Archive for the ‘Malaysian Human Rights’ Category


Hello all you marvelous people!

We are currently at the 47 hour mark. Just shy of two full days to go! Amazingly we only have 7.5% more to go!! We are extremely pleased that we are now so close to our goal! We could never have gotten this far without the support and pledges of all our wonderful backers. So for each and every one of you, on behalf of the production, our forebears and our generations to come, THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!!

We feel that you are all now part of this production and together, I have faith that we can make this happen. The journey may be ending but the glorious light at the end of the tunnel is just within reach! We need just that little push left to close the gap between almost making our goal and successfully meeting it. And honestly people, I think we can do it!

I know it may be a lot to ask of all of you who have steadfastly stood by us, believed in us, believed in our story and more importantly believed in the possibility of heralding a difference to situations in Sabah by way of a simple tale, but we are passionate about this project and we hope that you have been infected by that same passion that courses through our veins. So please, if you have the funds to spare consider increasing your pledges just to get us through to reaching our target, and if you have yet to do so please support Di Ambang: Stateless in Sabah by pledging any amount to our Kickstarter campaign.

Here’s to making it happen!!!

Humbly grateful,

Azliana

See Here : http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1118390113/di-ambang-stateless-in-sabah/posts/717591

(AT THE TIME THIS UPDATE IS POSTED US$9410 HAD ALREADY BEEN PLEDGED BY BACKERS)


Hullo once more!

I hope everybody had a wonderful weekend. It is day 13 of the Kickstarter campaign and with just three weeks to go we are slowly but surely crawling our way to our end goal. We could never have gotten this far without the pledges and the humbling support of all you out there so, sincerely on behalf of the team, Thank you so very, very much!

Over the weekend, the production had been working away at getting a video update ready as promised and we have indeed delivered. The video is a clip from the documentary and features a short introduction by cinematographer/editor/co-director Matthew Fillmore. I hope you will like what you see and continue supporting our project.

As a side-note, for all Malaysians who have come across this Kickstarter project and would like to contribute but have questions regarding donations, please do not hesitate to contact us via our production e-mail diambangfilm@gmail.com

Once again thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Terima Kasih!!

Azliana


Anwar Ibrahim labeled ‘Indonesia’s stooge’ for talking about migrant workers

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sat, 07/30/2011 3:08 PM

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said that he is frequently labeled as Indonesia’s stooge for criticizing his government’s policy on Indonesian migrant workers.

According to Anwar, the labeling has emerged as he repeatedly urges the Malaysian government to treat all migrant workers, whether from Indonesia, Bangladesh, Burma or anywhere else, with respect.

“It is important that they are left unharmed. If they do something wrong, send them home in a proper fashion. Do not send them home as if they were animals,” he said, on the sidelines of a discussion at the Jentera School of Law in Jakarta, on Saturday.

However, the labeling, and other allegations against him, have surfaced due to the control that the Malaysian government exerts over mass media in the country, Anwar said as reported by tempointeraktif.com.

Many Indonesians work in the informal sector in Malaysia. Several cases of violence and abuse to Indonesian migrant workers have led to a rift between the two countries. In May, however, Indonesia and Malaysia signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to enhance the protection of migrant workers.

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2011/07/30/anwar-ibrahim-labeled-indonesia%E2%80%99s-stooge-talking-about-migrant-workers.html

 


The Malaysian Government including our great Minster of Home Affairs, Hishammuddin son of Hussein Onn, said that the Sunday’s 27th February protest march the “Solidarity Against Umno’s Racism” organised by HINDRAF (Hindu Rights Action Force) and Human Rights Party was a failure and loss of popularity among the Indian community. Maybe they should take a good look at this video below.

Anyway, it is time the UMNO Government wake up and treat the Indian community with respect. 53 years of suppression is too much! It is no exaggeration to say that the plight of the Indian community has long been ignored in this country.

It’s not wrong to say, the UMNO government has miserably failed to unite this nation. The prerequisite for this precious unity is fairness, equality and social-justice and this is not available here. Very sad!

Premier Najib brags about his 1Malaysia concept. But truly in Malaysia there is 2Malaysia. One for the UMNO Malays and one for the rest of the communities.

http://www.hrp-my.org/


Just got this e-mail from Sahabat Alam Malaysia.

__________________________________

We wish to inform you that the following cases will be heard in the Federal Court in Putrajaya at 8.30 am on Tuesday, March 1, 2011.

Bato Bagi & Others v State Government of Sarawak;

and

Jalang Ak Paran & Another v State Government of Sarawak & Another.

On March 1, 2011, the Bato Bagi civil legal action, which was filed by five Bakun Hydroelectric Project-affected communities, will be heard together at the Federal Court with another Sarawak civil case, Jalang Anak Paran, due to the similar thread that runs through both cases.

For the first time at the Federal Court, the lawyers for these cases, Tuan Haji Sulaiman Abdullah and Mr. Baru Bian, will argue that native customary rights is akin to right to life under Article 5 of the Federal Constitution.

The Court will also hear arguments on other fundamental rights under the Federal Constitution and the constitution of the State of Sarawak and on the issue of adequate compensation.

Essentially, both cases are challenging the authorities regarding the extinguishment of their native customary rights for the construction of the Bakun dam and a pulpmill factory within their customary land, respectively.

Representatives from the five Bakun-affected communities comprising Uma Balui Lebue, Uma Ukit, Uma Lesong, Uma Kulit and Uma Bakah will be present in court as with the representative from the Jalang Anak Paran case.

If you can be in Putrajaya on the morning of Tuesday, March 1, 2011, please come to court to show your support for the communities. We hope to get as many people in court as possible. Interested media organisations and bloggers are also welcome to speak to the community representatives.

For further information, please call +604-8299511.


The collapse of the 23-year dictatorship, the first ever collapse of an Arab leader to a “people power” uprising is shaking the Muslim world. President Zine al-Abedine Ben Ali who wanted to rule further until 2014 had to fled out of the country due to the mass uprising in every corner of Tunisia, and now, he is hiding in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia another authoritarian state, with his tail between his legs.

The spark to the riot was after, Mohamed Bouazizi, set himself ablaze on December 17 out of sheer frustration. Mohamed was a young graduate who sold fruits and vegetables for a living, he was locked up and his cart with all his fruits and vegetables was confiscated by the Tunisian authorities for his failure to secure proper license. He eventually died an agonising death on January 5.

Now Tunisia’s “Jasmine Revolution” has spread to neighbouring Egypt and is about to knock off President Hosni Mubarak from his 30 years dictatorship. Mubarak has gone into hiding now. It is spreading like wild fire across the Arab world. Like Tunisia, and now in Egypt, similar protest over unemployment and food prices have also started in Jordan, Algeria, Yemen and even Saudi Arabia in the past weeks, all these countries has a big percentage of young people, majority are well-educated but a lot unemployed.

This has been one hell of a revolution. It places the military on top and is a another step towards perpetuating the “militarized democracy”. Mubarak went because he wanted to establish a civilian oligarchy led by his son.

Anyway, the people of Egypt will be lucky if their military hands over power to a democratically elected govt in 6 months as promised !!

Comparing this with the situation that is prevailing in our country, do we see something similar happening here. I believe the situation here is not that bad yet although we have our share of widespread police abuse and death in police custody like the case of 22 year-old Kugan Ananthan who died a horrible, lonely death with his body bore the marks of several wounds from severe beatings and torture from the hands of policemen. Then we have the case of Teoh Beng Hock who died in the custody of the Malaysian Anti Corruption Agency and we are told that Teoh Beng Hock did not commit suicide but neither was his death a homicide. Then we are told again that the police are allowed to shoot as in the case of Aminulrasyid Amzah, the 15 year-old who died in a hail of police bullets. Then recently, there was the case of businessman Chia Buang Hing, 34 who was beaten up by the cops when he was stopped at a police road-block. So many more cases of torture and abuse from the hands of the authorities and it may take me many more pages to complete.

Don’t you think they are testing our patience? I tell you, the way our government is handling the situation really sucks, our belief in the forces of law and order have eroded badly.

Don’t you think Malaysia too is ready for this kind of an upheaval?

The conditions are here also: A dysfunctional polity, corrupt politicians, self absorbed bureaucrats, an uncaring elite, increasing disparities in income and consumption, and an all pervasive corrupt and insolent government.

So is it a matter of when or is it still a question of why?

Or when will we come out and say… CUKUP!


I received this from Suaram…

Media Release

The Christians in the Temiar village of Pos Pasik, about 70 km northeast of Gua Musang Kelantan, have been told by the Department of Orang Asli Affairs (JHEOA) that they have no permission to build a church on their land.

On 20 May 2010, the village head wrote to the Director-General of the JHEOA to inform him of their plan to build the church in their village, half of whom have converted to Christianity in recent years.

However, on 9 August 2010, the Deputy Director-General, writing on behalf of the D-G, replied that their “application” to build the church had been rejected and the community was asked to stop work on the building immediately.

The Orang Asli are not happy with this answer as they did not seek permission from the JHEOA. They merely exercised courtesy to inform them of their plans. The Orang Asli of Pos Pasik consider it their right to build such a structure on their land, in accordance with the Constitution.

The lawyer representing the Temiar headman has recently written to the D-G informing him that the department’s permission was not being sought. He also sought the reasons for the rejection of the church building.

If the church is demolished or stopped, it will be the second Orang Asli church in the state of Kelantan (and no less than 5 in the peninsular altogether) that have been demolished by the authorities on the basis of various excuses, including that the Orang Asli do not have rights to the land concerned.

But it is evident that the issue is religion-related as other structures, including suraus, have been build on such lands without any issue.

But as land is a state matter, the Temiars of Pos Pasik are seeking the intervention of the Menteri Besar of Kelantan in this matter.

For further details, please contact: Pastor Moses Soo – 012 3255678

_______________________________

Background facts

Pos Pasik is situated about 70 km northeast of Guas Musang in Kelantan. It is in forested area at the foot of the Titiwangsa Range. The post includes the villages of Kg Pasik, Kg Ayung, Kg Bayor and Kg Serai.

The Orang Asli here are of the Temiar ethnic group with a few being Jahai. It is situated on both sides of Sungei Jenera, with a population of over 600. The villagers are connected to the main road at Meranto by a logging track. Pos Pasik is only reachable in a proper 4 wheel-drive vehicle and takes about 2-3 hours of traveling time.

On 3 December 2001, 297 villagers of Pos Pasik were baptized as Christians, including the two Penghulu (headmen). A bamboo church was then built in the old village across the river (Sungei Jenera).

In the late afternoon of 19 December 2004, the Sungei Jenera overflowed its banks, rising to a height of 30 feet above the normal water level of the river. The bamboo houses of the Temiar by the river were all washed away. So too the church. By 2006, many of the villagers shifted to the current side of the river and the bamboo church was relocated there as well.

Currently, a total of 530 villagers of Pos Pasik have converted to Christianity but quite a number have left Pos Pasik to work in other areas.

In 2008, the government provided brick houses and agricultural plots for the communities there. The road has also been improved though it is almost inaccessible during the rainy season.

In late 2009, the Christians requested the pastor from the Gospel to the Poor church to help them build a brick/concrete church since most of their houses are already made of brick. This is to replace the dilapidated bamboo church.

Existing church constructed from bamboo

By April 2010, they started clearing the land of rubber trees belonging to one of the villagers. At one of their meetings, it was decided that the headman should update JHEOA of the latest development by informing them through the mail.

Work then began on the church construction. The workers were all Orang Asli volunteers with the necessary materials being raised through church donations.

The new church under construction

During this period of construction, they had a lot of uninvited visitors especially those from the religious bodies.


The Honorourable Dato’ Seri Anifah Hj. Aman

Foreign Minister of Malaysia

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia

Wisma Putra Complex

No. 1, Jalan Wisma Putra

Precint 2

Federal Government Administrative Centre

62602 Putrajaya

Malaysia

By Post & Fax: 603-8889 1617/2816

Dear Foreign Minister,

The Solicitors’ International Human Rights Group (SIHRG) takes the opportunity to write an open letter to you following your recent visit to the United Kingdom and comments made on 8 August regarding the Malaysian Internal Security Act 1960 (ISA) to members of the UK and Malaysian civil society outside the Malaysian High Commission at Belgrave Square.

SIHRG welcomes and applauds your attempts to engage with civil society on 8th August and address the difficult issues raised by Malaysia’s continued use of the draconian ISA in light of the recent disturbing clampdown in Malaysia of numerous planned peaceful protests and mass arrest of anti-ISA protestors. Such conduct by the Malaysian authorities has had a chilling effect on civil society and has brought to sharp focus how laws such as the ISA, if not repealed, will continue to cast a blight on Malaysia’s image in the eyes of the international community, undermine the country’s professed commitment to the rule of law and democratic values.

The Malaysian Government has accepted in recent times that all is not well with the ISA and the country’s other preventive laws. This recognition of a need for change has instigated yet another review of these legislations. SIHRG recognises that this is a step forward. However, provisions of the ISA have a wholly corrosive effect on fundamental liberties, and are inconsistent with Malaysia’s commitment to uphold the rule of law and abide by international norms. For these reasons SIHRG is of the view that there is an overwhelming need for Malaysia to show a strong irrevocable commitment to democratic values by repealing the ISA in its entirety.

Malaysian preventive laws, the most notorious being the ISA, allow for arbitrary detention of individuals at the will of the authorities, sometimes for prolonged periods, without trial or charges ever being proffered against them. These laws deny the detainee the right to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal and severely restrict a detainee’s right to access legal counsel. Individuals detained under the ISA and other preventive laws are deprived from any of the ordinary safeguards found under the country’s regular penal procedures. The systematic and pervasive use of preventive laws engenders a climate of fear among the public and undermines public confidence in the justice system.

You reiterated the Malaysian Government’s stand that it has ruled out repealing the ISA because the state is obliged to guarantee national security and the security of its citizens and the ISA is an important weapon in the state armoury to effectively combat terrorism.

SIHRG considers that there are compelling reasons for the Malaysian Government to reconsider its stand.

1. Indefinite incarceration of detainees has not been proven to be an effective method of preventing, reducing and/or alleviating terrorist attacks or terrorist related violence. In fact it is likely to be counterproductive (as has been the UK’s past experience). Malaysia, like many other countries, can develop a legal response to terrorism which allows it to protect the collective security of its people whilst giving effect to the rule of law and maintain core democratic values. The balance is important, not least to lend legitimacy to the legal measures adopted by allowing appropriate judicial and parliamentary scrutiny of executive decisions.

2. During its recent visit to Malaysian detention centres in June this year, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found evidence of a link between arbitrary detention and torture and ill-treatment. The detainee and prisoner interviews conducted by the Working Group observed that those detained under preventive laws were more vulnerable to state abuse as they are more likely to be tortured and/or ill-treated, in order to obtain confessions or evidence (facilitated by the fact that many are held initially in incommunicado detention), they are not informed of their right to contact relatives or to consult a lawyer (with some detainees interviewed stating that they were positively discouraged from consulting a lawyer).

3. There have been many instances reported in the media of lawyers either unable to access their clients detained under the ISA or face difficulties in getting such access. Lawyers perform a public role to ensure there is high public confidence in the proper functioning of the country’s justice system. In recognition of this important public role, Malaysia and other States unanimously adopted the UN’s Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers in September 1990 at the Eighth United Nations Congress in the Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Offenders[1].

4. The exceptionally wide powers available to the state under the ISA and other preventive laws are disproportionate to the perceived threat to national security and inappropriate to the nature of terrorism related crimes. Malaysia has already enacted specific legislations to deal with crimes related to terrorism. A strong state response to terrorism need not include the state’s routine use of extraordinary measures normally reserved for times of emergency.

5. Arbitrary detention without any prospect of trial or charge and the lack of a remedy to effectively challenge the legality of the detention is an unacceptable infringement of personal security and freedom and the presumption of innocence, a fundamental principal of modern criminal law and Malaysian penal law.

SIHRG is committed to promoting and monitoring human rights around the world. It counts the right of individuals to be given reasons for their detention and to be afforded the opportunity to challenge the legality of the deprivation of personal freedom before an independent and impartial tribunal as a basic civil right and a cornerstone of the rule of law. SIRHG abhors torture in all its forms and supports any positive measures adopted by states to eliminate and/or prevent any form of illegitimate violence perpetrated against its citizens.

Malaysia has repeatedly expressed to the international community that it does not condone torture. In your recent visit to the UK you too agreed that “the use of torture is completely unacceptable”. SIHRG considers that these are strong value statements that must and must be seen to be reflected in good governance. The ISA is an outdated colonial era relic which neither resonates with the Malaysian people nor the progressive forward looking attitude of the state.

SIHRG therefore strongly urges the Malaysian Government to take this timely opportunity to close the chapter on the country’s unhappy history with the Internal Security Act by repealing the Act in its entirety.

Yours sincerely

Lionel Blackman

Chairman

[1]“Governments shall ensure that lawyers (a) are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference; (b) are able to travel and to consult with their clients freely both within their own country and abroad; and (c) shall not suffer, or be threatened with, persecution or administrative, economic or other sanctions for any action taken in accordance with recognised professional duties, standards and ethics.” – Rule 16 of the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.



By Joseph Tawie, Free Malaysia Today

BINTULU: About 1,000 Penans from six villages in the Murum river area are in a dilemma over their future and livelihood because the authorities don’t think it is necessary to inform them of the outcome of a social and environmental impact assessment (SEIA) report on the Murum dam. “We demand to see and scrutinize the SEIA report on the Murum dam first before the report is to be approved,” said Surang Alung, chairman of the Pelieran-Murum Penan Affairs committee.

He said that throughout last year, the community had been visited by various parties claiming to do some studies related to the Murum dam project.

“And every time someone came, we were told that the government had carried out the SEIA studies in order to determine the impact of the dam on our community.

“But until now we do not know the actual progress whether the said studies, the SEIA report and other related reports have been completed and ready for public scrutinizing,” said Alung.

He urged the state government, especially the natural resources and environment board (NERB), to let them know without further delay.

“As the dam affects our life and our culture, our opinions and feedback on the report should be seriously taken into account,” he stressed, adding that to date the community did not know where they will be resettled.

The government, he added, should also explain and clarify to them regarding the specific development plans that are related with the resettlement programme as well as their livelihood and future.

Alung said: “In addition to the SEIA report, we also call upon the government to inform us regarding the plan for resettlement area for us.

Problem with resettlement

He also said that they have forwarded their suggestions to the government on the proposed resettlement at the Metalon river in the upper reaches of Pelieran river.

“However, at present, Shin Yang Company is on the verge of clearing the proposed resettlement area for the purpose of large scale oil palm plantation.

“If Shin Yang is allowed to extensively clear and fell the forest in the area, there will be no more forest left for our community to sustain our livelihood.

“Thus, it would be meaningless for us to be resettled in the proposed area if it is to be developed with oil palm plantation,” he said.

“It will be a double tragedy for us,” he added.
The RM3 billion Murum dam, when completed, is expected to displace six Penan villages, namely Long Way, Long Luar, Long Tangau, Long Menapa, Long Singu and Long Malim and a Kenyah village, Long Uba.

See here and here and here and here and here



By AL GORE AND PAUL WOLFOWITZ, ASIAN WALL STREET JOURNAL

We come from opposite sides of the political spectrum and disagree about a great many things. However, one issue that brings us together is the case of Anwar Ibrahim, the former deputy prime minister of Malaysia who is now leader of the political opposition in that country.

Mr. Anwar has been charged under very dubious circumstances with sodomy, a criminal offense under Malaysian law. If convicted, he faces a possible 20-year sentence—effectively life in prison for a man of 63. His trial, scheduled to resume next week, threatens not just Mr. Anwar but all those in Malaysia who have struggled for a freer and more democratic nation. It is also important for the rest of the world, because it casts a troubling shadow over the future of a nation that should be a model for other Muslim countries.


Our views of Anwar Ibrahim have been formed completely independently of each other. We do not always agree with his views on foreign policy, but we do agree that as a political leader, statesman and intellectual, Mr. Anwar possesses qualities that encourage hope for the future. These qualities include lucidity and openness to debate and engagement; commitment to principles of accountability and good governance; and a serious concern for the future of his country and the world—not to mention his extraordinary courage in standing up for what he believes. We are convinced that he is committed to the values of pluralism, tolerance and freedom that are needed for Malaysia to flourish.

In the end, what matters is not our opinion of Mr. Anwar’s character, but the opinion of his fellow countrymen. Malaysians should decide for themselves, through an open electoral process, who they wish to lead them. They should not be deprived of that opportunity by an abuse of judicial power.

This is the second time that Mr. Anwar has been subjected to a politically‑motivated trial on similar charges. The first time was in 1998, when as deputy prime minister and finance minister he dared to mount a challenge to then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed. Mr. Anwar was jailed, beaten severely, and condemned to years of solitary confinement after a trial that was a travesty of justice. That is not just our conclusion. It is the conclusion of the International Commission of Jurists, the International Bar Association, and a number of international human-rights organizations. It was also the conclusion of Malaysia’s highest court, which overturned the sodomy conviction in 2004, after Mr. Mahathir was no longer prime minister.

Mr. Anwar now leads the coalition of Malaysia’s three opposition parties, which won more than a third of the seats in the parliamentary elections of March 2008. This was the best showing that the opposition had ever managed against the governing coalition led by the United Malays National Organization, the party that has ruled the country for the past 53 years.

Three months after the election, Mr. Anwar threatened to call for a vote of no confidence in Parliament and take over the government. He was then arrested and charged again with sodomy. Like the charges 10 years earlier, the timing of these new charges carries the strong odor of political manipulation. And, if anything, the case against Mr. Anwar this time is even less credible and the violations of due process are even more egregious.

While Anwar Ibrahim is on trial before the state, the state is on trial before its people and the world. If he were to be convicted, the whole of Malaysia’s political life and its standing in the world would be damaged. And for what gain? The timing of the trial has led many observers to the conclusion that the objective is to stem the ruling party’s loss of popular support. Public opinion polls indicate that the great majority of Malaysians see the charges against Mr. Anwar as politically motivated. In any event, as Mr. Anwar himself would be the first to say, his imprisonment would not extinguish his cause. On the contrary, the movement he began a decade ago will continue to spread.

This is a pivotal moment in Malaysia’s history with consequences that are also meaningful on a global scale. With a population of nearly 30 million, Malaysia is not a small country. But it is also significant as an example of a Muslim-majority country making its way in the world. It has been able, over the first half-century of its independence, to demonstrate that it is possible to achieve economic growth while sustaining a degree of harmony among its religiously and ethnically diverse population.

In recent years, however, the country has been sliding backwards, with increasing exploitation of religious and ethnic differences for political purposes. The trial and conviction of Mr. Anwar would intensify these problems by destroying the confidence of millions of Malaysians in the possibility of justice under the law.

We urge our own government to make clear the importance the U.S. attaches to the role of the law in sustaining a political process in which justice and freedom are natural allies. We know from experience that sensitive issues of this kind are often best pursued quietly, government to government. But time is running out. A moment of truth is approaching.

Two days ago, a judge postponed Mr. Anwar’s trial in order to deal with charges of an improper relationship between a female prosecutor and Mr. Anwar’s accuser. This is an opportunity. Malaysia’s system of governance has the capacity to do the right thing—not only for Anwar Ibrahim, but for the millions of Malaysian citizens who look to him as a spokesman for their aspirations. We urge those in the Malaysian government who will decide this matter to act with wisdom.

Mr. Gore was the 45th vice president of the United States. Mr. Wolfowitz was deputy secretary of defense from 2001 to 2005.