Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tax Rebate for organising Family Day events absurd when poor Malaysia been cutting subsidies and causing family sufferings

Tax Rebate for companies where there are trade unions
Tax Rebate for companies whose workers are all regular workers on employment contracts until retirement. (i.e. companies where no workers, who are not employees of the principal, but supplied by contractors for labour, and no short-term contract employees). Companies who use workers on short-term contract, or workers without making them employees as provided by contractors for labour, really do not even care for the rights and welfare of workers and their families. Companies that care will only be using workers, who are all their employees, who are regular permanent employee until retirement...

Tax Rebate for companies who practices no discrimination especially based on gender - Remember the Guppy Case where women are being discriminated against and are made to retire at 50 when men are allowed to retire at 55...Federal Constitution guarantees equality - but alas the obligation not to discriminate seems not to extend to PRIVATE companies... and this is SO WRONG.

But the Malaysian government foolishly is giving 100% tax rebate for companies that have family day celebrations - but alas, how can these companies that do not even care for their own employees - and put them on short-term contracts, or  even those that use workers, employees of contractors for labour...

So, will these Family Day Celebrations be for ALL the workers at the factory - or just the companies regular employees - not their short term employees, not for the workers supplied by the contractors for labour - the 'outsourced worker'..

Family Day for migrant workers - they cannot even fall in love and get married when they are in Malaysia - not even to some other migrant worker. They cannot even bring their families to Malaysia as they work. Women migrant workers who get 'pregnant' get their work passes cancelled and are sent back to their countries... So for Migrant Workers - it would be just a BACHELOR DAY CELEBRATION

No conditions placed on these companies - so maybe some companies will organize a Family Day Celebration for SOME (not all) workers - maybe at some major hotel, etc - (maybe even in lieu of annual dinners) - after all they will get Tax Rebates from the government - 100% Tax Rebates...

Well, Malaysia is in financial trouble, so says the BN government - and thus the cut in subsidies, and the increase in how come the government is willing to give Tax Rebates for these companies...usually rich companies...

Give Tax Rebates to the poor... to the needy the ordinary Malaysians.... not to the RICH...

PM: Companies to get 100% tax rebate on expenses for holding Family Day events

KUALA LUMPUR: Private sector companies will get a 100% tax rebate on expenses to hold their 1Malaysia Family Day celebrations in conjunction with the national-level celebration in November this year, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
Najib, who assumed the responsibility of the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry in April, made the announcement in Parliament Monday, saying this was part of the ministry's move to further strengthen the family institution.

"I am glad to announce that November has been fixed for the national-level 1Malaysia Family Day celebration this year.

"Private companies that hold events to mark the celebrations would be given 100% rebate on expenses incurred to organise their respective events," he said, when answering a question raised by Zuraida Kamaruddin (PKR-Ampang) in Parliament.

Earlier, Najib said the ministry had launched the Women Director Programme this year to train and equip women to be appointed in decision-making positions in private companies, as part of the Government's goal of achieving 30% women representation in such roles.- Star, 25/6/2012, PM: Companies to get 100% tax rebate on expenses for holding Family Day events

Friday, June 22, 2012

Malaysia ratifies key international labour standard on occupational safety and health

Malaysia ratifies the Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 2006 (No. 187)

Malaysia ratifies key international labour standard on occupational safety and health
Press release | 08 June 2012

Geneva (ILO NEWS) – The Government of Malaysia deposited with the International Labour Office the instrument of ratification of the Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 2006 (No. 187). Malaysia is the 22nd member State to ratify the Convention.

The instrument of ratification was presented by Malaysia’s Minister of Human Resources, Dr Subramaniam K. V. Sathasivam, to the Director General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Mr Juan Somavia, at a ceremony on 7 June 2012 in the framework of the 101st International Labour Conference (ILC).

In depositing this instrument, Mr Sathasivam said “This ratification is one of the measures taken by the Government to implement its Occupational Safety and Health Master Plan 2015 which aims to foster a preventative safety culture, develop company OSH management systems, and enhance the involvement of all stakeholders. It also reflects the commitment made by the Government of Malaysia in 2008 when it signed the Seoul Declaration on Safety and Health at Work”.

Mr Somavia said “This ratification is an expression of commitment by the Government of Malaysia to ensure a solid legal basis for the promotion and implementation of an occupational safety and health policy in the country. Malaysia joins other member States that have made a formal commitment to implement the Convention and becomes the third country in Asia to do so after Japan and the Republic of Korea”.

Convention No. 187 provides a framework for a coherent and systematic approach to occupational safety and health and promotes the recognition and application of other ILO Conventions on the issue. In ratifying this international instrument, Malaysia commits itself to continuous improvement of occupational safety and health by means of a national policy, a national system and a national programme aimed at the prevention of occupational injuries, diseases and deaths, through tripartism and social dialogue.

The ILO estimates that 317 million workplace accidents and 2.3 million deaths occur worldwide every year. In the past decade the rate of work-related accidents in Malaysia has decreased by more than 40 per cent. The Malaysian Occupational Safety and Health Master Plan has the goal of reducing injuries by an additional 30 per cent and fatalities by 20 per cent by 2015.

The ILC is the annual meeting of the 185 member States of the ILO. The mandate of this UN specialised agency includes promoting rights at work, decent employment opportunities, social protection and tripartite dialogue on work-related issues.

S.M. Idris tells us that Lynas Thorium Waste Is A Real Threat

Lynas thorium waste : A real health threat
  • SM Mohd Idris
  • 5:12PM Jun 11, 2012
During the last few weeks the public has heard the wildly positive and optimistic views of both the government and some local scientists concerning the Lynas plant in Gebeng, Kuantan.

On 20th March, the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti), Dr Maximus Ongkili, told the Dewan Rakyat that the Lynas plant is safe and not harmful to public health.
He said that the effluent from the plant contained low radioactive material. He explained that the effluent was not categorised as a radioactive material waste by the International Atomic Energy Agency, as it contained natural radioactive material ('Ongkili: Proposed Gebeng Rare Earth Plant Is Safe', Bernama, 23 March 2011).

Unfortunately, he failed to give the effluent the proper name: Technologically-Enhanced, Naturally-Occurring Radioactive Material (Tenorm).

Tenorm and Fallacy of Molten Salt Reactor (MSR)
Tenorm is produced when activities such as uranium mining, or sewage sludge treatment, concentrate or expose radioactive materials that occur naturally in ores, soils, water, or other natural materials.

In other words, this natural radioactive material has been made dangerous because it was removed from the ground and concentrated by mechanical and chemical processes.
It has been exported by Australia and will be left in Malaysia as waste by Lynas.

The radioactive material does not disappear once it reaches and is processed in Malaysia, and this dangerous material will be left in Malaysia.
Malaysians will need to keep this securely away from humans for hundreds of thousands of years.

Lynas and AELB have made the Tenorm sound like low level waste by merely diluting the waste until it conforms with IAEA regulations.
Diluting does not make the radiation ‘go away', and if the diluting liquid evaporates, you will again have concentrated radioactive material very harmful to people. The uranium and thorium will not evaporate with time.

Bear in mind that Australia has categorically stated that it will refuse to receive radioactive materials from other countries.
During the recent parliamentary select committee (PSC) public hearings on Lynas, nuclear physicist Dr Abdul Rahman Omar reportedly praised the value of the thorium wastes i.e. one tonne of thorium "can generate 1 gigawatt of electricity a year which is worth RM 1 billion to RM 2 billion, multiply this by 2,000 tonnes a year that the factory will produce, then it is worth between RM2 trillion to RM4 trillion in electricity". (Read nuclear energy and nuclear reactor).

He added that this technology dubbed Molten Salt Reactor (MSR) was mooted by the Americans at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, between 1968 to 1972 but was abandoned in favour of uranium due to its abundance. "China is now working very hard on using thorium for energy generation".
Alternatively, the gypsum by product produced from Lynas could be sold to China which would extract the thorium for energy production", he said ('Lynas' thorium can generate RM4 trillion in energy', Nigel Aw, Malaysiakini, May 21, 2012).

However, according to an article published in the UK Guardian (23 June 2011), debunking thorium as a greener nuclear option, it states that "There is a significant sticking point to the promotion of thorium as the ‘great green hope' of clean energy production: It remains unproven on a commercial scale. While it has been around since the 1950s (and an experimental 10MW LFTR (liquid fluoride thorium reactor) did run for five years during the 1960s at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the US, though using uranium and plutonium as fuel) it is still a next generation nuclear technology - theoretical".

The article further states that although China has announced that it intends to develop a thorium MSR, nuclear radiologist Peter Karamoskos of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), says "the world shouldn't hold its breath".

He added that "Without exception, [thorium reactors] have never been commercially viable, nor do any of the intended new designs even remotely seem to be viable. Like all nuclear power production they rely on extensive taxpayer subsidies; the only difference is that with thorium and other breeder reactors these are of an order of magnitude greater, which is why no government has ever continued their funding".

The article states that "Those who support renewables say they will have come so far in cost and efficiency terms by the time the technology is perfected and upscaled that thorium reactors will already be uneconomic. Indeed, if renewables had a fraction of nuclear's current subsidies they could already be light years ahead".

Health risks of thorium and other tenorms
All other issues aside, thorium is still nuclear energy, say environmentalists, its reactors disgorging the same toxic by-products and fissile waste with the same millennial half-lives.

Oliver Tickell, author of ‘Kyoto2', says the fission materials produced from thorium are of a different spectrum to those from uranium-235, but ‘"nclude many dangerous-to-health alpha and beta emitters".

Anti-nuclear campaigner Peter Karamoskos goes further, dismissing a ‘dishonest fantasy' perpetuated by the pro-nuclear lobby. "Thorium cannot in itself power a reactor; unlike natural uranium, it does not contain enough fissile material to initiate a nuclear chain reaction. As a result it must first be bombarded with neutrons to produce the highly radioactive isotope uranium-233 - "so these are really U-233 reactors'," says Karamoskos.

"This isotope is more hazardous than the U-235 used in conventional reactors", he adds, "because it produces U-232 as a side effect (half life: 160,000 years), on top of familiar fission by-products such as technetium-99 (half life: up to 300,000 years) and iodine-129 (half life: 15.7 million years).
"Add in actinides such as protactinium-231 (half life: 33,000 years) and it soon becomes apparent that thorium's superficial cleanliness will still depend on digging some pretty deep holes to bury the highly radioactive waste".

Referring to the UK, The Guardian article says that "with billions of pounds already spent on nuclear research, reactor construction and decommissioning costs - dwarfing commitments to renewables - and proposed reform of the UK electricity markets apparently hiding subsidies to the nuclear industry, the thorium dream is considered by many to be a dangerous diversion".

Citing Jean McSorley senior consultant for Greenpeace's nuclear campaign: "Even if thorium technology does progress to the point where it might be commercially viable, it will face the same problems as conventional nuclear: it is not renewable or sustainable and cannot effectively connect to smart grids. The technology is not tried and tested, and none of the main players is interested. Thorium reactors are no more than a distraction".

According to Dr. Rosalie Bertell, who is a radiation expert, thorium reactors also produce a lot of Americium, which is much more toxic than plutonium. "I do not think that, even if thorium some day becomes a viable option, they will ever want to separate out the thorium from the Malaysian waste, where it has been significantly diluted so that it appears to be below regulatory concern.
"You cannot say it is a valuable commodity and also release it as of no concern! Moreover, you are not dealing with pure thorium, but with radioactive material with a long list of radioactive decay products some of which are very radioactive. New reactors will get their thorium from India or Australia. Malaysia would be considered a secondary or tertiary source," she states.

In other words, there is no economic possibility or feasibility that anyone will use the Malaysian waste for thorium when there are large direct sources of thorium to be had immediately in Australia or India.

Dr. Bertell is a nuclear health expert who has done extensive research on nuclear health impacts all over the world including the Marshall Islands, India, Germany, Ukraine, US and Canada. She has been a consultant to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the US Environmental Protection Agency. She was a key witness during the Bukit Merah court hearings.

However, contrary to the world experts, the local medical and nuclear so-called experts have recently testified to the PSC that the thorium produced from Lynas was too low to pose significant health dangers.

In contrast to what the PSC has been told by the local so-called experts, the health impacts of radiation are not benign. In a comparative study by V. T. Padmanabhan et al of inhabitants of regions of normal and high background radiation in Kerala from 1988 - 1994, the researchers showed that thorium health damage from monazite sands was evident (International Journal of Health Services Vol. 34 No. 3 pp483-515, 2004).

The study revealed that there was a high incidence of heritable anomalies in the high background region (HBRR). There was a statistically significant increase of Down syndrome, autosomal dominant anomalies and multifactorial diseases and an insignificant increase of autosomal recessive and X-linked recessive anomalies in the HBRR.

The main findings of the study have been summarised as follows:
  • The relative risk for chromosomal, autosomal dominant, and multifactorial anomalies is higher in the HBRR.
  • For congenital anomalies (WHO's International Classification of Diseases, ICD 740-757), there is no difference between the areas. Within the study and control areas, ‘nonmigrant' couples have 51 percent and 61 percent excess relative risk (ERR), respectively, in comparison to ‘migrant' couples. The ERR among the related versus the unrelated couples is 96 percent in the HBRR and 41 percent in the NRR (normal radiation region).
  • Rates of multifactorial anomalies and multiple deaths are higher in the HBRR. Again, the related and the nonmigrant couples have higher risk than the migrants and the unrelated, respectively. The rates among the migrants in both areas are more or less the same.
  • If all untoward outcomes other than Down syndrome and Mendelian anomalies are grouped together, 6.4 percent of the unrelated ‘migrants' in the NRR are affected versus 16.4 percent of the related couples in the HBRR.
The authors suspect that exposure to radiation was genetically significant. "Besides the external radiation from beta particles and gamma rays from the soil, there is the possibility of internal exposure through air, water, and food. Soman (27) estimated the per capita daily uptake of radium-228 by the study population as 4.72 Bq. 

"Based on the average consumption of sardines, Van de Laar (18) estimated the daily intake as less than 0.01 Bq per person. Since the coastal land is less fertile and farming and husbandry are restricted to small pockets, the internal exposure is mainly from poultry products, fish, and accidental ingestion of fine grains of monazite in childhood."

They revealed that the mean cumulative exposure to external radiation during the reproductive life of people living in the high-background radiation regions is 18 rads for women and 22 rads for men, six times the exposure in the normal radiation region.


Thorium from Lynas is Tenorm and a radioactive waste which has serious health risks.

We urge the PSC and the government to seriously weigh the published and reviewed scientific findings and views of the international experts quoted above before decisions on Lynas are made.

We strongly urge that Lynas be NOT allowed to operate in Malaysia. - Malaysiakini, Letters Section, 11/6/2012, Lynas thorium waste : A real health threat

Thursday, June 21, 2012

78% residents claim health affected - around gold mining using cyanide in Pahang, Malaysia

Well, here again was a mining operation that was considered safe by Malaysian authorities and been going on - but recent survey by the community shows differently. Likewise, the case may be with Lynas.. 


78 pct Bukit Koman folk have 'cyanide-related' ailments
  • Wong Teck Chi
  • 12:54PM Jun 21, 2012
A recent survey done by Bukit Koman villagers revealed that 78.1 percent of the residents in surrounding areas were suffering health problems, which is believed to be related to cyanide used in local gold mine.

azlanTopping the list was skin itchiness and rashes (50.1 percent), followed by eyesores/itchiness/dimness (43.9 percent), dizziness/headache (35 percent), fatigue (34.5 percent) and cough (33.4 percent).

The survey was carried out by the Bukit Koman action committee against the use of cyanide in gold mining on May 19 and 20. The group interviewed 383 residents house by house in Bukit Koman and surrounding areas within a 1km radius.

It also revealed that the figures were higher among the residents who stay in Bukit Koman New Village, where 84.8 percent of the villagers said they have suffered at least one health problem, while 57.2 percent said their health conditions worsened after 2009, when the gold mine started operations.

Residents of the Bukit Koman New Village had for a long time alleged that cyanide, which is used in the nearby mine, had led to a range of skin, eye, and respiratory ailments.

This is the first time they have carried out a survey scientifically to substantiate their claim.

NONEAnalysing the survey results, environmental and occupational safety consultant Tan Hui Chun said the figure of skin disease and coughing is “alarming” because it is 10 times higher than the normal rate, which is usually 5 percent.

Dermatologist Khim Pa, who has 26 years experience in practice, also added that the results clearly showed that there is “irritating” material on the air which caused the health problems.

NONE“It is quite clear that more than 50 percent of people facing itchiness means that there is something in the air irritating to the eye and the skin... It is worse on the expose parts of the skin.

“If the same particles go into the lungs, they will cause coughing,” said the doctor during a press conference held yesterday at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall.

Bukit Koman action committee member Hue Shieh Lee said the committee will submit the survey results to relevant government authorities and hopes that the Minerals and Geoscience Department will revoke the licence of the gold mine to protect the residents’ health.

Panel hopes Yen Yen will contest in Raub

In a related development, Hue also commented on speculation that local parliamentarian Ng Yen Yen may transfer to a “safe seat” in the coming general election in view of the controversial issue.

She said the tourism minister, who was accused of being ignorant about the Bukit Koman issue, should stay in the Raub parliamentary seat and the villagers will give her “a taste of losing”.

NONE“Ng (right) is our representative in parliament, she should have listened to our voice and talked about the Bukit Koman issue. But unfortunately, she has always said this is a political issue, not a health issue.

“We are hoping that she will come back to taste what is a loss. If the election is clean, I believe we can say good bye to her.”

NONEAlso present during the press conference were fellow committee member Chong Choy Yen and Bukit Koman villagers Hue Ah New, Woon Soon Fatt and his seven-year-old son Woon Chee Hua.

Ng had previously said that the mine is safe, and the state Local Government, Environment and Health Committee chairperson Hoh Khai Mun had recently told the state assembly that the water was cyanide-free, while the toxic chemical’s presence in the air is within limits. - Malaysiakini, 21/6/2012, 78pct Bukit Koman folk have 'cyanide-related' ailments


It may not be 'cyanide' - but certainly something connected to the said mining operations may be affected the health of the local community - and if it is in the water/air, it will certainly affect the health of people in Pahang - Malaysia. The government needs to immediately check to determine whether the people's health and life is at risk.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Lynas Report: Why 'embargo'? Should it not be made public before it is debated in Parliament?

"...However, deputy speaker Wan Junaidi Jaafar reminded that the report is embargoed until 11.30am tomorrow to allow the Dewan Rakyat to debate its findings on whether the rare earths refinery posed hazards to health and the environment...." - Malaysiakini

Why embargo the report? Should it not be made public before the Parliamentarians debate on the said report? Let us not forget that the Members of Parliament(MPs) are the representatives of the people - and as such, they certainly would want to get the views and opinions (nay...instructions) of the people that they represent on the said report before they had effectively debate the report. Their constituents certainly have a say of what their reps are going to say in Parliament....

Maybe Najib and his BN MPs have this odd understanding that democracy means that the people have a choice to choose their representatives once every 5 years by casting their votes during General Elections, and thereafter these reps have the freedom to say and do things on behalf of their constituents without the need to go back to the people and get their feedback, opinions, stance ....'instructions' on how a MP should be arguing in Parliament. As such that Lynas Report really should have been made public a long time before it is debated in Parliament - not embargoed as it is now (i.e. kept 'secret' ...away from the public eye) until the debate happens...What about the people - do they not have a say? Or will there be yet another debate thereafter, after MPs have the time to get instruction from their 'Bosses'...

Most MPs are not familiar with the issue of Lynas, the scientific arguments, etc .... so certainly, it is most essential that they be properly instructed by their 'constituents'  before they can reasonably debate on this report....

Personally, I am of the opinion that the Opposition MPs should not have 'boycotted' this committee - and should have been part of this committee to ensure also that the final report is reflective of the findings of the committee. Remember, there is always the opportunity of coming out with a MINORITY REPORT by any number of the said Parliamentary Select Committee.... (But their decision is their decision - and they may have had their reasons but....)

Odd also is the fact, that this PSC had submitted its report hastily even before its deadline expired - and we all know that this is not at all an easy issue or question, and there is much much objections....

It would have been good if this most important select committee's proceedings were broadcasted live as this certainly is an issue that hundreds of thousands...may millions of Malaysian are most interested in...Maybe, in the near future (or maybe when there is a change of government), Malaysians will be able to follow these proceedings live on TV (or at the very least on radio)

Lynas PSC report tabled in Dewan Rakyat
  • S Pathmawathy
  • 11:45AM Jun 18, 2012
The parliamentary select committee on the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (Lamp) report was tabled in the Dewan Rakyat today.

The select committee, formed on March 20, submitted its findings and recommendations on the plant in Gebeng, Pahang even before its three-month deadline expires.

azlanHowever, deputy speaker Wan Junaidi Jaafar reminded that the report is embargoed until 11.30am tomorrow to allow the Dewan Rakyat to debate its findings on whether the rare earths refinery posed hazards to health and the environment.

Previously, it was reported that that the PSC had proposed to the government to impose public consultation sessions prior to launching new high-impact projects, especially one that involves public safety.

Malay-language daily Berita Harian, quoting a source, reported that the people should be made aware about the facts of such projects to avoid political manipulations.

The PSC is headed by Higher Education Minister Mohamed Khaled Nordin, and the members are Abdul Rahman Dahlan (BN-Kota Belud), Teng Boon Soon (BN-Tebrau), Nancy Shukri (BN-Batang Sadong), Liang Teck Meng (BN-Simpang Renggam) and Zulkifli Noordin (Independent-Kulim Bandar Baru).

Three spots were also offered to opposition parliamentarians. However, they decided to not to be involved, insisting that it was a “waste of time” since the government had refused to issue a stop-work order on the plant until the PSC resolved its inquiry.- Malaysiakini, 18/6/2012, Lynas PSC report tabled in Dewan Rakyat

Catholic priest - Jail Rather Than Fine - Freedom of Peaceful Assembly

“I would rather go to jail than pay a fine but only if they find me guilty,” Miranda told The Malaysian Insider

What freedom of peaceful assembly if you needed to get the permission of the police before you exercise this basic human right? 

Now we have a new law called the PEACEFUL ASSEMBLY ACT 2012, and this new law, in my opinion, is worse than the previous laws, for it not only restricts venues where peaceful assembly could be held, but it also imposes on the organizers of any peaceful assembly to get the prior 'consent of the owner or occupier of the place of assembly' and there is still a requirement that the police be notified ten(10) days prior to the intended protest...and the police can place restrictions and conditions...

Now, you cannot have a peaceful assembly at a prohibited place and "within fifty metres from the limit of the prohibited place", and prohibited places include petrol stations, hospitals, Fire stations, Airports, Railways, land public transport terminals, ports, canals, docks, wharves, piers, bridges and marinas, places of worship,kindergartens and schools... that means that one can effectively not have peaceful assemblies in any towns....

Oh yes - street protest are not allowed, and it is defined in the law as follows:- "street protest"  "means an open air assembly which begins with a meeting at a specified place and consists of walking in a mass march or rally for the purpose of objecting to or advancing a particular cause or causes;..."

So, where can you have a peaceful assembly - public places, like fields, Dataran Merdeka, etc -  NO - you need the consent of the relevant local authority...

In short, this new law, that sounds so 'good', in fact effectively curtails even more the right of persons to have a peaceful assembly and protest...and this law has increased the penalties that will be imposed...

People resort to a peaceful assembly and protest - (1) to express their protest or support for a particular cause or issue; (2) to demonstrate that this is not just the views of a small minority but one that has the support of many many persons...; (3) to create awareness to other members of the public and to also lobby for their support in a particular cause... That is why it makes no sense if peaceful assemblies are going to be restricted to closed-door halls/stadiums/venues away from the public eye... 

Why is the Malaysian government so fearful of the people?  Why is the government so fearful of differing opinions and views? Why is the government so afraid of criticisms of its actions? 

Have you seen Malaysian  parliamentary reports on TV? Interestingly we never see the objections and the arguments made by the Oppositions... Why do we still not have live telecast of all Parliamentary proceedings - there already is CCTV coverage of parliamentary proceedings, and you can follow these proceedings any where in the parliament building - It is thus so simple for the government to just have a dedicated TV channel that will just let all persons in Malaysia to view it on their TVs at home without 'editing' - your comment programmes and 'interviews' can all be done after parliamentary proceedings end for the day... not during the proceedings. (Live broadcasts of parliamentary proceedings happen in many democracies - even in neighbouring Thailand... )



Catholic priest would choose jail over fine if found guilty of illegal assembly

June 16, 2012
KUALA LUMPUR, June 16 — Rev Father Paulino Miranda could be jailed a year and fined up to RM10,000 for taking part in a candlelight vigil four years ago in Petaling Jaya near here despite a new law allowing public assemblies in Malaysia.

Miranda is the parish priest of the Catholic church in Shah Alam. — Picture courtesy of
But the Malaysian Catholic priest has said he would rather be locked up than spend a single sen on the fine. 
“I would rather go to jail than pay a fine but only if they find me guilty,” Miranda told The Malaysian Insider

“Paying the fine would be conceding that what I did was wrong,” he added when contacted yesterday. 

Miranda is among 21 people on trial for taking part in an illegal assembly in Petaling Jaya on October 9, 2008 and refusing a police order to disperse, under section 27(5)(a) and section 27(4) of the Police Act 1967 which have since been amended and replaced with a new law allowing peaceful public rallies. 

Despite the change in law, the charge remains. 

The vocal parish priest of the only Catholic church in Shah Alam, the capital of Malaysia’s most-developed state, said he had asked his lawyer, Francis Pereira, to write in to the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) in September last year asking for the charges against him to be dropped following the change in law. It was to no avail. 

The public prosecutor wrote back three months later in November 2011 rejecting his application. 

“We will continue the prosecution against your client under section 27(5)(a) and section 27(4) of the Police Act 1967,” deputy public prosecutor Mohamad Hanafiah Zakaria said in his letter of reply dated last November 22. 

“I’ve decided, simply because as far as I am concerned, I did not do anything wrong. 

“The whole thing was a candlelight vigil calling for the abolishment of the ISA,” Miranda said, referring to the recently repealed Internal Security Act, which had been criticised as an outdated law used to clamp down on dissent against the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government. 

The parish priest of the Church of Divine Mercy has made no secret of his stand and says he has also informed the Catholic Archbishop, Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam, of his decision. 

“Yes, I told him. He didn’t chide me. He said he’ll pray for me,” he said. 

Asked what would happen to his church if he had to go to jail, he said: “Oh, don’t worry. We’re all not indispensable.” 

But not everyone agrees with Miranda’s decision. His own lawyer seemed concerned for his client’s welfare. 

Pereira told The Malaysian Insider he was aware that Miranda had been telling several people about his jail-than-pay-fine stand, but could not sway the priest to change his mind. 

“I am the lawyer, I wouldn’t advise something like that. 

“He’s got a mind of his own and his own convictions,” the lawyer said. 

The prosecution closed its case yesterday. It will be a while before the court makes its ruling. 

Miranda will be back in the dock on August 9 for submissions. 

Also on trial are Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua, Selangor DAP state assemblymen Ronnie Liu and Lau Weng San, and Petaling Jaya city councillor Tiew Way Keng. 

They are accused of taking part in an illegal assembly held on the grounds in front of the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) building on October 9, 2008 between 9pm and 10.10pm, and failing to disperse after a police order was given by Supt Mohamad Shukor Sulong about 9.50pm. 

All 21 accused, whose ages ranged between 25 and 62, have pleaded not guilty. 

If found guilty, they can be fined up to RM10,000 and jailed up to one year under section 27(8) of the same Police Act. 

“This is a process of intimidation to drive fear into people from exercising their democratic right of peaceful assembly,” Rev Father O.C. Lim from the Catholic Research Centre here told The Malaysian Insider when Miranda was initially charged. 

The case has been linked to the two Bersih rallies on July 9 last year and the more recent April 28 assembly in Dataran Merdeka, putting the spotlight on the government’s use of laws to clamp down on dissent, despite having repealed the controversial ISA. - Malaysian Insider, 16/6/2012, Catholic priest would choose jail over fine if found guilty of illegal assembly

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Letter from Prime Ministers Office on Abolish the ‘Contractor for Labour’ system Withdraw the 2012 amendments to Employment Act 1955

The letter from the Malaysian Prime Minister's Department in response to the letter accompanying the statement below, that as of today have been endorsed by 93 groups. The letter was received a few days ago in June.

93 Groups:- Abolish the ‘Contractor for Labour’ system Withdraw the 2012 amendments to Employment Act 1955.


What is stated in the said letter in Bahasa Malaysia, "With respect. I have been instructed to refer the abovementioned matter and enclosed herein is letter from Charles Hector for your attention and further consideration''

See also:

Joint Statement of 90 Groups sent to Prime Minister

It is rare occurrence for usually we do not receive any letter of acknowledgment of receipt - so, we hope that this is not the only letter that we receive in response to this statement. The response here is only  a copied letter stating that the matter has been referred to the Ministry of Human Resources. We look forward to getting a more comprehensive response from the Malaysian government.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Malaysia on right track as death penalty commuted for 3


3 Filipinos saved from death row

Posted by Eric B. Apolonio; filed under Nation.3

Vice President Jejomar C. Binay on Wednesday said that three Filipino workers were spared the death penalty in Sabah after receiving pardon from the Malaysian government .

Also in Malaysia, another Filipino was handed down  the death sentence for drug possession, Binay said before he left for Washington on Tuesday.

The Philippine embassy in Malaysia identified the three as Basir Omar, Jaliman Salleh and Aldipal Hadani; the death convict was identified as Eliza San Gabriel Resurreccion, 45 years old.

On Tuesday, Binay talked with Malaysian Foreign Minister Dato Sri Anifah Aman and thanked the Malaysian government for granting the pardon.

“We sincerely appreciate the grant of pardon and see it as further validation of the strong ties between the Philippines and Malaysia,” said Binay, also the presidential adviser on workers’ concerns.

Last January, Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia J. Eduardo Malaya called on Sabah Governor and Pardons Board Chairman Tun Datuk Seri Panglima, and asked for his intervention to have the death sentences of six Filipinos, including the three, commuted.

The Pardons Board handed down on May 22 a decision commuting the death sentence of Omar to 13 years and 7 months. The new sentence would commence  from the date of pardon.

(Published in the Manila Standard Today newspaper on /2012/May/31) Manila Standard Today, 31/5/2012,3 Filipinos saved from death row

Malaysia pardons 3 Filipinos on death row

MANILA – The Malaysian government has pardoned three overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) on death row in Sabah.

Vice President Jejomar Binay, who is in the Indonesian capital of Kuala Lumpur, said Wednesday the three OFWs have been spared the death penalty in Sabah.

The Philippine Embassy in Malaysia identified the three as Basir Omar, Jaliman Salleh and Aldipal Hadani.
In his talk with Malaysian Foreign Minister Dato’ Sri Anifah Aman on Tuesday, Binay, Presidential Adviser on OFW concerns, thanked the Malaysian government for granting the pardons.

“We sincerely appreciate the grant of pardon and see it as further validation of the strong ties between the Philippines and Malaysia,” he said.

In January, this year, Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia J. Eduardo Malaya called on Sabah Governor and Pardons Board chairman Tun Datuk Seri Panglima, and requested for his intervention to commute the death sentences of six Filipinos, including the three.

The Pardons Board handed down on May 22 a decision commuting the death sentence of Omar to 13 years and seven months. The new sentence will commence its counting from the date of pardon.

Meanwhile, the death sentences for Salleh and Hadani were reduced to 15 years imprisonment in a decision rendered on May 14 in Kota Kinabalu.

The two were arrested on July 8, 2008 in Kota Kinabalu when police found 867.1 grams of cannabis in their bags, and were sentenced to death by the Sabah High Court on June 25, 2010.

The Vice President cautioned Filipinos in Malaysia not to be lured by criminal syndicates into becoming drug mules or to engage in the illegal drug trade. (PNA) - SunStar, 30/5/2012, Malaysia pardons 3 Filipinos on death row