15 January 2016

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Just two days after the attack on Istanbul, ISIS has struck again to open a new front in a region where Muslims have lived at peace among themselves and with communities of many faiths for centuries. This attack at the heart of the world’s most populous Muslim country was also an attack on Southeast Asia.

I extend my profound condolences to the families of the victims. I salute the courageous response of the leadership and the security forces. I would like to express my admiration for ordinary Jakartans who have shown the world how to respond to terror. They have spoken up on social media to share their refusal to be afraid, #KamiTidakTakut, and to treat terrorism with the ridicule it deserves.

Indonesia and Malaysia share a common history, long pre-dating our present borders, of the peaceful transmission and practice of Islam in plural societies. We face the common threat of our young people being indoctrinated into a global ideology of hatred violently opposed to our love of peace and our aspirations to democracy. We must work together to face the immediate threats posed by terrorist groups with their international and networks across Southeast Asia, but we must also face together the ideological and leadership challenge posed by violent and totalitarian ideologies. Indonesia and Malaysia must together aspire to become anchors of peace, prosperity and democracy in the Muslim world.

Let us pray for the victims of terrorism in Jakarta and everywhere in the world. And let us refuse to fear or to hate.

I am confident that Indonesia will recover from this outrage stronger, more united and determined to be a beacon of democracy and peace that will reflect our shared spiritual legacy.

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim
Mahkamah Shariah
Malaysia

12 January 2016

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Turkish Weekly- P Prem Kumar

A former senior United Nations (UN) official has urged Malaysia to reconsider joining the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, warning that it could result in inequality and net job losses among the 12 participating countries.
Jomo Kwame Sundaram, a former UN assistant secretary-general and prominent economist, said Monday that the negative impact would incur over a ten-year period after the ratification processes were completed.

“The economic gains from the TPP would only be negligible at 3 percent over the span of 10 years for developing countries in the pact while developed countries would only see gains of less than 1 percent in the same period,” he said at a forum in Kuala Lumpur about the regional pact with the U.S.

The economic gain findings were part of a yet-to-be released UN study on the impacts of the TPP that Sundaram had been leading.

The full study uses the UN’s own global policy economic model – or GPM – to anticipate the trade deal’s impact on its 12 member countries.

Sundaram warned Monday that the TPP would also “significantly cut the government’s ability to craft national policy.”

He said it was “unlike previous trade pacts” due to its introduction of “new rules for how a country manages, among others, intellectual property rights, labor affairs and the operations of government-linked companies.”

It also allows foreign investors to sue governments through the Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism for loss of business and potential profits as a result of national policy decisions.

Before joining the UN, Sundaram was widely recognized as an outspoken intellectual in Malaysia with unorthodox non-partisan views.

During the 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis, he had advocated for appropriate new capital account management measures, which were adopted by then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad – who is currently among the leading critics of the TPP.

Sundaram was also vocal against the detention without trial in 1998 of then deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim – Malaysia’s former opposition leader currently serving jail time in a case widely criticized as politically motivated – under the Internal Security Act.

While the TPP is expected to open up a market with a gross domestic product worth $27.5 trillion to Malaysian companies, the emergence of anti-TPP movements in the country has battered efforts to justify the agreement’s benefit to the general public.

The main areas of concern include state-owned enterprises, labor and Bumiputera rights — privileges granted to ethnic Malays considered economically weaker than the minority ethnic Chinese.

A draft of the final agreement will be presented alongside two cost-benefit analyses to Malaysia’s parliament later this month.

In addition to Malaysia and the U.S., the TPP was negotiated between Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei — which represent more than 40 percent of the world’s gross domestic product.

Their negotiations were completed in early October in the U.S. city of Atlanta.

Leaders of the 12 countries involved are set to sign the deal in New Zealand on Feb. 4, subject to the approval of their legislatures.

The world’s largest economy, China, has initiated a counter Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership or RCEP, however, between ten Southeast Asian countries and Australia, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.

6 January 2016

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The Straits Times

The establishment of the Asean Economic Community means growth prospects for the new common market of 625 million people have never looked better. Rupali Karekar looks at what 2016 may have in store for five of the biggest economies of the 10-member bloc.

Last year was one that Malaysia will be keen to forget. Biggest trade partner China slowed down, global oil prices slumped, the new goods and services tax curbed consumer spending, and the 1MDB sovereign fund saga turned into a political scandal.

There will be more headwinds this year, say economists, with the same negative factors continuing to weigh on the economy.

The fiscal deficit may swell over the oil-price plunge, the political crisis surrounding 1MDB may worsen, and uncertainty over a successor to outgoing central bank governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz is a concern, noted Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts.

“We assign a high probability that the fiscal deficit in 2016 will miss the target of 3.1 per cent of gross domestic product, given probable weaker corporate income tax and GST collection,” the analysts said.

Fiscal revenue will likely be hit by weak oil and gas revenues, with Petronas’ dividend contribution slashed to RM16 billion (S$5.2 billion) from RM26 billion last year.

“Higher palm oil prices will provide some support… along with continued government investment in the infrastructure sector,” BMI Research analyst Shuhui Chia said.

The open Asean market provides an opportunity as well as competition. Ringgit depreciation remains a concern due to rising interest rates in the United States and depreciation of the yuan.

Prime Minister Najib Razak may focus on 1MDB and politics, so attention on growth and the economy may remain diluted and tensions continue to simmer, Ms Chia said.

4 January 2016

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January 1

Zunar is the pen name for the Malaysian political cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque.

I’m a cartoonist in a country where cartooning can be a crime. Under my pen name, Zunar, I expose corruption and abuses of power by the Malaysian government. As it happens, I have a good deal of material to work with. For instance, Prime Minister Najib Razak is currently facing questions about a$700 million “donation” made to his personal bank account.

Last February, police raided my home in the middle of the night and hauled me off to jail. I was handcuffed for eight hours and thrown into a cell with all the other criminal suspects. I managed to avoid telling my cellmates what I was in for: using Twitter.

I was accused of sedition over a series of tweets I sent out opposing the jailing of a prominent Malaysian opposition leader. Now I’m facing nine charges under my country’s archaic, colonial-era Sedition Act, which could result in a 43-year prison sentence . The court proceedings against me begin this month.

I was in the United States in November to receive a press freedom award from the Committee to Protect Journalists. While I was discussing my case with American journalists and cartoonists, President Obama was in Kuala Lumpurmeeting with Najib — the third time they met face to face.

Obama is eagerly courting Malaysia in his efforts to fight extremism and to advance the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, and his meeting reportedly focused on that to the virtual exclusion of everything else. That’s a grave disappointment and a missed opportunity. Obama has a responsibility to put the issue of human rights on the table.

The legal assault against me is nothing new, but it marks a major escalation. The authorities have repeatedly sought to silence me. My office has been raided multiple times since 2009, and authorities have confiscated thousands of my cartoon books. In 2010, five of my books — including “1 Funny Malaysia” — were banned by the home affairs minister, who declared the contents “detrimental to public order.” Later that year I was detained by police and locked up for two days after the publication of “Cartoon-O-Phobia.” To say the least, the Malaysian government has no sense of humor.

In late 2014, my webmaster was called in for questioning, and three of my assistants were arrested for selling my books. I was also brought in for questioning by the police, and the company that processes orders for my website was forced to disclose my customer list. In January, the police raided my office and then opened two investigations in February under the Sedition Act. That’s when they really threw the book at me.

The government hasn’t just targeted me and my associates; it also has cracked down on the entire ecosystem of free expression. Three companies that printed my books were raided and warned not to print my books in the future or their licenses would be revoked. Likewise, bookstores that carried my book were raided and their licenses were threatened. As a result, no one dares print or sell my books.

In such an environment, people like me must turn to the Internet to share our opinions and art. But now that space is under attack as well.

Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey recently proclaimed that the platform is a bastion of “freedom of expression” and speaking “truth to power.” With my personal slogan of “How Can I Be Neutral, Even My Pen Has a Stand,” I embrace his vision. The reality, though, is quite different.

If a person can face sedition charges for stating a belief in 140 characters or less, then there is no freedom of expression. The Malaysian Sedition Act is incredibly broad, banning any act, speech or publication purported to bring contempt against the government or royal sultans. In 2012, Najib pledged to repeal the act because, he said, it “represents a bygone era.” He’s since reversed course and moved to strengthen it.

I’ve been charged with one count of sedition for each supposedly seditious tweet. I could successfully fight one, or maybe two, counts, but nine counts and a potential 43-year prison sentence make clear that the government wants to make an example of me. I need help from people around the world who share my commitment to freedom of expression.

Amnesty International is highlighting my case as part of its Write for Rights campaign, the largest human rights effort on the planet. You can personally write to Prime Minister Najib and call on his government to drop the charges against me and to abolish laws like the Sedition Act that squelch freedom of expression. Public pressure from around the globe can make a big difference in my case and beyond. I hope you’ll join with me to take a stand.

29 December 2015

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Malaysiakini- Yee Siew Meng

There are some in PKR who forget quickly; perhaps their amnesia is hastened by politics and blind loyalty to factions?

There are some who follow opposition politics from a distance and echo the statements of those in PKR who say that party president and opposition leader Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail is allowing her emotions and personal agenda to free Anwar Ibrahim, to take over the main agenda of the party and the coalition.

This cannot be further from the truth. Anwar Ibrahim is still relevant, and I will explain why.

In a report by Free Malaysia Today last Monday, Sepang PKR branch chief Arffain Mohamed insisted that deputy president Azmin Ali should instead helm the party – which only reveals his political intentions.

It appears that only Umno knows and understands the severe threat that former deputy prime minister and opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim still poses to the ruling BN coalition. Sadly, many in the opposition have declared that it is time to move on from Anwar or insist that Anwar is now irrelevant.

Looking at the diverse political ideologies within the opposition ranks, and the ambitious leaders within some parties, there is still a critical need for Anwar – who has played peacemaker before, bringing the many ideologies to unity.

Prior to 1998, Umno and BN had a free hand to use race and religion to manipulate the electorate. The opposition leader then was DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang and it was so easy to make it look like a fight between a Malay government vs a socialist Chinese party.

The opposition was fragmented beyond imagination. There had been right-wing religious group PAS that was made to look like fundamentalist fanatics, and the leftist DAP whom BN portrayed as “communists”.

The situation was ideal for the BN government to pit these two parties against one another and to divide the opposition – such that they will never have more than one-third control of the Parliament. It looked like BN would rule forever.

The divide between the two main opposition parties existed right up till 2004. Then, Anwar – having spent six years in detention under former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s regime – made a comeback in 2006 after fixing his back and taking a stint as a lecturer in the UK and the US.

In two years, Anwar was able to rally the diverse political parties to face off with the BN government, denying them for the first time a two-third majority in Parliament during the 2008 GE.

The incredible feats of Anwar

When you think about the polar opposites of DAP and PAS, it truly is an incredible feat that Anwar was able to unite the opposition towards a single vision. Up to then, DAP and PAS were satisfied in their separate roles and agendas as opposition noise-makers. Anwar painted a picture of a new federal government and the possibility of winning the general elections.

Apart from uniting the political parties, he had painted a picture of a truly united Malaysia. He gave the masses a vision of “hope for a new Malaysia”. Following the 2008 victory, Malaysians from all walks of life celebrated the new-found freedom and boldness to voice out against corruption and injustices.

In all his rallies, he cast the vision of a new Malaysia for all Malaysians. There was no turning back for the rakyat. This boldness later spun off into Bersih rallies, solidarity marches and mushrooming civil societies, seeking greater civil liberties for all Malaysians.

In 2013, Anwar held the fragile opposition together to ensure two-cornered fights against BN. The hunger for change was in the air, and the BN government had little confidence of their own victory. Without the help of government agencies, indeed victory may not have been theirs.

Still Anwar, as opposition leader, led the coalition into gaining more ground in Parliament. He was a real and present danger and a serious threat to the BN government. They had to remove Anwar from the picture and they set out to do whatever they could to return him to jail.

The future of BN rested on the ability to remove Anwar as opposition leader. His ability to unite the opposition and rally the masses were frightening for Umno and BN.

Is Anwar relevant? He is, and remains, the most dangerous weapon the opposition has against the BN government. I have been at the fringes of opposition politics for 17 years since Reformasi, and am of the opinion that the power struggle for the position of opposition leader is intense because he or she may very well be the next prime minister after the GE14.

This jockeying for position may tear the fragile opposition apart before they even capture Putrajaya. Anwar, however – with his statesman stature and the respect he commands from Gerakan Harapan Baru as a religious man and from DAP as a man of integrity and strength – will be the respected choice of all for prime minister.

Apart from that, he has the experience and international clout to lead Malaysia its premier. Anwar, therefore, is really the catalyst to unity for the opposition.

Unfortunately, the BN government acknowledges this threat and is bent on keeping him in jail. Factions in his own party are obvious and the vying for party president position is intense for this very reason. If Anwar is out, many would be silent just out of reverence for the man who most deserves and is most qualified for the position.

Some say, PKR and Pakatan Harapan should move on from Anwar. On the contrary, why should we allow the BN government to force us to abandon the most powerful and unifying factor of the coalition? Anwar is the icon of the resistance. He is the Mockingjay.

We should shout for his freedom and demand that all the wrongs done to him be corrected. We should demand for the truth, for justice to be carried out for him, and for the many cases that have found no resolution or justice.

19 December 2015

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The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Malaysia,

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 January 2014 on the future of EU-ASEAN relations(1) ,

–  having regard to the Statement by the EEAS Spokesperson of 15 April 2015 on the recently adopted amendment to the Sedition Act in Malaysia,

–  having regard to the Statement by the EEAS Spokesperson of 17 March 2015 on the arrest of Nurul Izzah, opposition Member of Parliament in Malaysia,

–  having regard to the Statement by the EEAS Spokesperson of 10 February 2015 on the conviction of Malaysian opposition politician Anwar Ibrahim,

–  having regard to the EU Strategic Framework on Human Rights,

–  having regard to the Statement by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights of 9 April 2015 on draft anti-terror and sedition laws,

–  having regard to the joint press release by the EEAS on the EU-ASEAN policy dialogue on human rights of 23 October 2015,

–  having regard to the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders,

–  having regard to UN Universal Periodic Review session of October 2013,

–  having regard to the report of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons of June 2015,

–  having regard to the second Universal Periodic Review of Malaysia before the UN Human Rights Council, and its recommendations, of October 2013,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,

–  having regard to the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders of 1998,

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) of 1966,

–  having regard to the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) of 1984,

–  having regard to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Human Rights Declaration,

–  having regard to Rules 135(5) and 123(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the EU regards Malaysia as a key political and economic partner in South-East Asia; whereas the EU and Malaysia are negotiating a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement and a Free Trade Agreement;

B.  whereas the space for public debate and free speech in Malaysia is rapidly narrowing as the government resorts to vaguely worded criminal laws to silence its critics and quell public discontent and peaceful expression, including debates on matters of public interest; whereas these laws include the Sedition Act, the Printing Presses and Publications Act, the Communications and Multimedia Act and the Peaceful Assembly act, amongst others;

C.  whereas on 3 December 2015 the National Security Council Bill was passed in the Malaysian Parliament by a majority vote; whereas the bill grants the National Security Council led by the Prime Minister sweeping powers to declare a state of emergency in any area deemed a security risk, giving broad powers of arrest, search and seizure without warrant;

D.  whereas under the Sedition Act alone at least 78 people have been investigated or charged since the beginning of 2014;

E.  whereas former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was sentenced on charges of sodomy in February 2015 following a politically motivated prosecution which resulted in criminal proceedings that failed to meet international standards of fair trial; whereas he has been denied appropriate medical care;

F.  whereas LGBTI people in Malaysia are criminalised under the country’s anti-sodomy law and regional laws prohibiting cross-dressing, and face political hate speech, arbitrary arrest, physical and sexual assault, imprisonment, and other abuses;

G.  whereas Malaysian cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque (Zunar) is facing charges under the Sedition Act following critical tweets against the government with regard to the sentencing of Anwar Ibrahim; whereas blogger Khalid Ismath and academic Azmi Sharom face similar charges;

H.  whereas the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission has questioned the Prime Minister in connection with graft allegations after the discovery of over 600 million euros in his bank account without any justification of source and purpose, as well as on separate allegations that hundreds of millions of euros were missing from deals involving a state firm he launched, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB);

I.  whereas media outlets and publishing houses have faced restrictions under the Printing Presses and Publications Act following reporting about these allegations, and whereas lawyer Matthias Chang and politician Khairuddin Abu Hassan were arrested following their investigations into these allegations;

J.  whereas the High Representative raised concerns regarding the abusive use of criminal laws during her visit to Malaysia on 5-6 August 2015;

K.  whereas, according to the UN and NGOs, the Malaysian police forces have increasingly resorted to acts of torture, late night arrests, unjustifiable remands and selective prosecution;

L.  whereas Malaysia continues to practice the death penalty with up to 1 000 prisoners currently on death row;

M.  whereas Malaysia is a Member of the UN Security Council and the current ASEAN Chair, and the 27th ASEAN Summit was held in Kuala Lumpur from 18 to 22 November 2015;

1.  Reaffirms the EU’s strong commitment to the Malaysian people with whom the EU has strong and longstanding political, economic and cultural ties;

2.  Deplores the deteriorating human rights situation in Malaysia and in particular the crackdown on civil society activists, academics, media and political activists; expresses concern with regard to the spike in the number of people facing charges or arrest under the Sedition Act;

3.  Is particularly concerned about the adoption of the National Security Council Bill and urges its withdrawal; calls on the government to maintain a proper balance between the need to safeguard national security and the imperative to protect civil and political rights;

4.  Urges the Malaysian Government to immediately release all political prisoners, including former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, and to provide them with appropriate medical care, and to drop politically motivated charges, including those against cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Haque (Zunar), blogger Khalid Ismath, academic Azmi Sharom, political dissidents Khairuddin Abu Hassan and Matthias Chang, and human rights activists Lena Hendry and Maria Chin Abdullah;

5.  Urges the Malaysian authorities to repeal the Sedition Act and to bring all legislation, including the Prevention of Terrorism Act, the Printing Presses and Publications Act, the Communications and Multimedia Act, the Peaceful Assembly Act, and other relevant provisions of the penal code, in line with international standards on freedom of expression and assembly and the protection of human rights; calls on the Malaysian authorities to facilitate peaceful assemblies, and to guarantee the safety of all participants and their freedom of expression across the whole country;

6.  Urges the establishment of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), as recommended by the Police Commission of Inquiry in 2005, to investigate allegations of torture and deaths in police custody;

7.  Underlines the importance of independent and transparent investigations into the graft allegations, and of full cooperation with the investigators; urges the Malaysian Government to refrain from putting pressure on the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and media;

8.  Deeply deplores the rise of supremacist groups which contribute further to the creation of ethnic tensions;

9.  Encourages the Malaysian Government to open a dialogue with opposition parties and civil society stakeholders;

10.  Calls on the Malaysian Government to ratify key international human rights conventions, including the ICCPR, the ICESCR, the CAT, the ICERD, ILO Convention 169, the ICC Rome Statute, as well as the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its optional protocol;

11.  Asks the Malaysian Government to extend a standing invitation to all the UN Special Procedures, thereby enabling special rapporteurs to visit Malaysia without asking for an invitation;

12.  Reiterates its position that the death penalty is a cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, and calls on Malaysia to introduce a moratorium as the first step towards the abolition of the death penalty for all offences and to commute all death sentences to prison terms;

13.  Calls on the EU and its Member States to coordinate policies towards Malaysia, in line with the EU Strategic Framework on Human Rights, in order to encourage reform on the above issues of concern through all possible means, including in the context of the UN where Malaysia is a non-permanent member of the Security Council in 2015-2016;

14.  Urges the EU Delegation to Malaysia to step up efforts to finance projects on freedom of expression and reforming repressive laws, and to use all appropriate tools, including the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, to protect human rights defenders; urges the withdrawal of the anti-sodomy law and calls on the EEAS, in line with the EU guidelines on the protection and promotion of the rights of LGBTI persons, to step up its work on the rights of LGBTI people in Malaysia who face violence and persecution, and to aim in particular towards the decriminalisation of homosexuality and transgenderism;

15.  Reaffirms the importance of the EU-ASEAN policy dialogue on human rights as a useful tool to exchange good practices and promote capacity-building initiatives;

16.  Calls on the Commission to make sure that human rights concerns are duly taken into account during future negotiations on an EU-Malaysia FTA and PCA;

17.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the parliaments and governments of the Member States, the parliament and government of Malaysia, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the governments of the ASEAN Member States.

12 December 2015

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FIDH – International Federation for Human Rights

and its member organization for Malaysia

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)

 

Joint press release

Paris, Kuala Lumpur, 10 December 2015: Malaysian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and allow him to receive proper medical attention, FIDH and its member organization Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) said today on the 10-month anniversary of Anwar’s latest imprisonment. Anwar is currently incarcerated in Sungai Buloh prison, Selangor State.

 

“The ongoing detention of Anwar Ibrahim is the tip of the iceberg of the government’s ongoing crackdown against political opponents and critics. Anwar’s immediate and unconditional released would be a positive first step towards addressing the deteriorating human rights situation in Malaysia,” said FIDH President Karim Lahidji.

 

On 10 February 2015, the Federal Court in Putrajaya upheld the Court of Appeals’ conviction of Anwar on charges of sodomy (Article 377 of the Criminal Code) and sentenced him to five years in prison. Anwar’s Imprisonment was the result of a politically motivated prosecution that resulted in criminal proceedings that failed to meet international standards of fair trial. FIDH observed the Court of Appeals’ and Federal Court’s hearings of Anwar’s trial.

 

On 21 October 2015, in a decision on Malaysia issued at its 197th session, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) said it feared that Anwar’s conviction “may be based on considerations other than legal.”

 

In an opinion issued at its 73rd session on 1 September 2015, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) deemed Anwar’s detention arbitrary. The UNWGAD called for Anwar’s immediate release and for his political rights to be reinstated. In addition, the UNWGAD’s opinion considered that Anwar’s treatment during his detention “may have violated the prohibition of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment under Article 5 of the UDHR [Universal Declaration of Human Rights].”

 

The former opposition leader has faced difficulties receiving proper medical attention in Sungai Buloh prison. Anwar’s supervising doctor in the prison, appointed by the Ministry of Home Affairs, has repeatedly denied him access to recommended regular and intensive physiotherapy for a serious shoulder injury, which has worsened since his detention. The denial of adequate medical care runs counter to international norms. Article 22(2) of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners states that “sick prisoners who require specialist treatment shall be transferred to specialized institutions or to civil hospitals.”

 

Anwar also suffers from chronic arthritis, gastritis, irregular blood pressure, intestinal bleeding, and has a growth on his kidney. His prison doctor has denied him timely access to doctors of his choice and necessary medical testing.

 

Since early September, prison authorities have restricted Anwar’s access to his lawyers to one hour per week, despite the fact that he is involved in at least 16 ongoing court cases as plaintiff or defendant. This restriction is a breach of his fundamental rights guaranteed under Malaysian law and the Malaysian Constitution, and is against international standards. Principle 18 of the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment states that an imprisoned person “shall be allowed adequate time” for consultation with his legal counsel.

 

In addition, the Ministry of Home Affairs has denied several foreign embassies and organizations prison visits to Anwar. On 5 November 2015, Malaysia’s Prison Affairs Division, under the Ministry of Home Affairs Ministry, rejected a request to visit Anwar made by FIDH three days earlier. No explanation was given for the denial of the visit.

 

“The persecution of Anwar Ibrahim did not end with his conviction ten months ago – it is continuing behind bars. It’s time for the authorities to immediately put an end all acts of harassment against him,” said SUARAM Executive Director Sevan Doraisamy.

 

FIDH and SUARAM demand Malaysian authorities guarantee Anwar his prisoner rights, including the rights to receive adequate medical care and access to a legal counsel, in accordance with relevant international standards.

 

Press contacts

FIDH: Mr. Andrea Giorgetta (English) – Tel: +66886117722 (Bangkok)

FIDH: Mr. Arthur Manet (French, English, Spanish) – Tel: +33672284294 (Paris)

12 December 2015

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Joint press release

Malaysia: Former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim must be freed

Paris, Kuala Lumpur, 10 December 2015: Malaysian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and allow him to receive proper medical attention, FIDH and its member organization Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) said today on the 10-month anniversary of Anwar’s latest imprisonment. Anwar is currently incarcerated in Sungai Buloh prison, Selangor State.

“The ongoing detention of Anwar Ibrahim is the tip of the iceberg of the government’s ongoing crackdown against political opponents and critics. Anwar’s immediate and unconditional released would be a positive first step towards addressing the deteriorating human rights situation in Malaysia,” said FIDH President Karim Lahidji.

On 10 February 2015, the Federal Court in Putrajaya upheld the Court of Appeals’ conviction of Anwar on charges of sodomy (Article 377 of the Criminal Code) and sentenced him to five years in prison. Anwar’s Imprisonment was the result of a politically motivated prosecution that resulted in criminal proceedings that failed to meet international standards of fair trial. FIDH observed the Court of Appeals’ and Federal Court’s hearings of Anwar’s trial.

On 21 October 2015, in a decision on Malaysia issued at its 197th session, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) said it feared that Anwar’s conviction “may be based on considerations other than legal.”

In an opinion issued at its 73rd session on 1 September 2015, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) deemed Anwar’s detention arbitrary. The UNWGAD called for Anwar’s immediate release and for his political rights to be reinstated. In addition, the UNWGAD’s opinion considered that Anwar’s treatment during his detention “may have violated the prohibition of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment under Article 5 of the UDHR [Universal Declaration of Human Rights].”

The former opposition leader has faced difficulties receiving proper medical attention in Sungai Buloh prison. Anwar’s supervising doctor in the prison, appointed by the Ministry of Home Affairs,has repeatedly denied him access to recommended regular and intensive physiotherapy for a serious shoulder injury, which has worsened since his detention. The denial of adequate medical care runs counter to international norms. Article 22(2) of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners states that “sick prisoners who require specialist treatment shall be transferred to specialized institutions or to civil hospitals.”

Anwar also suffers from chronic arthritis, gastritis, irregular blood pressure, intestinal bleeding, and has a growth on his kidney. His prison doctor has denied him timely access to doctors of his choice and necessary medical testing.

Since early September, prison authorities have restricted Anwar’s access to his lawyers to one hour per week, despite the fact that he is involved in at least 16 ongoing court cases as plaintiff or defendant. This restriction is a breach of his fundamental rights guaranteed under Malaysian law and the Malaysian Constitution, and is against international standards. Principle 18 of the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment states that an imprisoned person “shall be allowed adequate time” for consultation with his legal counsel.

In addition, the Ministry of Home Affairs has denied several foreign embassies and organizations prison visits to Anwar. On 5 November 2015, Malaysia’s Prison Affairs Division, under the Ministry of Home Affairs Ministry, rejected a request to visit Anwar made by FIDH three days earlier. No explanation was given for the denial of the visit.

“The persecution of Anwar Ibrahim did not end with his conviction ten months ago – it is continuing behind bars. It’s time for the authorities to immediately put an end all acts of harassment against him,” said SUARAM Executive Director Sevan Doraisamy.

FIDH and SUARAM demand Malaysian authorities guarantee Anwar his prisoner rights, including the rights to receive adequate medical care and access to a legal counsel,in accordance with relevant international standards.

Press contacts
FIDH: Mr. Andrea Giorgetta (English) – Tel: +66886117722 (Bangkok)
FIDH: Mr. Arthur Manet (French, English, Spanish) – Tel: +33672284294 (Paris

https://www.fidh.org/en/region/asia/malaysia/former-opposition-leader-anwar-ibrahim-must-be-freed

1 December 2015

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The Washington Post

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA – Online critics of the Malaysian government would be well advised not to spend too much money on cellphones.

“Just lost number four,” Eric Paulsen, an outspoken civil liberties lawyer and compulsive tweeter, said Nov. 20 after nearly two hours of questioning at the main police station here over his latest sedition charge.

Paulsen went into the police station with a shiny new Chinese handset, a Xiaomi, and came out without it. At least it was cheaper than the iPhone and two Samsung Galaxies that previously were confiscated from him this year, apparently because they are tools in his social-media activism.

His friend Sim Tze Tzin, an opposition parliamentarian who also was questioned that day, still smarts over the iPhone 6 Plus that was taken from him this year. “Don’t they know how much that thing cost?” Sim said, laughing, after emerging from his own session with the police.

Malaysia, ostensibly one of the United States’ democratic allies in Southeast Asia, is engaged in a broad crackdown on freedom of expression that detractors say is all about silencing critics of Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is embroiled in a corruption scandal. And the crackdown is particularly focused on online commentary, which is proving much harder to control than traditional media.

“The government has at least two intentions,” said Yin Shao Loong, who is executive director of the Institut Rakyat, a think tank, and is aligned with the opposition. “One is to stifle freedom of expression. The other is to harass the opposition and sap their energy and tie them up in court cases that could take years.”

Najib’s government has been making heavy use of the 1948 Sedition Act, a remnant of the British colonial period, which makes it an offense to “bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against any Ruler or against any Government.”

Among the three dozen or so who have been targeted so far this year are Azmi Sharom, a law professor at the University of Malaya who gave his legal opinion on a 2009 political crisis, and Maria Chin Abdullah, the leader of the Bersih group, a civil-society organization that promotes electoral reform, who has been charged with illegal assembly and sedition for organizing huge anti-Najib rallies in August.

Numerous opposition parliamentarians also have been charged with sedition, most of them for criticizing a federal court’s decision in February upholding the conviction of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on charges of sodomy. That case is widely viewed as political.

S. Arutchelvan, a socialist politician, was charged in the past week with sedition for comments he made in February. The well-known cartoonist Zunar, who in September won an International Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists, has been charged with nine counts of sedition for nine tweets criticizing the Anwar conviction.

And two newspapers deemed hostile to the government were suspended from publishing.

“Prime Minister Najib Razak and the Malaysian government are making a mockery of their claim to be a rights-respecting democracy by prosecuting those who speak out on corruption or say anything even remotely critical of the government,” said Linda Lakhdhir of Human Rights Watch. The government, she added, should stop using “repressive laws to harass the media and intimidate its critics.”

The crackdown began after the ruling party fared poorly in 2013 elections, said Murray Hiebert, an expert on Southeast Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, but the repression has accelerated amid a corruption scandal that threatens Najib’s hold on power.

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29 November 2015

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Warkah DS Anwar Ibrahim

Dibaca oleh YB Nurul Izzah di Kongres Nasional KEADILAN pada 29 November 2015


Presiden yang dicintai, Timbalan Presiden dan pimpinan semua peringkat yang dikasihi.

Assalammualaikum dan salam sejahtera.

Seringkali dalam keheningan.., fikiran melayang menembusi tembok ke Segambut bersama Azizah dan keluarga. Dengan segar saya pastinya merayau menyapa teman dan pejuang yang terpaksa berhempas pulas diluar, serta kepasrahan rakyat yang diselubungi kesempitan hidup dan tekanan sistem “istibdat”.

Dalam bingkisan sempena kongres kali ini, saya cenderung untuk memberikan tumpuan kearah penjanaan kekuatan jemaah; dengan mengajak saudara – saudari  berbaiah dengan khitah asas perjuangan. Dengan sendirinya landasan tersebut  menolak faham kabilah; kesetiaan peribadi kepada Anwar dan tokoh lainnya.

Maka amat menyegarkan manakala membaca kenyataan tokoh – tokoh baru dan pimpinan muda yang menyertai KEADILAN baru – baru ini. Mereka menekankan dasar perjuangan kearah pemerkasaan rakyat ; memperjuangkan keadilan dan kemanusian!

Peringatan al quranul kareem agar menyerahkan amanah kepada ahlinya; terikat dengan akhlak dan etika serta apa yang kini diungkapkan sebagai “democratic accountability”. Seharusnya pimpinan disemua peringkat yang arif dengan saranan ” taklif wala tasyri”. Tanggungjawab bukan keistimewaan wajar menghayatinya sekaligus memaknai intipati perjuangan.

Menyingkap teori  Ibnu Khaldun mengenai pasang surut perjuangan dari tahap “umran badawi” ke “umran hadari”, perjuangan kebangsaan; malah sejak gejolak Reformasi sendiri – tahap awal lebih diwarnai dengan kegigihan dan keberanian tanpa sebarang habuan.

Masa beredar dan kita kini tercabar untuk menguji kekuatan dan bermuhasabah setelah merasai sedikit nikmat dan kedudukkan, ditambah dengan gelaran. Justru itu saya anjurkan supaya kita kembali kepada “khitah”.

W.S Rendra melontarkan mutiara kata :

” kesedaran adalah matahari
Kesabaran adalah bumi
Keberanian menjadi cakrawala
Dan perjuangan adalah pelaksanaan
Kata-kata”

Saya gariskan perkataan “pelaksanaan kata – kata” dengan mengajukan pertanyaan :

Apakah benar kita setia berbaiah dengan perjuangan dan tidak khayal dengan mantra pujian staf sekeliling atau kroni ?

Sejauhmanakah kita mengamalkan musyuwarah dalam memutuskan isu dasar ?

Apakah terdapat bisikan sehingga yakin dengan  keegoan diri, kehandalan dan populariti peribadi mengatasi jemaah ?

Tidak terjebakkah kita dengan amalan “clientehism” sepertimana yang dilontarkan oleh penulis Francis  Fukuyama dalam karyanya ‘ Political order ‘ menjelaskan sebagai satu penyakit yang menghampiri rasuah, menganugerahkan jabatan atau habuan kepada kelompok kecil dengan mengenepikan kelayakkan dan prestasi ?
Dan persoalan asas – berhasilkah kita dengan tekad mempertahankan idealisme perjuangan serta menghindari ketamakkan dan kebejatan ?

Tanpa kecuali, persoalan tersebut ditujukan kepada semua pimpinan di semua peringkat.

Membina ketahanan diri, membenamkan rasa iri hati dan cemburu, mengelak fitnah senang dibicarakan namun ukuran akhir adalah “Pelaksanaan Kata – Kata!!”

Kesenjangan diantara idealisme dan kenyataan perlu dirapatkan dan dengan sendirinya  terungkai permasalahan kesenjangan pendapatan golongan mahakaya dan yang miskin papa kedana.

Politik negara kian terapung…ibarat hanyut tanpa berhaluan. Keretakan kian ketara. Malangnya..rakyat terhimpit dengan tekanan hidup akibat kebijakkan ekonomi yang tersasul, memelihara kepentingan kelompok mahakaya dan mendera majoriti rakyat miskin…

Justru itu saudara – saudaraku…
Bangunlah dengan yakin dalam saf yang kukuh – “ban yanun massus” seperti dilakar A. SAMAD SAID :

” Berdiri kita setegap
Berdiri kita sederap,
Meragut cengkaman kawat.
….

Inilah tekad generasi baru
Akarnya keadilan syahda.”

Reformasi! Reformasi! Reformasi!

Anwar Ibrahim

24 November 2015

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Washington Post

Reporters and editors who face enormous risks in Syria, Ethiopia, Paraguay and Malaysia are honored.

RECENTLY THE Islamic State in Raqqa sent an ominous message to an exiled Syrian journalist. Tell us who is filing covertly from the occupied city, the terrorists warned, or we will execute your father. The editor refused to name names. His father was shot to death.

We heard this story last week from AbdAlaziz Alhamza, who works for the same journalism collective as the grieving editor: Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently. With a dozen reporters still filing from Raqqa, risking their lives every day, Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently is one of the few sources of independent news from inside its terrorized land of lashings, slavery, beheadings and crucifixions.

The collective is one of four 2015 International Press Freedom awardees who will be honored by the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York City Tuesday. They reflect both the lengths dictators will go to silence free speech – and the creativity and almost unimaginable courage that journalists summon in response.

In addition to the online collective of mostly anonymous Syrian reporters, the honorees include a Malaysian cartoonist, Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, known by his pen name, Zunar, whose work appears only online because the government allows no newspaper to carry his work; the Zone 9 bloggers, an Ethio­pian collective that came together as their government decimated the independent press; and Cándido Figueredo Ruíz , a Paraguayan journalist who shines a light on drug cartels and the corruption they engender. A reporter for ABC Color, one of his country’s largest newspapers, Mr. Figueredo holds perhaps the most traditional job among the winners. But there is nothing conventional about his bravery: He has been shot at numerous times, and now lives under constant police guard, as does his wife.

Mr. Zunar, 53, will return to Malaysia to face a December court date on charges of sedition that could lead to a prison sentence of 43 years. The Ethio­pian bloggers too have been imprisoned and still have judicial proceedings hanging over them. Why go back, we asked Mr. Zunar?

“We do it for reform,” he told us during a visit to The Post. “We have been governed by the same ruling party for 60 years. Corruption is huge. There are so many injustices. . . . I know it is an uphill battle. I’m not sure when it will end, or will I see the change in my lifetime. It’s like an endless marathon, but as long as I’m on the track I’m the winner.”

Mr. Zunar shared with us the cartoon he planned to post later that day: a drawing of President Obama, who traveled to Malaysia on Friday, stretching his arm around a prison full of political dissidents to shake hands with the Malaysian leader he has praised and golfed with, Najib Razak. For those of us who can take our freedoms for granted, the cartoon held a useful message: We should never forget the political prisoners, like Malaysia’s opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, nor the journalists like Mr. Zunar and his co-winners who bravely take up the cause of freedom. “One of the great supports is to know I’m not alone,” Mr. Figueredo said.

23 November 2015

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*Opening address by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, convener and co-founder of the World Forum for Muslim Democrats, at its Second International Conference in Jakarta, Indonesia on 23rd November, 2015. The speech was delivered by Nurul Izzah Anwar, Malaysia’s Member of Parliament, Vice President of KEADILAN

Friends, fellow democrats, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. Assalamualaikum wbt & Selamat Siang.
 
First, let me extend a warm welcome to all our participants and delegates to this conference – the second international conference of the World Forum for Muslim Democrats.
 
I remain gratified by the support of Sasakawa; the Habibie Center and SETA for allowing the articulation of the vision first formulated to unite Muslims in the pursuit of democratic reforms. Specifically, I must express my personal appreciation for this endeavor through the enthusiastic support and consideration by Former Presidents BJ Habibie, Abdullah Gul and Dr Rashid Ghannouchi.
 
More than three years ago, in March 2012, I was in Dubai at a conference presenting the changing political landscape in the Muslim world when the idea of this forum took shape.
When I used that phrase – changing political landscape, back then, it indeed reflected the turbulent times we were in. However, now with the benefit of hindsight, it did not anticipate the pace of the change, nor its intensity and ramifications.
 
The Arab Spring was still unfolding with Tunisia blazing the democracy trail, after successfully deposing Ben Ali, just 13 months before that. But hardly a year later, Bashar al-Assad warned protesters of consequences of “working with foreign elements to undermine his regime.”
 
Soon after, the first of a series of murderous attacks by the Assad regime on its own people unfolded in the city of Homs. Two weeks before I delivered that keynote address in Dubai, Ali Abdullah Saleh stepped down. Two months later, Mohammed Morsi won the first round of the presidential elections in Egypt and the day after, Assad ordered another round of massacre in Houla.
 
On June 24, 2012, the election commission officially announced that Morsi had won the presidential runoff. It was a narrow margin of 51.7 percent of the vote versus 48.3 for the contender.
 
By July, the international world finally realised that a full blown civil war in Syria was underway. Over 200,000 Syrian refugees had fled the country.

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