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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Pakatan Rakyat will take over from BN - but do we still want it?

Change of Federal Government after 50+ years from the UMNO-led Barisan Nasional (previously the UMNO-led Perikatan/Alliance) to the NEW Pakatan Rakyat government is something that we are all waiting for...

The perception that Anwar Ibrahim had gone around proclaiming that this would happen on 16 September 2008 - and the fact that it did not happen on that date has greatly affected the credibility of Anwar Ibrahim and the Pakatan Rakyat.

But Syed Husin Ali has now assured us that it will indeed happen...
If (the power transfer) is not tomorrow, it will be the day after tomorrow; if it is not in the near future, it will be in the 13th general election (due 2013),” PKR deputy president Dr Syed Husin Ali declared today.

Opening the annual congress of the party's Youth and Women’s wings this morning, the party’s No 2 conceded a lot of people were “disappointed” when the much-talked about Sept 16 plan did not take place.

However, he blamed the powers-that-be for allegedly using underhanded tactics and asserting pressure on BN lawmakers who were purportedly planning to defect to the opposition, such as monitoring their movements through the police Special Branch.- Malaysiakini, 28/11/2008, PKR: There will be change of gov't
So, it did not happen on 16 September, and it is good that Syed Husin says that it will happen...but the when still remains a mystery. We may have to wait for the next General Elections...or maybe even the elections after that.

Many of us will just be happy with a change in the Federal Government - not really bothered whether there will be any real change in policies, the way things are done, etc..

First thing, they say is that we must have a change of the Federal Government...

BUT then we must not ignore that the Pakatan Rakyat have already managed to change amnd form government in 5 very important States - and the people are looking to see whether there is any real significant change or not. To date, safe for that a bit of 'free water' in Selangor and the elections of leaders at the kampung levels in Perak, there seems to be not much changes.

Local Council Elections -- that was a 'promise' made, but that has not happened.

At least in Perak, they did allow the people to chose the local village/kampung level leaders.

I say again, they can have elections to choose the kampung level, taman level, kampung baru level...leaders at the very least...even if they do not want to have the Local Council Elections yet. There can be elections to choose the Penghulu,...even Senators.

It is all possible...and not doing it is indicative that the quest of PKR (or PR) is for the seat of power...not so much to bring about real changes.

Now, they say that the ISA and Detention Without Trial Laws will be repealed, petrol prices slashed, tol done away...blah...blah..blah - BUT will it happen when the PR finally take power.

Is there really any difference in those 5 States, that the PR has taken over? Maybe, I should just say 4 - since Kelantan has already been long in the control of PAS - now Pakatan Rakyat.

There are many issues in Malaysia. How will Pakatan Rakyat handle it? - the same way as being done by the BN, or differently...We are not hearing much about this? And we cannot say that this is because the media is 'censoring' - not now...not in this time and age when we have so many alternatives...

There has also recently been some criticism about this, and the fact that there is not even a 'shadow cabinet' of the Pakatan Rakyat.

There has also not been any steps to formally register the 'Pakatan Rakyat' - the developing of a common Pakatan Rakyat symbol, etc.. Will they still be running as DAP, PAS and PKR? Are there more parties in Pakatan Rakyat now? Is PSM part of Pakatan Rakyat?

Pakatan Rakyat rules 5 States - and is on the verge of taking over the Federal Government, and as such there must more than just 'campaigning' and 'slogans' ...and trying to get MPs to jump over.

Friday, November 28, 2008

SUARAM:-The Selangor Chief Minister should not undermine the right to assembly

Press statement: 27 November 2008

The Selangor Chief Minister should not undermine the right to assembly

SUARAM strongly condemns the suggestion made by Selangor Chief Minister Khalid Ibrahim on public assemblies in Selangor following an agreement reached with Selangor Police Chief.

Suaram is of the view that the suggestion has clearly undermined the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Federal Constitution and is against the principles of freedom of peaceful assembly set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

According to a news report, Khalid Ibrahim was reported to have said that assemblies at public places should be no more than 15 minutes and participants need to return to private halls to continue on their agenda. He also suggested that the organiser should make an official request to the police for such an event.

The Chief Minister’s suggestion is clearly an executive intervention aimed to re-interpret and water down the human rights standard on freedom of assembly in Malaysia . We fear that the suggested restriction by the state executive will only worsen the current climate of harassment and intimidation on public assemblies. This allows for further restriction to the rights to assemble which has already been limited by the police in their highhanded selective and arbitrary actions.

In Malaysia , the right to assemble peacefully is provided for by the Article 10 (1)(b) of the Federal Constitution. The right to assemble is also a universal basic human right which is clearly stated in Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and other related international human rights conventions.

We would like to remind the Chief Minister about the two successful mass assemblies in 2007, organised by BERSIH and HINDRAF respectively. The two assemblies are clear proof that Malaysians are capable of holding peaceful assemblies. The Chief Minister also definitely failed to note the recognition and recommendations made by Suhakam and the 2005 Royal Police Commission on the right to assembly as both the commissions recommended that Section 27 of the Police Act that imposes restriction on public assemblies be repealed.

The Selangor Chief Minister’s suggestion also goes against the Selangor state government’s pledge to uphold human rights and democracy principles. The Chief Minister should be mindful that 9 months ago, prior to the general election, a number of the State Assembly representatives and EXCO members were also on the streets in solidarity with the people to protest against policies of the federal government.

The Selangor state government should therefore not back-peddle and compromise on human rights standards with suggestions that undermine the internationally accepted standards on the right to assembly.

We therefore call on the Chief Minister to withdraw his suggestion immediately and work towards realizing the wishes of people in promoting the exercise of human rights in this country. The Selangor state government should call for all legal restrictions on peaceful assembly to be repealed and promote the people’s right to assemble.

Released By,
Tah Moon Hui
SUARAM coordinator

Muslim in Malaysia have no Religious Freedom..?

Well, that seems to be the position taken by a former judge...
PUTRAJAYA, Nov 19 (Bernama) -- The concept of religous freedom does not apply to Muslims in the country, a retired high court judge told an international seminar here.

Datuk Faiza Tamby Chik said, as far as enacted law was concerned, it was clear that it was not easy for one to abandon the practices of the faith.

Citing the case of Lina Joy's renunciation of Islam, Faiza said the high court in its decision ruled that a Malay under Article 160(2) of the Federal Constitution remained in the Islamic faith until his or her dying days.

"The said Malay cannot renounce his or her religion through a deed poll and seek a declaration by virtue of Article 11 of the Federal Constitution," he said when delivering a working paper entitled, 'Malay and Islam in Malaysian Constitution' at the two-day International Seminar on Comparative Laws (ISCOM 2008) which ended today.

Speakers from universities in Sydney, Syria, the Philippines participated at the seminar which was organised by Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia whose speakers also took part.

Faiza is a distinguished Fellow in Faculty of Syariah and Law from the Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia.

On the high court decision, he said the court also held that even if one was a non-Malay and embraced Islam and become a Muslim convert (mualaf) and later decided to leave the Islamic faith, he or she was still required to report and see the relevant State Islamic Authority which would decide on the renunciation of Islam.

He said non-Muslims in the country had wide religious freedom and that the primary limitation on non-Muslims applied to those whose beliefs and religious practices included the propagation of their faith.

However, Faiza said state law may prevent attempts of non-Muslims to proselyte Muslims.

He added that Article 3 of the Federal Constitution provided a balancing clause that other religions might practice in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation.
-- BERNAMA - 19/11/2008, Religious Freedom Does Not Apply To Muslims Here, Says Retired Judge

RELA raid - 1 Dead...1 seriously injured. Abolish RELA.

RELA raid...and another death. It was a raid by apparently just the RELA...(the 'volunteer vigilante corp'). Where were the professional law enforcers - the Police, the Immigration Enforcement Officers during this raid?
"The operation at Jalan Changkat 19/1, involving eight Rela officers, was conducted after Rela received reports of illegal immigrants staying in the unit...."
This is NOT the FIRST time that deaths have allegedly resulted during RELA raids.

I hope that the police immediately commence criminal investigations (or SUHAKAM does an immediate inquiry) to find out what really happened. To determine whether the death was a mere accident or not. Are there any RELA member who are criminally (or otherwise) responsible for the death? Was the death caused by the absence (or lack) of professional training when the raid was conducted?

The undocumented migrant would generally face arrest, detention and deportation. Worse case scenario some WHIPPING..and a jail term...but this is not so bad for a person to 'jump to his death' for, is it. Was he pushed?

Investigation must be done NOW - and must involved also them who have been detained as allegedly being 'undocumented workers', before they are all deported...and the truth covered-up. We really should have PROCEDURES to immediately conduct independent inquiries into these kind of cases - within a month, when the memory is still fresh.

SHAH ALAM: A Rela raid ended in tragedy when an Indonesian illegal immigrant was killed and another seriously injured when they fell from a flat in Section 19 here yesterday.

Shah Alam police chief Assistant Commissioner Nor Azam Jamaluddin said a Rela officer lodged a police report after the 1.30am raid.

He said the Indonesian died an hour after he was discovered by Rela officers.

The injured man was being treated at Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital in Klang.

Selangor Rela director Khairi Mohd Alwee said both men were believed to be hiding when Rela officers raided the fourth floor flat and detained six illegal immigrants, including two women.

Khairi said they were later found in a pool of blood on the ground floor.

He said Rela requested the help of paramedics from Civil Defence Department but one of them died.

"The operation at Jalan Changkat 19/1, involving eight Rela officers, was conducted after Rela received reports of illegal immigrants staying in the unit.

"In light of this incident, I hope all illegal immigrants surrender to the authorities during such operations.

"They should not endanger themselves by trying to flee.

"Illegals would be treated fairly by the authorities after detention."

Apart from the operation in Section 19, Rela Selangor, with the help of the Immigration Department, also conducted similar operations around Puchong and Damansara.

A total of 103 illegal immigrants were detained. - New Straits Times, 27/11/2008 - Illegal dies during raid
I wonder whether the RELA members are still being paid for each and every 'undocumented' migrant they arrest....

Migrants are human beings and should not be treated as stray dogs, and the policy and practice of paying members of the People’s Volunteer Corps (RELA) RM80-00 for each undocumented migrant must be stopped). Now RELA is also asking for allowance of RM24.20 for lower ranking members and RM34.20 for officers given to those participating in trainings and courses could be extended for operations (Star, RELA seeks allowance for staff during ops).

Syed Shahir, President MTUC during his opening speech at the MTUC/ILO Follow up Workshop on Migrant Workers in Malaysia held on 4-6 December 2006 said that this practice of using these “uniformed part-timers who have some policing powers, who were offered and did receive cash rewards for each migrant arrested as an economic incentive and this was most disturbing and embarrassing.” He also went on to say that it was sad that Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Radzi Sheikh Ahmad was reported to have said RELA members would be again roped in for the planned crackdown on undocumented workers in 2007(Star, 14/10/2006).

MCA Public Services and Complaints Department head Datuk Michael Chong claimed that the reward offered had made RELA volunteers desperate to nab as many illegals as possible. He said this when handing over RM,2,400-00, being donations, collected by residents of Old Klang Road’s 4th mile area, to the widows, both of whom had two young children. Their husbands, Ahmad Apik, 35, and Edy Sathurrohman, 26, both Indonesians, drowned allegedly after jumping into the Klang river while trying to evade the RELA personnel. Let’s not forget the words of Michael Chong :” “These people may be illegals [undocumented], but they are still human beings,” ). A wife loses her husband and 2 children lost their fathers, and RM1,200-00 in donations is a far cry from justice. - RELA’S “CATCH A MIGRANT AND GET PAID FOR IT” POLICY MUST END

Recall also the Malaysian Bar Resolution in 2007 calling for the abolition of RELA..

MALAYSIAN BAR RESOLUTION FOR THE END OF THE STATE OF EMERGENCY AND AN END TO LAW ENFORCEMENT” BY THE UNTRAINED AND ARMED PEOPLE'S VOLUNTEER CORPS ( RELA)

Whereas:-

1. On 31st August 2007, it will be 50 years since Malaysia achieved its independence and has been for over 30 years been a peaceful democratic nation.

2. It is sad that Malaysia is still in a state of Emergency as there exist today 4 Proclamation of Emergencies issued by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong that is yet to be revoked.

3. Since independence, five states of emergency have been declared under Article 150 of the Federal Constitution. The first was the only one to have been revoked. The remaining four are still in operation. The second state of emergency was proclaimed in September 1964 when the country was faced with a campaign of violence from Indonesia. Although the threat ceased within less than two years, the state of emergency was never revoked.

4. The next state of emergency was declared on 14 September 1966 following the dismissal of the Chief Minister of the state of Sarawak. No violence - or threat of violence - resulted from the crisis. The government nevertheless proclaimed an emergency, confined to Sarawak. And although the crisis was soon resolved, the state of emergency has not been revoked.

5. The fourth proclamation came on 15 May 1969 following large-scale rioting and racial violence in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, during a general election. The violence led to several hundred casualties. As a result, further elections were postponed and parts of the Constitution suspended. Normalcy was restored soon - the legislature was reconvened and normal constitutional government restored in February 1971. However, the state of emergency has yet to be revoked.

6. On 8 November 1977, the fifth Emergency, limited to the state of Kelantan, was declared following a political crisis.

7. By reason of the proclamation of emergency, numerous legislations were enacted and are still in force, including also :-

a) Emergency (Essential Powers) Act, 1964 (30/64), today known as the Emergency (Essential Powers) Act 1979;

b) Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 1969;

c) Essential (Security Cases) Regulations 1975

8. For example, Section 6 of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Act 1979, states that “"For so long as the Proclamation of Emergency referred to in the preamble to this Act remains in force, the regulations made under the Emergency (Essential Powers) Act, 1964 (30/64) (except those regulations which the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may by notification in the Gazette declare not to be in force) shall be in force and shall have effect as if they have been made under this Act; and the regulations may be amended, modified or repealed as if they have been made under this Act.". [The proclamation of emergency referred to in this Act was the proclamation issued on 15 May 1969.]

9. The Ikatan Relawan Rakyat or better known as RELA (a People's Volunteer Corps) came into being by virtue of Essential (Ikatan RELAwan Rakyat) Regulations 1966 [P.U. 33/1966], under Emergency (Essential Powers) Act, 1964 (30/64), and continue to be in force by virtue of Section 6 of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Act 1979.

10. By virtue of the Essential (Ikatan RELAwan Rakyat) (Amendment) Regulations 2005, which came into operation on 1 February 2005, the powers of the Rela, have been dangerously over-extended giving RELA personnel the right to bear and use firearms, stop, search and demand documents, arrest without a warrant, and enter premises without a warrant. and all these powers can be exercised the RELA personnel has reasonable belief that any person is a terrorist, undesirable person, illegal immigrant or an occupier. Illegal immigrant and occupier (which would be Malaysians usually) was added on by this 2005 amendment.

11. These not-professionally trained volunteers has also now been accorded protection by the new amendments whereby it is stated that "…The Public Authorities Protection Act 1948 shall apply to any action, suit, prosecution or proceedings against the Ketua Pengarah Ikatan RELAwan Rakyat, Timbalan Ketua Pengarah Ikatan RELAwan Rakyat or any member of the Ikatan RELAwan Rakyat in respect of any act, neglect or default done or committed by him in good faith or any omission omitted by him in good faith, in such capacity."

12. Noting also that there has been numerous complaints that have surfaced in the media about the RELA not just from migrants but also Malaysians ranging from torture, gangster-like behavior, damage to property, wrongful arrest and detention and even the causing of deaths.

13. Its was reported that RELA arrested a total of 17,700 people believed
to be illegal immigrants and screened 94,010 people up to September
2006, and that means 94,010 people (or 76,310) with proper documentations were subjected to unnecessary harassment and their right to a remedy in law is difficult. Of the people arrested, recent reports in the media indicate that many may even not be “illegal” or “undocumented” migrants at all.

* “…six foreign workers, all with legal travel and work documents, were whisked out of their quarters in a resort in Cherating in the wee hours of the morning on Dec 28 last year when RELA members "literally broke into their chalet and ordered them out." (The Star, January 12, 2007).”

* “…a team of 30 to 40 RELA members (half not in uniforms) turned up to look for foreign workers, assaulted some and allegedly stole cash and valuables during the raid. The companies, who lodged police reports, said that all the workers had legal work permits…..”(The Star, December 4, 2006) ·

* “22 workers of an IT company were beaten and made to do a 50m "duck-walk" at Section 30 in Shah Alam…” (The Star, February 16, 2006)

* Residents of about 10 households in Taman Anggerik, Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, complained that RELA personnel crashed into their homes after breaking door locks and smashing gates, and told them that they [RELA] were looking for illegal workers. The residents said the RELA personnel acted like gangsters and showed them no respect. When they asked the RELA personnel to explain why they crashed into their homes, they were told "we are the law." Cash totaling RM3,756 in a drawer was subsequently found missing. (The Star, October 17, 2006)

14. There have also been report of beatings and even deaths caused by RELA volunteers. As an example, in early 2006 it was reported that Ahmad Apik, 35, and Edy Sathurrohman, 26, both Indonesians, lost their lives, and they each left behind a wife and 2 young children. (Star, January 23, 2006).

15. The policy and practice of paying members of the People's Volunteer Corps (RELA) RM80-00 for each undocumented migrant must be stopped (The Star, January 23, 2006). Even MCA Public Services and Complaints Department head Datuk Michael Chong claimed that the reward offered had made RELA volunteers desperate to nab as many illegals as possible. (The Star January 23, 2006)

15. Malaysia is a developed country and professionally trained enforcement personnel should be used for law enforcement, and the use of volunteers like the RELA must end.

16. Some migrants may be undocumented, but they are still human beings and deserved to be treated humanely and should be accorded equal protection under the law.

17. Malaysia, a party to the April 1999 BANGKOK DECLARATION ON IRREGULAR MIGRATION, which clearly states “Irregular [undocumented] migrants should be granted humanitarian treatment, including appropriate health and other services, while the cases of irregular migration are being handled, according to law. Any unfair treatment toward them should be avoided” must adhere to its commitments.

18. New laws can always be enacted by a parliament in times of peace if needed.

IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED:-

a) That we, the Malaysian Bar, call upon the Yang Di-Pertuan Agung to revoke all existing Proclamations of Emergency in Malaysia;

b) That we, the Malaysian Bar call for the repeal all legislations and Acts that were enacted and continue to be in force by reason of the now existing unrevoked Proclamations of Emergency;

c) That we, the Malaysian Bar reiterate our call for the repeal of Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 1969 and the Essential (Security Cases) Regulations 1975;

d) That we, the Malaysian Bar specifically call for the repeal of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Act 1979 and all Regulations and Rules made thereunder, in particular Essential (Ikatan RELAwan Rakyat) Regulations 1966 [P.U. 33/1966], as amended by the Essential (Ikatan RELAwan Rakyat) (Amendment) Regulations 2005;

e) That we, the Malaysian Bar call for the employment and usage of only properly trained professional law enforcement personnel in Malaysia;

f) That we, the Malaysian Bar urge that inquests be conducted for Ahmad Apik, Edy Sathurrohman and for the other persons who have died as result of alleged RELA actions;

g) That we, the Malaysian Bar urge that all persons including undocumented migrants and/or refugees be treated humanely and accorded equal protection of the law;

h) That we, the Malaysian Bar call on the Malaysian government to immediately ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families;

i) That we, the Malaysian Bar call on the Malaysian government to immediately ratify the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Proposers: Charles Hector & Francis Pereira, Motion dated 18th February 2007.The motion was unanimously carried at the 61st Annual General Meeting of the Malaysian Bar held at the Grand Ballroom, Legend Hotel, Kuala Lumpur - 17 March 2007

Source:- RELA man outraged woman's modesty - Abolish RELA now

The Malaysian Government must employ more full-time professionally trained Immigration Enforcement Officers, and Police - and stop using this volunteer corp...

RESPECT human life and human persons - and abide by the commitments made by Malaysia in the 1999 BANGKOK DECLARATION ON IRREGULAR MIGRATION, which clearly states “Irregular [undocumented] migrants should be granted humanitarian treatment, including appropriate health and other services, while the cases of irregular migration are being handled, according to law. Any unfair treatment toward them should be avoided”

Note also that this incident occurred in Selangor - a Pakatan Rakyat governed state, and I say again that Pakatan Rakyat must EXPRESS clearly its position and stance with regard to RELA....and also Migrants and Refugees in Pakatan Rakyat governed states.


Criminal Court should have ordered compensation for the victim, Nirmala Bonat?

Migrant Domestic Worker Nirmala Bonat was allegedly abused and assaulted by her employer in 2004 - and finally in November 2008, this criminal trial comes to an end, and '...Homemaker Yim Pek Ha was found guilty today of grievously hurting domestic helper Nirmala Bonat, and was sentenced to 18 years in jail...'
It made headlines in Malaysia, with photographs of her severe injuries splashed on the front pages of newspapers when her plight was revealed in 2004.- Malaysiakini, 27/11/2008 - Maid abuse: Housewife gets 18 years
But the Nirmala Bonat's case is the exception .... not the norm. Many a time when the migrant worker is the victim, the perpetrators get off scott free because most will not be able to linger around in Malaysia waiting for the trial (or have the capacity to travel up and down for the trial).

Remember, in Malaysia, the victimized migrant worker, is not given the opportunity to work and earn an income while they wait for their cases to be heard...

Happily after the Nirmala Bonat's expose....the Malaysian authorities came out and asked other victims of abuse to step forward and complain about abusive employers...(But note that you will not be able to work with another employer until the case is over...and this is SO WRONG...)

Migrant Worker victims cannot be expected to just 'hang around' without new employment with a new employer...while the criminal case proceeds.

Could some Member of Parliament ask the question as to how many cases involving migrant worker victims have been completed? How many cases do the prosecution pay for foreign victims to come back to Malaysia to give evidence in the trial? How much money has been expended bringing these foreign victims back to Malaysia for the trial to give evidence?

Homemaker Yim Pek Ha was found guilty today of grievously hurting domestic helper Nirmala Bonat, and was sentenced to 18 years in jail.

MCPX

Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court judge Akhtar Tahir found Yim, 40, guilty on three counts of hurting Nirmala. An additional count of causing hurt was however not proven.

He sentenced her to 18 years' jail on each of the three charges but ordered the sentences to run concurrently.

abused indonesian maid nirmala bonat 170108 yim pek haAkhtar said Yim (left) had committed sadistic behaviour that cannot be tolerated in a civil society.

She had pressed a hot iron on Bonat's back and breasts, and pouring hot water on her legs as punishment for not doing the chores properly.

Yim was cleared of a fourth charge of breaking the maid's nose.

"I agree with the prosecution that you have not shown remorse and have been in a state of denial throughout the case," he said, noting that the court has to give weight to the public interest in passing sentence.

In his judgment, Akhtar said there were suggestions the injury could have been the result of Nirmala suffering bouts of gila kambing (epilepsy).

abused indonesian maid nirmala bonat then and now 170108"Fermima Anunut, the employer of Nirmala's cousin, had testified that she (Nirmala) has the condition. However, Nirmala's mother, when testifying, had denied this.

“The electrocardiogram test and examinations performed by doctors also proved that Nirmala does not suffer from the ailment.”

Akhtar said it was illogical for Nirmala to have suffered a seizure while in her room, and that she had injured herself.

"Furthermore, the court cannot accept how Fermima would have known that Nirmala had suffered seizures when Fermima herself was in Ipoh, working," he said.

Akhtar hence ruled that the injuries suffered by Nirmala were not self-inflicted.

The judge said evidence also showed that Yim was capable of such actions as she had testified to having slapped Nirmala in the past.

"From the statements of the accused while on the witness stand, she blamed the maid for this and that. I could still see Yim's underlying anger even after three years. So it would not surprise me if she had caused the injuries. She also admitted that she had slapped the victim.

"Nirmala Bonat has been consistent in her statements that her lady boss injured her, in her testimony in court and from the time she was found by a security guard.

“The security guard had also given consistent evidence to say the female boss had done this to her. My finding of fact is that the injuries were not self-inflicted."

abused indonesian maid nirmala bonat 210504Akhtar said the court was also satisfied with the prosecution's decision to classify the case under ‘grievous hurt’, as Nirmala testified that she had not taken a bath for 20 days after suffering injuries.

"If a person cannot take a bath for 20 days, it shows the extent of pain from the injuries. Hence, the prosecution was right in classifying the cases as grievous hurt," he said.

In finding that the prosecution has proven its case beyond reasonable doubt, the judge pronounced Yim’s guilt.

Yim was seen crying and later hugging her husband Hii Ik Ting, 42, her children and relatives.

A former air stewardess and a mother of four, Yim was sentenced after Akhtar heard mitigation from her lawyers.

Counsel Jagjit Singh who was assisted by counsel Akbardin Abdul Kader told the court he could not submit that his client was remorseful.

“A staunch Christian, she still believes she is innocent and I too feel the same way,” the lawyer said.

‘Nightmarish experience’

DPP Raja Rozela Raja Toran, in pressing for a deterrent sentence, said Nirmala had come to Malaysia to find a decent job but had returned emotionally scarred to Indonesia.

"Although the physical injuries may have healed, she will always be haunted by her nightmarish experience while working here," she said.

Raja Rozela said the injuries inflicted on Nirmala were done not using ordinary items, but a hot iron and hot water, while the injuries were to her whole body.

"It is unbelievable that one woman would do that to another who is helpless. The extent of Nirmala's injuries showed the inhumane nature of the perpetrator," the DPP said.

She also applied under section 426 of the Criminal Procedure Code for an order to compel Yim to pay compensation.

Jagjit objected, pointing out that Nirmala had received donations in cash and kind from Malaysia.

"She is already a billionaire in Indonesia. Furthermore, my client is also facing a civil suit filed by Nirmala and the Indonesian government.”

Akhtar said he did not want to hear a defence application for stay of execution today, after Raja Rozela raised an objection.

"You have to file a written notice of appeal and after you do that, I will set a date for the hearing," said the judge.

Akbardin then said he wanted to submit an oral application, as he intended to file a written application later today.

However, the judge would not allow it, assuring, “I will set the earliest date available".

Legal history

Outside the court, Jagjit expressed unhappiness with the sentence, saying he felt it to be too harsh.

"This sentence is more severe than for culpable homicide. However, we have to respect the court's decision," he said, adding a notice of appeal would be filed today.

The verdict comes after 110 days of proceedings held over four and a half years.

Yim was charged with four counts of voluntarily causing grievous hurt to the Indonesian, then 19, with a hot iron twice on a day in January and in April 2004, with using hot water on a day in March 2004, and using a metal cup at about 3pm on May 17, 2004.

The offences were committed at Yim's upmarket Villa Putera condominium in Jalan Tun Ismail in Kuala Lumpur.

The first three offences were under section 326 of the Penal Code which carries a maximum punishment of 20 years' jail, and a fine or whipping. The fourth charge under section 325 carries a maximum seven years jail and fine.

This case created legal history when then DPP Stanley Augustin said this was the first time that an individual had been charged with three counts under Section 326 of the Penal Code for offences against the same victim.

Nirmala's case created an uproar among Malaysians and Indonesians, after a security guard discovered her plight.

It made headlines in Malaysia, with photographs of her severe injuries splashed on the front pages of newspapers when her plight was revealed in 2004.

Bonat said that Yim abused her every day of the five months she spent in the family's home, until her breasts and back were covered with burns, and her face was swollen by regular beatings.

In Indonesia, it sparked protests in front of the Malaysian embassy with demonstrators calling for better treatment for domestic helpers.- Malaysiakini, 27/11/2008 - Maid abuse: Housewife gets 18 years

It is good that the perpetrator of the crime is punished - but what about compensation for the victim of the crime. Criminal Courts must start making awards of compensation. There seem to have been an application here...but it seems that there was no award of compensation.

This means that now Nirmala Bonat will have to file a civil suit to get compensation and damages...and she still can do that as 6 years have not yet lapsed.

When migrant workers come forward and report a crime or a wrong committed by their employer or their family against him/her, that migrant worker should be able to go to some SHELTER to stay. Surely, she cannot go back to her employer...This SHELTER must be provided by the government.

Until the case is over , be it a criminal case as in the case of Nirmala Bonat or a Labour/Industrial case, the Migrant Worker should be permitted to remain in Malaysia - and also to be able to work and earn a living as he/she waits for her case to be completed.

When it comes to Migrant Workers - cases have to be expedited, to be completed not later than 3 - 6 months.

Updated Note

Compensation - the court should order the perpetrator to pay the victim compensation.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

'Anti-freedom of assembly Selangor MB' really must be 'reformed' or kicked-out

The people come out to the street and other public places to express themselves - to let others know of their position and stance on certain matters.

The importance of the freedom of expression and freedom of opinion - is so that OTHERS are aware of it, so that others may be convinced to join the cause or to show support to the cause.

It is useless for persons who want to do this to go to some secluded area...or some enclosed area...and shout "Abolish ISA" or carry posters. It is stupid.

It is a public protest...and the object is ADVOCACY...lobbying the unconvinced or the rest of the people...

The object of a public protest or act of expression is to show NUMBERs - i.e. that this is a matter that many support. And in Malaysia, it would also mean that it is something that people consider really important - so important that I am willing to face potential arrest, potential assault and battery by the police, tear gas, water cannons...

There are other avenues of expressing oneself - but different people express themselves differently...and that is their right.

I should not be required to get anyone's permission before I be allowed to assemble and express myself...

That is why I cannot agree that persons should apply and get police permits before exercising their right to assemble peacefully and express themselves on particular issues.

And, if you have had the experience of trying to get police permits, you would realize that it is a 'stupid exercise'....and the police, normally imposes unacceptable conditions, and delays in the granting of the permit until the 11th hour - so that you would not have the time to mobilize people to attend the protest...

And that is why I am shocked with PR Selangor Menteri Besar, who really do not understand the purpose of public assembly and expression - and this continuous struggle of all freedom loving Malaysians to resist that "get permission from police first" provisions in Malaysian laws..

LARGE gatherings and demonstrations in Selangor are allowed as long as they are held indoors and prior notice is given to the police.

Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim said yesterday police would not take action against gatherings held in enclosed areas such as multipurpose halls.

He has also given the green light to participants to extend their activities outdoors for 15 minutes.

"If there is a need to demonstrate outdoors, it shouldn't be more than 15 minutes," he said at the Parliament lobby yesterday.

He said Selangor police chief Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar had agreed to these suggestions.

Khalid said all parties, including political parties and non-governmental organisations, should adhere to these rules.- New Straits Times, Dewan Rakyat - Green light for large gatherings indoors

Hold in in enclosed areas...like multi-purpose Halls - what is the use? Who will see the expression of those assembled..

Further, try getting permission to use these Halls, usually under the Local Council. And are they free...NO they are not. And mind you, they come with conditions as well...and then you will have to comply with the conditions of the Hall owner...the conditions of the police, etc..

Recent assembly of protest in PJ against the ISA got the permit - with the condition that no anti-ISA T-shirts be worn by participant, no speeches ...

"...it shouldn't be more than 15 minutes..." - really this man is stupid and have no understanding of the freesom of assembly and protest...

There really is no difference, is there whether it was Khir Toyo (BN) or Khalid Ibrahim (PKR-PR)...

I feel that we need to get a new MB that will better reflect and practice the values and principles of Pakatan Rakyat ...of the REFORMASI....of the Makkal Sakti...

What do you think?





Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Of Alcohol Sale and Minority Rights...

There is trouble brewing within Pakatan Rakyat - and it is all about Alcohol. Could it not have been some more important issue?

It seems that Shah Alam City Council has already decided to ban alcohol sales from January 2009. It was decided at its meeting last month

Meanwhile Malaysiakini learnt that the Shah Alam City Council will be the first local council which will curb the sale of alcohol in Selangor, effective next January.

Sources said that the council had agreed to proceed with this at its meeting last month. - Malaysiakini, 25/11/2008, Alcohol ban: Trouble brewing in Pakatan

Now, let us not forget that these are the persons hand-picked by the Pakatan Rakyat Selangor government and appointed as Local Councilors - not persons elected through Local Council Elections.

We wonder why we did not know about this, which was decided last month - October 2008 (It is 25/11/2008 today).

Several Questions that we must consider:-

a) What are the powers of Local Council's?

b) How do Local Council make decisions generally? Do their decision have to be gazetted, etc..? [Sadly, I do not see their minutes and decisions in their websites...- WHY?]

c) Do the people have a role in the decision-making of Local Councils? Do the people have a right to be heard before a Local Council makes a decision?

d) How do people in the affected area appeal against a decision of a Local Council?

e) Who can quash a decision of the Local Council?

The State government should NOT interfere in affairs of the Local Council, save in certain FEW matters of great importance that should be clearly defined in law. The independence of the Local Council should be recognized and respected.

This is the same as the principle that the Federal Government should not interfere in matters and affairs of the State.

It is sad that the fingers are being pointed at PAS - Why is that? Are we not all Pakatan Rakyat now? It was the Pakatan Rakyat Local Council in Shah Alam that decided....LAST MONTH (according to the Malaysiakini report...)

Apparently, DAP also missed it...PKR also missed it....until now when Malaysiakini brought it up.

I am shocked about the manner in which Tony Pua, the DAP's Publicity Secretary chose to respond...

* Hello, you only got 8 seats ....out of the 36 seats, we got more - we all know that people voted PR, not the individual political parties. And this approach taken is so 'childish'

* Hey...half the population is non-Muslim ...non-Malay. Should it even matter when it is a question of rights. Even if there are 1 or 100 only, it matters not. Pua's arguement means that it is OK for sale of alcohol to be banned in other states where there are very few non-Muslims...non-Malays. Also, not all non-Muslims buy and consume alcohol...and there are some Muslims and Malays that do.

Seeing red over the matter, DAP publicity secretary Tony Pua reminded PAS that Selangor was ruled by a joint government and the Islamic party only controlled eight of the 36 state seats won by Pakatan Rakyat in the March 8 polls.

"Therefore, any attempts by Selangor PAS to flex its muscles without due regard to its fellow coalition partners would be deemed as arrogant and uncooperative," he said in a statement today.

...In view of this, he urged PAS to respect the spirit of multi-racialism since almost half of the population in Selangor comprised non-Muslims and non-Malays.... - Malaysiakini, 25/11/2008, Alcohol ban: Trouble brewing in Pakatan

The BN divided us according to race and ethnicity.....Malay, Chinese, Indian......Bumi-Non-Bumi..., and also religion.

What is Pakatan Rakyat trying to propagate now....a Muslim-Non-Muslim kind of divide...mmmm

The issue should be resolved based on numbers...or who has the majority...but based on human rights and respect...

Talking about respect...it should also be considered whether BEEF should no longer be served at official functions. We have so many other meat and fish options.... (Pork is "Haram", while the cow is an holy creature - and consumption of it at Pakatan Rakyat and other PR State Official functions must be stopped out of respect....or why bother, after all the Hindu Indians and them Buddhists are too few in number...mmm



Monday, November 24, 2008

PR's Irene acquitted - next a PR Migrant-Refugee Policy

Good news indeed that the High Court has allowed Irene Fernandez's appeal against conviction and sentence. She is now free.

Irene is also in the Supreme Council of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and has been since the party's inception about 10 years ago.

PKR, together with the DAP and the PAS are known as the Pakatan Rakyat - and they now govern 5 States in the Peninsular..

I am certain that these 5 PR States can come with with a Migrant-Refugee Policy, Guidelines and Practice that will ensure that Human Rights and Migrant Rights are recognized and respected.

For a start, maybe an area could be set aside as a 'SANTUARY' for Refugees and their families, including those potential refugees. Some basic amenities could be provided...What this sanctuary would provide is safety from RELA and other enforcement bodies...etc.

Activist Irene Fernandez, 62, was acquitted on Monday of maliciously publishing false news about the torture and abuse of migrant workers after a 13-year court battle.

There were shouts of joy from Fernandez’s family and supporters when Justice Datuk Mohd Apandi Ali announced his decision, reversed the 2003 Magistrate Court’s conviction and one-year jail sentence.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Shamsul Sulaiman told the court earlier that he would not pursue with a cross appeal.

He said that after being served with the records of the proceedings of Irene’s case and discovering systemic errors in the records, he decided that justice would not be achieved by opposing the appeal.

In the light of the prosecution not opposing the appeal “there is no necessity to deliberate on this appeal further,” said Justice Mohd Apandi.

Irene later said that she was “relieved and very happy that truth and justice had prevailed” as she had least expected the result when she got up this morning.

In In 1995, Fernandez wrote a memorandum on ‘Abuse, Torture and Dehumanised Conditions of Migrant Workers in Detention Centres.'

A year later, she was arrested and charged under Section 8A (1) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984. - Star. 24/11/2008, Activist Irene Fernandez acquitted after 13-year trial

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Malaysia, please VOTE for anti-death penalty UN General Assembly Resolution in December 08

On 18th December 2007, the United Nations General Assembly 'calling for a moratorium on executions to be established in all States that still maintain the death penalty'
passed a resolution

The resolution calling for “a moratorium on the death penalty”, was passed by a vote of 104 in favour to 54 against, with 29 abstentions. (See annex VI.) It called on all States that still allowed capital punishment to “progressively restrict the use of the death penalty and reduce the number of offences for which it may be imposed”. Those countries were also called on to provide the Secretary-General with information on their use of capital punishment and to respect international standards that safeguard the rights of condemned inmates. - see earlier posts (a) Is Pakatan Rakyat for the Abolition of Death Penalty in Malaysia (b) U.N. panel votes for death penalty moratorium (Star)


Again in 2008,

The U.N. General Assembly's human rights committee voted Thursday for the second year in a row to urge a global moratorium on the death penalty.

The United States sided with countries such as Iran, China and Syria in opposing the resolution.

The 105-48 vote marked a slight change from the 104-54 vote in the full General Assembly last December. About 30 nations abstained.

Supporters of the ban argue there's no conclusive evidence that the death penalty serves as a meaningful deterrent to crime and the risk of injustice is too high. Nations opposing the ban say the death penalty is effective in discouraging most serious crimes and remains legal under international law.

The vote in the human rights committee, though it includes all U.N. members, is not the final vote. Next month, the General Assembly will hold a final vote on the measure and the committee's vote is almost certain to be closely replicated there.

Though not legally binding, the voting does carry moral weight coming from the 192-nation world body that serves as a unique forum for debate and barometer of international opinion.

Amnesty International, which has been campaigning for the resolution, noted rising acceptance of a moratorium. In the 1990s, it was voted on twice in the General Assembly and failed.

On Thursday, the committee vote picked up one more nation than last year and six fewer opponents.

As of November, some 137 nations had abolished the death penalty in law or practice, compared with about 80 in 1988, according to Amnesty International figures.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has been encouraged by the trend in many areas of the world toward ultimately abolishing the death penalty, U.N. spokeswoman Michele Montas said.

Last year there were at least 1,252 people put to death by 24 nations and 3,347 others sentenced to death in 51 countries, according to Amnesty International. - Washington Times, 20/11/2008 - UN vote shows growing support of death penalty ban


In December, the UN General Assembly will be voting on this resolution - and it is expected that the results will be the same.

In Malaysia, we can still campaign with 0ur government to vote in favour of this resolution which will still be calling for an immediate moratorium on executions...

Some of the interventions of MALAYSIA during the committee stage, as obtained from the website of 7th Space Interactive are as follows:-
[Note that there could have been other interventions from Malaysia...]
The representative of Malaysia also took time to respond to arguments by the text’s co-sponsors that the Assembly should be made to welcome a global trend towards abolition, arguing that States should not make assumptions based on perceived trends, and that they should not use such assumptions to decide how other countries should evolve their own legal systems. ...

Malaysia’s representative, after asking permission to propose an oral amendment, noted that the close results of Tuesday’s votes on the draft amendments had indicated that States were still divided on the issue and that the international community was no closer to consensus. The fact that a number of delegations had voted for the amendments, or had abstained from voting, indicated their discomfort with the resolution as a whole. Therefore, he proposed that references to requests for the Secretary-General to provide a report for consideration at the Assembly’s sixty-fifth session, as contained in operative paragraphs 2 and 3, be changed to “sixty-sixth session” so as to provide further time for countries to evolve their opinion on the issue. To insist on considering the question at the sixty-fifth session would perpetuate divisions.

Further, votes against the amendments of two days ago had seemed to reflect a bloc outlook and did not reflect a judgement on the merits of those amendments, which he believed would have enhanced the text. Those amendments had been defeated by sheer numbers. He invited countries to take those points into account and to support his proposed oral amendment.


The representative of Malaysia said he had been disappointed that the Committee’s important work on a range of different human rights questions had been distracted by a resolution on the issue of the death penalty on which there was no international consensus. There should not be any attempt by a country to impose their viewpoint on that issue onto other countries. While his country respected the decision by some to voluntarily abolish the death penalty and by other countries to apply a moratorium, it was concerned at attempts to offer the same respect to those countries that still maintained it.

He said he had been prepared to engage with the co-sponsors in an open spirit of dialogue and constructive engagement. In reality, that had not taken place. During the informal consultations, a number of delegations had expressed a desire for the text to be amended to strike a balance over the differing views. But, the co-sponsors had not circulated those amendments in a compilation draft, and it became clear that the co-sponsors had not wanted to negotiate the text. Thus, the Committee faced a process that was forced upon countries, and where changes made on the draft had not addressed the concerns of some countries. Those countries had provided clear, fair, non-hostile amendments reflecting the purposes and principles of the Charter and of international cooperation. Those amendments were positive in nature, given to enhance the text, so that there could be the widest possible support from all countries, regardless of where they stood, whether they were co-sponsors or not.

He said the co-sponsors have painted those amendments as undermining the spirit of the resolution, when those amendments would have brought balance to this text. The international community, as a whole, was not ready for the issue; and he was disappointed that even deferring this question to a later stage -- to allow more time for countries to evolve their views on this question -- had been greeted with negativity. For his country, the death penalty was a criminal justice issue, applied only for the most serious of crimes and only through a judicial process that included the right to appeal to courts of a higher jurisdiction and the right to seek pardon or commutation of the sentence. Other countries should not make assumptions based on perceived trends to decide how they wish other countries to evolve in their own legal systems. In that regard, he opposed the resolution.

What does Malaysia really want to do? The attempt to delay matters by one year seems to indicate that Malaysia maybe moving towards abolition of the death penalty in time. They want more time "...to evolve their opinion on the issue...", and by that I hope that he was talking about evolution of thought in favour of abolition.

Malaysia should at the very least adhere to the 2007 General Assembly Resolutions that require an immediate moratorium of executions. At the very least, stop all executions now, and tell us Malaysians and the whole world that we have not executed and will not execute any person until the 2010 session of the UN which will again re-visit the resolution on death penalty.

Our neighbour Thailand, also another nation like Malaysia that opposed the 2007 Resolution, did also recently declare at the committee stage that they have not executed any person since 2003...

The representative of Thailand said that it was the sovereign right of States to come to a decision on the use of the death penalty, and all States should show respect for the decisions of others. The Thai public viewed capital punishment as an effective deterrent and its judicial system allowed for petitions to be made up to the level of the Supreme Court, as well as commutations of sentences. In Thailand, the death penalty was reserved for only the most serious crimes and under certain conditions. Indeed, since 2003, no execution had been carried out by the Government.- from the website of 7th Space Interactive
It would be good if Malaysia also can declare that it will abide by the 2007 General Assembly Resolution, and will not execute anyone in Malaysia for the time being as an act of respect to the spirit of democracy.

So let us all campaign for Malaysia to vote in favour of that anti-death penalty motion that will be tabled and voted on at the General Assembly of the United Nations in December 2008. After all, the resolution only calls for a moratorium at this stage - not for an abolition of the death penalty yet.

What about a FATWA on Detention Without Trial?

The national Fatwa Council has again hit the news - this time with its fatwa () on YOGA. Recently, it was about 'tomboyism'....

Wonder why they are not discussing and coming out with a FATWA on Detention Without Trial, ISA and the Detention Without Trial Laws,

What does the National Fatwa Council say about Detention Without Trial...? What does it say about Death in Custody? Freedom of Assembly and Expression? Corruption?...

Anyway, this is what they allegedly said about YOGA...
As expected, the National Fatwa Council yesterday announced that Muslims are prohibited from practising yoga.
In declaring yoga haram, the council said it could be traced back to Hinduism and concluded that yoga could erode the faith of Muslims.

Council chairman Datuk Dr Abdul Shukor Husin said the decision was made as yoga involved elements that were against the beliefs of Islam in its physical movements, chanting and worship.

"Many Muslims in the country fail to understand the ultimate aim of yoga.

"It combines physical movements, religious elements, chanting and worshipping for the purpose of achieving inner peace and ultimately to be one with God," he said at a press conference to announce the decision yesterday.
Shukor said once the fatwa was gazetted, it would be passed on to the states to decide on the enforcement.

Malaysia, he said, was not alone in prohibiting yoga among Muslims as the Singaporean and Egyptian Islamic councils had done the same.

Shukor said renowned Islamic scholars were also of the view that yoga could erode the faith of Muslims.

Asked if practising yoga with the intention of promoting physical health was also against the fatwa, he said although it did not include the chanting and beliefs, it was discouraged.

This, he said, was because the physical movements of yoga were a component of the practice which was haram.

"In Islam, one must not do things which can erode one's aqidah (belief). Yoga, even the physical movements, is a step towards the erosion of a Muslim's belief, hence they must avoid it."

Muslims, he added, should be careful and conduct thorough studies before embracing rituals and practices that could threaten their faith.

He said Islam had long paved the way for Muslims to achieve spiritual peace and health and they should stick to these teachings, which included praying five times a day. - New Straits Times, 23/11/2008 -Yoga Ban: Don't question fatwa, says Council
Their statement was found at the Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (JAKIM) website:-

Sidang Media - Fatwa Yoga

Jawatankuasa Fatwa Majlis Kebangsaan Bagi Hal Ehwal Ugama Islam telah mengadakan sidang media bagi mengumumkan fatwa mengenai senaman yoga di kalangan umat Islam. Pengumuman yang telah dibuat oleh Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Fatwa Majlis Kebangsaan Bagi Hal Ehwal Ugama Islam , Y. Bhg. Prof. Dato’ Dr. Abdul Shukor bin Hj. Husin telah diadakan pada 22 November 2008, jam 10.00 pagi bertempat di Dewan Syura JAKIM.

Kenyataan media Jawatankuasa tersebut adalah seperti berikut:

"Antara perkara yang telah dibincangkan oleh Ahli Majlis Muzakarah Fatwa Kebangsaan yang bersidang pada 22 – 24 Oktober 2008 di Kota Bharu, Kelantan ialah senaman Yoga. Setelah meneliti dan mengkaji hujah-hujah serta pandangan-pandangan yang berkaitan dengan Yoga maka, Ahli Muzakarah berpandangan dan berpendapat bahawa senaman Yoga yang berasal dari masyarakat Hindu sejak sebelum Masihi lagi yang menggabungkan amalan fizikal, unsur-unsur keagamaan, mentera dan pemujaan bagi tujuan tertentu seperti mendapatkan ketenangan dan kemuncaknya, penyatuan diri dengan tuhan atau tujuan-tujuan lain adalah tidak sesuai dan boleh merosakkan akidah seorang muslim.

Oleh itu, Ahli Muzakarah juga bersetuju dan memutuskan apa jua jenis atau bentuk amalan yang mengandungi unsur-unsur tersebut di atas adalah dilarang dan bertentangan dengan syariat Islam. Sementara pergerakan amalan fizikal tanpa unsur-unsur di atas yang dilakukan pada zahirnya tidaklah menjadi kesalahan. Namun demikian,masyarakat Islam dingatkan wajib berhati-hati dam berwaspada dari perkara-perkara yang boleh menghakis akidah seseorang muslim.

Seperti yang kita sedia maklum, perkara-perkara yang boleh menghakis akidah boleh berlaku dengan sebab-sebab berikut:

(1)kepercayaan atau keyakinan di hati.
(2)menerusi perkataan atau pengakuan dengan lidah.
(3)perbuatan.

Memandangkan terdapat dua elemen tersebut dalam amalan yoga, maka umat Islam wajib memelihara akidah mereka dari terhakis. - JAKIM Website

And, what really is FATWA?

Fatwas are formal legal opinions issued by a recognized religious legal authority. Fatwas are most frequently issued in response to questions about living everyday life in accordance with religious law, such as proper diet, gender relations, or the use of new technologies, for example.

However, fatwas have also been used to communicate radical anti-Western messages. In 1989, former Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini famously called for author Salman Rushdie's death for his publication of his novel, The Satanic Verses.

Other Muslim and Arab authorscondemned the fatwa:"Naguib Mahfouz, the winner of the 1988 Nobel Prize in Literature, criticized Khomeini for 'intellectual terrorism' but changed his view later and said that Rushdie did not have 'the right to insult anything, especially a prophet or anything considered holy.' The Nobel writer V.S. Naipaul described Khomeini's fatwa as "an extreme form of literary criticism."

Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden issued a fatwa in 1996 titled, "Declaration of War against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places."

The two holy places are Mecca and Medinah, both in Saudi Arabia.

Bin Laden's fatwa is not considered legitimate by most Muslims. He is clearly a criminal, and has no recognized religious authority. Indeed, the Islamic Commission of Spain issued a fatwa condemning bin Laden in March 2004, a year after an Al Qaeda attack in Spain killed 190 people. - Source:-http://terrorism.about.com/od/politicalislamterrorism/g/Fatwa.htm

Another Definition:-

Definition: A fatwa is an Islamic religious ruling, a scholarly opinion on a matter of Islamic law.

A fatwa is issued by a recognized religious authority in Islam. But since there is no hierarchical priesthood or anything of the sort in Islam, a fatwa is not necessarily "binding" on the faithful. The people who pronounce these rulings are supposed to be knowledgable, and base their rulings in knowledge and wisdom. They need to supply the evidence from Islamic sources for their opinions, and it is not uncommon for scholars to come to different conclusions regarding the same issue.

As Muslims, we look at the opinion, the reputation of the person giving it, the evidence given to support it, and then decide whether to follow it or not. When there are conflicting opinions issued by different scholars, we compare the evidence and then choose the opinion to which our God-given conscience guides us.

Pronunciation: fa-twa
Alternate Spellings: fatwah, fetwa, fetwah
Examples: Some scholars have issued a fatwa that smoking cigarettes is forbidden in Islam. - http://islam.about.com/od/law/g/fatwa.htm

And yet another definition in Bahasa Malaysia - about Fatwa ...and Keputusan Fatwa (Fatwa decision).

KEPUTUSAN FATWA

Dari segi Bahasa
memberi jawapan/penjelasan bagi sesuatu masalah agama

Dari Segi Istilah
Penjelasan mengenai hukum syarak oleh Mufti bagi sesuatu masalah agama berdasarkan dalil syarak sebagai jawapan kepada sesiapa yang bertanya, baik secara sendirian atau berkumpulan.


FATWA
Fatwa ialah keputusan fatwa yang telah dikeluarkan oleh Jabatan Mufti dan telah diwartakan oleh kerajaan negeri bagi proses penguatkuasaan undang-undang. - e-Fatwa

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What are we doing about Lourdes Mary?

Have we forgotten Lourdes Mary ...

Why are they (them Pakatan Rakyat MPs,...DAP, PKR, PAS...) not taking up this issue of Lourdes Mary?

It may not be Anwar Ibrahim or some other 'famous' personality - but Lourdes Mary is a human being - and all concerned persons must demand an explanation from the police ...from the Home Minister...the Prime Minister...the Government...

We do not want a repeat of this in modern Malaysia.

hindraf kajang magistrate 241008 lourdes mary faintedDuring the remand hearing, one of the female detainee, Lourdes Mary, fainted in court while explaining the lock-up condition to the magistrate.

According to Surendran, the detainee is a diabetic and her legs have swollen twice the size as she was unable to obtain insulin since her detention yesterday.

“I have never seen this kind of neglect in court before,” lamented the lawyer.

Meanwhile, another legal team member M Manogaran criticised the police for demanding lawyers to register themselves before entering the court building and for barring journalists from entering the complex. - Malaysiakini, 24/10/2008 Child, mother freed, 10 remanded
That incident was also reported in the Star,

At around noon, there was a minor commotion when Lourdes Mary, who is believed to be suffering from diabetes, fainted in the midst of remand proceedings and had to be carried out of the courtroom into a nearby car to be taken to the Putrajaya Hospital. - Star, 24/10/2008 -Ten Hindraf supporters remanded for three days (updated) Source: Earlier Posting

I believe that what happened to Lourdes Mary is very very serious - and it warrants even a Royal Commission of Inquiry, with the mandate:-

a) To Investigate the Lourdes Mary incident, and determine whether the police are criminally liable OR were negligent in the performance of their duty;

b) To look at the state of healthcare in Malaysian Police Lock-Ups, with the object of setting standards, proposing improvements and reforms, etc..

Every single day hundreds and thousands end up being arrested and detained in police lock-ups all over the country. They all will face healthrisks - and maybe even death - because the police have the required mechanisms or 'responsibility' to ensure that health of detainees are given the utmost priority.

Lourdes Mary could have become another Death in Custody case - because the failure to get certain medijcation or the required standard of healthcare may result in death.

I am shocked at the lack of response on this matter (noting of course there was a lot of response when the lawyer responsible was being 'harrassed') ....we have to now focus on Lourdes Mary...

From an earlier posting - but still relevant...

Why are the Human Rights group not making this an issue of importance?

Why is SUHAKAM not saying or doing anything about this matter?

Why is the Malaysian Bar silent on the matter?

She was arrested by the police and kept in a police lock-up ...her legs allegedly had swollen because she did not get her insulin. While in court she fainted and had to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance...I believe, that this is a very serious matter,...and she could even have died... and become just another statitic of persons who died in police custody.

The matter seem to have disappeared... Is this yet another matter that will be swept under the carpet - and hopefully forgotten..




Now Selangor wants 'religious vocational school' . Why not just vocational school for ALL

Rather than moving away from the BN practices of 'divide and rule'. the Pakatan Rakyat Selangor government is again at it - behaving just like the BN.

Now they want to establish a "religious vocational school" - My first question is WHY?

Would this school be only for Muslims? ...and again we ask the question "WHY?"

Why not just set up vocational schools - open to every one, and you could include religious instructions in the syllabus. Maybe, it should not just be confined to Islam - but could also include religious instructions for the other religions. (I am sure that the MCCBCHS would help in providing the other religious teachers....)

Talking about religions - one thing that should be done is the teaching of all persons some basics of the various different religions in Malaysia - including also some of its practices. This knowledge will also help build a community where there is understanding and mutual respect...

UNITE Malaysians - stop this 'Divide and Rule' practices of the BN...

Selangor Kaji Cadangan Tubuh Sekolah Agama Vokasional



SHAH ALAM, 17 November – Kerajaan negeri tidak menolak kemungkinan menubuhkan sekolah agama vokasional di negeri ini pada masa depan.


Dato’ Menteri Besar, Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim berkata kerajaan negeri akan cuba mengatur perkara itu dengan mengadakan perbincangan bersama Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (JAIS) dan majikan swasta.

“Saya rasa sudah tiba masanya kita menggabungkan konsep pengajian agama dan peningkatan kemahiran kerana saya dapati permintaan untuk mereka yang mempunyai keupayaan kemahiran adalah tinggi,” katanya dalam sidang media selepas mengadakan perjumpaan khas dengan guru-guru Kelas Al-Quran dan Fardhu Ain (KAFA) Negeri Selangor di Stadium Malawati pagi tadi.

Hadir sama, Ketua Umum Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Tetap Hal Ehwal Islam, Adat-adat Melayu, Infrastruktur dan Kemudahan Awam, Dato’ Dr Hasan Mohamed Ali dan Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Tetap Pendidikan, Pendidikan Tinggi dan Pembangunan Modal Insan, Dr Halimah Ali.

Menurut Abdul Khalid peluang melanjutkan pelajaran di sekolah seumpama itu boleh digunakan ramai pelajar yang mungkin tidak berupaya atau tidak mahu meneruskan pengajian ilmiah mereka, sebaliknya memilih bidang kemahiran sebagai kerjaya.

Abdul Khalid berkata selain peruntukan daripada kerajaan negeri, beliau berharap kerajaan persekutuan akan turut sama menghulur dana bagi penubuhan sekolah berkenaan.

“Ini baik untuk negara dalam melahirkan lebih ramai pekerja muda yang berkemahiran tinggi,” katanya.

Beliau berharap blue print mengenai cadangan itu dapat disediakan dalam tempoh enam bulan.

Sementara itu ketika menjawab pertanyaan media berhubung kehadiran Dato’ Seri Anwar menyampaikan ucap tama pada majlis itu, Abdul Khalid berkata beliau yang menjemput bekas Menteri Pendidikan itu yang berpengalaman dalam mengasaskan beberapa usaha awal mendidik golongan belia. ­– NOOR ALLIA KASSIM


Friday, November 21, 2008

He said 'never met' ...NOT 'not involved in the killing'...mmm

In his written statement dated 20/11/2008, Abdul Razak Baginda

I implore all of you and the public to stop spreading lies about YAB Dato' Sri Mohd Najib Tun Razak, the DPM and his wife. I know that Dato' Sri Najib and his wife had never met the deceased, Altantuya. So much fitnah has been thrown towards the DPM and his wife. Those who have spread such lies can never produce any authentic evidence because there are none.

But, the questions is how do you know that Najib and Rosmah 'never' met the Mongolian woman?

Even, if they have never met - they may very well have known each other, could they not.

Even, if they have never met, that does not mean that they had no part in the 'murder' of Altantuya...

Are we now to belief that the 2 officers acted on their own....(after all did we not have a statement from the AG/IGP or someone) that there were no others involved...
The court however ordered chief inspector Azilah Hadri, 32 and corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, 37 - from the elite Special Action Force (UTK) which guards the prime minister and deputy prime minister - to enter their defence to the charge of murder. - Malaysiakini, 31/10/2008 Abdul Razak Baginda acquitted


Why did Razak Baginda come out now and make a statement? To get into the good books of Najib....mmmm

We recall:-

Abdul Razak Baginda’s wife Mazlinda Makhzan repeatedly maintained that her husband is innocent and alleged that he had been framed.

“He is a good man. He is not the Prime Minister of this country. He doesn’t want to be one.

FAMILY SUPPORT: (From left) Rowina, Mazlinda and Puravalen walking to the back of the magistrate’s court in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
“He is not interested in all that,” she said during an outburst in court before Abdul Razak was charged yesterday.

Mazlinda, a former magistrate, was complaining about media reports concerning the murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu. - Star, 17/11/2006,Wife maintains political analyst is innocent


And also that PI Bala....

On P Balasubramaniam’s (right) statutory declarations first alleging then retracting that Najib knew Altantuya, the political analyst said the matter was still under police investigations and he had also been interviewed by police on his release on the same issue.

"What I have said to you is what I told the police, Najib has never met the deceased." - Malaysiakini, 20/11/2008 - Abdul Razak: Najib not involved




No matter what Razak Baginda says, the doubts will linger in the minds of people about our DPM's involvement in the murder of the mother of 2.

If Najib ends up as Prime Minister after March 2009, with all these allegations hanging over him - we may have our first 'Malaysian Executive Crisis'.

The problem that Najib faces is that the the IGP or the AG (Public Prosecutor) has lost credibility - and even if they come out today and say that Najib is not involved, the public will not believe it. Maybe a Royal Commission of Inquiry ....or better still an INDEPENDENT Royal Commission of Inquiry is the answer to Najib's problems...vis-a-vis the Altantuya case.

It would have been better if Razak Baginda never came out proclaiming that his ex-'boss' (maybe now his future boss) never met Altantuya....

And the fact that he did not clearly state '...that they were not involved in the killing...' open the door to further speculations as to what really is the truth..