could be no more than RM1,000 for any healthcare procedure….ultimately, this should be FREE

EDUCATION – one thing could be FREE education until higher education – not just University…but also vocational, technical and other forms of higher education. FREE education in ALL government schools, colleges, universities and other institutions of higher education…We cannot force this policy of ‘free education’ on private companies yet…but this may come later…

Companies – Government Owned(or Linked) – Immediately the requirement that they will have to be audited by the Federal/State Auditor General, who will have to present the said report to Parliament/State Legislative Assembly ….Now, this is not about just presenting Audited Accounts(but more importantly the Auditor General’s REPORT about actions that have ‘wasted monies’ and other wrongs. (Petaling Jaya Local Council discloses only the audited accounts BUT not the report of mismanagement, loss of monies, questionable transaction)… The continued monitoring by Parliamen/State Legislative Assembly Select Committees of GLCs….It is after all the company of the Malaysian people and profits should flow back to government for the benefit of ALL Malaysians.

Companies – Government Owned(or Linked)Salary and allowances for Directors, etc …wrong if they are being paid too high a salary or allowance…the maximum’s should be fixed…maybe same as public servant salary scale…but certainly not higher than the pay of the Prime Minister or a Menteri Besar. The more you pay the less the profits of these companies – hence, the lesser profits for the people of Malaysia. List of Government-Owned/Linked Company should be provided, together with list of major shareholders, and profits made by these companies that flowed back to Malaysian people…No ADUN, MP, Senator, Public Servant should be paid allowances as Directors – that monies must go back to the government not to them personally, save for maybe transport allowances and such – WHY? They are already PAID public servants be it MPs, Senators, ADUNs and/or public servants.

FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY Repeal of the Peaceful Assembly Act and provisions in other Acts likes Universities and University Colleges Act that require application of permits/licences/permissions…before people can exercise their right to peaceful assembly…Police duty shall be to ensure that this right is exercised uninhibited…

FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION – The government shall only act if the Society or Trade Union commits a crime – it shall no more control the objective, running and/or other actions of a Society. Society/Trade Union/Cooperative .Registration will be done fast, not later than two(2) weeks. Now, even when members agree to amend Constitution, it does not come into force until the Registrar of Society(or Registrar of Trade Union) approves it – WHY? Even if members want to increase membership and/or other fees payable by members, it cannot be implemented until the ‘Registrar’ approves – WHY? If members have an issue with the society/Trade Union/…, then they can take action …the REGISTRAR(or government) should not act on its own. Example, if DAP members questioned the validity of an elections, then the members will take the issue to court for a determination whether election valid or void – not the Registrar. Control of the GOVERNMENT in the running of any association will be removed…the power is returned to MEMBERS and members only…

Public Transport – Licensing will not be denied…Now, the licensing of bus services are controlled by the Federal Government – so much so, even State government have no power in approving application for town bus services and/or even bus services within the State. Licensing of public transport services will be liberalised, and the power will be given to the State and/or Local Council, if the services are for the people of the said Local Council and/or State whether the services extend beyond the Local Council/State boundaries. Public transport will be kept affordable, and the government will provide subsidies and/or provide the services themselves, if need be. Metered taxi services will be made available all over Malaysia, with a phone in capability to get a taxi – and the government shall fix the rates(at least the maximum rates)…Maybe, like the 999 call in service for police/fire department - we should have a number for people to call in to get a taxi(Government could set up and run this service especially since it is now not not practical for taxi services operating in small towns and rural areas to do it themselves...)

Radio/Television/Newspapers/Magazines Licenses will be given freely – and actions will be taken only if a crime is committed. Now, the Opposition also do not have a radio station or a television station…preventing the people from getting access to alternative views and opinions. It is embarassing. Malaysians should have the right to information - including different views and opinions. Our radio station generally give us songs and music - good if we had stations that give us knowledge about rights, and discussion of issues...Do we want Malaysians who are aware and 'educated' about different views and options...?

SPORTS – There will be PUBLIC football fields, basketball courts, squash, swimming pools that are free or with minimum charges built in every district in Malaysia. Now, there are very few such fields and sports facilities for the public in most towns in Malaysia. Most sport facilities are in schools ...we need public sport facilities, which people can use in every town in Malaysia??

STATE – FEDERAL – Power now rests too much with the Federal Government especially in the Peninsular. One problem is the INCOME available to State governments to provide for development and maintenance of facilities within the State including even roads, etc… Law will be amended, to allow State governments to get a fixed portion of income and corporate taxes collected in Malaysia, whereby one solution will be the allocation of a certain percentage of taxes to the States based on the population, which could be at least 25% of Federal ipersonal and corporate income tax collected. Similarly, 25% of monies collected by Local Council will also be allocated to the State coffers.

GRASS CUTTING AND GARBAGE COLLECTION – It was before done by Local Council, but now UMNO-BN seemed to have shifted control to the Federal Government, who has the power to choose and appoint contractors. This power shall be reverted back to Local Councils. What is the rate of payment of cutting grass  beside the road for 1 Km per month? Some said that it may be about RM2k? Well, if that contract could be given to kampung committees and town committees...who could use the poor in the community - would it not effectively solve income problems of the poor? Local government could simply monitor...

Barangan Rakyat 1Malaysia -  Good policy to ensure availability of AFFORDABLE basic food and related matters to ensure availability of such items to especially to the poorer Malaysians - But UMNO-BN implementation policy was wrong...when such products could only be got from these KEDAI R1M?  Government will ensure availability of such products including rice, floor, cooking oil, cooking gas, salt, soap, toothpaste, cleaning fluids/poweders, eggs, bread....These items shall be produced by the Government and made available to ALL retailers, including small shops through government suppliers at a reasonable rate ...who will then be able to sell to the consumer at the stipulated price. [Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia will be abolished]

The government will RESTORE and expand the list of permanent Price Controlled Items including chicken, certain fish, fish cakes, vegetables, etc (which the UMNO-BN government has removed). The government will fix the cost imposed by suppliers to final retailers as well to ensure that the final retailer still enjoys a reasonable profit. Suppliers shall be BOUND to supply such items to all retailers - and not deny supply for whatever reason.

KLINIK Rakyat 1Malaysia - Government will ensure that there are government clinics with DOCTORS providing 24 hour service to all people, not more than than 50 Km in rural areas, and not more than 10 Km in urban centres, that will be able to provide healthcare. Currently, these UMNO-BN government clinics only have a medical assistant manning it, with the ability to not even provide required emergency healthcare. Some of these UMNO-BN government clinics that are within 10-20 Km from government hospitals will be shut down. Ambulances will be made available to transport people in need of medical treatment.

Bantuan Rakyat 1 Malaysia - Noting that many Malaysians, and their families, are in need of monthly financial assistance - the government will enact a LAW that provides for regular monthly financial assistance for the poor. The poorer families will receive more financial assistance. The government will make it a RIGHT in law - not like the current UMNO-BN government, which is a discretion of the government on a year to year basis - not a RIGHT in law.

FELDA - the scheme of providing land to the poor and landless, to be able to earn and generate income, and eventually become financially independent and out of poverty which was discontinued by the UMNO-BN in the 1990s will be revived.

MINISTERS and Ministries - The government will re-structure and reduce the number of Ministers and Ministries to save monies and make government more efficient. UMNO-BN, especially under the current PM have been simply increasing the number of Ministers and Deputy Ministers.

Parliamentarians and ADUNs - there will be an allocations for the rental and maintenance of offices in the constituencies, including staff (PAs, Research Assistants and Drivers) to improve the service and accessibility of peoples' representative to the people. FULL TIME MPs/ADUNs - We pay them so much but so many are not around doing their MP/ADUN work...because they are still busy in their own personal business/profession. Some even miss Parliamentary session - and even when present, I wonder how many are really prepared and know what is being discussed - many are so silent. Many are afraid to have dialogues with their constituencies - is it the fear that when asked questions, their ignorance of issues will be revealed?

REMOVAL OF PARLIAMENTARIANS/ADUNS - A law will be enacted giving the people of a constituency to remove their elected representatives. One possibility is a petition signed by at least 50% of the registered voters in a Constituency. 

WORKERS - Government shall ensure REGULAR EMPLOYMENT (employment until retirement/retrenchment/termination for disciplinary reason). Will seek to reduce, limit and/or abolish precarious employment like short-term contracts and 'contractor for labour' system.(See other earlier posts about what need to change in terms of worker and trade union policy and laws in Malaysia)

MINIMUM WAGE - A comprehensive Minimum Wage System, will be enacted depending on the area, be it rural or in urban centres, type of employment, taking into consideration cost of living of the particular area....It shall apply primarily for employers of more than 15 employees. Smaller employers in smaller businesses will be allowed to use profit sharing scheme. 

The UMNO-BN approach was to lump all employers in ONE category, noting that it is very unfair for smaller employers/businesses like sundry shops, mechanics, operating in smaller towns and rural areas who really do not make that much monthly profits. All employers were obligated to also pay the same Minimum Wages is wrong and has resulted in the closure of such businesses...Income/Profits of businesses shall also be a consideration in determining obligation to pay minimum wages...Those not obligated to pay minimum wages shall have a profit sharing scheme with workers, ensuring that workers earn no less than 40% of the profits of the said businesses. UMNO-BN government strategy was smart - because then a lot of employers(many of whom from these smaller businesses would protest such increased Minimum Wages) - so the BIG employers with large profits also managed to keep Minimum Wages low. It would have been smarter if a higher Minimum Wage was imposed on the bigger companies with higher income and profits...especially these foreign companies?

COMMERCIAL RATES for the 1st, 2nd and higher floors of shop lots used for residential purpose shall be abolished. This will include commercial rates for electricity, water, telephony, sewage treatment and Local Council Rates. Residential Rates will be charged. This, is in view, that after GST many of these shop lots are currently unoccupied and not anymore being used for commercial purposes. Such a move, will not just assist property owners, bust also make more affordable housing for people...and will also reduce cost of living, as many of these shops are in town or near towns. It will also increase security for premises, which now is generally people-free during non-working hours. Look at the number of unoccupied shop lots in a town like Temerloh and Mentakab...so much wasted space that could have been used for housing if only the occupants had to pay residential rates.

OFFICIAL SECRETS ACT - All documents, including Tol Agreements and Auditor General's report on 1MDB, shall be declassified. All remaining documents, including those relating to national security, shall be declassified and made available to the public after a lapse of thirty(30) years.

ELECTION MANIFESTO - IS IT JUST 'MERE PUFF' - OR 'PROMISES' THAT CANNOT BE ENFORCED BY LAW BY A CITIZEN'? It should not be...It must be a binding agreement that should be enforceable by the people...No use if it simply is a 'LIE' to get votes...but after winning the Elections, it is forgotten. Remember the promise for Local Council Elections ...So, maybe, at the very least it must be a formal agreement between the various political parties...

After the General Elections, how do the political parties ensure that the MPs/ADUNs and PM/MB/Chief Minister do what was promised...or at the very least try their best to do it...We need the political parties to monitor the different governments it forms alone(or with other parties), and as such we need a COUNCIL to monitor the different governments, and it is best that this COUNCIL is made up by the different political parties, their leaders preferably..

So, there must be a COUNCIL of party leaders --- who will oversee and monitor every PM, MB, Chief Minister ...I would suggest that this COUNCIL will not only monitor but also ADVISE where needed...and preferably made up by the leaders of the different parties...like Anwar, Mahathir, Lim Kit Siang, Tan Kok Wai, Muhyiddin... If party leaders end up being PM or MB, it becomes more difficult for the political party to monitor governments led by their own party supreme leaders??? 

Some Opposition coalition is spending too much time on deciding Prime Ministerial candidates ...and Menteri Besar candidate...or the number of seats....WHAT IS IMPORTANT IS WHAT WILL THEY DO FOR MALAYSIA OR A PARTICULAR STATE IF AND WHEN WE VOTE THEM INTO GOVERNMENT.

A simple..vague manifesto will not do...we need more details...Look for example the Manifesto of the Labour Party in UK...

We do not want 'business as usual' after the upcoming General Elections ...only different are the people with the power, or maybe just 'new cronnies'...

* The above is just some suggestions as what should be in a Manifesto - still incomplete as we did not look at so many other issues of concern like Education, Judiciary, Police, etc...

The parties that will be standing for elections are made up of people who know more and should highlight what else that they will change...

 




 

 
 


 

Friday, January 12, 2018

Raub Australian Gold Mine (RAGM) must cancel the debt of Malaysiakini - and New Government Policies concerning Defamation Suits?

Freedom of Expression and Opinion - freedom of the press. What is the Opposition Party position on this, Defamation Suits against people struggling for justice, media that reports the 'voices' and views of people, etc...This should be in the Election MANIFESTOS... not matters concerning EPL(English Premier League)....

Big corporations and some people have been filing 'defamation' suits against the Media, ordinary people fighting for rights against Big Companies, against people highlighting possible wrongs, etc...  and sadly, our Malaysian courts have been awarding HIGH damages and COST...

Malaysiakini - the latest victim - RM200,000 damages and RM150,000 COST.... total RM350,000 ... well, that is minimum wages for 350 persons per month...? 

Can ordinary persons afford to pay....maybe the rich like Anwar or Najib can afford...but really the ordinary Malaysians ...or an alternative media started by a few will not be able to pay such High amounts...

RM350,000 -- well, that is 35 months pay for a person earning RM10,000 a month...
...That is 70 months pay for a person earning RM5,000...
...That is 350 months wages for a person earning minimum wages of RM1,000 per month...

Well, these Defamation suits, high damages and cost will drastically impact people's capacity to struggle for human rights, and media's willingness to report on people's opinions/views....

Words should be answered with words...not by filing court cases. Sadly, many Opposition politicians are also suing people for defamation....For a defamation case, the lawyer's initial retainer can already be RM100,000. If rich versus rich...maybe OK. But when it is the RICH against the poor or the middle income(including small media outlets), it is a grave injustice that must end.

The impact of these defamation suits - is that we now do not now hear about local communities...or even workers speaking up against major corporations/rich owners/employers...

Media also have become too afraid to report...The poor are marginalized..justice suffers.

Need policy and laws to control and prevent such DEFAMATION suits, and high awards of damages and cost from undermining people's capacity to struggle for justice, the freedom of expression and opinion, freedom of the press, freedom of information...

* BAN the filing and commencement of defamation suits against people struggling for human rights and justice, workers against employers, and also the Media reporting on the views and opinions of people struggling for justice and human rights...

* LIMIT the amount of damages and cost to a token sum, not exceeding RM5,000 ...

***After all, what maters is the people's decision - not a Court's decision. Odd that people like Anwar, who alleges that he was wrongly convicted by the Malaysian courts ...also still files Defamation Suits in the same courts against people for words spoken/written??? 

-- Does filing a court case...or swearing on the Holy Book prove that you are right?

My hope is that RAGM, after they have won in court, will cancel out the money owed by Malaysiakini to them - that RM350,000,  that may result in maybe the closing down of this alternative media - or a weakening of Malaysiakini as an alternative media - that was willing to give space to the little man to express a differing opinion...from the RICH and powerful.

Related posts:-
 

Nurul,Najib,... if you are for Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Opinion, HR Defenders, Press Freedom... - Withdraw Defamation Suits?

Maria and BERSIH should not have sued for defamation? Unjust tool?Anti-Human Rights?

Bukit Koman villager, HR Defender Hue Shieh Lee, wins in gold mine's defamation suit?

Malaysiakini wins defamation suit filed by gold mine company, Raub Australian Gold Mining (RAGM)

 

 




Malaysiakini seeks public's help to pay RM350k damages

Published:     Modified:

Malaysiakini is reaching out to the public to help it raise RM350,000 after the Court of Appeal reversed a High Court’s decision in a defamation case.

The sum awarded by the appellate court to the Raub Australian Gold Mine (RAGM) company comprises RM200,000 in damages and RM150,000 in costs.

"Our lawyers will be applying for a stay pending appeal. For that to happen, we need to have the money ready," Malaysiakini editor-in-chief Steven Gan said today.

"And should the stay be not granted, we will have to pay RM350,000 in the coming weeks. Otherwise, RAGM can take winding-up proceedings against Malaysiakini,” he said.

Gan said Malaysiakini is appealing the appellate court decision because it will have an adverse impact on journalists in carrying out their tasks.

"If it is left to stand, the court decision will make it very difficult for journalists to cover events, in particular, press conferences in a timely manner," Gan said.

On May 23, 2016, High Court judge Justice Rosnani Saub dismissed RAGM's claim against Malaysiakini and three members of its editorial staff.

Villagers at Bukit Koman in Raub, Pahang, had alleged that the use of cyanide-related chemicals to extract gold at RAGM's mine had affected their health.

RAGM sued for defamation after Malaysiakini reported on their complaints, which involved three news reports and two videos.

One of the news reports was on the villagers expressing fears over the mining activity near their village while the other two were press conferences held by the villagers. The videos were clips from the press conferences.

Without fear or favour

The High Court had ruled that the news portal succeeded in their defence of qualified privilege - the Reynolds privilege - which allows for responsible journalism and reportage.

This was reversed by the Court of Appeal yesterday following an appeal from the gold mine. The gold mine has since run into financial trouble and has applied for liquidation.



Gan said since its inception in 1999, Malaysiakini had never shied away from reporting on issues of public interest without fear or favour.

Malaysiakini believes that independent media is critical to a country’s progress. Without a vigilant media, the powerful are tempted to act in the interest of a few.

“Such actions lead to the decay of society. It is our responsibility as journalists to tell truth to power and to hold power to account, be they politicians or business leaders.

“We have managed to fund our operation over the past 18 years without the help of rich or powerful backers. Members of the public have supported us previously and we hope they will once again come to our aid.”

Gan said that if the portal succeeded in its appeal at the Federal Court, the money collected would be kept in a legal defence fund to be used for future court cases involving Malaysiakini

Those who wish to contribute to the Defend Malaysiakini Fund can bank in their donations to the following account:

Account name: Mkini Dotcom Sdn Bhd

Account no: 514253516714 (Maybank)

Swift Code: MBBEMYKL

Branch address: Dataran Maybank, Level 1 Tower A, Dataran Maybank, 59000 Kuala Lumpur.
Alternatively, you may also donate using your credit card by calling us at +603 7770 0017 or via PayPal.

Read more at https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/408381#tqWLCD8psdHDlwqW.99



 

Israel approves preliminary death penalty bill for 'terrorists' ?

Abolish Death Penalty - No to death penalty for 'terrorists'...Will the Palestinians be the victims?

Israel approves preliminary death penalty bill for 'terrorists' with Netanyahu's blessing


Israel approves preliminary death penalty bill for 'terrorists' with Netanyahu's blessing
Despite massive opposition from Israeli lawmakers, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was influential in the Knesset's decision to support a bill that would allow both military and civil courts to sentence terrorists to death.
 
In a narrow 52-49 vote, Israel's parliament, the Knesset, approved the first draft of a bill which could make it easier for terrorists to be handed the death penalty. Current military law allows a person to be sentenced to death for an act of terrorism, but only if such a sentence has the unanimous support of all three sitting judges.

The new draft legislation seeks to amend the current order, and wants it replaced by a simple majority decision of the judges. The bill, sponsored by Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, also aspires to expand the potential use of death penalty beyond the military courts, seeking its application in Israeli civil courts. Israel has carried out only two executions in its modern history.
 
The current proposed regulations does not single out any religion or ethnicity, and if adopted, would apply to both Jewish and Palestinian terrorists. The Israeli definition of "terrorism" however, is rather broad and includes, for instance, knife attacks on military personnel, which are often committed by teenagers. In August 2016, Israeli lawmakers approved the so-called Youth Bill, legalizing the imprisonment of Palestinian minors as young as 12, should they be are suspected of grave crimes, such as acts of terrorism against the state of Israel. While the draft law still has to pass through three more readings, the age of the "terrorists" has not yet been discussed.

Fierce debates Wednesday, however, raged around the ethical application of the death penalty and its compatibility with Judaism. While Judaism allows for capital punishment, Talmudic law as followed by ultra-Orthodox members of the Jewish community argues that the death penalty ceased with the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE. Following their religious conviction, members of the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party walked out before the vote to consult with rabbis on the issue.

Netanyahu voiced support for the bill, despite the fact that previous Israeli governments, including those headed by him, have rejected all prior death penalty initiatives. "There are extreme cases, where people commit terrible crimes and don’t deserve to live,” the PM argued. “We’re changing the law for these situations.”
 
Netanyahu's stance was supported by MK Yisrael Beytenu who proposed the bill. He said, “When terrorists sitting in Israeli prisons end up going free [in prisoner exchanges], I think the most moral thing is for [terrorists] to get the death penalty.”

Others, however, voiced strong opposition to the proposed capital punishment legislation. “The death penalty will not contribute anything to the war on terrorism," said MK Eyal Ben-Reuven. "The opposite is true. Instead of deterring, it will strengthen the terrorists, who will turn into shaheeds [Arabic for martyr]. Israel has proven abilities to deal with terrorism without giving up on the strength in our values and without using our enemies’ methods.”

Opposition lawmaker Tzipi Livni called the bill "reckless, 100 percent politics," adding, that "The defense establishment opposes the death penalty." Just prior to the vote, the head of Israel's internal security service (Shin Bet) Nadav Argaman also voiced strong opposition, noting that the "terrorist death penalty law will lead to wave of kidnappings" of Jews around the world to force Israelis to release convicted Palestinian prisoners before they are executed.

Wednesday's vote was already slammed by the European Union’s ambassador to Israel. “The death penalty is incompatible with human dignity. It constitutes inhuman and degrading treatment, does not have any proven deterrent effect and allows judicial errors to become irreversible & fatal,” the EU mission said on Twitter.

In August, a poll published by the Jerusalem-based Israel Democracy Institute found that 70 percent of Israeli Jews “strongly” or “moderately” supported the death penalty.  - RT News, 4/1/2018

Israel's new death penalty bill 'targets Palestinians'

by
 
 
The proposed law is backed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [Tsafrir Abayov/Reuters]
The proposed law is backed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [Tsafrir Abayov/Reuters]
The Israeli government's proposal to make it easier for judges to hand out the death penalty for "terrorist activity" has been condemned as "fascist" by Palestinian politicians and rights groups, who fear it will give Israel legal cover to target Palestinians.

A bill to amend existing legislation regulating the use of the death sentence passed its preliminary reading in Israel's parliament, the Knesset, on Wednesday with backing from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's ruling coalition.

Aida Touma-Suleiman, a Palestinian citizen of Israel and member of the Knesset, told Al Jazeera on Friday that while the bill does not specify any group, it is "intended mainly for the Palestinian people".

"It's not going to be implemented against Jews who are committing terrorist attacks against Palestinians for sure," she said, describing the bill's authors as "extreme right".

"This is a fascist bill, contributing to an atmosphere of fascism inside Israeli society, which is directed towards Palestinians."

Under existing laws, Israel's civilian courts reserve the use of the death penalty for Nazis and Nazi collaborators convicted of committing murder during the Holocaust, while military courts can hand out the sentence if a panel of three judges unanimously agrees to issue the punishment.

The proposed changes will add an additional clause to Israel's penal law, allowing the death penalty to be used against those convicted of "terrorist activity", which is defined by the bill as "a deliberate attempt to murder civilians in order to achieve political, national, religious or ideological objectives."

It will remove the requirement for military court panels to unanimously agree on issuing the punishment, instead requiring a simple majority of two of the three judges.

When asked by Palestinian Knesset member Ahmad Tibi on Wednesday about whether the law would apply to Jews who carry out attacks, such as "those who burned the children in Duma", Netanyahu replied: "In principle, yes."

Tibi's reference was to a 2015 arson attack carried out by a Jewish settler in the occupied West Bank village of Duma, which left three Palestinians, including a one-year-old baby, dead and another child seriously wounded.

Dawoud Yusef of the Palestinian rights group Addameer, which advocates for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, cast doubt on Netanyahu's assertion that the move would also apply to Jews.

"What we've seen in the past is that Avigdor Lieberman has been pushing for this as part of his agreement to join Netanyahu's coalition," Yusef said, referencing Netanyahu's defence minister and hard-right coalition partner.

"He's come out and said that this will only apply to Arabs. When he says Arabs, we assume he means Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza."

'Biased judicial system'

Lieberman, whose party Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Our Home) put forward the bill, has in the past advocated the use of the death penalty against "Arab terror", and in a Facebook post about the bill on Wednesday, the minister declared: "Jewish blood is not cheap."

Yusef said if the bill ends up passing, it would represent a "slippery slope".

"We really see this as a pandering to the extreme elements in the Israeli government and we're not sure in the current climate, where that's going to end."
Given Israel's position as occupying power, its biased judicial system against Palestinians, and precedence over the years, such a bill can only be read to target Palestinians who Israel characterises as terrorists, a term whose definition in Israel is so broad and encompassing.
Maha Abdullah, Legal Researcher at Al Haq
Maha Abdullah of the Palestinian human rights organisation, Al Haq, told Al Jazeera it would further compound Israel's hold over the occupied territories.

"It should be noted that most Palestinian political detainees are tried by Israeli military courts," she said.

"Given Israel's position as occupying power, its biased judicial system against Palestinians, and precedence over the years, such a bill can only be read to target Palestinians who Israel characterises as terrorists, a term whose definition in Israel is so broad and encompassing."

While Israel has a long history of carrying out targeted assassinations of its opponents, judicial executions are very rare.

In 1948, the Israeli army court-martialed and executed Meir Tobianski after accusations that he had passed on intelligence to the Jordanian army, but the officer was later posthumously exonerated of the charges.

In 1962, the state executed the former SS commander Adolf Eichmann for his part in the Holocaust. SOURCE: Al Jazeera News, 5/1/2018

Monday, January 08, 2018

MB Azmin and Elizabeth Wong still not declared assets/income? Other ADUNs in Exco have?

Azmin Ali, now also the Menteri Besar of Selangor, the number 2 in PKR, is a very important indicator for all Malaysians on what we can expect from PKR and, even the Opposition coalition that now governs Selangor?

TRANSPARENCY - DECLARATION OF ASSETS/INCOME of the MB and the State Exco
- This issue has been raised by me in my BLOG since 2014...more specifically considering and refering to the 'Declaration of Assets'(Perisytiharan Harta) information found in the Selangor government website - http://www.selangor.gov.my/index.php/pages/view/90?mid=648- Majlis Mesyuarat Kerajaan Negeri/EXCO, since 2016.
- Good News - some of the State Exco members, since then, who in December 2016, had still not done so - have now done so. Nik Nazmi dan Zaidi Abdul Talib are EXCO members that have since made their Asset Declarations.
- Today, only our MB Azmin Ali and EXCO Member Elizabeth Wong(from PKR), have yet to provide a Declaration of Assets.

Adakah Azmin Ali berikan gambar palsu mengenai perisytiharan harta MB dan Exco Selangor? MB sendiri nampaknya tak dedah? - 1/12/2016

Azmin dilapurkan kata “Ya, saya akan isytihar kepada umum.” - Bilakah kita boleh lihat pengistiharan harta ini?- 11/1/2017

Azmin Ali dan beberapa Exco Selangor masih belum isytihar harta lagi?- 19/4/2017

Selangor, Azmin, Constitution Amendment, PKNS Scandal?, RM3 Billion,Open Letter by MI, Things to do ...?

Declaration of Assets - MB and Exco Members must declare their income and assets immediately on appointment - and thereafter periodically every 6 months... This must include those of spouse, children, siblings and family members. [In the event any project of the State government or its various entities are awarded to any company or entity which is any way connected to the MB, Exco Members or political leadership of the PR parties, this information must be immediately disclosed.]

Why is the Declaration of Income/Assets important? Well, it will let the people know how much the MB and the State Exco members earn, and their sources of Income? Is Azmin Ali or State Exco members also earning money by being Directors of State-owned and/or controlled companies? Are companies, where they(or their family members and friends) have shares being given government contracts?

Important also to show that they are not wrongly using their power in government to enrich themselves, their family members and close 'friends'?

As such, this 'Declaration of Income/Assets' should not just be done once, when they become MB or State Exco - but on a regular basis, at least once every year - so that the people can monitor and ensure that they are not becoming RICHER through wrongful use of their power/influence in government.

SELANGOR GOVERNMENT OWNED/CONTROLLED Companies

1MDB -We all know the problems that can arise with GLCs - Now, the GLCs are not even audited by the Auditor General as of right, and even when audited, the report may not be tabled and/or debated in the Parliament and/or State Legislative Assembly. 

All that was needed for a State was the passing of a law, that ensures that all Selangor GLCs are audited by the Auditor General(or a State Auditor), and that this report be tabled at the State Legislative Assembly - Has it been done in Selangor?

Further, the State Legislative Assembly, could have set up a Select Committee to regular monitor the operation/conduct of State GLCs - Has it been done in Selangor?

The other concern about GLCs is the 'HIGH' wages being paid to CEOS, Upper management and maybe even Directors...which can be higher than even the salary of the MB. This will impact the profits that should be flowing back to the State for the good of the people of the State. 

CEOs, Directors and Upper Management of State owned companies and state linked salaries should no longer be paid exorbitant sums as salary, allowances, bonuses,etc.. As a guiding principle, no such persons should be paid salaries exceeding the salary of the Menteri Besar or no higher than RM20,000 per month. Director's allowances should not exceed RM10,000 but if the appointed Director is the Menteri Besar, Exco Member, ADUN or government employee, then there must be NO Director's allowances(and if there is, it should be paid back into the State coffers) - such persons shall only be entitled to travel reimbursements or other reimbursements - they already are being remunerated as 'wakil rakyat' and state employees and all they do as Directors is part of that job already. - Selangor, Azmin, Constitution Amendment, PKNS Scandal?, RM3 Billion,Open Letter by MI, Things to do ...?
In fact, this matter of disclosure of salary in GLCs was also raised by Speaker Hannah Yeoh , and ADUN Lau Weng San in 2015...and Azmin ordered disclosure ....but I have not seen this information. High salary and allowances in GLCs could also be kleptocracy???

20 Days after MB Azmin said 'disclose SALARY of top management in GLCs' - looks like 'janji tidak ditepati'?

Remember monies/profits  made by GLC should be flowing back to the people - back to the State government to be used for the benefit of all people. GLCs certainly should not be making 'donations' or 'gifts' to certain politicians or political parties. No problem for private companies, not owned by the government, from doing so....

GENERAL ELECTIONS IS COMING - and Malaysians would also be considering whether there needs to be changes not just in the Federal Government, but also the State Governments(including Kelantan, Penang and Selangor). After all, the Opposition has had two terms in some of these State governments.

Should we remove Azmin Ali? Lim Guan Eng? Kelantan Menteri Besar? - These are also considerations. 

Najib is responsible for Federal Elections, and in the same way Azmin is responsible for Selangor State Elections  - When will we have the the Selangor State Elections? Remember, States do not have to wait for Najib to call for the General Elections - States can have their elections earlier or later....I would prefer Parliamentary and State Elections to be at different times...  So, what will Selangor, Penang and Kelantan do?

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Threat to Democracy? Anwar's suit to restore need for royal assent before Bill's become law? A step backwards?

When Malaysians decide on the law or amendments to the law, including amendments to the Federal Constitution, should the King(or the Sultan or ruler of the State be given the power to block the law that have been passed by the Dewan Rakyat (House of Representatives) and the Senate? 

So, when our Constitution was amended to remove the power of the King to block the passing of a law, I would say it was positive and good thing...But now, Anwar Ibrahim is in court trying to restore the power of the King to block the passing of laws - the return of the discretionary power of the King to approve or not approve laws in Malaysia that have already been passed by the Dewan Rakyat and the Senate...Is this what Malaysians want? 

 66  Exercise of legislative power.(Federal Constitution)
(3) When a Bill has been passed by the House in which it originated it shall be sent to the other House; and it shall be presented to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for his assent when it has been passed by the other House and agreement has been reached between the two Houses on any amendments made in it or when it is required to be so presented under Article 68.
(4) The Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall within thirty days after a Bill is presented to him assent to the Bill by causing the Public Seal to be affixed thereto.
(4A) If a Bill is not assented to by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong within the time specified in Clause (4), it shall become law at the expiration of the time specified in that Clause in the like manner as if he had assented thereto.

Anwar Ibrahim's (or is a PKR and Pakatan Harapan's) initiative in court ...will end up making the King all powerful in determining which laws are passed and which are not. The earlier amendment of the Constitution, effectively removes this power - now the King is given 30 days, and after that, if the royal assent is provided or not, it is deemed that the royal assent is given. 

Anwar may be concerned with the National Security Council Act 2016 - which now gives the Prime Minister, the power to declare areas in Malaysia as security areas - which brings into effect powers to curb freedoms, human rights, etc ...even arrest and detention. The Prime Minister will be acting on the advice of the National Security Council (chaired by the PM, and made up of the DPM, the Minister charged with the responsibility for defence; the Minister charged with the responsibility for home affairs; the Minister charged with the responsibility for communication and multimedia; the Chief Secretary to the Government; the Chief of Defence Forces; and the Inspector General of Police.). Given that members of the Cabinet are really selected by the PM, and the Prime Minister also decided on who is IGP, etc...There is a SERIOUS RISK that there is simply too much power on the PM. Maybe, the National Security Council should be more independent - maybe a Parliamentary Select Committee - made up of UMNO-BN backbenchers (persons not in the Cabinet and independent) and Opposition MPs and possibly even the Speakers and others...

But returning the requirement of the mandatory royal OK is certainly not the solution in a democratic nation, and if successful in his bid, it will impact all laws...not just selected laws...
18  Declaration of security area (National Security Council Act 2016)
 (1) Where the Council advises the Prime Minister that the security in any area in Malaysia is seriously disturbed or threatened by any person, matter or thing which causes or is likely to cause serious harm to the people, or serious harm to the territories, economy, national key infrastructure of Malaysia or any other interest of Malaysia, and requires immediate national response, the Prime Minister may, if he considers it to be necessary in the interest of national security, declare in writing the area as a security area.

The fundamental problem in Malaysian today is the  Members of Parliament and Senators - they are not truly independent to act in accordance to their own conscience, values and principles - and there is nothing stopping them from doing so save for a 'bad culture' - of doing what they are told by their respective political party leaders. So, they do not listen, consider and supporting good points and opinions from the MPs not in their own coalition/party - and as such it makes a mockery of 'parliamentary debate' - as the other side is simply not going to even accept good arguements or change their position. When it comes to voting, when it comes to a proposed government Bill, all MPs from the political parties in the government tend to support, and all in the Opposition opposes...This behavior has resulted in the people having little or no hope on their MPs - people just do not waste any time lobbying the individual MPs or Senators...Remember that MPs are most powerful - they decide on who is PM or whether an existing PM ought to be removed...

It is sad that this culture of unquestioning 'blind loyalty' to the party leadership is present in most political parties including the Opposition parties... Expression of criticism of the leadership of the party or the leader or even the expression of a different opinion or asking questions  results disappointingly in the expulsion or discrimination against the individual member...It happens in UMNO-BN - see how many have been expelled or sidelined including persons holding the number 2 position in the party. Look at the number of people that PKR has got rid of over the years

The intolerance to criticisms, different opinions and questions is certainly not a democratic attitude. In any society, there will always be people with different viewpoints ...and, this is also reflected in the fact, that most decisions are never unanimous - and are usually majority decisions. Does a defeat in a vote means the end of such opinions/viewpoints - in a democracy, it does not and members can freely still promote and lobby for their position - and maybe, at the next vote, they may be successful. Bersatu and PAS have also 'kicked out' members who questioned...
    
Hence, I would ask Anwar, PKR and maybe even Pakatan Harapan, to not continue to try to remove the advancement in being more democratic we achieved - when we removed the ability of the King to block the passing of laws that the people wants...

MPs are 'people's representatives' - so, when they decide on a new law, it is ultimately the decision of the people...a King in a democracy should not have the power to block laws...

Remember laws can be made ...and it also can be unmade or amended...and the power rest with the people, vide the Members of Parliament and/or the Senators. We need not simply wait for the government to table Bills to amend/create laws - any MP and/or Senator can also do so...table a Bill or a Private Members Bill like Hadi Awang?

It would be good if MPs be peoples' representatives and vote according to their own conscience and what the people wants...It would be good is the party WHIP not be used save for maybe Money Bills and certain exceptional Bills. It would be good, if voting in Parliament is known - with so many MPs(irrespective of Party) supports, opposes and abstains.. Now, the Opposition also uses the 'WHIP' at Local Councils..

SENATORS - well, it is time for Senators to be directly voted by the people in Senatorial Elections...then, we will have a democratic Senate composed of democratically elected Senators - not just Senators appointed by UMNO-BN at Federal level, and State Senators by respective State governments...Only a people elected Senate will be an effective Senate ...a necessary check and balance.

The idea of giving back to the King and rulers more power in controlling the government of our nation...seems to be a PKR (or PR or PH) thing. Did the Sultan object to a Muslim Malay Woman being the Menteri Besar of Selangor, when Wan Azizah had the confidence of the majority of the ADUNs in Selangor? Or was it the sexist ADUNs of the Opposition that did not want a Woman to be Menteri Besar? 

Are the Opposition just anti-UMNO-BN, or are they more than that in terms of having better values, better principles, better concern for justice and human rights, better...?  

There is nothing stopping the King and/or Rulers of States from speaking out, expressing their objections to laws and/or policies - but alas, we have not heard them do so much as of late....Why is that? 

In any event, is the Pakatan Harapan's pro-royalty and/or the idea of giving back the King(and Rulers) more power to block laws, etc simply an Election strategy ...or are they really 'royalist' intending to make Malaysia more feudalisatic rather than democratic? 

UMNO-BN was more 'undemocratic' - in the sense they did not want democratically elected Senators, Local Councils, Kampung/Kampung Orang Asli/Kampung Baru/ Taman leaders - preferring rather the more 'feudalistic' option of just APPOINTING...? 

What do Malaysians want? Democracy...more of it, or a regression into a more 'feudalistic' form of government whereby democracy is shunned in favour of 'Appointment' of leaders/reps at different levels? If Pakatan Rakyat wants to give power to BLOCK laws at State/Federal level - will the Opposition State/Federal government also give themselves the power to block(and control) decisions at Local Council and other levels?

Is people's participation important? Did Anwar and/or PH even conduct a referendum whether people wanted to restore the King's ability to block laws, or they just filed the suit on their own - without any prior consultation?    
  



Anwar challenges amendments in 1994 removing royal assent

Opposition-leader-Dr-Wan-Azizah-Ismail-and-lawyer-N-Surendran-1

PUTRAJAYA: Former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim wants the Federal Court to declare null and void the Federal Constitution provision that allows bills to be automatically passed as law in 30 days, without the King’s assent.

PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail who represented her husband, Anwar, in filing his case at the Federal Court registry today, said that this is Anwar’s bid to restore constitutional democracy and fundamental rights.

He is seeking leave under Article 4(4) of the Federal Constitution from the Federal Court to question the validity of a few amendments made in 1983, 1984, and 1994 that removes the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong’s powers to give the final approval for bills passed by the Dewan Rakyat.

Anwar alleged that the Parliament has no power to pass such amendments as they took away the mandatory requirement of royal assent. He said that the royal assent forms the basic structure of the Federal Constitution.

By that token, Anwar also wants the courts to declare that the National Security Council (NSC) Act, which became law in June 2016 without a royal assent, is invalid.

He named the government as the sole respondent in this direct challenge.

Previously, he had filed a lawsuit to strike down the National Security Council (NSC) Act.

He had claimed that Article 66(4A) which allows a parliamentary bill to automatically become law 30 days after it is presented to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong regardless of whether he assents to it or not, was unconstitutional.

However, his lawsuit was dismissed by the High Court on October 2016 and the Court of Appeal upheld the decision last year.

In dismissing Anwar’s appeal, the appeals court had said he should have gone straight to the Federal Court as he was challenging the competency of Parliament to pass the law.

The controversial Act was passed by the Dewan Rakyat on Dec 3 and the Dewan Negara on Dec 22.

The law, gazetted in June 2016, allows the prime minister to chair the National Security Council to declare a state of emergency without having to go through the Yang diPertuan Agong.

The NSC Act became a law under Article 66 (4A) which stated a bill becomes a law 30 days after it was presented to the Agong, even without his assent.

Anwar is currently serving a five-year jail sentence for sodomy, and is expected to be out from prison by June, having served two-thirds of his sentence, which commenced in February 2015.

Anwar was deputy prime minister in the government, led by then prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, which amended the Federal Constitution in 1994, without referring to the Conference of Rulers as required, making it such that any Bill approved by Parliament would automatically become law even without royal assent after 30 days.

Before 1994, the Agong had the power to return a Bill to Parliament for reconsideration and to state his reasons for objecting to the Bill. - FMT News, 2/1/2018

Thursday January 4, 2018
10:29 AM GMT+8
Anwar said his lawsuit to undo the constitutional amendments from the Mahathir administration would restore the Malay Rulers' role of being a control mechanism to the government's authority. — Picture by KE OoiAnwar said his lawsuit to undo the constitutional amendments from the Mahathir administration would restore the Malay Rulers' role of being a control mechanism to the government's authority. — Picture by KE Ooi













KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 4 — Powers for the Yang diPertuan Agong to approve laws passed by Parliament are necessary to preserve Malaysia's constitutional monarchy, said Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The Pakatan Harapan and PKR de facto leader said his lawsuit to undo the constitutional amendments from the Mahathir administration would restore the Malay Rulers' role of being a control mechanism to the government's authority.

“The restoration of the mandatory requirement of the Royal Assent is imperative to maintain the constitutional balance between the elected government and our hereditary monarchy,” he said in a statement.

The former deputy prime minister reminded the ruling Barisan Nasional that it regularly asserts to be defenders of the Malay Rulers, and urged the coalition to demonstrate this by not challenging his legal action.

The Agong's approval had once been necessary for the passage of new laws and amendments, but this was removed by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's administration following a constitutional crisis in the 80s.

After the amendments, laws are now automatically deemed to be approved by the Agong 30 days after they are provided for his consideration, regardless of whether royal assent is expressly given.

Coincidentally, Dr Mahathir yesterday claimed the PH pact would support Anwar's lawsuit to undo the changes introduced when the former had been in power.

On Tuesday, PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail filed the suit on her husband’s behalf.

Anwar sought leave under Article 4(4) of the Federal Constitution from the Federal Court to challenge the validity of a amendments made in 1983, 1984, and 1994 that removed the Agong’s powers to give the final approval for Bills passed by the Dewan Rakyat.- Malay Mail, 4/1/2018