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Friday, July 31, 2009

I want a Malaysia where all are equal and are accorded equal treatment - but alas, both the UMNO-led BN and Pakatan have failed ....

With Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, it was 'ISLAM HADHARI' ...and all just jumped on to the band wagon and started using the 'principles', 'values'... of this "Islamic Hadhari".
Now, we have Najib's 1Malaysia ... and the same thing is happening...Fools are just....
But, what exactly is this "1Malaysia"
Is it one Nation...one People?
Is is reaffirmation of the Equality of Persons as found very clearly in Article 8 of the Federal Constitution...?
Are Malaysians all equal - and are to be treated equally?
No way is Najib being treated equally... or, is he? (Leadership by example... mmmm. I hope he openly ask the police and MACC to treat him as they treat other normal Malaysians...Call him in for questioning, etc... )
The Rich also get preferential treatment in Malaysia...
Members of Parties are treated differently from Non-Members/Supporters - if not a member or supporter, you will not be appointed as local councillors, Senators, etc... It applies also when it come to scholarships, etc....
Government Employees (Public Servants) are treated differently from other workers and people. They get free healthcare at IJN - but others have to pay tens of thousands of ringgit...They get pensions...and from time they (pesara) is also allocated special supplementary benefits...
What is 1Malaysia? Just another 'to feel good' slogan to project a certain impression/feeling - but which is not in the practices/actions that are supposed to be in line with the slogan...
Rais Yatim, now, comes out and tells us that it is different from another slogan that has been thrown around by DAP..., i.e. 'Malaysian Malaysia'. Sadly, he does not elaborate in the difference but goes on to educate us of the origins of the slogan 'Malaysian Malaysia'...It matters not who started using the phrase... There is no need to waste time trying to differentiate terms...which sounds the same, and looks the same..
The “1Malaysia” concept is not the same as the “Malaysian
Malaysia” slogan espoused by the DAP, Information, Communication and Culture
Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said.

Historically and politically, he said the “Malaysian
Malaysia” concept originated from former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew
and over the years, the DAP and other political parties that were socialistic in
their approach began to adopt the concept.

“According to the (“Malaysian Malaysia”) concept,
everyone is equal and things have to be done according to the fraternity and
brotherhood system, which at that time, was already not in consonant with the
Federation of Malaya’s Reid report,” he said.

(The Reid Commission was an independent commission
responsible for drafting the Constitution of the Federation of Malaya.)

“The tenets of constitutional provisions were not given
the proper bearing and it is not something that we can simply put forward for
the people to accept and understand because Malaya then and Malaysia now is
continuously governed by the Constitution under which various elements of rights
are given,” he said at the 1Malaysia Seminar yesterday. - Star, 30/7/2009,
1Malaysia
is not ‘Malaysian Malaysia’
[But, then this is Rais Yatim - and what he says depend on where he stands - when he was out of UMNO-BN, he was strongly calling for the repeal of the ISA, and now back in UMNO-BN, he advocates for the continued maintenance of ISA...]
But wait, it is not just Rais - others, when in the UMNO-led BN also did advocate for the continued existence of ISA and other Detention Without Trial Laws - and, now when they are in Opposition, I am sure we will hear a call for its immediate repeal - Anwar Ibrahim, Zaid Ibrahim, Chua Jui Meng???
For me, my aspiration is that all are equal, and are to be treated equally. There should be an end of discrimination based on political party membership/support. There should be an end to all forms of discrimination.
There can and must be preferential treatment for the poor, and other marginalized groups of persons - but it should never be based on race, ethnicity, religion, origins, etc...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

by or before 2010....deadline for Local Council Elections. They appoint you councillors, and you no more call for elections...mmmm

In Selangor, 1 year probation period for the Local Councillors is up .... and, now those who 'passed' will be asked to enter a 3-year contract...
"The councillors will all undergo a one-year probation period and if they prove that they are good with what they do, we will extend their contract to three years," said Khalid. - Malaysiakini, 19/6/2008, S'gor local councillors list finally ready
Will the civil society activists who demanded for local council election by or before 2010 accept the contract offered by Selangor and remain Local Councillors for another 3 years?
"all State Governments, especially those of Penang, Selangor, Perak, Kedah and Kelantan, which have committed to local government elections through their manifestos or the People's Declaration, should declare their road maps for local elections with clear timelines and milestones. Holding local government elections should be prioritized, and carried out by or before 2010. " - extract from the 28/3/2008 Civil Society Memo
I have been perusing the net, and it is not clear at all whether they have accepted the 3-year appointment as local council thereby betraying their very own call for local council elections...by or before 2010.

PKR...DAP....PAS seem to be no longer talking about local council elections, are they now?

Some will argue that Local Council Elections is not possible until Pakatan Rakyat takes over the Federal Government and amend some laws... but, note that there are legal views that state that they can NOW have local council elections.

Even, if a proper elections cannot be held - they can always have a referendum of the people within a particular Local Council Area to determine the people's choice, and thereafter the State can appoint those chosen by the people...

In short, there are ways and means of giving back to the people the right to chose their own local leaders...local councilors...if there is a will.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Eradication of poverty, Free Universal Healthcare, Worker Safety - seem to be not priorities of PM Najib

Malaysia's Najib's 'six National Key Result Areas' - and, I wonder what happen to the other more important areas of concern...

What about the Eradication of poverty, Free Universal Healthcare for all, Education for all, Effective Public Transport System, Safe and Healthy Working Conditions for Workers (Worker Safety is not a BN priority - Occupational Safety and Health is no more important - 90% Transportation Companies...90% Estates..), Toll-free roads,

I have perused this report in Star, which listed out the 6 National Key Result Areas, and its short-term targets(which are in blue), and have made my own comments and observations (which are in red)..

The Government’s promise of an improved delivery system takes flesh with the Prime Minister’s unveiling of the short-term targets for the six National Key Result Areas. - Star, 28/7/2009, Targets set for the six Key Result Areas

Reduction of crime rate

> Reduce street crime, including snatch thefts and unarmed robbery, by 20% by the end of 2010.

Let us not forget the reasons why people resort to such crimes. Is it not poverty and inadequate income to live in Malaysia that has driven many to commit these kind of crimes. That is why the cause - poverty or inadequate income should be addressed, not the effects, petty crimes...

Some say that you would reduce crime rates if we start seeing policemen walking the beat again in Malaysia. If there are policemen walking around on a regular basis, the perpetrators of crime will be less motivated to commit crime. It will also give the normal person a greater sense of safety. Public relations with the police will also improve. Today, to many the Malaysian police has lost credibility.

> Re-train Rela members to help improve public perception on safety.

RELA - we all know that this volunteer-corp need to be abolished. There are too many instance of wrong-doings, by this now 'too-powerful' group of volunteers. What we need is more trained police personel, and other enforcement personel. Not more trained RELA. If you have volunteers, then increase the number of volunteer police personel, civil defence, fire fighters, etc..There really is no need for RELA. I believe that RELA is just a desparate way for UMNO-led BN to try and regain the support of younger Malaysians - and that is why there is that odd desire by our Home Minister to increase the number of RELA volunteers from about 500,000 now to 2.5 million in 3 years...

The People's Volunteer Corps (Rela) is set to increase its membership five-fold to 2.5 million by 2012, with the additional members to come from not only among the Malays but also the Chinese, Indians and others.

Rela director-general Datuk Zaidon Asmuni said the government felt that Rela was a voluntary organisation made up of people of all races, backgrounds, occupations and so on.
- Bernama, 5/7/2009, Rela Targets 2.5 Million Members By 2012

On the other hand, the number of police in Malaysia is 93,348 only, and Malaysia has a population of about 27,000,000, and that means about 3.45 per 1,000 people, and that is OK - but the problem in Malaysia is their organisation. There is clearly not enough police investigators...and hence the backlogs. There is too many FRU and other police used for 'illegal' assemblies and dinners... Police training and salaries need to be up-graded.

> Upgrade equipment for enforcement agencies and increase the usage of CCTV.

CCTV - this has been talked about for years, and still even the MACC has not enough CCTVs - and if it had, then we would have a better idea as to who killed Teoh. All rooms in all police, MACC, etc stations/buildings must be first equipped with CCTV with recording capacity. It must be a right for all accused persons to receive copies of all recordings made whilst in custody of police or other enforcement officers. This is already being done in Hong Kong for some time. This would definitely decrease incidences of torture, police abuses and deaths in custody.

> Set up special courts for street crime to speed up the legal process.

Special courts - what we need is more Judges...and more courts."...The Malaysian ratio is 2.4 judges to a million people — a far cry from the ratio in India (10.5 judges), Australia (57.1), Britain (50.1) and Canada (75)..." - 2.4 judges to a million people

Combating corruption

> Updating relevant policies, procedures and enforcement to improve global perception.

> Use open or restricted tender process for all government projects with the exception of those sensitive in nature.

There really is no new suggestions made here. What we need is greater transparency. We need a Freedom of Information Act - that gives citizens the right to access all information. If there is some 'secret' information/document, then we must keep in secret only for a limited period only - say 10 or 15 years, and after that it shall become declassified and available to the public.

We need every meetings and decision making process to be documented (verbatim records) - which will make a review later to curb 'corruption' more effective. We may need an Ombudsman for Malaysia.

Widening access to affordable and quality education

What we need is for an enactment of a guaranteed right to education for all, especially children who shall have the right to free education until the age of majority. This need to be added to in our Federal Constitution. The Right To Education does not exist in Malaysia - and, in fact, Malaysia has made a reservation with regard to this obligation when they ratified the Child Rights Convention(CRC).

Affordable - let us target for FREE Education for all children (until a certain age).

> Make pre-school education part of the national education system.

No big deal - quite easily done. I thought that already it was and that all pre-schools had to teach certain things, as defined by the State. The State should set only what must be covered, and give the liberty to parents/teachers to decide what additional things that they would want for their kids.

> Ensure all normal pupils are able to read, write and count when they enter Year Four before 2012.

"Normal Pupils" - what do they mean by this?

> Reward school principals and headmasters based on the achievements of each school.

Why reward only the principals/headmasters? Why not reward all teachers and even the school itself? Why not reward the Education Ministry Official/s in charge of that school as well? What achievements are you talking about?

> Turn 100 daily smart, cluster, trust and boarding schools into high performing learning centres by 2012.



Raising the living standard of the Poor

Let's talk of erradication of poverty - not the 'raising of living standard of the Poor'

> Pay out all welfare cash aid on the first of each month from January.

Why? Is this not done at the moment? Let us also talk about not just talk about welfare - regular hand-outs to the poor. We need a solution that will make them independent of these handouts. Maybe, the transfer of some shares/unit trusts that will result in regular income...

> Create 4,000 women entrepreneurs under the Sahabat Amanah Ikhtiar programme by 2012.

How many women entrepreneurs are there now? What really is this 'Sahabat Amanah Ikhtiar programme'? The Malaysian government have had many programs to help the poor, and the lower and middle income persons in Malaysia - but alas, what was lacking was information about these programs and opportunities, and Malaysians did not know about it and never reaped its benefits. Inform the people of all that is available - use the TV, the newspapers, etc and educate people of what is available now, and who can apply for it and how...The UMNO-led BN government, many a times, seem to use its own political party members in terms of education and knowledge about such benefits/opportunities - and hence most Malaysians never even knew about it, or reaped its benefits. This has to change...Do for all like what was done with regard to the fuel subsidies...

Improving Infrastructure in rural areas

> Build 1,500km of roads in Sabah and Sarawak by 2012.

Tell us how many km roads are there already - and why only Sabah and Sarawak? Is it because UMNO-led BN is desparate that they continue to win almost all the seats in these 2 States. Roads are also needed in Pahang, Kelantan, Trengganu and the other States in Peninsular Malaysia

> Ensure that no one lives more than 5km from a tarred road in the peninsula by 2012.

Again, we see discrimination. Why not the same aspiration and target for Sabah and Sarawak? Or, is it OK for Sabahans and Sarawakians to live far away from a tarred road?

> Increase clean water supply to cover 90% of Sabah and Sarawak by the end of 2012.

What? Have developed Malaysia under the UMNO-led BN still not achieved the providing of all its people clean water supply? Clean water supply should have been available to at least 98% of the people of Malaysia. Tell us what percentage of people in Malaysia have yet to receive 24 hours clean piped-water supply.

> Increase electricity coverage in Sabah and Sarawak to 95% by end of 2012.

What? Have developed Malaysia under the UMNO-led BN still not achieved the providing of all its people with electricity? Electricity supply should have been available to at least 99% of the people of Malaysia. Tell us what percentage of people in Malaysia have yet to receive 24 hours electricity supply.

> Provide 24-hour electricity supply to 7,000 orang asli families in the peninsula by the end of 2012.

Have we not yet achieved this after 50 plus years under the UMNO-led BN. For the orang asli of peninsular Malaysia, should not we not amend the Federal Constitution to insert them as one of the proffered group for special benefits?

Improving public transport in the Medium term

> Increase the number of public transport users to 25% by end of 2012 from the present 16%.

Good thing to do - but we must have a good public transport system first. We need more busses. Maybe even bring back that very dependable and frequent mini-busses. We need public buses in the smaller towns have routes that go into housing areas.

> Add 35 sets of four-car-trains to operate on the Kelana Jaya LRT track by the end of 2012.

What we need is more LRT lines in the Klang Valley. We could also do with Trams - which could easily be running beside main roads. Motorcycle lanes need to be improved. In fact, we should also have bicycle lanes - and encourage more to start using this kind of transportations, which is definitely environment friendly. Oh yes - every bridge and road, must have clearly separated bicycle and pedestrian lanes. Of late, we see too many bridges which do not have these lanes anymore - and it is so difficult for people to walk across bridges safely..

Royal Commission of Inquiry for 7 workers who were killed in 'unapproved' demolition work of Jaya Supermarket building - Petaling Jaya, Selangor??

In the end of May 2009, in Petaling Jaya, Selangor (a Pakatan Rakyat governed State), 7 people ...workers lost their life, and I wonder whether the will be any Royal Commission of Inquiry...or any Inquiry into the death of the 7.

Remember, the construction company (the employer) started demolition works without the requisite approval from the Department of Occupational Safety and Health(DOSH) - and apparently, with the approval of the local council.

Is there any investigation going on?

The 7 deceased workers - what are their names? Have their family been compensated? Etc..

Oh, you appointed (not-elected) Local Councillors of PJ... MB and government of Selangor -- Minister of Labour (in charge of approvals, employments, SOCSO/Workers Compensation) from the UMNO led-BN Federal government - UPDATE us....

This is Malaysia - and we do have the tendency of not being bothered about the 'small' people - the workers, the peasants, the poor - Sweep it under the carpet - that is the way things are done here. Is the Pakatan Rakyat any different?

The bodies of all seven workers trapped in the rubble of the collapsed Jaya Supermarket building here have been recovered.

The last three were pulled out yesterday, said Petaling Jaya OCPD Asst Comm Arjunaidi Mohamed.

On Thursday, the five-storey portion of the supermarket building collapsed right to the basement, where the car park was located, during demolition work. - Star, 31/5/2009, Bodies of all seven trapped workers found


The Department of Occupational Safety and Health did not give approval for the demolition of the Jaya Supermarket in Petaling Jaya, said Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subrama-niam.

He said the developers had a demolition permit from the local authority and while they had applied for the department’s approval, they did not obtain it when they started the demolition work.

Dr Subramaniam said the department began its investigations on Monday and it would take about two weeks to complete. - Star, 3/6/2009, Jaya Supermarket demolition done without approval


This is a really old story - why bring it up again? Well, we have to because if not 'they' may 'cover-it-up' and the victims will not get justice, and the wrong-doers will get off scot-free. We, who want answers, must persist and repeatedly knock at the doors until finally we will get some answers...

See also earlier posts:-

Jaya Supermarket Collapse: 7 Workers dead - Is there a 'cover-up'?


PJ Local Council's responsibility in the death of 7 Jaya Supermarket incident cannot be ignored...


Jaya Supermarlet Demolition tragedy :- Pictures reveal 'mistakes' that resulted in 7 dead workers


Worker Safety is not a BN priority - Occupational Safety and Health is no more important - 90% Transportation Companies...90% Estates..



746 workers died in industrial accidents in Malaysia in 2008

Monday, July 27, 2009

Same Wage Structure for Domestic Workers irrespective of which country they come from...Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Burma, China ...

In Malaysia, we believe in equality...

And, we are opposed in any form of discrimination...All persons shall be treated equally...All persons shall be paid the same for the same kind of work...

The only permissible justification for paying differently would be seniority (i.e. number of years of experience/service), additional skills,...

Paying someone a different wage for the same work - especially if it is race/ethnicity/nationality based is not at all acceptable...

Hence, the idea of having a different wage structure for domestic workers depending on their sending country is not acceptable...

The payment of workers different wages by reason only that they come from different countries, different races, different ethnicity, different religions, is just another 'method' that will help the 'divide and exploit' strategies of employers... It will definitely prevent worker solidarity..and unity - and hence divided workers will more likely not be able to unite to demand better rights, etc...

Remember also that in Malaysia, there is a specific section in the Employment Act 1955 that is demands equal treatment between local workers and foreign workers...

60L. Director General may inquire into complaint.

(1) The Director General may inquire into any complaint from a local employee that he is being discriminated against in relation to a foreign employee, or from a foreign employee that he is being discriminated against in relation to a local employee, by his employer in respect of the terms and conditions of his employment; and the Director General may issue to the employer such directives as may be necessary or expedient to resolve the matter.

(2) An employer who fails to comply with any directive of the Director General issued under subsection (1) commits an offence.


Therefore, different wage structure for foreign domestic workers from different source countries is definitely unacceptable...

A separate wage structure will be introduced for foreign domestic maids from the various source countries, said Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam.

He said the move would ensure that a standard wage was stipulated in the contracts between employers and employees.

He explained that under the new move, maids from Indonesia would have one standard wage structure while those from the Philippines would have another.

The ministry, he said, hoped to implement a comprehensive standard contract, which included the standard wage, by year-end.

Dr Subramaniam added that the standard contracts would be drawn based on the Memorandum of Understanding signed by Malaysia and all source countries.

“There will be contracts (to be signed by employers and employees) and wages will also be standardised.

“By the end of the year, everybody will have a standard agreement and wages (to abide by),” he told reporters at the opening of an Indian youth career development workshop here yesterday.

Late last month, the Philippines embassy said that Filipino maids must be paid the minimum US$400 (RM1,400) monthly salary. The rate had been decided by the country’s labour authorities.

Indonesian maids, meanwhile, were paid a much lower monthly wages.

On whether foreign maids would be sourced from China, Dr Subramaniam said the proposals could not be implemented due to opposition from various quarters.

“Wanita MCA had also informed me that it was not in favour of sourcing maids from China,” he added. - Star, 27/7/2009, Separate maid wage structure


Friday, July 24, 2009

NO to private pension funds - we need Government-Run Pension Funds or Government Guaranteed Pension Funds..

Private pension fund - this is scary, as it has been shown over and over how unreliable and untrustworthy private companies can be. Collect all our monies, and then suddenly go bust - and contributors will not have any remedy at all.

It is better if this pension fund is a government pension fund, just like EPF, with a government guarantee of 2.5% return per year. I think, maybe it should be at 5% return per year guarantee. ASN and ASB does so musch better - and thus it can be done. After all, it is a pension fund.

The much talked about private pension funds will kick off by the middle of next year.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop, who announced this, said the new scheme would target the two million self-employed and those who were outside the current pension scheme.

He said the new pension funds could either be operated by new fund management firms to be licensed by the Securities Commission, or by existing firms.

The funds would be regulated by the Securities Commission.

“Several fund managers have already shown keen interest,” he told a press conference after delivering his keynote address at the Forum on Private Pension Industry Retirement Funds here yesterday.

Nor Mohamed said the scheme would target self-employed individuals who currently did not contribute to the Employees Provident Fund or those who wanted to contribute more than the EPF’s statutory requirements.

“We have to ensure it is well managed as it is a pension fund, a fund for individuals in their old-age,” he said.

He said the EPF had a government guarantee of 2.5% return.

“The private pension funds should be able to provide a ‘market return’ at any point of time,” Nor Mohamed said when asked on investment returns.

“The EPF has RM340bil in assets now. These private pension funds have huge potential,” he said, adding that there were currently 5.7 million active EPF members.

Nor Mohamed said the funds were part of the Government’s effort to reform the pension fund industry.

“This is crucial as Malaysia moves towards a developed and high income nation,” he said, adding that such funds would be a boost to the nation’s capital markets.

He said the SC had been tasked to prepare a report containing further details within the next six months.

“The Government at the same time will look at its own pension scheme and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), and head a committee to coordinate all aspects of the pension reform,” he said.

In a survey by the EPF, it was found that around 90% of members have less than RM100,000 in their accounts and more than 70% would have exhausted their money within three years of withdrawing the lump sum upon retirement.

“This underlying trend reflects the sole dependence of retirees on their EPF savings as a safety net and as such, the inadequacy of sustainable levels of income after retirement,” he noted.

He said Malaysia had pension coverage via EPF, the Public Sector Pension Scheme and Lembaga Tabung Angkatan.

“However, there are gaps in the existing pension framework,” he said.

SC chairman Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar said the regulator would make capital preservation and investor protection top priorities when it came to the funds.

“We are gathering input from successful private pension funds models in other countries. We will then try and adopt the best practices to start off on the right footing,” she said.

Areca Capital Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Danny Wong said it “would take some time” to see the impact of the funds on the capital market.

“It all depends how individuals respond,” he told The Star. - Star, 24/7/2009, Private pension go-ahead


Thursday, July 23, 2009

2 died in Juru Detention Centre of Leptospirosis - The SUHAKAM response.

Remember the case of the two Burmese migrants who died in the Malaysia’s Juru Immigration Detention Centre from Leptospirosis. Well, 127 organisations/groups have to date endorsed the Joint Statement.(see below)

We send this statement to Malaysia's Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM) , and we have just received a reply




2 deaths in custody, and last year, we were told of another 1,300 foreigners who died in detention. Is this all that SUHAKAM will do. Surely, the persons who did not send the 2 Burmese migrants to hospital in time is criminally liable for the deaths...Surely, the Home Minister, who did not heed the advice of SUHAKAM about medicaol care is responsible for the death of these 2 Burmese...What about apology to the families of the deceased? What about compensations?

Will SUHAKAM hold a public inquiry - looks like it won't..

Will there be a Royal Commission? Looks like, the answer is no..they are just some migrants after all.. An inquest - maybe. We shall wait and see.
Last year Suhakam, Malaysia's Human Rights Commission, identified medical care as an overriding reason why 1,300 detainees have died over the past six years....Dato Siva Subramaniam, a Suhakam commissioner, told Radio Australia's Connect Asia program denial of health care was a violation of detainees' right to life....He noted that the 1,300 deaths notified to parliament covered not only immigration detention centres but prisons and police lock-ups. Source: ABC News(28/5/2009) Malaysia detention centres 'violating rights'
See also:- SUHAKAM reiterates 1,300 dead in 6 years in detention places - "...medical care overiding reason..."


Joint Statement - 23/5/2009
(Updated-2 /7/2009) – 127 Organisations/Groups)



DEATH OF 2 BURMESE INDICATIVE OF STATE OF DETENTION PLACES IN MALAYSIA

DENIAL OF HEALTHCARE IS A VIOLATION OF RIGHT TO LIFE

We, the undersigned, are alarmed to hear that Sa La Hin, 26, and Thang Hoih Ping, 21, two Burmese migrants, have died in the Malaysia’s Juru Immigration Detention Centre from Leptospirosis. This is disease that is usually caused by exposure to water contaminated with the urine of infected animals, such as rodents, cattle, pigs, horses, dogs and wild animals. The fact, that 2 persons are dead and others have been infected by this disease, again highlights the state of hygiene, cleanliness and healthcare at Malaysian Detention Centres.

We recall that it was reported in the media in December 2008, that "About 1,300 illegal foreigners have died during detention in the past six years, Malaysia Nanban quoted Malaysian Human Rights (Suhakam) commissioner Datuk N. Siva Subramaniam as saying. He said many of them died in immigration detention centres, prisons and police lockups because they were denied medical treatment at the right time.” [Star, 18/12/2008, ‘1,300 foreign detainees died due to neglect’]. Now, Sa La Hin and Thang Hoih Ping may just be the latest additions to that list of detainees that died due to similar reasons.

We also recall the words of SUHAKAM in their response to the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) dated 13/1/2009, that correctly stated that ‘…SUHAKAM views the denial of medical attention to the point of endangering one’s life as a serious violation of that person’s right to life….’

These deaths may have been avoided if medical attention was provided promptly, and we call for an independent public inquiry to determine whether there was such negligence on the part of the Ikatan Relawan Rakyat or better known as RELA (a People's Volunteer Corps), and the Immigration officers, who are currently responsible for Immigration Detention Centres in Malaysia.

We do appreciate the fact that the Director General of Immigration has now decided that ‘cleanliness and hygiene at immigration depots nationwide are to be stepped-up to ensure safety of staff and inmates there against contracting infectious diseases’ (Bernama, 19/5/2009, Cleanliness, Hygiene at Immigration Depot to Be Stepped Up).

We hope that this is not merely a knee-jerk response, which is temporary in nature, but a new and permanent commitment by Malaysia to improve standards and conditions of Detention Centres and other places of detention.

The current once a week visit by a medical officer to the Detention Centres is certainly inadequate. There should be, at the very least, a permanent clinic/dispensary manned by a medical assistant, with a doctor visiting detainees for several hours at least once every two days or more frequently.

New users of the Detention facility should also be determined free from easily transmittable diseases like Tuberculosis and the A(H1N1) flu before being introduced to the general population of detention places.

There should also be regular visits by the Health Officer, who shall monitor the conditions, including of the living and sleeping environment, of the Detention Centre to ensure that it meets the highest standards of hygiene and cleanliness.

The foods, and all aspects of food preparation, also need to be monitored by the Health Department especially since there is a possibility that the fault in the recent deaths could be the current caterer of food and drink.

With regard to those who have died, we are of the opinion that their family and/or dependents should be given adequate compensation by the persons responsible, the detaining authority and the Malaysian government.

Officers and persons responsible for the acts or omissions that resulted in death and suffering should be charged and prosecuted for these crimes. They should not be permitted to hide behind safeguards provided to public servants and/or the RELA volunteers, which unfortunately only promotes culture of impunity with no sense of responsibility and respect for human life.

We, the undersigned, call on the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM) to immediately commence a public inquiry into these deaths and detention places generally, and come up with concrete recommendations which could be implemented that will improve state of cleanliness, hygiene and healthcare of all detention places in Malaysia.

We are also call upon the Ministry of Health and the government of Malaysia to take necessary steps to ensure that proper steps be taken to ensure that such disregard for life does not happen again.

We reiterate the call for the abolition of RELA, and restate our position that law enforcement, and management of detention places should be done by professionally trained full-time public servants, not volunteers.


Charles Hector
Pranom Somwong


For and on behalf of the 127 organizations/ groups listed below:-

Action for Health Initiatives (ACHIEVE), Inc, Philippines

Action Network for Migrants (ANM), Thailand

All Women's Action Society (AWAM), Malaysia

Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma

Asia Pacific Forum on Women Law and Development (APWLD)

Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM), Hong Kong

Asia-Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC)

Asia Pacific Workers Solidarity Link (APWSL), Korea

Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)

Asian Migrants' Coordinating Body - Hong Kong (AMCB-HK)

Assistance Association for Political Prisoners ( Burma )-AAPP

Association of Indonesian Migrant Workers (Asosiasi Tenaga Kerja Indonesia )

Bahrain Center for Human Rights

Bar Council Human Rights Committee , Malaysia

Bar Council's Legal Aid Centre , Malaysia

BAYAN USA

Building and Wood Workers International, Asia Pacific Regional Office

Burma Campaign Australia

Burma Campaign , Malaysia

Burma Campaign UK

Burma Centre Delhi (BCD)

Burma's Nationalities Association (BNA)- Norway

Burma Partnership

Cambodian Women's Crisis Center , Cambodia

Canadian Friends of Burma (CFOB)

CDS (Community Development Services), Sri Lanka

Center for Migrant Advocacy, Philippines

Center for Indonesian Migrant Workers - CIMW – Indonesia

Center for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC), Malaysia

Centre for Public Policy Studies (CPPS), Malaysia

Chin Human Rights Organization

Civil Society Committee of LLG Cultural Development Centre (LLGCSC) Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach ( USA )

Commission For Filipino Migrant Workers (CFMW) - The Netherlands

Committee for Asian Women (CAW)

Coordination of Action Research on AIDS & Mobility (CARAM - Asia )

Clean Clothes Campaign International Secretariat

Democratic Party for a New Society (DPNS), Burma

Development Action for Women Network (DAWN), Philippines

Empower Foundation, Thailand

Ethnic Nationalities Council

Federation of Trade Unions - Burma

FIDH - International Federation for Human Rights

Filipino Migrant Workers' Union - Hong Kong (FMWU)

Forum for Democracy in Burma

Foundation for Education and Development (Formerly, Grassroots HRE ( Burma )

Free Burma Coalition - Philippines (FBC-Phils)

Free Burma Campaign , South Africa

Friends of Burma , Malaysia

Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW)

HAKAM - National Human Rights Society , Malaysia

Health Equity Initiatives, Malaysia

H.O.M.E. (Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics), Singapore

Hope Workers’ Center , Taiwan

HRWG - Indonesia 's NGO Coalition for International Advocacy

Hsinchu Catholic Diocese Migrants and New Immigrants Service Center , Taiwan

Human Rights Foundation of Monland

IMPARSIAL, the Indonesia Human Rights Monitor, Jakarta – Indonesia

INFID (International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development)

Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID)

Institute for National and Democratic Studies ( INDIES )

International Migrant Foundation-Banglade sh

Kachin Women's Association Thailand

KAFIN Migrant Center, Japan

KAFIN - Saitama , Japan

Kayan National Development Foundation (KNDF)

Khmer Kampuchea Krom Human rights Organisation (KKKHRO), Cambodia

Labornet Korea

Labour Resource Centre , Malaysia

Legal Support for Children and Women (LSCW), Cambodia

LHRLA (Lawyers for Human Rights & Legal Aid), Pakistan

MADPET (Malaysians against Death Penalty and Torture)

Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC)

Mekong Migration Network (MMN)

Migrant CARE, Perhimpunan Indonesia untuk Buruh Migran Berdaulat

Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA)

Migrant Rights International (MRI)

MIGRANTE Europe

MIGRANTE Middle East

MIGRANTE International

MIGRANTE - Nagoya

MIGRANTE - UAE

Mindanao Migrants Center for Empowering Actions, Inc. (MMCEAI)

Myanmar Ethnic Rohingyas Human Rights Organization Malaysia (MERHROM)

National Democratic Party for Human Rights(NDPHR) (exile),SEA Regional Office

National League for Democracy [NLD (LA)], Malaysia

National Institute for Electoral Integrity (NIEI), Malaysia

National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, U.S.

Network for Democracy and Development, Thailand

Network of Action for Migrants in Malaysia (NAMM)

New Zealand Burma Support Group

NY Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines

OKUP (Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Program), Bangladesh

Osan Migrant Workers Center in South Korea

Overseas Mon Coordinating Committee (OMCC)

Pakistan Rural Workers Social; Welfare Organization

Palaung State Liberation Front (PSLF)

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR)

Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM)

Peoples Service Organization (PSO), Malaysia

Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangot (EMPOWER)

Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor & Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS), Malaysia

Persatuan Sahabat Wanita, Selangor


Platform of Filipino Migrant Organisations in Europe - The Netherlands

POURAKHI, Nepal

Pusat KOMAS, Malaysia

Raks Thai Foundation , Thailand

Rohingya Youth Development Forum (RYDF), Malaysia

Shan Refugee Organization Malaysia (SRO)

Shan Women's Action Network (SWAN)

Shwe Gas Movement

Solidaritas Perempuan, Indonesia

St. John's Cathedral HIV Education Centre, Hong Kong

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)

Tenaganita, Malaysia

The Foundation for the Health and Knowledge of Ethnic Labour (MAP)

The Justice, Peace & Solidarity in Mission Office, The Good Shepherd Sisters

The Micah Mandate

Transient Workers Count Too, Singapore

United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-MIGRANTE- HK)

U.S. Campaign for Burma

WARBE Development Foundation - Bangladesh

Women's Aid Organisation (WAO), Malaysia

Women's League of Burma

Workers Hub for Change (WH4C)

Yaung Chi Oo Workers Association (YCOWA), Thailand

CCM Youth(21/7/2009) :- Death by Detention?

CCM Youth refers to the articles, commentaries, joint statements and various public responses recounting the shocking death of an MACC witness, Teoh Beng Hock, under dubious circumstances. CCM Youth is not only horrified and outraged, but deeply ashamed and bewildered.

This tragedy yet again adds another nauseating leaf to our country’s sheer lack of a credible and transparent value system of integrity against a painful track record of mistreatment of suspects and dubious deaths under detention. What makes this more disturbing is that this is the first case of a witness dying under questioning. The primary concern is the clear lack of oversight, which is a shameful symptom of the nation’s ingrained and persistent lack of political will to revamp clear violations of basic human rights by enforcers of the law and those in authority.

The critical issue is not one of “Who’s next?” but “Who’s before?” Teoh Beng Hock is but the latest of a growing list of deaths under detention or custody or police action – A Kugan, Samiyati Indrayani Zulkarnain Putra, Francis Udayappan, Dr Tai Eng Teck (the police officer was eventually convicted), V Vikines, Tharma Rajan, M Ragupathy, Syed Fadzil Syed Ibrahim, Hasrizal Hamzah, Prakash Moses, Kannan Kanthan, Ahmad Salleh, Ulaganathan Muniandy, Vivashanu Pilai, Ho Kwai See, Ravichandran Ramayah, Veerasamy Gopal, L. Yoges Rao – just to name a few of the more celebrated deaths out of the untold numbers who died under police action, or inaction. Do we still remember these names? Or have they been neatly filed and forgotten?

This is only the tip of the iceberg - what of the deaths of undocumented migrants or detainees in rural police stations that we don’t hear about in the media? According to our previous Deputy Home Minister Wan Fairuz Wan Salleh, he reported in Parliament that a staggering 1,531 died in custody in 4 years from 2003 to 2007. According to Suhakam, 1,300 foreign migrants died in detention centres in the past 6 years. These statistics are damaging, and damning. How many more talented youth do we have to sacrifice before we finally pull the plug on the potential for blatant abuse by enforcers of the law?

We need to move beyond a call for yet another Royal Commission of Inquiry. We are jaded by the setting up of panels and commissions that are unable to bring about meaningful countermeasures. We are saddened that nothing concrete has been done despite countless recommendations by generations of “toothless tigers”.

We need a working public system to track such deaths. Witnesses and detainees should have the right to immediate legal representation. Standard operating procedures for the protection of witnesses should be made available to the public – remove the veil of secrecy. Violations by enforcers of the law, who are to protect, not harm, should be swiftly dealt with. So what if we have CCTVs? The tapes can be easily erased or tampered with unless a system of checks are in place to protect the integrity of evidence. Evidence collection and forensics intervention must be immediate and timely. We must remove any conflict of interest in investigations of public interest.

We are a grieving nation today. We are in pain. The government has failed repeatedly to enact meaningful and honest reform to the enforcement community, that is, the police, RELA and prison system - and the prospects are depressing to say the least.

We thank the public, NGOs and media for keeping such issues alive and urge politicians not to milk Teoh Beng Hock’s death for their own agenda.

We call upon Tan Sri Musa Hassan to ensure that he leaves no stone unturned in these investigations and to honestly reveal the findings, without conspiring to hide the truth from the Rakyat, to whom the Police are accountable.

We call upon our new Home Minister, Dato’ Seri Hishammudin Hussein to take leadership and act swiftly and courageously on this. The government urgently needs to bring the detention system up to basic standards of decency and fairness. We need to lift the veil on interrogation centres, migrant detention centres, police jails, and hold all heads of departments to full accountability for all misdemeanours by their officers. And that includes MACC. We demand automatic inquiries upon death whether by police action, or inaction. We need to implement and re-design an enforceable and just system with the highest standards of accountability and transparency. The Home Minister’s planned review of 33 Acts would not be meaningful to the Rakyat if there is no justice or if we are unable to trust the very authorities who are supposed to enforce them.

We believe that Teoh Beng Hock and the countless others who died before him, did not die in vain. We look to our Home Minister to restore the Rakyat’s faith in the authorities whose duties are to protect them.

In his efforts to bring about unity in his 1Malaysia concept, we call upon our Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak to make this a reality by leading the nation to repentance before the Almighty God for the deaths of our young Malaysians in custody, poor treatment of migrants, lack of honesty in the government system, and the lack of love and care for the vulnerable.

Our Prime Minister must honour God first, and since he is God’s chosen leader for this nation, he should call for a National Day of Prayer. We trust that our Prime Minister’s recent pilgrimage will give him new found strength to raise a God fearing nation that honours the Almighty, and a people not only of knowledge, but of wisdom, integrity and honesty. The first tenet of the Rukunegara – “Belief in God, or Kepercayaan kepada Tuhan” – bears no meaning if we do not come before God in national mourning and repentance. Failure to answer for wrongdoings puts us into condemnation from the Almighty God. The Rakyat is counting on our Prime Minister to ensure that justice will prevail in this nation for all communities. It is our hope and prayer that justice will prevail in this matter; that those who are responsible be identified, convicted and punished.

Our Prime Minister must be seen to exercise an even hand in his fight against corruption – if MACC is so short handed, then priority must be placed on catching the big sharks like political leaders with assets beyond their means or leaders who have misappropriated public funds in the name of welfare for their personal use or entertainment. To try to distract the Rakyat with investigations involving small amounts of a couple of thousand ringgit is insulting the Rakyat’s intelligence.

May our God Almighty deal justly and severely with those who do not fear Him, and on those who are intent on suppressing the truth.

Daniel Chai
Youth Secretary
CCM Youth
Mobile: +6012 237 6102
Email: ccmyouth@gmail.com

21 July 2009

* CCM - Council of Churches Malaysia

About 3,000 deaths in custody in Malaysia in the last 20 years...Deaths in police custody have been on the rise

Death in Police Custody in Malaysia has been increasing...and this is based on the information that we have obtained from the government...[It is really difficult to get information from the government - and the only way is to get an MP to ask questions...]

Relying merely on data provided by the government, it has been disclosed that there have been 150 deaths from 1990 until 2004 (10.7 per year), 108 deaths between 2000 and 2006 (18 per year), and, 85 deaths between 2003 and 2007 (21.25 per year).

In Malaysia "...from 1990 till September last year [2004], a total of 1,583 deaths among prisoners were recorded in 28 prisons nationwide, with the highest number in 2003 when 279 inmates died. During the same period, 150 detainees died in police lock-ups or custody…" - Malaysiakini, 7/2/2005

‘…Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today revealed that 108 deaths occurred during police custody between 2000 and 2006…’ – Malaysiakini, 23/4/2007

‘…There were 85 deaths recorded in police lock-ups during the 2003-2007…-Bernama, 8/7/2008.

-
Make Malaysia Torture-Free - Ratify Convention on Torture, Set Up the IPCMC (MADPET- 26/6/2009)
How many deaths in custody in Malaysia since independence?

How many deaths in police custody in Malaysia since independence?

How many deaths in custody of other enforcement agencies in Malaysia since independence?

Yearly data is required to determine whether deaths in custody is on the rise, as is the case of death in police custody...
"1,535 Deaths in Custody in Malaysia between 2003 and last year" (Bernama News, 8/7/08) - this was what was revealed at the Dewan Rakyat(Parliment) on Tuesday(8/7/2008). - 1,535 Deaths in Custody in Malaysia between 2003 and last year
We know that from 1990 until September 2004, there were 1,583 + 150 deaths in custody...

Maybe about 3,000 deaths in custody in Malaysia since 1990...

They will heed the call and set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry - but to look at investigation procedures...not the death of Teoh

Why did people called for a Royal Commission of Inquiry? To inquire into how Teoh Beng Hock died....

And Najib is setting up a Royal Commission to look into procedures...
The cabinet today agreed to set up a royal commission to look into the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission's investigative procedures and to determine if there were any human right violations when Teoh Beng Hock was being interrogated.- Malaysiakini, 22/7/2009, Cabinet approves royal commission

“The Royal Commission will be set up according to specific terms, which is to scrutinise and study the procedures related to interrogations that are used by the MACC. It will also identify if there were any violations of human rights during Teoh’s interrogation.

“The members of the Commission will be announced later ,” he told a press conference here Wednesday.

He said the investigations by the Royal Commission were necessary to ensure there was no repeat of such incidents and the steps being taken mirrored the Government’s commitment to finding out the cause of death so that Teoh’s family and the public can know what really happened.- Star, 22/7/2009,Inquest into Teoh’s death, Royal Commission on MACC's treatment (Updated with Q&A)

What will the Commission investigate?
It will be on the (MACC’s) procedures relating to its investigation, not the investigation on Teoh’s death and the normal investigations conducted by the MACC..- Star, 22/7/2009,Inquest into Teoh’s death, Royal Commission on MACC's treatment (Updated with Q&A)

To find out the cause of death, and whether any person is criminally liable - they are going to have an inquest...
Prime Minister Najib Abul Razak - who chaired the meeting - also revealed that an inquest will be held to determine Teoh's cause of death...."I know the police can wrap up investigations very soon. We are talking about a matter of days but the inquest is up to the magistrate to decide.- Malaysiakini, 22/7/2009, Cabinet approves royal commission

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the Cabinet during its meeting Wednesday also decided that the inquest into Teoh’s cause of death would be headed by a magistrate as dictated by law.

It will be up to the courts to decide which magistrate would be in charge of the inquest, he added.

Najib said the courts had already been notified of the Cabinet decision and he expected the inquest to begin sometime next week. - Star, 22/7/2009,Inquest into Teoh’s death, Royal Commission on MACC's treatment (Updated with Q&A)

Maybe, we should just have SUHAKAM, Malaysia's Human Rights Commission doing a public Inquiry...for after all, they are already investigating...
The Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) will carry out a thorough investigation into the death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock.

Its commissioner Datuk N. Siva Subramaniam said that the investigation would also cover complaints from individuals of being injured during a demonstration in front of Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam where Teoh was found dead on Thursday.

“Suhakam will conduct an independent investigation into the two incidents and whatever decision made, such as on whether there should be a public inquiry, will be known after our meeting next month,” Subramaniam told reporters at the Suhakam office here yesterday after receiving a protest memorandum from several individuals who claimed to have been injured by police during the demonstration.

Subramaniam also urged that the fundamental rights of individuals be respected and protected when any investigation is being carried out by the relevant authorities or agencies.

“According to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, torture involves any act inflicted on a person to obtain from him or a third person information or confession with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity,” Subramaniam said - Star, 22/7/2009, Suhakam to conduct thorough investigation

Royal Commission - another one, and this time, they may not be so committed to come out with detailed reccomendations and draft Bills... for after all, the UMNO led-BN government does not have a history of following these recomendations, even if it comes from a ROYAL Commission... Where is that Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), that was reccomended by 2 Royal Commissions of Inquiry?

When I read Malaysiakini, and the words uttered by Najib, I could not help but smile..."We want to establish the truth and nothing but the truth... it is important for us to ensure that public faith and confidence in important institutions," Najib expressed.

I remember Altantuya's case - and I do not believe that them 'important institutions' did even question Najib to 'establish the truth and nothing but the truth...'. Public faith and confidence in the police and other 'important institutions' has been eroded... The head of the Judiciary, who admitted to 'bribing' (later to deny)...and later to have been revealed to have lied when a tape recording surfaced, and the fact that no action was taken, even further erodes 'public faith and confidence' in the judiciary...


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Catholic Lawyers Statement on the 'Al-Islam' article. Should expression be responded with other expressions...or by the State?

Wrong-doings of a few individuals should not be transformed against the whole community of the same faith or ethnicity of the said wrong-doers.





Freedom of expression is a right...a freedom - but it also has its boundaries. The question should be as to how these 'boundaries' are to be set or defined, and who has the task to ensure that these 'boundaries' are not breached. Or maybe, we should just not have boundaries at all. These may be the questions that we must reflect on and decide.





We have all seen what can happen when it is the government of Malaysia that determines these 'boundaries' - and use laws to prevent people crossing these boundaries.

The words that define these 'boundaries' have been words like...

  • prejudicial to the security of Malaysia
  • prejudicial to the maintenance of essential services therein or to the economic life
  • prejudicial to public order
  • for the suppression of violence or the prevention of crimes involving violence
and at the day, it is the 'Minister' that decides what it means, and detain people using the ISA and other Detention Without Trial Laws..., and, of course, the Minister's reasons or the basis of that reason cannot be questioned by anyone...not even the courts.

Today, the Catholic Lawyers, in their press statement, call on the State to consider charging the alleged perpetrators under the law...and even using that draconian Printing Presses & Publications Act 1984.

See the
words, as found in section 298A of the Penal Code, i.e."...act that is likely to cause disharmony, disunity, or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will; or prejudice or attempts to prejudice, or is likely to prejudice, the maintenance of harmony or unity, on grounds of religion, between persons or groups of persons professing the same or different religions...'. The breadth is unacceptable...and it can even be used against legitimate discourse about religion, even amongst adherents of the same religion. Who decides the meaning? The Judge?

I wonder whether the course that we should be taking is by means of criminal prosecution, or the banning/restriction of the publication permits. Maybe, a civil action. Or better still, by our very own exercise of our freedom of expression in a responsible manner...and that has been done through press statements, blog postings, letters to editors, etc. It would be good if the leaders of nation could also come out and express their outrage...and disagreement with the conduct and actions of Al-Islam (the magazine), its publishers, editors and journalists. It is good to note that there has been almost no Malaysian groups that have come out in support of the actions of Al-Islam (or did I miss that).

Hence, my hope is that Al-Islam, its publishers, its editors, its reporters... repents the wrong that they done to Catholics/Christians. It would be good if they do publish an apology...and we move on.
..

Catholics are genuinely angry with the actions of these few people...and, maybe the expression of this anger should suffice...and will deter others from repeating such actions...

It would also be good if leaders/persons of other faiths could also express their condemnation of the article that appeared in Al-Islam (one unknown publication...which has suddenly become 'famous'...).


"This is the sum of Dharma [duty]: Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you". Mahabharata, 5:1517 "

"...a state that is not pleasing or delightful to me, how could I inflict that upon another?" Samyutta NIkaya v. 353

"And if thine eyes be turned towards justice, choose thou for thy neighbour that which thou choosest for thyself." Epistle to the Son of the Wolf

"And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise." Luke 6:31, King James Version.

"Try your best to treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself, and you will find that this is the shortest way to benevolence." Mencius VII.A.4

"None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself." Number 13 of Imam "Al-Nawawi's Forty Hadiths."

do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you. Mahabharata 5:1517


I publish the Catholic Lawyers Society Press Statement, as like many attempts to express themselves never get the required amount of publication by the press/media - and, that soemtime is the reason why people finally have to resort to other means that will get the people's and the media's attention. But alas, these 'other means', be it a peaceful assembly, candle light vigil, a public forum, a 'dinner' talk.... all also get the unwanted attention of the very 'anti-freedom' Malaysian police...


PRESS STATEMENT - 21/7/2009, CLS

Sacrilegious ACT BY JOURNALIST


The Catholic Lawyers’ Society Kuala Lumpur expresses dismay over the recent article appearing in the May issue of Al-Islam entitled ‘Tinjauan Al Islam Dalam Gereja – Mencari Kesahihan remaja Melayu Murtad’.


The article written by Muhd. Ridhwan Abdul Jalil @ Erwanz, displays utmost disrespect to the Catholic community when he admitted consuming Holy Communion and photographing the sacred specie. Although a police report has been lodged, no charges have yet been brought against the writer, the editor or even the publishers of the magazine.


There has been todate no sign of remorse or apology from the writer, editor and/or publishers of the Al Islam for the intrusion, violation and defilement of the most sacred element of the Catholic faith

The writer and editor of the magazine have shown utter contempt to the Catholic community and the Catholic Lawyers’ Society call on the authorities to expedite their investigations and haul up those responsible to Court as a deterrent so that no other religious institution will be subjected to such similar sacrilegious acts by other individuals.

Section 295 of the Penal Code states that it is an offence,

“to defile damage or destroy any object held sacred by any class of persons, with the intention of thereby insulting the religion of any class of persons, or with the knowledge that any class of persons is likely to consider such destruction, damage, or defilement as an insult to their religion…”


Section 298A of the Penal Code states that it is an offence,

“to cause or attempt to cause, or do any act that is likely to cause disharmony, disunity, or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will; or prejudice or attempts to prejudice, or is likely to prejudice, the maintenance of harmony or unity, on grounds of religion, between persons or groups of persons professing the same or different religions….”


The actions of the journalist and the magazine clearly contravene inter alia sections 295 and 298A of the Penal Code.


We also call upon the Ministry of Home Affairs & Internal Security to investigate the magazine and its publishers to ascertain if there has been any violation of the printing and publishing licences and permits issued by the Ministry and if there has been violation of the Printing Presses & Publications Act 1984.


The society expresses concern that in 2007 no criminal charges were levied against those responsible for circulating false information of mass conversions of Muslims in a church at Selibin, Ipoh that saw an unruly crowd disrupting the celebration of first Holy Communion for 90 Catholic children. Now, matters have gone one step further with the violation of the Holy Communion itself. We are concerned that this pattern of interference and violation of that which is sacred to persons of a particular faith and then publishing the same for all to know transgresses any attempt made so far towards harmony and mutual respect.


It is in this light that we call on the Police and the Home Minister to take immediate action against those responsible.


Dated 21st. July 2009


Mabel Sabastian

President Catholic Lawyers’ Society KL

Tel No: 016-6381276

****


Browsing through the internet, I came across other relevant responses to the article in the Al-Islam magazine...


PRESS RELEASE - 8th July 2009


Muslim Men Spying in Catholic Churches


We are deeply concerned that two Muslim men acting on false information that the Catholic Church was converting Muslims into Christians had recently entered a Catholic Church service for the purpose of gathering information as to whether this was occurring. They were also investigating whether the word 'Allah' was being used in church services. These men participated in the church service and even took part in the rituals that are strictly for Catholics and in doing so violated the sanctity of what Catholics hold very sacred. These men later wrote about their experience in an article entitled "Tinjaun Al Islam Dalam Gereja:Mencari Kesahihan Remaja Murtad" which was published in the May 2009 issue or the Al Islam magazine.

The men had consumed the 'communion' which is a white wafer which is blessed by the Priest in a Catholic ritual that dates back 2000 years. Via this ritual the 'white wafer' is supernaturally transformed into what Catholics believe to be Jesus Christ and when consumed allows Catholics to experience life after death. The 'communion' is held with great reverence and cannot in any way be mishandled or with a lack of respect. Even Catholics are not allowed to take home the 'communion' but are instructed to consume it immediately during the service. Catholics go through an elaborate process of preparing themselves to receive this 'communion' worthily and those who have not done so are advised to refrain from receiving it.

As such we are outraged that these Muslim men consumed it only to spit it out later, have it photographed and have its image published in the Al-Islam magazine. The total disrespect shown to what Catholics hold in closest to their hearts and believe to be most Holy strikes deep into our hearts and invokes much anger. While we are resolved not to allow anger to guide our actions and instead pray that these ignorant will be forgiven by the Allah, we want to know what has become of this most holy 'communion' and demand its immediate return to the church authorities.

We are further outraged that these Muslim men have violated our sense of privacy to freely worship. Would these men tolerate non-Muslims entering the mosque and violating the sanctity and holiness of their worship? We believe that all places of worship and the form of worship practiced in these places must be respected with the greatest sensitivity and reverence be they the church, mosque, temple or gurdwaras. Entering these premises with the intention to spy and worse to violate the sanctity of the worship only serves to incite anger and hatred that could lead to potentially dangerous consequences that would tear this country apart.

As such, as concerned Catholics, we have made a police report at the Patani Road Police station on 8th July 2009 and thereafter held a press conference at the same place. We requested that the police investigate this matter with great urgency and bring to books those responsible for acting to incite hate and resentment among the Catholic Community. We also call on the police to investigate both the Al-Islam magazine and the writers of the article.


Joachim Francis Xavier & Sudhagaran Stanley

***

Press Statement By Christian Federation of Malaysia

CHRISTIAN FEDERATION OF MALAYSIA
(PERSEKUTUAN KRISTIAN MALAYSIA )
Address: 10, Jalan 11/9, Section 11, 46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan , Malaysia
Telephone: (03) 7957 1278, (03) 7957 146, Fax: (03) 7957 1457
Email: cfmsia@yahoo.co.uk

PRESS STATEMENT

GOING ABOUT THINGS THE WRONG WAY

The Christian Federation of Malaysia deeply regrets the surreptitious manner in which information was gathered for, and the publication by the magazine Al Islam of, the article entitled “Tinjauan Al Islam Dalam Gereja: Mencari Kesahihan Remaja Murtad” in its May 2009 edition where the “investigators” took it upon themselves to be “undercover spies and policemen”.

Firstly it is not proper or acceptable for adherents of one religion to spy on worshippers of another. Matters of faith and belief are personal, and it should not be the case that citizens of Malaysia should be made to live in fear of professing and practising the religion of their own free choice in public. Regrettably the interpretation/existence of certain laws, customs, practices and teachings in Malaysia has bred a type of religious imperialism, intolerance, intemperance and illegality which is unhealthy and unhelpful in the development of a truly multi-racial, multi-cultural and multi-religious society where everyone is able to profess and practice their own faith free from the interference of the authorities, whether civil or religious.

Secondly, no right-thinking publication and editor should have stooped so low so as to condone, let alone permit, this so-called investigative piece of journalism (if the article can even be called that) to be published. The authors of this article clearly failed in their stated aim as described in their chosen title – to seek the truth about Muslim youths who had converted to Christianity. It should have ended there. That it went further, and led to the actual publication of the article and the proud disclosure of acts which can only be described as religious desecration (by the illicit and wrongful participation in the rite of Holy Communion of Christians without understanding its meaning and consequences), only goes to reveal the moral, ethical and journalistic bankruptcy of the editors of this publication. The sacrilegious behaviour of the authors simply breached all standards of common decency. All God-fearing and peace-loving Malaysians, regardless of their faith traditions, should rightly distance themselves from such conduct.

Thirdly, Christianity has nothing to hide. If people indeed seek the truth, if they are curious about what Christianity is all about, what Christians do, what Christians believe, they need only ask. If they sincerely wish to learn, we welcome them with open and loving arms, as we do people of all faiths, or of none, into our churches and seminaries to learn more about Christianity. There is no need to snoop or to spy. Doing so is merely going about things the wrong way.

Finally, we trust that the authorities will do the right thing and take the necessary action to correct the wrong that has been done.



(signed)
The Rt. Revd. Ng Moon Hing
Chairman, Executive Committee Christian Federation of Malaysia

17th July 2009


And guess what, it was UMNO's Khairy that seem to have come out 'first' on this issue. What has happened to good old Anwar, Hadi Awang,...did they come out and condemn the actions of Al-Islam magazine, its journalist and editors?

Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin became the first Umno leader to speak out against the two Muslim journalists who went undercover to two Catholic churches, describing their action as “appalling and offensive.”

His latest blog posting blasted the Al Islam journalists for pretending to be Christians and taking part in its rituals — receiving and spitting out the Holy Communion wafer for photographs — saying their action was unacceptable even by a Muslim such as himself.

The pictures of the crushed wafer were published alongside the article in the Al-Islam magazine.

Khairy's posting makes him the first Malaysian-Muslim politician to speak on the issue which has upset many in the Christian community. The two journalists were investigating reports of mass conversions at the two churches.

"I have no reservations whatsoever in condemning this instance of unethical journalism, grounded in both disrespect and ignorance," said Khairy.

"The Islamic virtues of empathy, respect and tolerance were obviously absent in both the journalists and the magazine's editorial team that sanctioned the publishing of the article and the methods employed to gather information," he added.

Khairy, who is also the MP for Rembau, further said those behind the fracas should imagine what they would feel if Christians were to do the same thing, going to a mosque pretending to worship as Muslims and then making a mockery out of their religious practice.

"I suspect Al-Islam failed to consider the fact that the gravity of their own actions were similar to this hypothetical situation where the sanctity of the Muslim place and act of worship are violated," commented Khairy.

This incident plus the recent arrest and overnight detention of nine people who were allegedly on a conversion mission at Universiti Putra Malaysia have made many people doubt the sincerity of the 1 Malaysia concept.

Another case which has left many Christians upset is the swift legal action taken against the Catholic Church for using the word “Allah” in their newspaper. “Allah” in Arabic simply means god but many Malaysian Muslims believe that non-Muslims should not be allowed to use the word. - Malaysian Insider, 16/7/2009, Khairy condemns actions of two Al Islam journalists