Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sad news as Senate passes Peaceful Assembly Bill - now all up to the King


Press Statement: 21 December 2011

Passing of the PA Bill 2011: 10 steps backwards and against the Fundamental Liberties!

The committee of Campaign for Freedom to Assemble strongly condemns the passage of the Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011 by the Senate yesterday. We comprised of 30 over Civil Society groups and individuals are disappointed at the passage of the bill despite protests from civil society groups from around the country and internationally.  The passage of the Bill is now a foregone conclusion and it is expected to become law by next year after the Yang di-Pertuan Agong signs it and it gets gazetted.

The Bill is Politically Motivated
The hotly contested Bill was first tabled at parliament on the 22nd of November 2011 at the Dewan Rakyat (House of Representative) and then the bill was passed by the House on the 29th of November. Presently, the bill has just been passed by the Senate with only a day of debate. 

The Bill was meant to replace Section 27 of Police Act that governed the need for a police permit to hold any assemblies, meetings and processions. Although the bill which has been passed in the Senate is the amended version; it still bans street protests, there is no room for spontaneous protest, there is a prohibition for non-citizens and citizens under 21 years of age to assemble peacefully, there is a conditional access to media for public gatherings, and it provides a wide range of power to the police.
This new Peaceful Assembly Bill will pose a threat to democracy. The limitation of the right to freedom of assembly is unreasonable and unjustifiable in a democratic society. The move by the government of Malaysia is fully politically motivated and is ten steps backwards in terms of human rights. This is an outright disgrace for the Malaysia government despite being a member of the UN Human Rights Council.

UN Experts Condemn the Bill!
The Bill also came under fire by a group of United Nations independent experts who warned that a new Peaceful Assembly Bill in Malaysia may “arbitrarily and disproportionately restrict the right to assemble peacefully”.

The Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai, expressed his deep regret that “neither the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM), nor civil society was meaningfully consulted in the drafting of this Bill.” He also claimed that many of these restrictions are not justifiable under international law.  The UN Experts warned the government of Malaysia and stressed their position that, under international human rights law, “everyone” has the right to freedom of assembly and association, without distinction of any kind, including nationality, and appeal to the Government of Malaysia to urgently review the Bill to ensure its compliance with fundamental human rights.

Withdraw the Bill Immediately and repeal Section 27 of Police Act!

The BN/UMNO government has used its Parliamentary majority to force through a bad law that risks doing more harm than good. It sets a worrying precedent for this Parliament. The Bill is constitutionally inconsistent as well as being illiberal. It has also codified the recent approach of the government towards demonizing peaceful assemblies (such as by reference to the rights of third parties).

Malaysia’s Senate should have shown leadership and upheld the rights of all in Malaysia by rejecting this reprehensible bill. If the bill becomes law, this measure would put a wide range of people at risk of criminal sanctions for exercising their basic rights. This includes ordinary citizens with legitimate reasons to protest, students, indigenous peoples opposing land encroachment, and workers, as well as human rights defenders and their friends, families and colleagues.

We are concerned about the repercussion of these proposed legislative changes on the work of Malaysian NGOs, civil society groups, political parties and citizens. The new proposed legislation while recognising the need for peaceful assembly merely acts to further limit this fundamental right.
We hereby urge the government to adopt the recommendations made by SUHAKAM in its 2001 special report on ‘Freedom of Assembly’ to the Parliament. In the report, SUHAKAM proposed several noteworthy recommendations based on the findings and best practices in other countries and through various discussions with the police and other interested parties.
We oppose the Bill and urge the government to withdraw the Bill immediately. We also urge the government to remove restrictions under the Section 27A of the Police Act and Penal Code and establish an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) as per the recommendations made by the 2005 Royal Commission on Policing without further delay.
Please contact Miss Nalini at 03 77843525 or 019 3758912 for any queries.

Released by,
Secretariat of the Campaign for the Freedom to Assemble


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Happy Human Rights Day & Congrats to Tijah and SUARAM

Congrats to Tijah and SUARAM, the recipients of  SUHAKAM's 2011 Human Rights Awards... and continue to struggle for human rights all you the many other Human Rights Defenders in Malaysia, some who have been involved in the struggle for over 30-40 years, many of whom are media-shy and do their work for human rights without fear or favour sacrificing their own time, effort and even money...Syabas...

M'sia 'lagging far behind' Indonesia on human rights
The Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) today proposed that parliamentary select committees give more focused and informed consideration to basic rights issues.

Suhakam chairman Hasmy Agam said this would bolster parliamentary democracy in the country.

"Every policy or law being formulated in the interest of the country must not only comply with the provisions in the Federal Constitution but also universal principles and human basic rights norms," he said at the inaugural Basic Human Rights Award 2011 presentation ceremony.

"The voice of the people must be acknowledged and accorded priority, regardless of whether they are government or opposition supporters, when drafting policies and implementing certain programmes, particularly with regard to women, children, senior citizens and the Orang Asli in the peninsula and natives in Sabah and Sarawak," he stressed.

Suaram honoured with award

He said Malaysia should be a forerunner among Asean nations in upholding basic human rights.

"Malaysia is lagging far behind in the aspect of human rights compared to other countries like Indonesia although we are progressing fast economically," he said.

Meanwhile, the Special Award went to Integrity School (a school of six set up within a prison for juvenile offenders based in Kajang, Kluang, Marang, Sungai Petani, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching).

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) received the award in the Organisation Category and Tijah Yok Chopil of the Semai Orang Asli, in the Individual Category.

A ‘Young Maid for Sale’ report of ntv7's Mandarin version of ‘Edisi Siasat’ hosted by Kong Lik Hwan won in the Media Category. 

- Bernama - Malaysiakini, 10/12/2011,
M'sia 'lagging far behind' Indonesia on human rights

TIJAH Yok Chopil is one of the most important voices of the Orang Asli.

TIJAH still remembers her first day of school in 1976. The traumatic events that unfolded that day are etched in her memory. Her reflections of those events and subsequent experiences made her into what she is today.
That day, the orang asli children of Kampung Chang in Perak were bussed out of their settlement to be schooled in a national school in Bidor town, some 30 minutes away.

“When we got down from the bus all the other kids looked at us like we were aliens. They were afraid of us and we were afraid of them. Then they jeered and teased us. We felt so ashamed,” recalls Tijah who was eight then and now is in her early 40s.

Subsequent negative experiences with people outside of her community made her ask why her people were so alienated in the country that ironically, recognised them as the “original people” or orang asli.

Preserving her identity: Tijah Yok Chopil has worked tirelessly to empower and unite the orang asli community.

“I realised the answer is not to run and hide but to stand our ground, to unite to empower ourselves and to explain to the outside world who we are.”

With 18 diverse ethnic groups numbering 150,000, Tijah has the challenge of empowering and uniting the orang asli to speak in one voice. She started with the people closest to her – her family and community.

At 17, she started teaching her siblings and neighbours’ kids to read and write. Due to the many negative experiences in school, and having no money to buy food or books, many orang asli children dropped out of school. But through sheer effort and determination, Tijah managed to continue schooling despite having to help her mother farm and tap rubber to support her nine siblings when her father died when she was only 12.

As a result of her classes, which eventually included adults, almost no one in her village is illiterate today. Tijah also began to join discussions with orang asli leaders on the problems besetting the community. But she realised soon enough that the menfolk could not accept a young, vocal woman who speaks her mind.

“I found the men who claimed to be our leaders were not really engaging with the community or finding creative ways to solve our problems. So instead of waiting for them, I decided to start my own group. I decided to engage with the womenfolk and we called ourselves Kumpulan Ibu-Ibu Kampung Chang (Kampung Chang’s Women’s Group).

“After many years, the young people who had been my students and the womenfolk became my strong allies. They helped me organise the community when there are land incursions or when we need to voice our demands to the government.”

The men eventually joined the women in the village and together they changed the name of the group to Sinui Pai Nanuk Sngik (SPNS), which means New Life, One Heart in 1995. Through this organisation, they ran classes and workshops for the community on activities ranging from weaving baskets to paralegal training on land rights.

From those humble beginnings, the SPNS model spread to other villages. Over the years it became a network linking five states in Peninsular Malaysia and SPNS evolved to what is now known as the Village Network of Peninsular Malaysia Orang Asli. (Jaringan Kampung Orang Asli Semenanjung Malaysia).

The Village Network has over the years become a powerful force in voicing for orang asli rights. Through their collective efforts, they managed to stave off several threats of land incursions into their native customary territories. Their latest struggle is to protest against the new land policy that was approved without consultation with the orang asli grassroots by the National Land Council last December.

The title of the policy – “Policy of Awarding Land Titles” – is in itself misleading and offensive to the orang asli, says Tijah. “It assumes that the orang asli have no land ... but we have been here from the beginning. All we need is the Government to recognise our customary land territories. We don’t need the Government to sympathise with us or to give us what we already have.”

Most of the orang asli were unaware of the Policy and Tijah took it upon herself to inform the community throughout Peninsular Malaysia. Together with the members of the Village Network, they went on a roadtrip to inform and gather the opinions of the grassroots.

“We found that all of us are very angry about the policy, and we wanted to express our feelings to the Government. So that’s where the protest came about. We managed to organise 3,000 people from all over the country to demonstrate at Putrajaya. This is the first time in Malaysian history that so many orang asli have come together in a show of strength to protest a government policy.”

The Village Network is facing its biggest challenge yet as penetration into orang asli territory is growing aggressive. – Wild Asia


BOTH Tijah Yok Chopil and the Persatuan Prihatin Konservasi, Kebudayaan, Sosial dan Kebajikan Lubok Bongor have been nominated as Wild Asia Heroes in recognition of their efforts to promote sustainable practices and empower local communities. Short films on the heroes will be screened on Oct 17 during the Eco Film Fest at Universiti Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. For details, go to and - Star, 28/9/2010, A Semai woman overcomes all odds

Bar Council's Human Rights Programme 2.00pm, 10/12/2011 - Admission is free

Bar Council Human Rights Committee Celebrates Human Rights Day 2011
Wednesday, 07 December 2011 08:11am

Date: 10 Dec 2011 (Saturday)
Time: 2:00 pm to 7:30 pm
Venue: Auditorium, Kuala Lumpur Bar Committee, Level 10, Wisma Kraftangan, No 9 Jalan Tun Perak, 50050 Kuala Lumpur

Human Rights Day 2011 is just around the corner.  For this year’s celebration, the Bar Council Human Rights Committee (”BCHRC”) is organising a programme that focuses on two issues. 

The first part will take a look at the use of death penalty in Malaysia and the impact on society, through a forum on the death penalty, and the screening of the documentary film “Death in Dilemma: The Final Curtain”, directed by Seira Sacha Abu Bakar and Khaizan Sharizad Ab Razak Dali (Sherrie), members of BCHRC.

The second part will focus on participatory democracy and the need for society to get involved, through #IdolaDemokrasi Gameshop — An Experience in Malaysia’s Democracy and Citizen Action.  The Gameshop will be conducted by Edmund Bon, human rights lawyer.

Admission is free. For more details or to register, please contact Adi Irman (            03-2050 2102      ) or Adilah Ariffin (            03-2050 2091

A candle light vigil at Dataran Merdeka at 8pm on 10th Dec, Human Rights Day

Well, it looks like we will be having candle light vigil this HR Day

Each year we see the rights of Malaysians stripped away.

In 2011, we have been faced with so many violations  of our rights and have seen much injustice served. Some of these faced by us, the rakyat of Malaysia, include no justice for Teoh Beng Hock, Aleesha Farhana & Ahmad Sarbani, the “illegalisation” of Bersih 2.0 and victimisation of the EO6, the outrageous  Malaysia-Australia Refugee Swap Deal, the environmental nightmare of Lynas, the banning of Seksualiti Merdeka and, of course, the most recent, the Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011. In spite of all these happenings, the rakyat has shown great spirit in speaking up for their rights.

In conjunction with Human Rights Day 2011, UndiMsia! would like to invite  you to join us to celebrate and reclaim our rights.

Let us come together this Saturday (10th Dec) 8pm at Dataran Merdeka for a candlelight vigil.
Spread the word. Bring a friend and some candles!

The people united will never be defeated.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

UN: Malaysia: new Bill threatens right to peaceful assembly with arbitrary and disproportional restrictions

Malaysia: new Bill threatens right to peaceful assembly with arbitrary and disproportional restrictions
Thursday, 08 December 2011 09:02am
ImageGENEVA (7 December 2011) – A group of United Nations independent experts warned that a new Peaceful Assembly Bill in Malaysia may “arbitrarily and disproportionately restrict the right to assemble peacefully.” The restrictions range from a ban on street protests and a prohibition on non-citizens and citizens under 21 years of age to assemble peacefully, to conditional access for media to public gatherings.

“Many of these restrictions are not justifiable under international law,” said the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai, expressing his deep regret that “neither the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM), nor civil society was meaningfully consulted in the drafting of this Bill.”

According to the proposed legislation, which contains a vague definition of assembly, there would also be broad restrictions and conditions on gatherings and a restrictive notification procedure. The Bill gives excessive authority and power to law enforcement officials and the Minister in charge of home affairs on matters related to assemblies, as well as full discretion to the police to make any form of recording of assemblies.

“The right to assemble and protest peacefully is an essential safeguard for the defence of human rights and fundamental freedoms in any pluralistic society,” said the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, Margaret Sekaggya. “I am particularly alarmed by the provision prohibiting citizens under 21 years of age to assemble. Political and social participation through peaceful protests are not only an educational experience for children, youth and students but also an investment for society as a whole.”

The Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of expression, Frank La Rue, urged the Government of Malaysia to seriously reconsider the adoption of the bill, which would contravene international human rights standards. “The ability of all individuals to express themselves freely, including in the form of peaceful assemblies, is a litmus test for the level of democracy in any country,” he said recalling a previous call of concern on the Government’s response to the Bersih 2.0 demonstrations in November.* 

“Under international human rights law, ‘everyone’ has the right to freedom of assembly and association, without distinction of any kind, including nationality,” said the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau. “I am deeply concerned at the provision of the draft law which prohibits non-citizens to organize or participate in a peaceful assembly. I appeal to the Government of Malaysia to urgently review the Bill to ensure its compliance with fundamental human rights.”

The group of UN independent experts warned that “with this legislation, people in Malaysia may not be able to express their dissent in public spaces without fear of being detained or sanctioned.”


Thai Union leader and labour activist for exercising right of peaceful assembly - Let us campaign for an end of State persecution of HR Defenders

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سيتم ترجمة هذه المناشدة وستظهر في القسم العربي من موقعنا الالكتروني خلال بضعة ايام
7 December 2011
Re: Thailand – Human rights defenders Jittra Kotchadej, Boonrod Paiwong, and Soonthorn Boonyord to appear in pre-trial hearing on 23 December 
Human rights defenders Ms Jittra Kotchadej, Ms Boonrod Paiwong, and Mr Soonthorn Boonyord are due to appear in a pre-trial hearing on 23 December 2011 to decide on the dates of their trial. The human rights defenders are officially charged under Section 215 and 216 of the Criminal Code for leading and organising a peaceful assembly in front of the Parliament House in Bangkok. Jittra Kotchadej is an adviser of the Triumph International Labour Union. Boonrod Paiwong is the former Secretary-General of the Triumph International Labour Union. Soonthorn Boonyord is a labour activist affiliated with the National Congress of Thai Labour. Each of them could face a maximum jail term of five years and/or each be fined up to 10,000 baht (USD 325). 
On 27 August 2009, the Triumph International Labour Union organised a demonstration to follow up on the government's promise to find a remedy for 2,000 workers who were dismissed by Triumph International factories. The members of the Labour Union had earlier met with the secretary of then Prime Minister Abhisit Vejajiva, who promised that he would look into the dismissal. The demonstration consisted of around 400 women labour activists from the Triumph International Labour Union, the Electronic and Mechanic Labour Union, and the World Garment Factory Labour Union, as well as human rights defenders from non-governmental organisations working on labour rights.

When the workers arrived at the Government House, no government official came out to talk to them so they moved to the parliament and received the same treatment. In response to their peaceful demonstration, the police used Long Range Acoustic Devices (LRAD) as a means to forcefully disperse the demonstration. Many of the labour activists were later diagnosed with ear problems as a result of the usage of the LRAD machine by the police.

On 27 January 2011, the public prosecutor officially charged Jittra Kotchadej, Boonrod Paiwong, and Soonthorn Boonyord. They submitted assets worth 200,000 Thai Baht (USD 6,490) each as a guarantee in order to be granted bail. All three human rights defenders had submitted assets worth 100,000 Thai Baht (USD 3,245) each after the police at Dusit Precinct issued arrest warrants against them.

The human rights defenders are charged under Section 215 and 216 of the Criminal Code. Section 215 states that “If the offender is leading an act [which threatens violence or to cause a breach of peace], he/she shall be punished for the maximum of five years imprisonment or fined not exceeding ten thousands baht or both”. Section 216 states that “[w]hen an official orders any person assembled under section 215 to disperse and such person does not disperse, he/she shall be imprisoned for the maximum of three years or fined for the maximum of six thousands baht or both”.

Front Line believes that the charges against Jittra Kotchadej, Boonrod Paiwong, and Soonthorn Boonyord are directly related to their work in the defence of human rights, in particular in demanding compensation for the 2,000 workers who were dismissed from their work.

Front Line urges the authorities in Thailand to:
  1. Immediately drop all charges against Jittra Kotchadej, Boonrod Paiwong, and Soonthorn Boonyord as it is believed that they are solely motivated by the human rights defenders' legitimate and peaceful work in defence of human rights;

  2. Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of the aforenamed human rights defenders; 
  3. Refrain from using section 215 and 216 of the Thai Criminal Code as a mean to persecute human rights defenders holding peaceful demonstrations in the promotion and protection of human rights; 
  4. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Thailand are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

200 brave water sprinklers to protest Assembly Bill (Malaysiakini)

200 brave water sprinklers to protest Assembly Bill
Despite what appeared to be attempts by the KLCC management to cause inconveniences, some 200 people converged at its park off Jalan Ampang in a carnival-like gathering to oppose the Peaceful Assembly Bill.

Instead of being met by police batons and water cannons on its second Saturday afternoon protest, the group of about 200, clad in yellow, were met with water sprinklers.

The group moved close to some trees in the park after the KLCC management, again, cordoned off its compound for a cleaning operation, including the area the protesters used last week.

a samad said protest against assembly bill in klcc reading poetry water sprinklerThere, they stood around national laureate A Samad Said, who is popularly known as Pak Samad, as he recited his poems. Then, the complex management turned on water sprinklers on the ground where they stood.

Undaunted, those who were caught in the sprays shielded themselves with umbrellas and continued to listen to Pak Samad, who recited his latest poem in tribute to the occupy movement, Merindu Ruang (Missing Space) after reciting his Bersih poem, 'Unggun Bersih'.

"Let us fight violence with the beauty of literature," declared one of its organisers, Wong Chin Huat, who is also a steering committee member of Bersih.

a samad said protest against assembly bill in klcc with kit siangTop leaders from DAP also threw their weight behind today's rally, with the presence of DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang and several MPs and state assemblypersons from the party, including Teo Nie Ching, Charles Santiago, Tony Pua, Teresa Kok, Ean Yong Hian Wah and Ronnie Liu.

"We must have a parliamentary select committee before the Peaceful Assembly Bill becomes law, we want public consultation. All of us want to give our views in a real democracy," said Lim.
The bill, which was passed by Parliament despite stringent opposition, is seen to be far more draconian than section 27 of the Police Act.
It bans all street protests, imposes far stricter requirements on rally organisers as well as higher fines for more offences and gives blanket powers to the police.

'PM's game changer not enough'

Samad later concluded his poem with the words:

Ada sang perubah permainan
kami perubah kekuasaan
Inilah tekad generasi baru
akarnya keadilan syahdu

(There is a game changer
But we are changers of the powers
This is the young generation's determination
its root is noble justice)

a samad said protest against assembly bill in klcc reading poetry 3Asked what he meant by "game changer", Samad said he was referring to the prime minister's speech at the Umno general assembly earlier this week.

"The prime minister' speech said he needs a game changer, but what we need is regime change," he said.

The celebrated poet added that he was there to lend a hand in opposing the Peaceful Assembly Bill.

"We saw just now, even when we wanted to recite poem, that we need a letter of permission. That is not democracy. I'm doing this to help create a freer atmosphere."

Protest disrupted by KLCC security

Earlier, when the protesters were taking turns to recite poems at the gathering, a KLCC security officer intervened and said that they needed permission from the management, despite the place being a public park.

a samad said protest against assembly bill in klcc reading poetry crowd 5When the crowd began to boo, Wong stepped in and queried if the crowd would require permission if they gathered inside KLCC to look at its Christmas decorations, to which the security officer replied: "No".

"Then next week, we will gather inside KLCC to appreciate the beauty of Christmas trees," declared Wong, cheekily.

The crowd later adhered to the demands of the security officer and dispersed in an orderly fashion.

Speaking to reporters later, Wong said the crowd was smaller than last week because the KLCC management had cordoned off their intended location.

klcc cordon off for cleaning assembly bill protestHowever, he brushed aside any intention of ill-will over the move and the fact that water sprinklers were turned on where the protesters had gathered.

"KLCC is secretly supporting Bersih, we are heartened that it has supported our action in the last two weeks," he quipped.

Wong vowed that the protests to oppose the Peaceful Assembly Bill would continue, even after it becomes law.

"Don't expect us to back down. We are waiting to be arrested and put behind bars, and I'm sure enough people are willing to take a stand to defend our freedom to assemble."

Saturday, December 03, 2011

So no mainstream media covers MTUC protest - giving the false impression that the labour amendments is a non-issue...

As expected I did not see the mainstream print or electronic media carry stories of the MTUC protest of 1,000 plus strong in a hall.... see earlier post:-MTUC's 3rd protest action against Labour Law amendments in Shah Alam by more than a 1,000

MTUC desak tarik balik Akta Kerja
Muhammad Faizal   
SHAH ALAM, 2 Nov: Kongres Kesatuan Sekerja Malaysia (MTUC) hari ini mendesak kerajaan menarik balik Akta Kerja 1955 yang telah diluluskan pada 6 Oktober lalu di Parlimen.

Pengerusi MTUC Selangor dan Wilayah, N.Gopal Krishnan sewaktu berucap menjelaskan akta tersebut bersifat akta 'bapa ayam' yang jelas zalim dan bersikap kuku besi.

"Saya nyatakan dengan perlaksanaan akta ini kerajaan akan mengembalikan sistem kontrak yang telah dihapuskan sebelum ini dan dengan perlaksanaan ini jelas menunjukkan kerajaan bersifat zalim malah umpama 'bapa ayam'.

"Kita tidak mahu pekerja dinafikan hak di negara ini dan secara tidak langsung taraf pekerja warganegara kita hanya setanding dengan pekerja warga asing," jelasnya.

Beliau menyatakan bantahan it akan terus dilakukan kerana hak pekerja itu perlu ada pada tahap yang sepatutnya.

"Kita tidak mahu pekerja ditekan dan terus ditekan oleh pemerintah sekarang, kita akan terus mendesak serta menentang habis-habisan sehingga kerajaan menarik balik akta tersebut," sambung beliau lagi.

Sementara itu Ahli Parlimen Hulu Langat, Abdullah Sani yang turut hadir berkata, selama ini menentang perlaksanaan akta tersebut di Parlimen memberitahu akta tersebut bersifat 'rejim Israel'.

"Apa yang ingin saya katakan akta ini bersifat seperti 'rejim Israel' yang sikap ganas serta memijak kepala pekerja.

"Secara jelas saya membantah akta tersebut dan semua pasti tidak mahu masalah menimpa anak-anak mereka yang sudah pasti mangsanya mereka.

"Kita tahu akta ini sudah berulang kali ingin dibentang tetapi gagal, dan disebabkan majoriti yang besar penyokong kerajaan Barisan Nasional maka ia diluluskan pada sesi Parlimen kali ini," ucapnya.

Beliau berkata akta itu akan dimansuhkan jika berlakunya perubahan politik negara pada masa akan datang.

"Ini janji saya dan juga rakan-rakan dalam Pakatan Rakyat, jika berlakunya perubahan lanskap politik di negara ini, maka hak pekerja akan dipenuhi selain memansuhkan akta yang zalim ini.

"Kita mahu meletakkan pekerja pada tempat yang sepatutnya ia berada bukannya di bawah tapak kasut kerajaan sekarang," sambungnya lagi.

Mantan Presiden MTUC, Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud memberitahu dengan terteranya akta itu maka pada masa akan datang tidak akan ada lagi pekerja tetap dan syarikat-syarikat swasta akan menggunakan khidmat pekerja kontrak.

"Akibat dan kesan kepada perlaksanaannya menyebabkan pada masa akan datang tidak akan ada lagi pekerja tetap dan semua akan menjadi pekerja kontrak.

"Kita pasti ini semestinya akan berlaku kerana pihak swasta dapat menjimatkan kos operasi mereka, jadi apa hak yang kita akan dapat dan apa akan jadi kepada anak-anak kita nanti.

"MTUC bersama pekerja serta Pakatan Rakyat akan terus mendesak agar akta ini ditarik balik, kita mahu kerajaan yang kejam serta menindas rakyat itu faham apa yang di alami oleh pekerja," ucapnya.

Sebelum itu perhimpunan bantahan yang diadakan di Dewan MBSA Seksyen 19 Shah Alam merupakan susulan bantahan yang diadakan di seluruh negara sebelum ini.

Turut hadir ahli Parlimen Ampang, Zuraida Kamaruddin, Presiden MTUC, Malaysia Mohd Khalid Atan dan juga kesatuan-kesatuan pekerja kilang di seluruh Shah Alam.

Satu resolusi dan ikrar telah dibaca oleh seribu pekerja dan akan dibawa ke peringkat MTUC Malaysia bagi membincangkannya. - Harakah Daily, 2/12/2011, MTUC desak tarik balik Akta Kerja

MTUC's 3rd protest action against Labour Law amendments in Shah Alam by more than a 1,000

MTUC had its 3rd protest against the proposed amendments to the Employment Act 1955 in a hall in Shah Alam, which was attended by more than 1,000 - but surely it would have been better if it was done somewhere public where the other Malaysians and the world could see. In-door gatherings and letters somehow do not put sufficient pressure on the BN government or the Prime Minister.

Wonder whether there will be any media coverage by the mainstream print and electronic media. Hopefully MTUC do not give up the fight - and would do more public protests - intent also in convincing the non-worker non-union members to support in the struggle to stop the Employment Act being amended... the consequence of the proposed amendments becoming law is most detrimental to trade unions and workers...

Presiden MTUC akui sistem kontraktor pekerja boleh hakis undi BN

December 02, 2011
Ahli-ahli kesatuan gabungan MTUC yang menghadiri perhimpunan membantah pindaan Akta Kerja 1955 di Shah Alam petang ini. ― Foto oleh Jack Ooi
SHAH ALAM, 2 Dis - Presiden Kongres Kesatuan Sekerja Malaysia (MTUC) tidak menolak kemungkinan pindaan Akta Kerja, khususnya yang berkaitan sistem kontraktor tenaga kerja, akan memberi kesan ke atas populariti kerajaan Barisan Nasional (BN) dalam pilihan raya umum.

Khalid Atan berkata, lazimnya pekerja-pekerja mengharapkan perlindungan daripada kerajaan dan oleh itu, jika ada apa-apa penggubalan ataupun pindaan menjejaskan kepentingan mereka, ia akan mengganggu sokongan atau undi ketika pilihan raya.

“Mungkin, mungkin ada,” kata beliau ketika ditanya mengenai kesan sokongan para pekerja, yang dianggarkan lebih lima juta orang merupakan pengundi jika kerajaan enggan memenuhi desakan MTUC agar jangan meneruskan pindaan Akta Kerja.

Rang Undang-undang Kerja 2011 sudah pun diluluskan oleh Dewan Rakyat pada 6 Oktober lalu tanpa mempedulikan piket kongres itu tiga hari sebelum itu.

Ia kini menunggu giliran untuk diluluskan di Dewan Negara.

Ketika ditanya sama ada MTUC akan membincangkan syor agar badan induk kesatuan sekerja itu mengisytiharkan perang ke atas kerajaan BN jika Rang Undang-undang Kerja diluluskan juga, Khalid berkata, “saya tidak boleh membuat keputusan seorang diri.”

“Bagaimanapun jika dibawa ke majlis am, MTUC akan membincangkan, kita serah kepada majlis am,” katanya lagi sambil menambah, ini bukan keputusan individu.

Beliau juga menekankan MTUC merupakan sebuah badan yang tidak memihak mana-mana parti politik.

Perhimpunan membantah pindaan Akta Kerja hari ini, yang disertai lebih 1.000 pekerja dari Kuala Lumpur dan Selangor, turut disertai wakil rakyat Pakatan Rakyat termasuk Zuraida Kamaruddin dan Abdullah Sani masing-masing Ahli Parlimen Ampang dan Kuala Langat.

Pada 27 November lalu, Setiausaha Kewangan MTUC Alias Awang Ibrahim menegaskan, badan induk pekerja itu akan mengisytihrkan perang ke atas kerajaan BN jika Rang Undang-undang Kerja 1955 dipinda di Dewan Negara kelak.

MTUC sebelum ini membantah pindaan terbaru yang menyediakan peruntukan kontroversial sistem kontraktor bagi tenaga kerja.

Alias Awang berkata, badan induk itu yang dianggotai 390 kesatuan akan menyokong mana-mana parti politik yang berjanji akan meminda pindaan-pindaan dibawa ke atas Akta Kerja sekarang.

“Jika ia diluluskan di Dewan Negara maka MTUC akan mengisytiharkan perang ke atas mereka (kerajaan). Tiada ruang untuk berkompromi,” kata beliau.

MTUC telah menulis surat kepada Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Razak dan timbalannya Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin tetapi belum ada perkembangan positif setakat ini.

Ketika ditanya sama ada MTUC mahu mengadakan piket kedua di pekarangan Parlimen menjelang pembentangan di Dewan Negara, Khalid berkata, ia juga akan diputuskan oleh majlis am kelak.

“Piket ini sama ada perlu atau tidak akan diputuskan oleh majlis am,” katanya dan menjelaskan mesyuarat badan tertinggi MTUC belum diputuskan.

Pada perhimpunan pekerja peringkat Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan hari ini, peserta berikrar bahawa “MTUC menentang sepenuhnya pindaan Rang Undang-undang Kerja yang diluluskan oleh Dewan Rakyat pada 6 Oktober 2011, sehingga pindaan ini ditarik balik dari Dewan Negara supaya ia tidak boleh dilaksanakan.”

Mereka juga berikrar untuk memberi sokongan kepada parti-parti politik yang sanggup menolak pindaan ke atas Akta Kerja dan yang menyokong perjuangan pekerja.

“Dengan ini kami tetap teguh dan terus berjuang dengan tegas menentang mereka yang menzalimi kaum pekerja serta menuntut supaya dikembalikan hak pekerja seadilnya,” bunyi ikrar itu.- Malaysian Insider, 2/12/2011, Presiden MTUC akui sistem kontraktor pekerja boleh hakis undi BN

Friday, December 02, 2011

Another event in KLCC this Saturday to protest Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011

Event: Malaysians can walk freely with Pak Samad in KLCC without police permit 

The battle against the 'Peaceful Assembly Bill' is not over yet. They have only passed it in the Lower House. This means we can still force them to withdraw or hold back until the bill is passed in the Upper House (Senate) and eventually signed by the King. Even if they pass it, we can still defeat it by mounting a campaign of civil disobedience.

Last Saturday, we had a wonderful yellow event in KLCC Park where people gathered without permit in yellow, with yellow balloons, yellow flowers, and flags. (All Videos on protest against the #PA2011:

This week, we will do it again. And Pak Samad is joining us and would read us some poems. Let us flood the KLCC without police permit. Let us defy stupid laws. Let us defend our freedom.

Last week we had 400 people coming, this week we aim to make it 800. 
We need to grow the momentum. This is only possible with your help. If you show your support by bringing your friends & family to the event!
Have a picnic together at KLCC park (in front of the fountains - its a family-friendly event).

Please help by spreading the news and invite all your friends on Facebook. Just install this programme on your Chrome and everything can be done with a click (5 seconds):

Pak Samad to lead Public Assembly Bill protest
National laureate A Samad Said will lead the second round of protest at KLCC Park tomorrow, defying the Public Assembly Bill that the Lower House of Parliament passed on Tuesday and is now awaiting Senate approval.

The park was the scene of a
similar protest last Saturday, with some 400 protesters - many of them clad in yellow in support of the Bersih movement - singing songs, distributing balloons and flowers, blowing soap bubbles and practising yoga to demonstrate against the "unconstitutional" Bill.

anti ppsmi rally 070209 pak samad police
"This week, we will do it again. And Pak Samad is joining us to read us some poems. Let us flood the KLCC without police permit. Let us defy stupid laws. Let us defend our freedom," wrote one of the organisers, Wong Chin Huat, on his Facebook wall.

The 76-year old poet and novelist, popularly known as Pak Samad, is no stranger to protests, having led the
Bersih 2.0 rally on July 9 and the anti-PPSMI rally in 2009 (on left).

The 2pm event, again organised through
Facebook, calls for the Bill's immediate withdrawal and to allow postal voting for all overseas Malaysians.

Organisers hope to double the number of participants to 800. As of writing, close to 300 Netizens have confirmed their participation.

Unlike last week, organisers are urging participants to bring food for the "afternoon picnic", along with the usual flags, balloons and flowers, and to dress in yellow.
Banners, placards are discouraged

Banners and placards are discouraged by organisers at the demonstration, to show the police that protests can happen without them, and because those carrying these are likely to be denied entry into the park.

In addition, the organisers are discouraging participants from bringing political party T-shirts or flags to maintain a non-partisan campaign.

malaysian can walk klcc 261111 09
When the group gathered last Saturday to demonstrate, police kept watch from a distance, while park security men disrupted speeches.

Nevertheless, before being dispersed, Wong vowed to return on the following Saturday, to which the crowded cheered, "Yes!"

Despite this protest and a much
larger march by the Bar Council on Tuesday, the Public Assembly Bill 2011 was passed by the Dewan Rakyat on the same day.

The Bill will still need to be passed by the Dewan Negara and get the approval of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong before it can be gazetted as law.

Once gazetted, organisers of public assemblies must notify police beforehand and can only operate under under restrictive conditions.

These include a blanket ban on street demonstrations and any assembly within 50 metres of places of worship, schools, public transport terminals and other "prohibited places". -
Malaysiakini, 2/12/2011, Pak Samad to lead Public Assembly Bill protest

PM has not yet replied letter of 107(now 115) groups caling for withdrawal of employment law amendments ...

When the Joint statement 107 organizations and groups, from all over the world, dated 28/10/2011, entitled “Malaysia Must Protect Worker and Union Rights, and withdraw proposed unjust amendments to Employment Act - Labour Suppliers Should Not Be Employers”, was issued, it was also sent to the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato' Sri Mohd Najib Bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak, vide letter dated 28/10/2011(which I posted personally) which also urged the Malaysian government to immediately withdraw the proposed amendments to the Employment Act 1955.

The letter also contained the following words, that makes it clear that a reply was expected...
Kindly acknowledge receipt, and we would appreciate being kept informed of steps taken in response to this statement.
Sadly, to date, I have not yet received a reply from Prime Minister Najib - not even a letter acknowledging receipt of the said letter send for and on behalf of the said 107 civil society organisations, groups and trade unions... (In the past, there were times when letters were received - even if it was a letter of acknowledgement stating that it will be directed to this or that person for further action...).
It is simple courtesy just to send a note acknowledging receipt...and better still a response but alas when the Prime Minister fails to even reply, it sets a very bad example to other Ministers and Ministries, and departments. The Prime Minister must set the best example for others... and I do hope that the letter from our Malaysian Prime Minister is on the way ...and I will keep you all informed of the said letter if and when it does arrive..

The Malaysian Barisan Nasional government do not like public protests and processions, so at the very least they should be responding to the 'other channels of communications' between persons and the Malaysian government. The failing to respond to even letters paints a very bad picture of the current PM and government, and the perception that may arise is that they just do not want to listen to the people - and will do as they please only, and if so, one may start wonder whether Malaysia is only a democracy in name but in practice is in fact a dictatorship or feudalistic government. 

Now, the statement is by 115 organisations and groups, and about 10,000 workers also have come out in protest nationwide on 3/11/2011 - and we still need to continue to call on the Prime Minister and this BN government to withdraw the proposed amendments to the Employment Act 1955. My fear is that this amendment to the Employment Act 1955 and the Peaceful Assembly Bill will be hurriedly rushed and passed by the Senate who will be sitting this month. After the BN government amended the law, the Yang Di Pertuan Agung really do not have any effective power to stop it from becoming law... (previously without the King's actual assent, it could not become a way it was a last check to prevent abuse by any ruling party/coalition having the majority in Parliament) . [Note Malaysian Senators are not elected by the people, they are appointed...Hence most Senators, save a few are BN appointed Senators...]

Media Statement – 28/10/2011 (107 Groups), now 115

Malaysia Must Protect Worker and Union Rights, and withdraw
proposed unjust amendments to Employment Act
- Labour Suppliers Should Not Be Employers -

We, the undersigned 115 organizations, groups and networks are disturbed that the Malaysian government has proceeded to table, and get it passed speedily on 6/10/2011 at the Dewan Rakyat (House of Representative) the Employment (Amendment) Bill 2011 despite protests from workers, trade unions and civil society. The proposed changes to the Employment Act would be most detrimental to worker rights, trade unions and the existing just direct 2-party employment relationship between worker and end-user (the principal). Malaysia’s action goes contrary to justice. In many countries employers have been wrongly trying to avoid/disguise employment relationships by way of contracts/agreements and triangular relationships, and Malaysia rather than fighting against this negative trend is now trying to legalize it, hence showing itself to be anti-worker anti-unions. 

We note also that the amendments would result in discrimination at the workplace, as many workers at a factory, plantation or any workplace would end up being no longer employees of the owner-operator of the said workplace, also referred to as the principal or end-user, but would remain employees of the supplier of workers, known as ‘contractor for labour’. Workers doing the same work at the factory, would be treated differently in terms of wages, work benefits and even rights by reason of the fact that their employers are different. This will also go against the Malaysian Federal Constitution that guarantees equality of persons. We advocate that all workers working at a factory or workplace are entitled to be treated equally in terms of wages, work benefits, rights, union rights, reliance on collective agreements and other entitlements.

The proposed amendment would also destroy direct employment relationships between owner-operator of workplaces, being the principal, and the workers that work there producing the product or providing the services from which these principals derive their profits. A just employment relationship dictates that all workers should be employees of the owner-operator employer not some other third party labour supplier, whether they be known as ‘contractor for labour’, outsourcing agent or by any other name. The relationship must be a direct relationship, to the exclusion of all third parties, between the employer who needs workers to do the work to produce the goods of their business for profits, and the workers directly who provide the necessary labour as required in exchange for fair wages and other benefits. The availability of short-term employment contracts is another reason why there is no need to legalize triangular or other employment relationships in Malaysia through the creation of the ‘contractor for labour’.

To fight for decent wages and rights, and to be able to negotiate and get better working conditions and other work benefits, workers at a workplace would generally come together collectively or as a union to be able to negotiate from a stronger position with employers, and this would result in agreements or ‘collective agreements’ between employers and workers (or their unions). If the amendments proposed become law, then many workers at the factory would effectively lose their rights to be able to form or be members of the trade union at the workplace, or the right to directly and effectively negotiate with the principal  who effectively controls the work place, working conditions and benefits.

If the proposed amendment becomes law, effectively it will also weaken existing workers and unions, by reducing their negotiating power for now when a strike or a protest in called, there will be other workers of other third party employers who will continue to work normally thus making worker struggle for better rights almost impossible. This proposed amendment is a ‘union busting’ exercises and allows employers to utilize ‘divide and rule’ tactics to counter legitimate demands of their workers and avoid employer obligations and responsibilities. Another unjustifiable proposed changed is the delay of payment of overtime and work on rest days by a month.

With regard to sexual harassment, the new provision provides only for inquiry by employer even when the alleged perpetrator is a member of the management, a partner, shareholder and/or director of the employer’s business, and provides no clear right of appeal to the Labour Courts or the High Court. Note that other worker rights violations are currently all dealt with by the definitely more independent Labour Department or Industrial Relations Department. Remedy for the victim of sexual harassment is also absent, save maybe the right to resign without the need to give the required notice when the perpetrator is a sole proprietor.

The Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC), which represents over 800,000 workers of member unions, who is also is the accepted workers representative in Malaysia, picketed calling for the withdrawal of the amendments on 3/10/2011, and apparently despite the Minister assuring them that the amendment will only be tabled at the end of the month, was suddenly rushed and passed at the Lower House of Malaysia’s Parliament on 6/10/2011.

Malaysia has the Private Employment Agencies Act 1971, whereby these agencies rightfully get workers for employers, who then pay them a fee for the service, and once workers are received by the employer, these workers immediately become employees of the said employer. The amendments will creates a new kind of labour supply companies who will continue as employers of the workers even after they start working at the workplace of the principal, and this is unacceptable. All companies in the business of finding workers for companies that need workers to produce their products or for their business must be private employment agencies, and must never assume or retain the role of employers.

As the said Bill still needs to be passed by the Senate and receive royal assent, before it becomes law, we call on the Malaysian government to act in the best interest of workers and their unions and immediately withdraw this unjust proposed amendments to Employment Act 1955.

We call on Malaysia to immediately discontinue its policy of recognizing outsourcing agents, and act immediately against practices of some employers and outsourcing agents that try to avoid/disguise employment relationships to the detriment of workers and unions.

We call on countries and regional bodies, companies, ILO, trade unions and persons to do the needful to ensure that worker and union rights, not just of local but also migrant workers, are protected in Malaysia, and that the employment relationship continue to be between owner-operator end user employers who actually need workers to do work and the workers that work there to the exclusion of any third party labour suppliers or ‘contractors for labour’.

Charles Hector
Pranom Somwong
For and on behalf of the 115  Organisations listed below:-

Abra Migrant Workers Welfare Association - Hong Kong (AMWWA)
Abra Tinguian Ilocano Society - Hong Kong (ATIS-HK)
ALIRAN, Malaysia
All Women's Action Society (AWAM), Malaysia
Asian Migrants Center (AMC), Hong Kong
Asia Monitor Resource Centre (AMRC), Hong Kong
Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM)
Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD)
Asian Migrants' Coordinating Body - Hong Kong (AMCB)
Association for Community Development-ACD, Bangladesh
Association of Concerned Filipinos in Hong Kong (ACFIL-HK)
Association of Indonesia Migrant Workers in Indonesia (ATKI-Indonesia)
Association of Migrant Child & Family, Bangladesh.
Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU)
BAYAN Hong Kong
Building and Wood Worker's International (BWI) Asia Pacific
Burma Campaign, Malaysia
Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO)
Center for Indonesian Migrant Workers (CIMW)
Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR)
Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC)
Coordination of Action Research on Aids and Mobility (CARAM-ASIA)
Committee for Asian Women (CAW)
Community Action Network (CAN), Malaysia
Confederation of Voluntary Associations (COVA), Hyderabad, India
Cordillera Alliance Hong Kong (CORALL-HK)
Democratic Party For A New Society (DPNS), Burma
Dignity International, Malaysia
Education and Research Association for Consumers Malaysia (ERA Consumer Malaysia)
Filipino Friends Hong Kong (FFHK)
Filipino Migrants Association - Hong Kong (FMA)
Filipino Migrant Workers' Union - Hong Kong (FMWU)
Filipino Women Migrant Workers Association - Hong Kong (FILWOM-HK)
Foundation for Women, Thailand
Friends of Bethune House (FBH), Hong Kong
GABRIELA Philippines
Good Shepherd Sisters, Malaysia
Health Equity Initiatives (HEI), Malaysia
Housing Rights Task Force, Cambodia
Human Rights & Legal Aid (LHRLA) Pakistan
Human Rights Education Institute of Burma (HREIB)
Human Security Alliance (HSA)
International Metalworkers' Federation (IMF)
IMA Research Foundation, Bangladesh
INFID (International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development)
Institute for National and Democratic Studies (INDIES)
International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)
Jakarta Legal Aid Institute, Indonesia
JERIT, Malaysia
Karmojibi Nari , Bangladesh
Kalyanamitra, Indonesia
Kav La'Oved , Israel
Kilusang Mayo Uno Labor Center
Komite Independen Pemantau Pemilu (Independent Committee for Election Monitoring), Indonesia
Lawyers for Human Rights & Legal Aid (LHRLA) Pakistan
Legal Support for Children and Women (LSCW), Cambodia
LLG Cultural Development Centre, Malaysia
Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (MADPET)
Malaysian Election Observers Network (MEO-Net)
MAP Foundation, Thailand
Maquila Solidarity Network, Canada
May 1st Coalition for Worker & Immigrant Rights, NY-USA
Migrant CARE, Indonesia
Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA)
Migrant Trade Union, Korea (MTU)
Migrante International
MTUC (Malaysian Trade Union Congress)
National Alliance of Women Human Rights Defenders, Nepal
Network of Action for Migrants in Malaysia (NAMM)
National League For Democracy (Liberated Area )[ NLD(LA)], Malaysia
Pakistan Rural Workers Social Welfare Organization (PRWSWO)
Peduli Buruh Migran, Indonesia
Penang Watch, Malaysia
People's Green Coalition
Pergerakan Indonesia
Perkumpulan PRAXIS, Indonesia
Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti, Selangor (EMPOWER)
Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor & Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)
Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor
Pinatud a Saleng ti Umili (PSU)
Pusat KOMAS, Malaysia
Quê Me: Action for Democracy in Vietnam
Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)
Sedane Labour Resource Center/(Lembaga Informasi Perburuhan Sedane), Indonesia
Serikat Buruh Migran Indonesia (SBMI)
Shan Women Action Network (SWAN), Thailand
Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition
Solidaritas Perempuan (Women's Solidarity for Human Rights), Indonesia
SOS(Save Ourselves), Malaysia
Suaram, Malaysia
Tenaganita, Malaysia
Thai Committee for Refugees Foundation (TCR)
The Filipino Women's Organization in Quebec, Canada
The GoodElectronics Network
The International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF)
Think Centre (Singapore)
UNI Apro, Singapore
UNI Global Union
UNIMIG (Union Migrant Indonesia)
United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-MIGRANTE-HK)
United Pangasinan in Hong Kong (UPHK)
Urban Community Mission (UCM Jakarta), Indonesia
Vietnam Committee on Human Rights
WARBE Development Foundation, Bangladesh
Women Forum for Women, Nepal
Women Legal BUREAU, Philippines
WOREC, Nepal
Workers Assistance Center, Inc (WAC), Philippines
Workers Hub For Change (WH4C)
 War on Want , United Kingdom
Yayasan LINTAS NUSA (Batam Indonesia)