Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Ops Lalang: Abolish all detention without trial laws(Malaysiakini)


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COMMENT | Ops Lalang: Abolish all detention without trial laws

Charles Hector

Modified 4:51 pm

COMMENT | On Oct 27, 1987, a black day in Malaysian history dubbed ‘Operation Lalang’ happened. This massive crackdown using the draconian detention without trial law, the Internal Security Act 1960 (ISA) resulted in about 106 human rights defenders, politicians and others being arrested, and detained, some for almost two years. 

The Home Ministry also withdrew the printing and publishing licenses of the Star, Sin Chew Jit Poh and Watan, which was restored almost five months later on around March 1988.

Whilst the ISA was repealed in end July 2012, other draconian detention without trial (DWT) laws like the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (Poca), Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015 (Pota) and the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985 (DDSPMA) still remain, and many persons continue to be arrested, detained and/or restricted without trial in Malaysia.

DWT laws allow the Executive to administratively detain/restrict persons for reasons that cannot be challenged in courts, and as such lies and falsehood can be used. The reasons or justification for the use of such DWT laws cannot be challenged in courts. Hence, the judiciary’s role in a democracy, to serve as a check and balance to the actions/omissions of the Executive is removed.

Since the abolition of the ISA, the scope the current DWT laws are so much wider, to now even include even ordinary Penal Code crimes. A suspected thief may also be simply be detained without trial, and not be accorded the right to a fair trial.

DWT laws undermine the rule of law, justice and human rights – denying the right to a fair trial, and even violating the fundamental principle of presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

Article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) provides, “Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.”

Article 11(1) of the UDHR states that “Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to the law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.”

Victims of Ops Lalang

Amongst the arrested were human rights defenders (HRDs), including women human rights defenders such as Theresa Lim Chin Chin, Chee Heng Leng and Cecilia Ng, Irene Xavier and Meenakshi Raman.

Other activists arrested included Dr Chandra Muzaffar, Tan Ka Kheng, Harrison Ngau, Anthony Rogers, Arokia Dass, Kua Kia Soong, Mohd Nasir Hashim and Lim Fong Seng.

Community HRDs included Hiew Yun Tat and Lee Koon Bun (chairperson and vice-chairperson of Perak Anti-Radioactive Committee).

Pakatan Harapan fails to repeal DWT laws

Current leaders of the DAP and Amanah such as Lim Kit Siang, Lim Guan Eng and Muhamad Sabu were also victims, along with many other politicians from the DAP and PAS. Anwar Ibrahim, the leader of PKR was also twice a victim of the ISA, in 1974 and thereafter in 1998, but he has been criticised for his silence during Ops Lalang when he was then part of the cabinet.

Other Ops Lalang politician victims included Ibrahim Ali, Tajuddin Rahman, Abdul Latif Mohamad, Muhammad Ariff Yaacob, Bunyamin Yaakob, Khaled Abu Samad, Suhaimi Saad, P Patto, Karpal Singh, V David, Hu Sepang, Wee Choo Keong, Fahmi Ibrahim, Mohamed Yunus Lebai Ali and Halim Arshat.

Madpet (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) is disappointed when the then Pakatan Harapan government that included PKR, DAP and Amanah, failed to do the needful and abolish speedily all remaining DWT laws, including Poca, Pota and the DDSPMA. Judicial review of the reasons for the arrest, detention and/or restriction is still not allowed, and that could have been remedied easily by an amendment.

The Harapan government also failed to even table bills that would lead to the repeal, not even bills that will finally enable courts to review reasons why DWT laws are used against victims – judicial review. If there was no time, bills could always be debated and passed at subsequent parliamentary sessions.

Even if politicians are not victims of DWT laws, people still are

Even though prominent politicians may have not fallen victim to these remaining DWT laws, other persons continue to be victims, and any justice-loving person or party must be committed to repealing all DWT laws. A caring government committed to justice will repeal such DWT laws and ensure everyone is accorded the right to a fair trial.

Madpet reiterates the call for the immediate repeal of all DWT laws, including Poca, Pota and the DDSPMA.

Madpet also calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all persons currently detained and/or restricted under DWT laws in Malaysia.

Malaysia must respect the principle of presumption of innocence until proven guilty in a court of law. If anyone has allegedly broken any Malaysian law, then he/she must be investigated, charged in court and accorded the right to a fair trial.

CHARLES HECTOR represents Malaysians Against Death Penalty & Torture (Madpet).- Malaysiakini, 27/10/2020


See full statement at 

33rd Anniversary of Ops Lallang – Abolish all Detention Without Trial laws

Monday, October 26, 2020

Budget 2021 - Disclose NOW so rakyat can give feedback - Let's practice TRUE Democracy and Transparency?

Often, the government tables the BUDGET in Parliament and then it is debated and passed in the sama session - there is little or no opportunity for the people(the RAKYAT) to effectively participate - and the people will tell the government, whether the are OK or not with the BUDGET or parts of the Budget.

Past governments have failed to make known to the public the proposed Budget, and to give time for the public to give needed feedback. Budgets are just tabled in Parliament, debated and then passed in the same session - meaning the MPs really have no time to consult the people they represent.

Traditionally, all those MPs from parties that form the government will not be a 'check and balance' - and merely support the Budget. The criticism and the highlighting of flaws in the proposed Budget comes from the Opposition MPs - who sadly, even if they agree with the proposed Budget, will vote against it - so sad...so sad.

Before the upcoming Parliamentary session, PM Muhyiddin should now make public the proposed BUDGET and get the peoples' feedback - and MPs must vote as peoples' representative (wakil Rakyat) - not simply as directed by their political parties or the party 'whips'.

The move by PM Muhyiddin and his Cabinet to put Malaysia under EMERGENCY may be linked to the fact that he has lost the confidence of the majority - or the fact that even some of the MPs supporting his government may be not agreeable to the said Budget.

Whether the BUDGET tabled is passed or not, as an indicator whether Muhyiddin still enjoys the confidence of the majority is 'dangerous' - and as such, the PM should really make sure that the 'no confidence motion' is tabled first and voted on first. 

Even after proving that he has the confidence of the majority, note that some of the MPs may elect to not simply blindly vote in support of the Budget or some Bill tabled by the government. Was the BUDGET to be tabled also prepared in consultation with the 113 MPs that support Muhyiddin - or are they all simply expected to support whatever PM tables? Did the Cabinet approve the Budget unanimously - or was it just approved by a simple majority or the majority?

MPs are the peoples' representative - they must act and vote as 'representative' - in accordance to what the majority of his/her constituents want...not simply on the basis of what he/she thinks is for the 'best interest of the people in his/her constituencies'.

MPs in Malaysia, after elections rarely meet and have consultation with the people of their constituencies - Most times, they simply 'show face' at funerals, weddings, functions, etc ...or even give 'donations' here and there > There is very little even 'reporting back' - let alone regular consultations with the people - Having MONTHLY sessions with the people at town or community halls - where the MP reports what he has done, takes questions and provide answers, consult on particular Bills tabled...so easy ...but simply not done in Malaysia...WHY?

SO, disclose now the BUDGET that the government is going to table ..so people can democratically participate.

People have been concerned about 'OVER-SPENDING' for certain areas when Malaysia simply does not have sufficient funds to do so....which results on massive debts for Malaysia. The past 2 BN Prime Ministers, speedily escalated Malaysia's Debts -- So, they spend as though we are 'RICH' as our national debts rise and rise... 

So, PEOPLE want the right to be part of this upcoming BUDGET - BERSIH says reach out to the Opposition leaders - but I say MORE THAN THAT ...reach out to the people.

Let's tighten our BELTS now 

- cut the Cabinet pay,

- set a reasonable pay limit for civil servants, and also Government owned or linked companies - set maximum monthly allowances, pays, etc 

- Abolish allocation of millions to MPs for use for the welfare and development of the constituencies > not needed at all, as there are already existing government departments, Ministries, etc that has been 'allocated monies' to do exactly this. [On the other hand, provide every MP with monies to maintain their offices/service centres and necessary staff. Maybe also RM1 per constituents per month for work in their constituencies/]

- Review PENSIONS - fix a maximum for former MPs, former Ministers, former Public Officers > maybe no more that RM7,000 per month, remember millions others do not even get monthly pensions]

- Increase WELFARE - monthly payments for the unemployed(at least RM1,000 per month), for the POOR elderly, disabled, etc(at least RM1,000 per month), FREE healthcare, FREE Education in schools, etc 

- REVISE pay of public officers > In total, no one shall be taking home more than RM16,000 per month - being the current allowance of MPs, certainly no more than RM23,000. If a public officer is appointed as Director of a GLC, that Director allowances,etc shall flow back to the government - not to the said public officer themselves.

- MONIES should be spend to keep the PRICES down FOR food, necessities, even electricity and telecommunication down as many are suffering loss of regular income.


Needed: A budget for uncertain times

-A +A

KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 25): Barring unforeseen circumstances, Budget 2021 will be unveiled on Nov 6. This will be a budget under a new government, under the 12th Malaysia Plan and during a global health crisis wrought by Covid-19. 

The year has thus far seen the rollout of four economic stimulus packages — the first on Feb 27, the Prihatin Stimulus Package on March 27, Penjana on June 5 and Kita Prihatin on Sept 25 — collectively amounting to a mammoth RM315 billion. 

Will the government introduce further stimulus packages to address the immediate problems stemming from Covid-19 or a longer-term plan to spur the country’s economic growth? 

Everybody is expecting an expansionary budget with the aim of addressing immediate and medium-term issues, which will be in line with the finance minister’s earlier indication that the budget will have four broad themes — caring for the people, steering the economy, sustainable living, and enhancing public service delivery.

As for the fiscal deficit, it is now a given that it will widen. With government revenue falling this year and direct fiscal injection to revive the economy, the deficit is projected to widen to 6% of GDP in 2020. Many have added that the widening gap is justified since the pandemic’s impact on fiscal sustainability is deeply felt by governments around the world. No nation is spared. 

However, there needs to be plans on how the government can boost its revenue in the years ahead. 

The government has indicated that it will consider every avenue for an increase in revenue base, which has been forecasted to grow 8.8% year on year to RM248 billion in 2021 from RM228 billion in the current year. But, most tax consultants believe that such a move to impose higher taxes or taxing income or gains which are currently non-taxable, is unlikely to happen in the near term. 

What else should we expect from Budget 2021? - Edge Markets, 25/10/2020

Bersih urges Muhyiddin to reach out to opposition over Budget 2021 cooperation

KUALA LUMPUR: Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin should reach out to the opposition lawmakers in the form of a Confidence and Supply Agreement (CSA), if the Prime Minister is convinced that the government would loose support from its backbenchers on the 2021 Budget to be tabled in next month's Dewan Rakyat sitting.

The proposal by the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) steering committee for the CSA comes amid speculation that the Perikatan Nasional government is mulling over a state of emergency declaration, which would also entail proroguing Parliament.

Muhyiddin, said Bersih 2.0, should reach out to opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim before Budget day for the CSA. The 2021 Budget is scheduled to be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat on Nov 6.

"If Muhyiddin is convinced that he will lose support from some of the government members of Parliament on the budget, then he must demonstrate the maturity and courage to reach out to the official opposition before Budget Day," Bersih 2.0 steering committee said in a statement today.

Bersih 2.0 added that such a move may necessitate certain reforms including parliamentary reform, election reforms and other institutional reforms and equal funding for all MPs as well as opposition's input to make the budget more inclusive and prudent and to prevent similar political impasse from happening again in future.

It said that a Muhyiddin-PH combine would have 204 votes at the maximum from the CSA and could also afford defections.

The coalition added that minority governments in countries from the United Kingdom, Denmark and Canada had seen their annual budgets passed with the backing of their respective nation's opposition parties.

"As Malaysia's permanent coalition model is disintegrating, the CSA is a new norm that present administration should try to embrace.

"If Muhyiddin insists on not having a CSA bill with the official opposition, then the Pagoh MP must resign if his budget is defeated.

"Malaysia will not have to go for a snap poll or risk not having a budget, as the House (Dewan Rakyat) can pass a vote of confidence into another MP to form a new government and to continue with the budget.

"Even if the prime minister leads only a minority government, he or she can humbly seek a CSA with opposition parties," read the statement.

Bersih 2.0 also said an emergency proclamation is a self-coup to subvert parliamentary democracy.

"It is unconstitutional because Article 150 (of the Federal Constitution) only permits it for 'imminent danger that threatens the security, or the economic life, or public order'.

"Government survival is not a permissible ground. It is irresponsible, counter-productive and in fact '(threatening) economic life' by causing panic and crash in markets, chasing away investments, inviting international sanctions, hence, driving up unemployment and hurting ordinary people's struggle to put food on the table and pay bills."

Bersih 2.0 added that such a move would also magnify the political crisis by dragging Istana Negara into partisan conflicts, as the Proclamation has to be issued by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. - New Straits Times, 25/10/2020

With Budget due, law expert says no way for Muhyiddin to dodge confidence test

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s majority has never been officially established but is placed at 113 lawmakers from the 222-seat Parliament or just over the absolute minimum of 112 needed for a simple majority. — Bernama pic
Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s majority has never been officially established but is placed at 113 lawmakers from the 222-seat Parliament or just over the absolute minimum of 112 needed for a simple majority. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 16 — Opponents could test Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s support in Parliament next month even if their motions of no-confidence are blocked, according to a constitutional expert

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia research fellow for law and constitution Dr Muhammad Fathi Yusof told Sinar Harian this was because the federal Budget for 2021 was due to be tabled in the November-December meeting.

“If the Budget is not passed, it proves that Muhyiddin has lost the support of the majority,” he was quoted as saying.

By parliamentary convention, the failure to secure lawmakers’ approval for the national budget is considered a successful vote of no-confidence against the party in power, which is currently Perikatan Nasional (PN).

While a motion of no-confidence was submitted to Parliament before Muhyiddin’s government could remove the Speaker who accepted it, the motion has effectively been buried by listing it after all government matters.

This week, senior Umno lawmaker Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah publicised a letter he wrote to Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun urging the latter to promote the motion against Muhyiddin in Parliament’s agenda to allow this to take place.

Azhar said he could not do so without the agreement of the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Parliament and Law.

By Muhammad Fathi’s reading, however, blocking the Budget was a sufficient proxy to the motion.

“According to Article 43 of the Federal Constitution, when a prime minister loses the confidence of the majority, there are two options available to Muhyiddin, which is to seek the dissolution of Parliament or to resign,” he was quoted as saying.

By the convention of collective ministerial responsibility, all members of Muhyiddin’s Cabinet would also be deemed to have resigned the moment his resignation is accepted by the Yang diPertuan Agong.

On Tuesday, Umno declared that it was reviewing its continued support for PN unless the party received improved terms.

Umno is not a member of PN but offers support on matters of supply and confidence to the coalition government and several of its leaders are also members of Muhyiddin’s Cabinet.

Muhyiddin’s majority has never been officially established but is placed at 113 lawmakers from the 222-seat Parliament or just over the absolute minimum of 112 needed for a simple majority.

Parliament will sit from November 2 to December 15 for its next meeting. - Malay Mail, 16/10/2020



Saturday, October 24, 2020

EMERGENCY? No need, just follow the Constitution if Muhyiddin lost confidence of majority? If Covid-19, MCO is adequate?

Rising Covid-19 cases - it is foolish even to consider EMERGENCY - we already have the Prevention And Control Of Infectious Diseases Act 1988(PACID Act), and we have all seen the powers of that Act, when the Movement Control Order came into being - it literally was able to even shut down Parliament, the Courts, and all business to CURB the spread of Covid-19 >> there is no need for any Proclamation of Emergency.

Then, mind you, we still have that draconian National Security Council Act 2016(NSC Act), whereby there the King is not involved. Power rests with the Prime Minister and the National Security Council 

The NSC Act confers and concentrates vast executive powers in the National Security Council (“NSC”), which is chaired by the Prime Minister and functions at his dictates.  The Cabinet is subordinated to the NSC, which is able to exert control over regulatory authorities such as Bank Negara Malaysia, Securities Commission, and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.  Even the authority of State Governments can be overridden.
The NSC’s scope of authority over matters of “national security” is expansive.  As the term “national security” is not explicitly defined in the NSC Act, the NSC would be able to treat almost any matter as one of national security.  

Further, the NSC (and in effect the Prime Minister) has extremely wide discretion to declare an area as a security area.  The Prime Minister may also extend the period of such declaration for an unlimited number of times, and therefore for an indeterminate duration that could extend for years.
The NSC Act enables the Prime Minister, either unilaterally or through the NSC, to exercise authoritarian executive powers.  These powers are in effect emergency powers, but without the need for a proclamation of an emergency under Article 150 of the Federal Constitution.  This usurps the powers vested in the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in, and violates the provisions of, Article 150 of the Federal Constitution.  The Act is therefore of questionable constitutional validity. -National Security Council Act 2015 has All the Hallmarks of Authoritarianism - Malaysian Bar

So, why are we talking about Emergency Proclamation by the King - we should also be concerned with the National Security Council Act, which sadly that 'alternative' Pakatan Harapan government failed to repeal fast...

So, what is our Prime Minister's fear - is it Covid-19? Or is it losing of his premiership as he may have lost the confidence of the majority - Anwar Ibrahim recently publicly declared that he had a significant majority - and he met the King, but then failed to disclose any list of MPs to prove his claim to be true - The palace came out disclosing this fact.

Muhyiddin has a razor thin majority - with about 113 MPs supporting him, which means that if two or more have lost their confidence in hi, he has little choice to RESIGN or ask the King to dissolve parliament which will lead to a new General Elections. The King can refuse to disolve Parliament, and simply appoint another MP who has the majority confidence of the MPs to be Malaysia's next Prime Minister. Anyonje who can show that he has the confidence of 112 or more MPs will be our new Prime Minister.

In a democracy, that is how it should be - the Declaration of Emergency, or using the National Security Council Act to simply stay in power is just so undemocratic.

But, the problem maybe that NO ONE may now have the majority required to be the next Prime Minister --- not a problem, for until one is decided, the King can always appoint Muhyiddin or some other to be the interim Prime Minister.

Party Hopping and 'backtracking on positions taken' seem to be a plague affecting many of our current MPs. Today they may support someone, even to the extend of giving a Signed Statutory Declaration ...and within hours they may change their position...

An Emergency now may make Malaysia a joke to the international community - and, if is an Emergency proclaimed by the King pursuant to article 150 of the Federal Constitution, the blame may fall on the King primarily - not PM Muhyiddin.

Why not the National Security Council Act - well, the problem may be composition - maybe not all supports Muhyiddin, and as such maybe a cabinet re-shuffle may be needed before that...After all the Act specifies, who will be in the National Security Council

The Council shall consist of the following members:

(a) the Prime Minister as Chairman;

(b) the Deputy Prime Minister as Deputy Chairman;

(c) the Minister charged with the responsibility for defence;

(d) the Minister charged with the responsibility for home affairs;

(e) the Minister charged with the responsibility for communication and multimedia;

(f) the Chief Secretary to the Government;

(g) the Chief of Defence Forces; and

(h) the Inspector General of Police.

If the National Security Council Act is used, then the blame falls on the Prime Minister...not the King.

But as I said, there is no need to resort to Emergency Proclamations or even the National Security Council Act -  the Prevention And Control Of Infectious Diseases Act 1988(PACID Act) is sufficient to deal with the Covid-19 Pandemic, and it also can suspend Parliament indefinitely...

Is the upcoming Budget and Financial Bills, which needs to be passed, the problem - I am sure that our 'learned' MPs would be able to agree to a reasonable Budget, despite whether they are government and/or in the Opposition > so, no big deal.

It is premature to declare Emergency now - maybe, if there is a problem getting the Budget approved later in time, then maybe we may then consider a solution then and only then....

There are no justification for any Emergency to be declared...there is uncertainty as to the proposal of the Prime Minister, let alone what the Conference of Rulers will be discussing - but hopefully, it will not undermine DEMOCRACY.

State of Emergency: YDP Agong to consult Malay Rulers

KUALA LUMPUR: Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah will be consulting the Malay Rulers on the proposal raised by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday.

Comptroller of the Royal Household for Istana Negara Datuk Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin said the King understands the need for continuity in the country's administration in the fight against the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic that hit many parts of the country.

Ahmad Fadil said the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is also concern about the anxiety and exasperation among the people following the latest developments.

"Following the session yesterday, Al-Sultan Abdullah has agreed to consult fellow Malay Rulers at Istana Negara soon to discuss and deliberate the proposal raised by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin," said Ahmad Fadil in a statement this morning.

The King, he said, also called on the people to remain calm, not panic and stay patient in facing the latest developments pending a decision on the proposals by the prime minister.

It is learnt that during his meeting with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong at Istana AbdulAziz in Indera Mahkota, Kuantan yesterday, Muhyiddin had proposed for a declaration of emergency which entails the prorogation of Parliament.

The Third Term of the 14th Dewan Rakyat session is supposed to convene for 27 days from Nov 2 until Dec 15.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong may declare a state of emergency under Article 150(1) of the Federal Constitution if a major emergency to the security or economic life or public order in the federation or any part thereof (has) existed.

Under Article 150(2), the King may also make an emergency proclamation if he is satisfied that the threat of a major emergency to national security, or the economic life or public order is almost true.

Three grounds can be used by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to make a declaration of emergency, that is if it is a threat to national security; economic life; or public order.

Article 55 of the Federal Constitution stipulates that only His Majesty The King can summon for Parliament to be in session. His Majesty also has the absolute power to prorogue or dissolve the Parliament.

Legal expert Datuk Dr Gurdial Singh Nijar said a state of emergency proclamation will empower the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to enact laws (called ordinances), widen the Parliament and executive powers as well as override state power.

He said an "emergency" happens when there is a perceived threat to the security, economic life or public order of the country or any part where there is no need for an actual breach of the peace or violence.

"Any imminent threat suffices. As the Privy Council ruled in a celebrated decision: 'a state of emergency is something that does not permit of any exact definition: it connotes a state of matters calling for drastic action….'"

Gurdial said four emergencies had been declared so far: in 1964 (to deal with the Indonesian confrontation); 1966 (to get rid of the Sarawak Chief Minister at the behest of the Federal Government); 1969 (in the aftermath of the May 13 racial riots) and 1977 (as a result of the collapse of the Kelantan government then headed by Datuk Mohamed Nasir).

 Pic credit Instagram @this.7
Pic credit Instagram @this.7

A source said based on the the Yang di-Pertuan Agong's recent statement urging politicians not to plunge the country into another round of political uncertainty coupled with the disappointment expressed by Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah over the endless political turmoil that had caused uneasiness among the people, it can be inferred that the Rulers are supportive of ensuring political stability in order to win war against third wave Covid-19, which have unleashed its fury on several parts of the country.

The surge of Covid-19 infections with active cases reaching 8,146 patients and the daily death toll hitting all time high of 10 as of noon yesterday, has triggered concern among health authorities.

It is learnt that a decision is expected to be made earliest today or in the next few days. - New Straits Times, 24/10/2020




Friday, October 23, 2020

Anwar Ibrahim - his pardon may be not valid? High Court will decide ...

The High Court will be reviewing the PARDON that Anwar received, and has fixed the trial in March 2021.  Earlier Anwar, it seems tried to strike out this suit, but failed - and now may be appealing to the Court of Appeal. 

When it comes to a PARDON - it is not the King that decides - he has to act on the advice of the Pardon's Board... King will do what the Pardon Boards advises...There are certain other powers that the King has absolute authority but not this.

“However, on matters of pardon, where the Yang di-Pertuan Agong acts on advice of the Pardons Board (and) the attorney-general (AG), this power is justiciable,”

If the PARDON is deemed to be null and void - then Anwar may be barred from being an MP for a certain number of years.... 

...judge said the Federal Territories Pardons Board was legally constituted but the role of then attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali, who was on garden leave, was questionable.

Akhtar said before tendering their advice on any matter, the pardons board shall consider any written opinion which the AG may have delivered thereon.

“The question arises whether there was a written opinion given by the AG in this case. Was he allowed to give a written opinion? Can this giving of written opinion be delegated?” he said, adding that these were matters not addressed in the affidavits.

The judge said the question arose whether the executive could encroach on the power of the judiciary by setting aside the conviction of an accused after the full process of the law.

Anwar should really leave it to the courts ... we all want to know whether that pardon was valid or improper?  

One wonders whether his rush to be PM has got anything to do with this ...maybe not.

Not ‘exclusive right’ of King to grant pardon, rules judge

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Anwar Ibrahim had filed an appeal to strike out a suit by a lawyer challenging his pardon in 2018.

PETALING JAYA: The High Court has held that the granting of pardon to convicts in Malaysia is not the exclusive right of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong but an exercise of executive power by the monarch on advice.

Judge Akhtar Tahir said this principle was recognised in the Supreme Court case of Superintendent of Pudu Prison v Sim Kie Chon (1986).

“However, in the same case, the ruling that the granting of pardon is a ‘royal prerogative of mercy’ is erroneous,” Akhtar said in a written judgment.Last month, the judge refused an application by the government and Anwar Ibrahim to strike out a lawsuit filed against them by lawyer Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz over Anwar’s pardon in 2018.

In his 16-page judgment, Akhtar said the King’s exercise of discretion on the appointment of the prime minister might not be justiciable (challenged in the court).

“However, on matters of pardon, where the Yang di-Pertuan Agong acts on advice of the Pardons Board (and) the attorney-general (AG), this power is justiciable,” he said.

Akhtar said the granting of clemency in Malaysia could not be equated to that of England.

“The granting of pardon cannot be ruled as not justiciable just because it is exercised by the august and high office of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong,” he said, adding it would be a dereliction of duty by the court under the Federal Constitution for refusing to hear the matter

The judge has fixed three days from March 24 to hear the case.

Anwar has filed an appeal and the Court of Appeal will hear the matter on Jan 11.

Khairul is seeking a declaration that the pardon given to Anwar is not in accordance with the law as the Federal Territories Pardons Board was not legally constituted.

Akhtar ruled that Khairul had the legal standing to bring the action as “he is a lawyer and therefore has higher right than an ordinary member of the public to question the board”.

The judge said the Federal Territories Pardons Board was legally constituted but the role of then attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali, who was on garden leave, was questionable.

Akhtar said before tendering their advice on any matter, the pardons board shall consider any written opinion which the AG may have delivered thereon.

“The question arises whether there was a written opinion given by the AG in this case. Was he allowed to give a written opinion? Can this giving of written opinion be delegated?” he said, adding that these were matters not addressed in the affidavits.

The judge said the question arose whether the executive could encroach on the power of the judiciary by setting aside the conviction of an accused after the full process of the law.

In early 2015, the Federal Court affirmed Anwar’s five-year jail term over the charge of sodomising his aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

Anwar told a press conference on May 16, 2018, that the King had granted him full pardon in his three trials – abuse of power, Sodomy 1 and Sodomy 2 – on the basis that there was a “miscarriage of justice”.

He said the pardon was also on the basis that there was a conspiracy to condemn him and “assassinate” his political character. - Free Malaysia Today, 23/10/2020

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Get them out of jail(The Sun Daily, 8/10/2020)


Get them out of jail

Groups propose reducing number of prison inmates to curb spread of Covid-19

08 Oct 2020 / 12:07 H.

PETALING JAYA: Reducing the number of inmates at prisons has been proposed as a measure the government should take to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The rationale is that with fewer prisoners, social distancing will be less difficult, and therefore the spread of infections can be more easily dealt with.

Two interest groups have proposed that those who have been imprisoned for less serious offences or those awaiting trial be released on bail.

The Prisons Department, which also agrees that overcrowding in prisons is a problem, has suggested that some of the inmates be transferred to national service training camps.

The proposals come amid reports of significant increases in the number of Covid infections in prisons.

Of the 691 new cases reported on Tuesday, 401 were from prisons in Alor Star and Taiping. New outbreaks in prisons across the country had been reported as early as last month.

Senior Minister (Defence) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob had earlier told the Prisons Department to come up with a new SOP to curb the spread of Covid-19 among inmates.

“The prisoners are placed too close together when they are taken to court. This is one of the causes of the increase in the number of cases in prisons,” he said.

Bar Council president Salim Bashir said prisoners who are at higher risk of being infected should be the first to be released.

“These include the elderly, people with special needs and those with pre-existing health conditions,” he said in a statement yesterday.

He also urged the courts to exercise judicial discretion by taking into consideration the “current challenging situation” when deciding whether to grant bail.

“This is especially relevant for those who cannot afford to post bail and end up being remanded.”

Salim said the courts should consider “alternative sentencing protocols” apart from imprisonment for certain offences.

“The punishment should fit the crime, but keeping people in places of detention in this climate opens up the possibility of an accelerated spread of Covid-19.”

He said it is common knowledge that the coronavirus can spread rapidly in crowded and confined spaces.

“Inmates are kept in packed spaces, making physical distancing almost impossible, creating a hotbed for transmission of the virus,” he added.

Human rights advocate Charles Hector Fernandez said up to 25% of prisoners are those under pre-trial remand.

He said the majority of these “pre-convicted” detainees should be released on reduced bail or personal bond.

Fernandez, who is a coordinator of the rights group Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture, said this should be made available especially to those who have not been charged with committing serious crimes.

He described the Prisons Department’s latest move to curb the pandemic as “a failure to learn from the past”.

“A prison community is a closed community that ought to be safe from Covid-19 given that the inmates are in a constant state of ‘quarantine’ from the general population,” he pointed out.

He said the only possibility of infection is through the officers who move in and out daily.

“A standard operating procedure that should have been put in place is a mandatory 14-day quarantine for new inmates.

Prisons Department Director-General Zulkifli Omar said the national service camps that are currently unused can be gazetted as detention centres so that prisoners can be housed there.

He said these camps, if converted into detention centres, can easily hold 2,300 to 2,800 prisoners.

“Inmates whom we can transfer to such camps are those serving sentences under Section 15(1) of the Dangerous Drugs Act,” he said.

Another possible solution is to grant prisoners with less than three months left to serve a release on licence, he added.

“Inmates are kept in packed spaces, making physical distancing almost impossible, creating a hotbed for transmission of the virus,” he added.

Human rights advocate Charles Hector Fernandez said up to 25% of prisoners are those under pre-trial remand.

He said the majority of these “pre-convicted” detainees should be released on reduced bail or personal bond.

Fernandez, who is a coordinator of the rights group Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture, said this should be made available especially to those who have not been charged with committing serious crimes.

He described the Prisons Department’s latest move to curb the pandemic as “a failure to learn from the past”.

“A prison community is a closed community that ought to be safe from Covid-19 given that the inmates are in a constant state of ‘quarantine’ from the general population,” he pointed out.

He said the only possibility of infection is through the officers who move in and out daily.

“A standard operating procedure that should have been put in place is a mandatory 14-day quarantine for new inmates. - Sun Daily, 8/10/2020

Friday, October 09, 2020

Corruption involving government and public officers too HIGH? Need more stricter enforcement and more deterrent sentences - charge all in court?

Is CORRUPTION the new NORM in Malaysia? Covid-19 has the government talking about a 'NEW NORM"

But what about corruption within the government - involving public servants who are there to enforce the law - but now are guilty of violating the laws? The problem has been there for a very long time - and may be even worse today, and one reason for this may be the lack of prosecution, charges in court, trial, conviction and deterrent sentences imposed. [It is very sad that corruption and abuse of power cases get covered up - and this will happen, when the 'guilty' are simply subjected to internal disciplinary measures - and they just get transferred, demoted or allowed to resign > that solves no problem - for that 'bad apple' is just transferred or demoted - or gets off scot free with all the 'monies or favours' he had wrongly taken.

Pubic officers are very important - as they are involved in the decisions or actions that the government makes in reliance of their investigation, information and issues raised by some of these public officers.

A forest may get logged simply because a forestry received 'bribes or favours' - and we Malaysians suffer the loss of the forest, and certain people and community (most affected) have had their rights violated. A recent case of note, where such a forestry officer was found guilty and convicted on September 2020 (see below)

The problem with 'corruption' and corrupt practice is the finding of sufficient evidence for the prosecution to charge a person in court - will the giver of the bribe freely come forward and reveal the truth ...will the recipient of the bribe come forward - ...so, even when a public officer is convicted for corruption > one have to wonder how many other bribes did he/she receive - and still has. Take the forestry officer's case -   

The Sessions Court here sentenced a Jerantut district forest officer to three months’ jail and a fine of RM15,000 after he pleaded guilty to five alternative charges of accepting bribes amounting to RM340,000 from a logging company since July 2016.

In one case, that officer received RM340,000 - how many other cases are there - how much did he get in total. Why have the bribe givers been charged? Will all the logging licences that involved the said officer be immediately STOPPED and reviewed - after all, most likely the permits and licenses are all likely to be tainted.. 

1MDB and/or SRC cases - surely there were so many public officers that were aware of the wrongdoing or crime, but they did not report - WHY? Surely they must be charged as well...Sometimes, cases may be 'covered up' because 'powerful' people are involved > This NORM must change - and corruption must be totally eliminated from the public service..

Every year, a reading of the Malaysian Auditor General's report reveals so many 'worngdoings' - but then, we do not read of person/s responsible being investigated and charged in court - IF this continues, the corrupt just become braver and believe they are 'safe' - and corruption will continue on and on..

In Malaysia, sadly even politicians who have been tried and convicted for corruption still seems to receive the support of many people today - to name a few would be Najib and even Anwar Ibrahim himself..

So, the message that the people are giving seems to be we are OK with corruption - carry one ..carry one..

So, maybe should Malaysia legalize corruption? Is that what Malaysians want?

MACC: Rampant corruption in govt procurement processes

PUTRAJAYA: Corruption cases resulting in leakage of government procurement involving civil servants are seen to be increasingly critical, said Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Datuk Seri Azam Baki.

Without revealing details, he said that 50 per cent of such cases involved government agencies.

"I can say that, based on the MACC analysis, such wastages are common in the public sector, where they (the top leadership of government agencies) who are in power in deciding a matter (government procurement) are involved in misappropriation and abuse of power.

"When there is a leakage of government procurement, our investigation shows that there is an element of corruption that causes a certain value of government procurement to rise," he told Bernama in conjunction with the 53rd MACC Anniversary today.

For example, Azam said that if a government procurement is worth RM1 million then the value of corruption will also increase.

"It is not only that the value of corruption increases but it also affects the quality of the project. For example, the latest case involving a road upgrade project in Sarawak, where the quality of the project has been reduced so that it is prone to damage and causes a loss of millions of ringgit to the government," he said.

Azam said the MACC needed to have experts in the matter and to work with the Public Works Department (PWD).

In early September, Bernama reported that the MACC had arrested two directors of a company with the title of Datuk suspected of corruption and submitting false claims worth tens of millions of ringgit in connection with the implementation of 10 road upgrading projects in Sarawak worth RM800 million.

Asked whether such cases occurred in the private sector, Azam said MACC had received reports involving the private sector but the number was not as worrying as in the public sector.

"The MACC's intention is to investigate both parties (public and private sectors) if it involves government procurement and to bring them to court," he said.

Meanwhile, commenting on the effort to turn Malaysia into a corruption-free country, Azam said that it demanded the MACC be mature in all its actions involving enforcement, prevention and community education in combating corruption.

"Presently as we are living in the new norms in the face of the Covid-19 epidemic, also for the next few years, the situation poses challenges to the MACC in its struggle towards zero corruption or creating a corruption-free society.

"Before Covid-19, the MACC went out into the field to give briefings and conduct campaigns against corruption to the community, but since Covid-19, the MACC uses a lot of video and social media approaches to interact with the community," he said.

Apart from that, Azam said that the MACC also included an element of anti-corruption education in the textbook of Year Five students which will come into effect in 2021.

"Apart from preventive measures, the MACC also focuses on educating society in improving the integrity of individuals, especially involving the future of the civil service sector," he said. -- Bernama - New Starits Times, 1/10/2020


Jerantut forest officer gets jail, RM15,000 fine for graft

KUANTAN, Sept 19 — The Sessions Court here sentenced a Jerantut district forest officer to three months’ jail and a fine of RM15,000 after he pleaded guilty to five alternative charges of accepting bribes amounting to RM340,000 from a logging company since July 2016.

The accused Zainal Abidin Maskon, 33, made the plea after the charge was read out before Judge Datuk Habibah Mohamed Yusof under Section 165 of the Penal Code which provided a maximum jail term of two years or fine or both.

He allegedly received for himself a sum of RM340,000 from P&K Trading Company manager, Yiang Kwai Seng who is known to have a connection with his official work involving the logging licence application at the Tekam Forest Reserve and Tekai Forest Reserve in Mukim Tembeling, Jerantut owned by Yayasan Pahang and Bakat Bijak Sdn Bhd.

The accused was charged with committing the offence at Malayan Banking Berhad and Maybank Malaysia Berhad’s Kuantan branch on July 1, 2016, Jan 24 and June 21 totalling RM340,000.

In his appeal, the accused, who was represented by Hon Kai Ping, Datuk Ng See Teong and Muhammad Irwan Bidin, asked the court to impose a light sentence as it was a first offence and the accused was remorse with the offence committed.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission deputy public prosecutor Mohamad Fadhly Mohd Zamry called on the court to impose a heavy sentence as the accused had jeopardised the public’s trust in the Pahang Forestry Department.

“The accused’s act of greed has also affected the environment and the natural resources of the area involved, and even cash amounting to RM47,000 was also found in the office during the raid on Sept 11,” he said.

In the same proceedings, the court was informed that the accused also had a joint account with the owner of the logging company and unit trust amounting to RM6.09 million.

In this regard, Mohamad Fadly applied for the accused’s ownership rights over the cash to be stripped while the RM6.09 million would be forfeited in a separate proceeding later.

The three-month jail sentence was to run concurrently from the date the accused was arrested on Sept 11 this year and another five months’ jail if he failed to pay the RM15,000 fine.

Earlier, the accused with his wife and three others, the owner and manager of a logging company and a forest ranger were remanded for six days on Sept 12 to facilitate investigations into the case.

However, the other four suspects were released today. — Bernama, Malay Mail, 20/9/2020


Will Malaysian farmers, communities fight for their rights? Will Malaysian farmers brave bullets, prison fighting for their land, livelihood...?

It is easy to complain to friends that your RIGHTS are being violated - but unless you fight for your rights...your rights including rights to land, good life and livelihood, etc gets violated..

Many may simply bring it to the attention of politicians...their 'wakil rakyat', MPs and ADUNs...they may even bring it to the attention to Chief Ministers and Ministers...but alas, nothing happens despite sometimes 'promises' - The next time, they may say that they have raised it to the attention of the government or government agencies ...or even the Prime Minister - But did they? And then, the next question will be 'how and when"? Did they really HIGHLIGHT or was it simply a comment in passing like 'hey, you should look in the problems of the people of Kampung ...during some party or event...The MINIMUM that they could do was to send a letter, and forward a copy to the complainants(affected people) - if this too was not done - then it may just have been lies or 'false promises' - simply made at the moment to appease their constituents with may no sincere attention of doing anything..

The problem with Malaysians, whose rights have been violated or at risk of their rights being violated BELIEVE in these 'false promises' of these politicians and/or wakil rakyats ....and they wait and wait for a resolution to their problems that may never come..The people believe that these persons(wakil rakyat, politicians and/or MP/ADUN or some Dato...) will FIGHT for their rights and are fighting - but then they may be FOOLS...

Thus some time, people must themselves stand up and fight for their rights - risking the possibility of repercussions - jail, injured, killed, having to spend monies, etc  

When the rights get violated and continue to be violated, some of these politicians may have the excuse that 'they tried their best' - but is that also a 'lie' - Ask them what exactly that they do..

End of the day, most times, it is the people themselves that really have to stand up and fight for your rights - it may be a folly to depend on politicians, some 'wakil rakyat' , political parties, Ministers, others  or even the government to fight for your rights..

In Malaysia today, a very business friendly government who is also involved in businesses through government owned or linked companies, may really not be so inclined to support a person or communities  whose rights have been violated - more so when the violator happens to be linked to business, the rich or even politicians, etc 

Actions need to be PUBLIC - and the fight must be strong. One person is weak - so better to struggle with numbers...and even get the support of others not affected who believe in justice and human rights. 

The struggle needs to be persistent - therefore sending of one time letter or Memorandum will not work in this modern world. There must be follow-ups regularly until an answer is obtained - which then may need further action. If one continuously knock on the door, then finally closed doors will open up.

So do not simply talk about your rights being violated, but you yourself do not want to fight for your rights ...

Sadly, many Malaysians keep voting for the same 'wakil rakyat' or even political parties even if they may have 'caused' or failed to together fight for your rights - foolish, is it not? Why did you vote him/her? Well, because same religion...same ethnicity...same political party as me...I know him for a long time or met him ...he is a 'nice man' >>> but the most important question is that whether he/she is willing to fight for the rights and good of the people - What has he done before? History of persons are very important - a person who never before raised and fought for an issue of the people or against an injustice or rights violation > what makes you think that he/she will change after being elected....A person who never publicly took a position on an issue - what makes you think he will now raise issues and fight after elected...Do not be a FOOL and chose the wrong 'wakil rakyat' - you may even be making things worse as far as your rights and livelihood are concerned.

VOTE wisely for the best person, who is really concerned and will act strongly even if it means going against his/her party leaders or government(where his party is part of) without FEAR AND FAVOUR to uphold the cause of justice...for the people...for you and I.

The story about the Thai farmers may be inspirational ...




Thai farmers brave bullets, prison for community land titles

About a third of Thailand's 69 million people depend on land for a living, but nearly 80 of private land is formally owned by just about a fifth of the population. — Reuters pic
About a third of Thailand's 69 million people depend on land for a living, but nearly 
80 of private land is formally owned by just about a fifth of the population. — Reuters pic

KLONG SAI PATTANA, Oct 6 — Somruedee Bunthonglek has not repaired the bullet holes in the pickup truck her husband was driving when he survived an assassination attempt barely a year after her father was shot dead on the same communal farm in southern Thailand.

The grey truck, with about half a dozen bullet holes on the driver's side, is a reminder of the risks to the community that occupied about 237 acres of land in Klong Sai Pattana as an act of defiance after a palm oil plantation's licence expired.

Four members of the Southern Peasants' Federation of Thailand (SPFT) in Surat Thani province were killed between 2010 and 2015, and many more sued and jailed since, in a more than decade-long fight for land and community titles.

“We worry about being attacked again, or being sued, but this is our land, and we are staying on to fight for it,” said Somruedee, 33, adding that her husband left the community after he was attacked in 2016, fearing for his safety.

“We have no other land. So what choice do we have — this is all we have,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

No one was convicted for the attacks, which the villagers believe were carried out by gunmen hired by the local real estate mafia. The cases were closed for lack of sufficient evidence, police officials have said.

About a third of Thailand's 69 million people depend on land for a living, but nearly 80 of private land is formally owned by just about a fifth of the population, according to land rights groups who have long called for reforms.

Beginning in 1901, various land laws were passed, including a 2010 regulation for community land titles under the Abhisit Vejjajiva government, and a 2014 legislation for communal plots. A community forest bill was unveiled last year.

Yet issuance of community titles has been slow, and the farmers do not get ownership rights.

“Many governments have said they would allocate land to the landless poor, but they didn't. So we decided to occupy unused land or where licences had expired,” said Pratheep Rakhanthong, a community leader of SPFT, which was formed in 2008.

“Sustainability of livelihoods and lives is only possible with a title, and when the right to own and manage the land belongs to the community,” he added.

The Agricultural Land Reform Office (Alro), a government agency, initially allowed the villagers to take over the land in Klong Sai Pattana as a pilot for community farming, then asked them to leave, Pratheep said.

The Alro did not respond to requests for a comment.

Root cause

Land rights groups in Thailand estimate that there are more than 8 million landless people in the country.

Under the 2010 regulation, 50 communities were promised collective rights. But few such titles have been awarded, according to the department of land.

While the 2007 Thai Constitution gives people the right to participate in managing natural resources and the environment, evictions from forests and farmland have risen to make way for mines and power plants, triggering protests nationwide.

The government adopted a Western land code in 1901 that was based on private property ownership, and subsequent land laws have been in the same vein, said Jessica Vechbanyongratana, an assistant professor of economics at Chulalongkorn University.

“It leaves little space for alternative ownership arrangements, including community land rights,” she said.

“Community activists have managed to bring about small changes that have resulted in greater land rights for some groups of people, but there has not been a complete overhaul of the system,” she said.

It is unlikely to be a priority now, she added, as authorities focus on reviving the economy after the coronavirus.

SPFT advocates a progressive land tax, a national land bank to support landless peasants, and the protection of agricultural lands for farmers.

It joined other land rights groups in protests in 2018, when authorities committed to speeding up community land titles.

Now the groups back ongoing anti-government protests led by students across the country calling for systemic reform.

“The protesters realise farmers are struggling, and that we need to amend the constitution and the land laws,” said Pienrat Boonrit, president of SPFT in Phoem Sap community in Surat Thani, which has occupied 267 acres of abandoned land.

“The system does not address the root cause of the problem, which is the unequal land distribution. It is out of frustration that we have occupied land — there is no other choice,” he said.

Earlier this year, deputy agriculture minister Thammanat Prompao said that there were plans to lease land “misused” by businesses to those who wished to use them, although not all of these lands would be converted for agricultural use.

Night patrol

More than 70 human rights and environmental activists have been killed in Thailand over the last 50 years, according to rights group Protection International (PI).

Many more have been sued and jailed — a tactic increasingly adopted by companies to intimidate villagers, says PI.

In Surat Thani's Nam Daeng Pattana community — which occupied about 475 acres of an unused palm oil plantation — 14 villagers were sued for trespass and property damage in 2017.

Seven were convicted and sentenced to two years and eight months in jail.

Vilaiwan Klabnui, 43, one of two women who was jailed, received a royal pardon in April and was released after nearly two years in prison. The others remain in prison.

“This is my land, my home. Being in jail did not change my mind,” said Vilaiwan, who grows rubber, palm oil and fruit on her plot of about 22 acres.

“We are farmers, not criminals — we need the land to make a living and feed our families,” she said.

At Klong Sai Pattana, where the community gathers every morning for roll call, a meeting and exercise, they still take turns to man lookout posts 24 hours a day, and have a night patrol. Many villagers carry walkie-talkies.

Near the community hall is a memorial for the four SPFT members who were killed — including two women — with their names on a blue plaque.Are

“This land, this community is all we have. It is what my father wanted, so we will continue to fight,” said Somruedee.

“I hope we will get our community title so we can be more secure, so our children can have a better life.” — Thomson Reuters Foundation - Malay Mail, 6/10/2020