Tuesday, August 27, 2013

So, who killed Altantuya? - Is it just a case of prosecution incompetence or what?

Is it just the incompetence of the prosecution? Yes, it is the prosecution who has the duty to prove that a person is guilty of a crime beyond reasonable doubt. But, in some cases, one wonders whether it is just simply a question of negligence or incompetence that they fail in this duty, or was in intentional. Are third parties interfering, and preventing prosecution officers from doing what they would have normally done? Or is it just a case of negligence? 

Remember, once a person is charged, tried and acquitted - he cannot be charged again for the same offence, it is called Double Jeopardy. And that makes one wonder whether these failings of prosecution is intentional?

Tan Sri Eric Chia Eng Hock was wheeled out of the Kuala Lumpur court complex a free man after he was acquitted by the Sessions Court here of committing criminal breach of trust 13 years ago involving RM76.4mil.,,, 
Akhtar said the most glaring setback was the prosecution’s failure to call two material witnesses, who would have been able to confirm whether payment was needed for the technical assistance agreements (TAA) signed between Perwaja Rolling Mill Development and NKK Corporation.
He said former Perwaja company secretary R.R. Durai Rajasingam, who was involved in all Perwaja’s contracts, would have known the actual contents of the TAA....“Yet the prosecution never called him. The question is why?...The judge also questioned the prosecution’s reluctance to call the five Japanese witnesses, including NKK Corporation, Japan, director N. Otani, who was present at the signing of the TAA in Japan in 1993....He said the prosecution failed to lead any evidence to show fabrication of that document, which it contended.- Star, 27/6/2007, Eric Chia acquitted of CBT

Former land and cooperative development minister Tan Sri Kasitah Gaddam was acquitted and discharged by the High Court here of committing corrupt practice and cheating involving shares belonging to the Sabah Land Development Board (SLDB) in 1996.... Justice Suraya said the failure of the prosecution in not calling six board members who were present in the meeting was detrimental to the case as it had created a big gap over the question of whether the board members were actually cheated by the accused..- Star, 13/8/2009, Kasitah freed of corruption charges

And now, in this Altantuya case, we  

While the Court of Appeal last Friday detailed the non-calling of Najib Abdul Razak's aide-de-camp DSP Musa Safri as a factor in acquitting the two Special Action Unit officers, the written judgment also states that the second accused, Sirul Azhar Umar, could have been framed. - Malaysiakini, 26/8/2013, Court: Sirul could have been framed for Altantuya murder
We have been talking about Judicial Reforms, maybe it is time to talk about prosecution reforms - maybe, we need to place safeguards to ensure independence of prosecutors.

So, who killed Altantuya? And why?


August 23, 2013
Latest Update: August 23, 2013 01:49 pm
Seven years on, no one has paid the price for the death of Altantuya Shaariibuu. And no one knows why the pretty Mongolian was killed one night in October 2006.

But today's Court of Appeal decision does not close the file on her mysterious murder.

Instead, the ruling to acquit former chief inspector Azilah Hadri and former corporal Sirul Azhar Umar raises more questions than ever.

Who killed her? Why?

She was shot dead and C4 explosives were allegedly used to blow her to bits but both police commandos said they had no access to the explosives. So what happened? Were there others involved?

She came into the country but there were no immigration records with her name. Did she use another passport? Can the authorities explain this?

Some of these questions could have been answered if the likes of DSP Musa Safri had been called to give evidence.

The prosecution did not call him and the appeal court today allowed the appeal because material witnesses were not called to testify, including Musa.

Musa would have been able to say what sort of help political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda had asked of him to fend off Altantuya.

The interpreter had become Abdul Razak's lover but later hounded him. He had to hire private investigator P. Balasubramaniam to keep watch on her. When Altantuya turned up that fateful night on October 19, 2006, the policemen took her away and that was the last time she was seen alive.

What followed rocked Malaysia's political establishment. Abdul Razak was held in connection with the murder and both police commandos Azilah and Sirul were later charged for Altantuya's murder.

Their connection to each other was simply Musa, who was aide-de-camp to then deputy prime minister and defence minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Now prime minister, Najib has denied any links to the case although Abdul Razak was closely associated with him. Will today's ruling provide closure for him too?

Will it also provide closure for Abdul Razak, who was the first to be acquitted of conspiring to kill Altantuya? He had admitted to fending her off but not asking for her death.

Interestingly, the prosecution never appealed his acquittal.

But the prosecution has said it would appeal today's ruling that freed Azilah and Sirul, both of whom were hooded and shielded from public view during their 159-day murder trial.

That again raises more questions. And endless possibilities. - August 23, 2013, Malaysian Insider, So, who killed Altantuya? And why?

Monday, August 26, 2013

18 workers terminated for exercising a citizen's right to participate in the political life of Malaysia

It is a sad day for Workers in Malaysia when on 19th August,  18 workers were terminated by the DRB HICOM companies in Pekan.

51 Groups responded when disciplinary action was commenced against the workers, vide a Joint Statement entitled, "DRB HICOM MUST RESPECT THE CITIZENS’ RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS IN MALAYSIA –Stop disciplinary action against workers for exercising their political rights dated 25/6/2013.

The plea was made to DRB HICOM and also the Prime Minister of Malaysia, also the MP for Pekan. (The PM is yet to respond to our letter)

As it is, public servants's right to participate in peaceful assembly and other political activities are curtailed by the government, their employer. Now, it seems that private sector employers are also trying curtail the rights of their workers...An employer should only have control of their workers during the work-hours, and in matters directly linked to their employment. When employer extends their 'control' over workers with regard their activities outside working hours, and in this case a Union sanctioned activity, it is unacceptable - Will Malaysian workers stand up and fight in the public arena, or would they choose to 'silently' resort to just using the available legal avenues of access to justice or just keep 'silent' as their rights be eroded. Media sadly gives little or no space to worker, union and civil society statements - and likewise, our politicians also 'avoid' taking up worker/union issues.

Below is a report from the Blog LABOUR BULLETIN, which has added graphics to the UNION statement after the workers were terminated.

Message to TAN SRI SYED MOKHTAR AL BUKHARY - Press Release ::: Press Report for DRB Group – Termination action against workers exercising their political rights is abhorred.

We, the National Union of Transport Equipments & Allied Indutries Workers NUTEAIW) is appalled by the action of DRB Hicom companies, being Hicom Automotive Manufacturing Sdn Bhd and Isuzu Hicom Sdn Bhd in Pekan, taking disciplinary action against 18 workers who exercised their right as citizens outside working hours.  Pursuant to a decision by the Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC), which was also supported by the NUTEAIW, to extract commitments on worker rights from contesting candidates and political parties, workers went to meet contesting candidates before election day.
On 3/5/2013, these 18 workers submitted the MTUC memorandum to one of the contesting candidates in the Parliamentary constituency, which also happens to be the constituency that the Prime Minister of Malaysia was contesting. For this, disciplinary action have been initiated by two  DRB HICOM companies in Pekan, after more than 85 days of suspension were terminated on 19th August 2013.
Hicom Automotive Manufacturing Sdn Bhd, which assembles automobiles for
Suzuki, Mercedes-Benz
and Volkswagen, issued show cause letters to 16 workers, and speedily proceeded with the Domestic Inquiry on 11th June 2013 and terminated them on 19th Auguste 2013. Likewise, Isuzu Hicom Sdn Bhd, that assembles automobiles for Isuzu, issued show cause letters to 2 workers and they too has been terminated by the Company on 19th August 2013. The workers were not allowed the right to be represented by representatives of the National Union, only representatives from the work site committee.

We consider this not only a gross violation of worker rights, but a violation of the right of citizens to participate in the democratic process of Malaysia during the 13th General Elections. No employer should have the right to dictate directly or indirectly the political choices, activities and/or actions of their workers, more so outside employment hours. Workers, as citizens, of Malaysia must have the freedom to join and participate in any political parties, even offer themselves as candidates and involve themselves in campaigning in general elections. Hence the taking of this disciplinary action against workers for things they did in exercise of their rights as citizens in a democracy during the 13th General Elections is an infringement of their rights. The best thing that these DRB Hicom companies can do now is to immediately reinstate these workers without any delay.
The charges levied against the workers are (1) Undermining the image or good name of the company orally, in writing or by action, and (2) Bringing about or trying to bring about any form of influence or outside pressure to submit or support any external claim that is related to service be it an individual claim or claims of other employees.
The employer allegedly is of the position that the participation and action of the said 18 workers,Photo were contrary to the interest of the company gave the false impression that the company was involved in politics.

If the company fears that there will be a perception that ‘the company was involved in politics’, it is hypocritical given the fact that during campaigning period, on 25/4/2013, the company encouraged workers to go and meet the Barisan Nasional Paliamentary candidate for Pekan, Mohd Najib Abdul Razak, also the incumbent Prime Minister. Workers were allowed to go for the meeting during working hours. This event was also highlighted in Najib’s 13th General Election Pekan Constituency candidate website (http://www.parlimenpekan.com,) and the posting was entitled ‘Dato’ Sri Najib Beramah Mesra Dengan Warga DRB-Hicom Pekan’Najib Beri Sijil 2(Dato’ Sri Najib Socialize with DRB-Hicom citizenry). Later that very day women workers were also allowed by the company to meet up with Najib’s wife.

Companies and businesses should never terminate a worker for reasons other than matters that relates to work performance and/or their conduct as a worker save for very exceptional cases like where a worker is convicted for a criminal offence.
These 18 workers have families and children, and a termination would cause great hardship to their wellbeing and livelihood. Amongst the 18 are also trade union leaders, including also the current chairperson of MTUC Pahang Division
, and as such termination of worker leaders may also be perceived as a ‘union busting’
 action by these DRB Hicom companies.
We call on DRB Hicom,  Hicom Automotive Manufacturing Sdn Bhd and Isuzu Hicom Sdn Bhd to immediately reinstate them without loss of benefits.
We call on Prime Minister Mohd Najib Abdul Razak,being also the Member of Parliament for Pekan, to intervene and ensure that worker and citizen rights of his constituents are not violated by employers.

This press release is prepared and released by:

General Secretary
National Union of Transport Equipment & Allied Industries Workers (NUTEAIW)
No. 30 A, Jalan Utas A, Section 15, 40000 Shah Alam. Selangor Darul Ehsan. Malaysia
Tel : 603-55192421 or 603-55193860
Fax 603-55106863
e-mail: nutew@streamyx.com or kishnam18gp@yahoo.co.uk 
Source: Labour Bulletin

See earlier post:-


RFID in Identity Cards - tracking Migrant Workers like cattle and criminals is unacceptable - will soon all Workers, Malaysians also be deprived their privacy?

Now, Malaysian government is seriously going to infringe the privacy of migrant workers (and maybe later Malaysians too) with the introduction of  Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) into their identity cards. That means their movement can be tracked as though they as though they are cattle or criminals.

A total of 1.4 million Bangladeshi workers, scheduled to be recruited in stages from early next year, will be issued special identity cards (IC). 

Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the ICs would have Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and biometric technology, and would function as a debit card and stored-value card (such as Touch & Go).

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

RFID tags, a technology once limited to tracking cattle, are tracking consumer products worldwide. Many manufacturers use the tags to track the location of each product they make from the time it's made until it's pulled off the shelf and tossed in a shopping cart.

Outside the realm of retail merchandise, RFID tags are tracking vehicles, airline passengers, Alzheimer's patients and pets. ...the noncommercial uses of RFID tags and how the Departments of State and Homeland Security are using them. Lastly, we'll examine what some critics consider an Orwellian application of RFID tags in animals, humans and our society. - Wikipedia

Malaysia also announced that they will soon be using electronic monitoring device (EMD) on suspects - this also is unacceptable because a person is innocent until proven guilty. Maybe, it may be acceptable as a 'new' bail condition, that too should be restricted to serious and violent crimes only and a for a limited short period only, for trials should be speedily held - if not, it will be abused and be akin a 'punishment without trial' where people may be simply charged and held on bail indefinitely. We really need a criminal compensation scheme in place so persons can be compensated for loss of liberty and other freedoms, if their charge is subsequently withdrawn, found not guilty, ... The other category of persons maybe those let out earlier on parole - i.e. earlier than their prison sentence by reason of good behavior - and that too maybe for serious and violent crimes only. As it is ex-convicts are already facing discrimination and hurdles to re-integrate into society resulting in many returning to their ways of crime by reason of no other choice.

The Home Ministry plans to use the electronic monitoring device (EMD) on offenders charged under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 by end of next month.

Attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail confirmed that the government had approved the use of EMDs to track organised and violent crime suspects to ensure they would not commit other crimes while out on bail.- Malaysiakini, 24/8/2013, Electronic monitoring device to be implemented in Sept

EMD and this RFID may be different devices/technology but their intent is the same, to track people and their movement. There was some talk before that our new MyKad may have been something similar to RFID - maybe some MP should ask that question in Parliament to just make us all feel safe, and that our privacy is not being infringed by our government.

In any event, migrant workers should never be treated LESS - they are human beings. They are workers - and they should not be treated like some product in a supermarket, cattle or like criminals (or suspected criminals).

What happens to migrant workers today may soon be happening to LOCAL workers later - then maybe even all Malaysians. The 'contractor for labour system' which erodes direct employment relationship between the worker and the owner/operator of the workplace(principal), weakens unions, erodes worker rights, etc... started out with Migrant Workers around 2005 - but today LOCAL workers are also victims of this very unjust system.

We  have to protest these plans by the Malaysian government which undermine human dignity, freedoms ...and yes, the right to personal privacy.

Published: Thursday August 22, 2013 MYT 7:14:00 PM
Updated: Thursday August 22, 2013 MYT 7:18:23 PM

Ahmad Zahid: Bangladeshi workers to get special IC

Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

PUTRAJAYA: A total of 1.4 million Bangladeshi workers, scheduled to be recruited in stages from early next year, will be issued special identity cards (IC). 

Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the ICs would have Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and biometric technology, and would function as a debit card and stored-value card (such as Touch & Go). 

"The cards would be colour coordinated to indicate different employment sectors to prevent the workers from switching jobs," he told reporters after a courtesy call from Bangladesh Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain here on Thursday. 

He said the workers would be screened to ensure that they had no prior criminal records before being recruited and those found moving sectors would be fined up to RM12,000. 

"One of the issues discussed was temporary housing for the workers, so they will be taken care of and to prevent assimilation problems with locals," said Ahmad Zahid. 

He said the Bangladesh workers' entry had been agreed during Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein's term as Home Minister, to cater to the shortage of workers in the plantation and services sectors. 

"They will be brought in under a government-to-government agreement to prevent exploitation by middlemen. 

"We're also discussing the same approach with other countries such as Indonesia and Myanmar," he said.
Meanwhile, Khandker said the government-to-government deal would reduce cost from US$4,000 (RM13,284) to US$400 (RM1,328) per worker.

"Before this, they had to work four to five years to repay the cost due to exploitation by middlemen, but now they can settle the amount in two months," he said. - Bernama - Star, 22/8/2013, Ahmad Zahid: Bangladeshi workers to get special IC

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

75% of retirees reaching the age of 55 have less than RM50,000 in their EPF savings. Obviously that amount will not carry the employee through for the remainder of their life - another failing of the BN government?

“Based on statistics, more than 75% of retirees reaching the age of 55 have less than RM50,000 in their EPF savings. Obviously that amount will not carry the employee through for the remainder of their life,”

The Employees Provident Fund was a 'Simpanan Hari Tua' (Savings for Old Age) scheme for workers - but alas, this government, possibly to help the 'economy' allowed workers to dig into this savings and use the money NOW for a variety of reasons - and the end result was a shrinking of this savings - and no more would it be possible for many people to rely on these saving to sustain their livelihood until death.

Now, people have become dependent on this money NOW, and there would be resistance to any proposal to freeze the taking out of this monies now - and allowing the EPF beneficiary only the ability to take the monies on retirement. See how many workers protested the idea that they would only have access to these monies at 60, the new retirement age. If one can work and earn until 60, workers should NOT be allowed access to this monies until after they stop working...

Does the Malaysian government even guarantee this moneys in your EPF account? Does the Malaysian government even guarantee an annual minimum interest rate of 8% or 10%? Now, the EPF is using EPF monies to invest overseas - what happens if the investments do not bear better benefits or, worse still is lost - then workers will suffer. It is thus important that the Malaysian government guarantees these 'savings for old age' , and even guarantee a minimum 8% annual interest on monies available.

If a person retires at 60, and lives on until 75, how much would he need to survive. Let us take it to be RM1,000 per month

1,000 X 15 X 12 =  RM180,000-00

If RM1,500, then 1,500 X 15 X 12 = RM270,000-00

It looks like more than 75% of workers under this EPF scheme would now not have enough to survive, and the way price of food and cost of living is increasing, this is a MAJOR problem which need to be addressed NOW...

Maybe, we can try to reduce the cost of living of people above 60 - totally FREE healthcare, FREE Public Transport, Monthly allowance of RM500, Free Water, Electricity, Phone, Sewage Treatment, TV, Internet... [Remember that the elderly usually needs more to survive - i.e. healthcare, care givers, etc ]. Of course the RICH would be excluded ...

If workers had been made better wages, a just living wage - we would have a 'smaller problem' - but this Malaysian government only introduced Minimum Wages recently, and some workers are still being denied even this.

Now, there are many many people who are self employed, farmers, fisher-folk, etc that do not even have such a 'scheme' in place - no pension, no EPF, no Insurance, etc ... and the government must determine the numbers that would need assistance in their old age...

We should help the elderly Malaysians have and keep their dignity - we certainly do not want them to become 'beggars' relying on goodwill of others for their 'survival'...Respect the elders is a value that all Malaysian hold dear, and as such, it is essential that something is done now to ensure that we will take care of all our 'golden' Malaysians.
WHILE it is important to set aside a portion of your income for your golden age, many find it hard to decide where to put their hard-earned money. Employees are often choosy and sceptical in selecting the right financial instruments to invest in, other than keeping their money in the bank. 

It is not often that one can rely on one’s EPF savings alone to sustain oneself through one’s retirement age.
Malaysian Employer Federation (MEF) executive chairman Shamsuddin Bardan says it is not because people are not contributing enough to the EPF, but instead, it is the leakages in the system that limits its full purpose. 

“Based on statistics, more than 75% of retirees reaching the age of 55 have less than RM50,000 in their EPF savings. Obviously that amount will not carry the employee through for the remainder of their life,” he says. 

Cumulatively, both employer and employee contribution would amount to between 23% and 24% of wages being contributed to the EPF on a monthly basis. “A lot of withdrawals are allowed on education, medical, housing loan, and so on. Obviously when one reaches one’s retirement age, the money is not there anymore. In fact, it is very much reduced,” says Shamsuddin.

The Government needs to look into putting the EPF savings back on track, he says.

“It should not be utilised for anything else except for “old age” purposes. Perhaps if you want to buy a house, you would have to use other means. This is so your savings will be intact. Then, at retirement age, you would have enough to carry you through,” he says. 

The new retirement age policy allows employees to continue working until the age of 60, compared with 55 previously. This represents an additional five years of contribution to EPF savings.

“That would beef up employees’ savings,” he says. 

However, one can withdraw one’s entire EPF savings when one reaches the age of 55. This is not in sync with the new retirement age. If an employee works until the age of 60, but fully withdraws his EPF savings at the age of 55, by retirement time he would be left with only five years of contribution. 

Shamsuddin says this misalignment is yet another issue the Government needs to look into. “Although it won’t be a popular thing for the Government to change the withdrawal policy to age 60, we need to have a hard look at that, and perhaps bite the bullet and change it. Or else, the increase in retirement age with the main purpose of enhancing retirement savings would not be achieved,” he says.  - Star, 10/8/2013, PRS a good idea but may not be enough

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Convention on the Rights of the Child - How can a Malaysian policeman deny children below 15 their freedom of peaceful assembly?

Two members of the ‘Himpunan Hijau’ organising committee are expected to be charged under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012, for allowing children under the age of 15 to participate in a rally last September...

"We will be charged under Section 15 of the Act, with allowing the participants below 15 to enter (the venue)," Wong said when contacted today.

The rally was held on Sept 2 last year at Padang Kompleks Sukan in Bukit Koman, to protest the use of cyanide in gold mining operations by Raub Australian Gold Mine (RAGM).

More than 10,000 people attended the gathering. They then marched to the RAGM office when the company’s representative failed to show up to accept a memorandum from the organiser.

Let's us not forget that Malaysia has ratified/signed  the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and that recognizes the rights of children to freedom of peaceful assembly (Art. 15) and freedom of expression.. 

What was this protest about ...'protesting the use of cyanide in gold mining operations' - so it is an health issue...and an environmental issue - which surely affects all human persons including children, and as such to deny children the right to protest...to exercise their right to freedom of assembly would be going against the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Does the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 deprive a child from the  freedom of peaceful assembly? No, it does not because the law makers knew that it would be wrong. 

Well, they are being charged under section 15m being the 'restrictions and conditions' that can be imposed by the police. Well, look at  section 2 (a) - (g), and there is no mention about placing restrictions based on a age of a person...or a child, so this policeman relied on para 2(h) any other matters the Officer in charge of the police District deems necessary or expedient in relation to the assembly. But should not these 'any other matters' be something like what Parliament specifically mentioned in (a) to (g)... I believe so.

15  Restrictions and conditions [PEACEFUL ASSEMBLY ACT 2012]

(1) The Officer in charge of the police District may impose restrictions and conditions on an assembly for the purpose of security or public order, including the protection of the rights and freedoms of other persons.
(2) The restrictions and conditions imposed under this section may relate to-
(a) the date, time and duration of assembly;
(b) the place of assembly;
(c) the manner of the assembly;
(d) the conduct of participants during the assembly;
(e) the payment of clean-up costs arising out of the holding of the assembly;
(f) any inherent environmental factor, cultural or religious sensitivity and historical significance of the place of assembly;
(g) the concerns and objections of persons who have interests; or
(h) any other matters the Officer in charge of the police District deems necessary or expedient in relation to the assembly.
(3) Any person who fails to comply with any restrictions and conditions under this section commits an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding ten thousand ringgit.

So, here we have a policeman setting a condition/restriction which not only is not there in the Act, but also goes against the Convention on the Rights of the Child(CRC).

1-  The child chooses be part of the protest and exercises his/her freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly
2-    The child is there because the parent(or someone with 'loco parentis') brought the child. Why did they do that? Maybe to educate the child as to values and principles, to educate by way of example...'stand up for your rights', when you see something wrong do something about it,....

Maybe also that parents are not rich enough to have 'domestic workers' or someone to look after their kids. Should mothers or fathers sacrifice their right to protest and/or to participate in peaceful assembly because they have to stay home and look after kids... or should they come as a family for a protest action - more so a protest action that is against something they believe may have a negative impact to the health of human beings(including their family) and the environment.Were the police providing 'child care facilities' or creches so that people could leave their little ones and take part in a peaceful assembly? 

I am of the opinion that no one should be charged for such as offence.... more so since that condition imposed was a condition that, I believe, is contrary to the CRC....
Relevant extracts  from the Convention on the Rights of the Child are as follows:-
Article 13
1. The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child's choice.
2. The exercise of this right may be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary:
(a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others; or
(b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals. 

Article 15
1. States Parties recognize the rights of the child to freedom of association and to freedom of peaceful assembly.
2. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of these rights other than those imposed in conformity with the law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order (ordre public), the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. 

Article 24
1. States Parties recognize the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health. States Parties shall strive to ensure that no child is deprived of his or her right of access to such health care services.

2. States Parties shall pursue full implementation of this right and, in particular, shall take appropriate measures:
(a) To diminish infant and child mortality;
(b) To ensure the provision of necessary medical assistance and health care to all children with emphasis on the development of primary health care;
(c) To combat disease and malnutrition, including within the framework of primary health care, through, inter alia, the application of readily available technology and through the provision of adequate nutritious foods and clean drinking-water, taking into consideration the dangers and risks of environmental pollution;
(d) To ensure appropriate pre-natal and post-natal health care for mothers;
(e) To ensure that all segments of society, in particular parents and children, are informed, have access to education and are supported in the use of basic knowledge of child health and nutrition, the advantages of breastfeeding, hygiene and environmental sanitation and the prevention of accidents;
(f) To develop preventive health care, guidance for parents and family planning education and services. 

3. States Parties shall take all effective and appropriate measures with a view to abolishing traditional practices prejudicial to the health of children. 

4. States Parties undertake to promote and encourage international co-operation with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of the right recognized in the present article. In this regard, particular account shall be taken of the needs of developing countries.

'Himpunan Hijau Raub' organisers to face charges

  • Kow Gah Chie
  • 1:41PM Aug 12, 2013
Two members of the ‘Himpunan Hijau’ organising committee are expected to be charged under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012, for allowing children under the age of 15 to participate in a rally last September.

Committee president Wong Kin Hoong (left) and vice-president Tengku Shahadan Tengku Jaafar have received a summons to be present in a Raub court next Monday.

"We will be charged under Section 15 of the Act, with allowing the participants below 15 to enter (the venue)," Wong said when contacted today.

He said they have been questioned at least five times to date by the police.

Wong said the committee had signed an agreement in which OCPD Wan Mohd Samsudin Wan Osman had set out conditions.

NONEAmong these was a ban on child participation and marching, as well as a requirement for the gathering to be conducted in an orderly manner, he said.

"I signed the agreement and Shahadan (right) signed as a witness and seconder," Wong said.

"We will not plead guilty .... the police were at the rally as well. They allowed the children to enter, but are now charging us. It's unfair.”

The Act makes it an offence for a child below 15 to participate in such rallies, while the district police head is empowered to impose conditions in relation to the venue, time, duration and manner of gatherings.

azlanUnder Section 15(3), anyone found guilty of failing to comply with the restrictions and conditions is liable to a maximum fine of RM10,000.

Wong further criticised police for this “focus on petty issues”, instead of tackling serious crime.

The rally was held on Sept 2 last year at Padang Kompleks Sukan in Bukit Koman, to protest the use of cynide in gold mining operations by Raub Australian Gold Mine (RAGM).

More than 10,000 people attended the gathering. They then marched to the RAGM office when the company’s representative failed to show up to accept a memorandum from the organiser. - Malaysiakini, 12/8/2013, 'Himpunan Hijau Raub' organisers to face charges

Monday, August 12, 2013

Freedom of Religion in Malaysia - Did Najib and BN 'change' their position after the 10-point solution in 2011?

A perusal of the records shows that both Najib (and the BN) and Pakatan Rakyat leadership are really not having different positions on the issue of the usage of the term 'Allah' by adherents of other religions in Malaysia.

But, when the Najib's BN government appealed the decision of the High Court, that was perceived as being contrary to the Prime Minister's and government's position - contrary also to the Najib's 10-point solution (see the letter in the report by Herald Malaysia pasted below)

I sincerely hope that Najib's government would withdraw the appeal, and all would be well in 1Malaysia...  

Let's hope that there would be no one, be it from the Opposition, the ruling BN Coalition or others who will try to cloud the issue, by attempting to propagate the perception that they are better 'Defenders of Islam' than the government when the appeal is withdrawn. 

Politicians in Malaysia, to woo voters or maybe just 'draw attention to themselves', have been guilty of this in the past, and there surely will be such persons or antics in the future. Now, it falls on Malaysians to 'remember' and reject such personalities and/or 'politicians' ...  

Archbishop: Najib's solution on use of 'Allah' must hold

  • Hafiz Yatim
  • 3:27PM Aug 11, 2013
Less than two years' after the 2009 landmark Kuala Lumpur High Court judgment that declared the ban on the use of the word ‘Allah' by the Catholics as unconstitutional, the government came up with a 10 point solution to resolve the issue once and for all.

endon funeral 201005 murphy pakiamBased on it, Catholic Archbishop Murphy Pakiam (right), is questioning the continuation of the Home Ministry and government's appeal on the Herald which is pending at the Court of Appeal.

The 10 point solution, signed by Premier Najib Abdul Razak on April 11, 2011, had the agreement of the cabinet and was addressed to the Christian Federation of Malaysia chairperson, Ng Moon Hing.

In it, the government allows the importation and publication of bibles of all languages including Bahasa Malaysia/Bahasa Indonesia with the word ‘Allah' on it without any restrictions.

The Archbishop said Najib must have known of the landmark Dec 31, 2009 decision, before signing the 10 point solution.

Murphy, in his affidavit in support to strike out of the ministry and government's appeal which will be heard by the appellate court on Aug 22, states that bibles of all languages including the indigenous language of Iban, Kadazan-Dusun and Lun Bawang can be printed locally and imported.

The solution also states that in recognition of the 1Malaysia government initiative, there is no ban on the carrying of the bibles from Sabah and Sarawak to Peninsular Malaysia and vice-versa.

"For Sabah and Sarawak, in recognising the large number of Christians there, there will be no requirement for any stamp or serial number be placed.

"However, for Peninsular Malaysia, taking into account of the larger Muslim community, the bibles must have the word ‘Christian publication' and the ‘cross' sign on it," said Murphy in the affidavit sighted by Malaysiakini.

"The Home Ministry secretary-general had been issued a directive to ensure proper implementation of the cabinet decision. Failure to comply will result in officers to face disciplinary action under the general orders provision."

The word ‘Allah' for god, he said, had been in use in the Bahasa Malaysia/Bahasa Indonesia, and the indigenous languages of Sabah and Sarawak bibles for a long time, and are among those referred to in the letter.

No security threat

"The solution also acknowledges that there is no national security and public order threat by the use of the word Allah by Christians, which also includes in publication."

"It also strengthens the High Court decision that the home ministry and government acted irrationally, unreasonably and defied all logic," said the archbishop in the affidavit.

Murphy further states that the April 11 document is a recognition of the landmark decision, and in light of the unequivocal representation to the Christian community, there is no legitimacy to proceed with the appeal.

Hence, the archbishop in the affidavit believes that the appeal had been superseded by the current position taken by the Home Ministry and government.

"Any decision by the court to hear the merits (of the appeal) will be a futility exercise with no particular benefit as the ministry and government, had taken a position which negates the appeal."

"Hence, the court ought not act and deliberate in the appeal as it renders the matter academic. This is a proper and fit case for the appeal to be struck off," said Murphy in ending his affidavit.

NONEIt was reported that the Archbishop's application to strike out the appeal will be heard on Aug 22.

Failing which, the hearing of the government's appeal will be heard on Sept 10 along with seven interveners from the various state Islamic councils and the Malaysian Chinese Muslim Association.

Justice Lau Bee Lan (left) in her Dec 31, 2009 decision held that the word ‘Allah' is not exclusive to Islam in lifting the ban on the Herald publication.

The Herald is published in English, BM, Mandarin and Tamil. - Malaysiakini, 11/8/2013, Archbishop: Najib's solution on use of 'Allah' must hold

Najib on ‘Allah’ issue
Published on: January 18, 2013 at 17:35 PM
KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib wrote a letter to Bishop Ng Moon Hing, Chairman of the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) on April 11, 2011 to address the Bahasa Malaysia/Indonesia Bible and other related issues.

In his letter the Prime Minister gave a Ten Point Solution. He reiterates the government’s commitment to work with the Christian groups and all the different religious groups in order to address interreligious issues and work towards the fulfilment of all religious aspirations in accordance with the constitution, taking into account the other relevant laws of the country.

He also gives his assurances of the government’s commitment in solving any religious issues in this country.Ten Point Solution to address the Bahasa Malaysia/Indonesia Bible and other related issues.


11 April 2011
JPM.PEMANDU,600-231112011 (2)

Bishop Ng Moon Hing
Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM)

As we are all aware, the impounding of the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia/Indonesia has triggered concerns and tensions within the country which we have to address urgently to prevent these from escalating any further. Consequently, we have been in discussion with the Christian Federation of Malaysia and other Christian groups to resolve the Bahasa Malaysia/lndonesia Bible and also other religious issues. Taking into account the polarity of views of the different religious groups, including Christians and Muslims, the Government decided on a Ten Point Solution.

On 2nd April 2011 the Government announced a Ten Point Solution to address the Bible issue and other related issues. I wish to confirm that this is a collective decision by the Cabinet.

The Ten Point Solution is as follows:

1. Bibles in all languages can be imported into the country, including Bahasa Malaysia/Indonesia.

2. These Bibles can also be printed locally in Peninsula Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak. This is a new development which should be welcome by the Christian groups.

3. Bibles in indigenous languages of Sabah and Sarawak such as Iban, Kadazan¬Dusun and Lun Bawang can also be printed locally and imported.

4. For Sabah and Sarawak, in recognition of the large Christian community in these states, there are no conditions attached to the importation and local printing of the Bibles in all languages, including Bahasa Malaysia/ Indonesia and indigenous languages. There is no requirement for any stamp or serial number.

5. Taking into account the interest of the larger Muslim community, for Peninsula Malaysia, Bibles in Bahasa Malaysia/Indonesia, imported or printed, must have the words “Christian Publication” and the cross sign printed on the front covers.

6. In the spirit of 1Malaysia and recognising that many people travel between Sabah and Sarawak and Peninsula Malaysia, there should be no prohibitions and restrictions for people who bring along their bibles and Christian materials on such travel.

7. A directive on the Bible has been issued by the Ketua Setiausaha (KSU) of the Home Ministry to ensure proper implementation of this cabinet decision. Failure to comply will subject the officers to disciplinary action under the General Orders. A comprehensive briefing by top officials, including the Attorney General (AG), will be given to all relevant civil servants to ensure good understanding and proper implementation of the directive (See Attachment 1).

8. For the impounded Bibles in Kuching, Gideon, the importer can collect all the 30,000 Bibles free of charge. We undertake to ensure the parties involved are reimbursed. The same offer remains available for the importer of the 5,100 Bibles in Port Kiang, which have already been collected by the Bible Society Malaysia (BSM) last week.

9. Beyond the Bible issue, the Government wishes to reiterate its commitment to work with the Christian groups and all the different religious groups in order to address interreligious issues and work towards the fulfilment of all religious aspirations in accordance with the constitution, taking into account the other relevant laws of the country. In order to bring urgency to this work, in my capacity as the Prime Minister, I will meet the representatives of the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) soon to discuss the way forward.

10. The Christian Ministers in the cabinet will meet on a regular basis with representatives of the various Christian groups in order to discuss their issues and work with the relevant Ministries and myself in order to resolve them. As the leader of this country, I wish to reiterate the Government’s commitment in solving any religious issues in this country. There is a need to manage polarities that exist in our society to achieve peace and harmony. I believe the best way to achieve this is through respect, tolerance, forgiveness and reconciliation.

Yours sincerely,

(Prime Minister of Malaysia)

Published: Thursday January 24, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Monday April 22, 2013 MYT 3:30:51 PM

Pakatan Rakyat firm on ‘Allah’ stance

PETALING JAYA: Pakatan Rakyat’s stand on the use of the word “Allah” remains unchanged despite PAS Syura Council’s decision that the word cannot be used to describe God in any non-Muslim publications.

Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said he had read the Syura Council’s statement and understood its concerns but for now, Pakatan’s stand remains the same as the views given by PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang on the matter.

“We have not revised our stand following the Syura Council’s decision on this matter.

“It can be brought up for discussion but so far, there’s none,” Anwar said in a press conference yesterday.

On Jan 8, Hadi said that the word “Allah” is not restricted only to Muslims as Christians and Jews are also allowed to use it, but the name should not be used in a wrong and irresponsible manner that could jeopardise racial and religious harmony.

This was the common stand taken by PAS, DAP and PKR on the matter, following a lengthy discussion between Hadi, Anwar and DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang.

The PAS president’s statement echoed DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng’s Christmas message in which he said that non-Muslims should be allowed to use the word “Allah” in the Malay version of the Bible.

However, a week after Hadi publicly voiced the view, PAS’ Syura Council decided that the word “Allah” cannot be used to describe God, stating while the word was universal and had been used by pre-Islamic Arabs, it could not be used as the translation for the word “God” from any other language.- Star, 24/1/2013, Pakatan Rakyat firm on ‘Allah’ stance

PR setuju bukan Islam guna kalimah ALLAH

PETALING JAYA - Majlis Pimpinan Pakatan Rakyat (PR) hari ini mencapai pendirian penggunaan kalimah ALLAH boleh digunakan oleh penganut Kristian dengan syarat ia  tidak disalahgunakan.

Keputusan tersebut diumumkan selepas mesyuarat pemimpin tertinggi PR yang dihadiri Presiden Pas, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang; Penasihat DAP, Lim Kit Siang dan Ketua Umum PKR, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim semalam.

Pada sidang media selepas itu, Hadi berkata, Pas berpendirian konsisten seperti yang pernah dikeluarkan pada 4 Januari 2010 lalu di mana kalimah ALLAH tidak boleh diterjemahkan ke dalam mana-mana bahasa secara tepat....

.... “Walau bagaimanapun, Islam tidak menghalang penganut agama lain menggunakan kalimah ALLAH dalam amalan mereka walaupun tidak mencapai maksud asal bahasa al-Quran,” katanya[Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang].

Sementara itu, Anwar berkata, PKR dan DAP menyambut baik pendirian Pas dalam isu penggunaan kalimah ALLAH.

“Kenyataan Pas kita sambut baik dan ia selari dengan pendirian Islam. Oleh demikian, kita tidak halang namun dalam mesyuarat kita suarakan keprihatinan kita supaya tidak ada pihak mempermainkan isu ini.... - Sinar Harian, 8/1/2013,
PR setuju bukan Islam guna kalimah ALLAH 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Selangor local councils meetings LIVE on websites, plus minutes - Good job Teng Chang Kim in moving towards transparency and accountability

Many have been calling for Local Council Elections, and that was a Pakatan Rakyat election commitment in 2008 - but still Councillors are being appointed using a BN formula - where it is members of PR parties that sit in Local Councils, save a small number of persons from 'civil society'

Transparency and accountability was also not there in the PR-State ruled Local Councils. No minutes. No public access to Loacl Council meetings (and meetings of the various committees), which provided by law should be open to the public.

All meetings of the local authority shall be open to the public and to representatives of the Press…” where it continues with an unless, being “…unless the local authority by resolution at the meeting otherwise decides…”.  - Section 23 of the Local Government Act 1976

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Nurul Izzah should have set the example by not raising petty technical objections, and accepting large costs - Election Petition

Well, we are not happy with Election Petitions being struck out by reason of preliminary objections, and not after full trial on the merits - sadly, this also happened again with Nurul Izzah's case

We are unhappy with the excessive cost being ordered against people who file election petitions, and in Nurul Izzah's case, the cost awarded was also excessive - RM40.000, and this was not after full hearing but based on preliminary objections. 

It would have been good if good MPs/ADUNs, like Nurul Izzah would have not just sat happily seeing the court do exactly the same things that we are critical about.

We do not know all the TEN(10) 'preliminary objections' were - but Nurul Izzah could have urged the court to order the petitioner to cure the procedural non-compliance, and allow the matter to be heard on the merits. Some of these preliminary objections have been have matters of service/delivery of documents, being filed by a law firm not a lawyer, etc... To dismiss an Election Petition or any other matter based on such technicalities is absurd, a denial of the right to be heard on the merits - a miscarriage of justice. 

No use coming out later and saying the law need to be reformed - you already used those absurd technical objections - (1) service was done by a law firm...(2) out of time? (3) .... Stand by your principles...Now, we will never know if that Election Petition if heard on the merits would have been successful or not - it was knocked out based on technicalities ... and, I say that justice has not been served - the right to a fair trial has been denied that petitioner... and worse, any ordinary person would have been on the way to become bankrupt if forced to pay RM40,000-00. Nurul Izzah can still come out publicly and say no need to pay that RM40,000 - just pay me say RM500 - Will she do it?

When the court awarded such high costs, Nurul Izzah should have objected and said that as a matter of principle ask the judge to limit cost to a nominal sum - maybe RM500. High cost awards only deter a person from coming to court - it certainly has a greater impact of the poor and those with middle income. 40 months wages for a person earning RM1,000 is absurd - remembering that the right to file Election petition is also with the ordinary voter.

Nurul Izzah, to keep silent and accept matters like this, when decisions go in your favour is unacceptable if one believes in upholding the cause of justice. She should have instructed her lawyers her preference to win after a full hearing on the merits - rather than on some preliminary objections. She should have set the example.

Likewise, the quantum of cost...

See also earlier post:-

Election Petitions - Why are courts shutting people from access to justice? Exessive Cost and denial of trial on merits

Nurul Izzah remains Lembah Pantai MP
8:38AM Aug 1, 2013

The Election Court in Kuala Lumpur has today struck out the election petition filed by Lembah Pantai Umno Youth chief Mohamad Sazali Kamilan against incumbent parliamentarian Nurul Izzah Anwar.

azlanElection judge Zabariah Mohd Yusof allowed seven out of 10 of the preliminary objections made by Nurul Izzah's counsel Edmund Bon.

She ordered Sazali, who is also a voter in the constituency, to pay costs of RM40,000.

Justice Zabariah said the petition had been served on Nurul Izzah by the law firm Raja Reza, whereas it should have been served by either Sazali or a lawyer representing Sazali and it cannot be the firm.

“Hence the election petition is liable to be struck out based on this ground alone
,” she said.

She also said the petitioner had also failed to comply with the requirements of Section 38 (1) (a) of the Election Offences Act 1954 (EOA) by failing to present the petition within the stipulated time of 28 days.

“On this, the preliminary objection is allowed,” she said.

The election judge also noted that Sazali had sought a relief that the BN candidate Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin be declared as the winner of the seat.

“However, the election judge can no longer declare another candidate to be the winner of the seat as Section 35 of the EOA had been repealed.

“Hence the prayer sought by Sazali by cannot be sustained and is bad in law,” ruled Justice Zabariah.

In 1996 in the case of Dr Lee Chong Meng versus Wee Choo Keong for the Bukit Bintang parliamentary seat, election judge and former chief justice Ahmad Fairus Sheikh Abdul Halim had ruled that Wee’s victory was null and void due to him being asked to pay a RM7,000 for contempt.

As a result of this, Lee was declared the winner of the Bukit Bintang parliamentary seat.

Failed to plead material facts

Justice Zabariah also held that the petitioner had failed to provide sufficient facts to support that Nurul Izzah’s allegation over the Bukit Kiara land deal, on which Sazali had complained, had influenced voters not to vote for Raja Nong Chik.

“Sazali has failed to plead material facts to show that there is a cause of action against Nurul Izzah,” she ruled in allowing the preliminary objection

Raja Nong Chik had lodged a police report over the allegation which was also carried in Malaysiakini, and is also a subject to a defamation suit by the former federal territories minister against the news portal and Nurul Izzah.

Nurul Izzah was represented by Edmund Bon, while lawyer M Reza Hassan and Shahril Abdul Razak appeared for Sazali.

Despite the victory, both Bon and Nurul Izzah urged that amendments to the EOA be made as the law had been in existence since 1954.

Bon said the portion saying the petition cannot be served by the lawyer's firm but only the petitioner or the advocate of the petitioner (a persion), is being used all over the country.

“Complaints on election petitions have been made stating that the laws have been archaic since 1954 and the attorney-general has a duty to update the law. I have no qualms in urging amendments be made to the existing law to ensure clean and fair elections,” he said.

“It must be made up to date. If there is injustice to the petitioner, it's because the rules have been designed not to hear the voice of the people. It cuts both ways,” he said.

On the allegation of the ballot boxes had been tampered with, Bon said there is no evidence before the court to support the claim.

Nurul said she is thankful for the decision but there has to be a continuous effort to reform the existing law to ensure there is clean and fair elections.

“There should be rational avenues to argue the matter based on the provisions of the law. We will continue with efforts to reform the existing law to ensure clean and fair elections as the existing 1954 laws cannot be enforced till today and have to keep up with the times,” she said. 

Nurul Izzah retained Lembah Pantai after fighting off a strong challenge from former federal territories minister Raja Nong Chik Zainal Abidin at the May 5 general election.

She polled 31,008 votes against Raja Nong Chik's 29,161, winning the seat with a majority of 1,847.

The PKR vice-president wrested the seat from then-minister for women, family and community development Shahrizat Abdul Jalil in 2008.

In the wake of his defeat, Raja Nong Chik has filed a defamation suit against Nurul Izzah and Malaysiakini over the incumbent MP's remarks made during the electoral campaign. - Malaysiakini, 1/8/2013,Nurul Izzah remains Lembah Pantai MP

Nurul Izzah remains Lembah Pantai MP after Election Court strikes out election petition
Nurul Izzah Anwar
Nurul Izzah Anwar

KUALA LUMPUR: Nurul Izzah Anwar remains the MP for Lembah Pantai after the Election Court in Kuala Lumpur struck out the election petition filed by Lembah Pantai Umno division youth chief Mohamad Sazali Kamilan.

Election judge Zabariah Mohd Yusof allowed most of the preliminary objections made by Nurul Izzah’s counsel Edmund Bon and ordered Sazali to pay costs of RM40,000, Malaysiakini reported.

Nurul Izzah retained Lembah Pantai after getting 31,008 votes against former Federal Territories Minister Raja Nong Chik’s 29,161.

Mohamad Sazali had named PKR candidate for the Lembah Pantai seat, Nurul Izzah Anwar, the Lembah Pantai returning officer Rolan Abd Rahman and the EC as respondents.

Mohamad Sazali claimed that last May 4, Nurul Izzah had disturbed voters in the area by telling them not to vote for the BN candidate, Datuk Raja Nong Chik, by giving false statements on the Malaysiakini website.

He also claimed that Rolan failed to report to the EC that two ballot boxes for Lembah Pantai were damaged, purportedly by a group of PKR supporters who obstructed the vehicle carrying the boxes to to the vote tallying centre.- ABN News. 1/8/2013, Nurul Izzah remains Lembah Pantai MP after Election Court strikes out election petition

Court strikes out Lembah Pantai election petition

KUALA LUMPUR: The Election Court has struck out a petition filed by a voter over the results of the Lembah Pantai parliamentary constituency in the May 5 general election.

The court on Thursday allowed the preliminary objection raised by its MP Nurul Izzan Anwar (pix) in dismissing the petition filed by Mohamad Sazali Kamilan.

The court also awarded RM40,000 in costs to Nurul Izzah. - Star, 1/8/2013, Court strikes out Lembah Pantai election petition