30 April 2015

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Malaysiakini

Claiming a miscarriage of justice, ?PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim today filed an application for a judicial review of the Feb 10 Federal Court decision on Sodomy II, for which he has been jailed for five years.

Anwar cited the unusually prompt statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office following his conviction and the Umno roadshow held after that featuring his case prosecutor Muhammad Shafee Abdullah (below, left), among reasons for the application.

He said he believed there was nothing before the court for it to convict and sentence him, owing to the conflicting evidence on the carpet – purportedly where the alleged incident occurred – which was moved to another unit.

His application for the review was filed by lawyers N Surendran and Michelle Yesudas. Also present was Anwar’s daughter, Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar.

Anwar, 67, wants the rulings of the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court in convicting him to be set aside.

His lawyers cited Rule 137 of the Federal Court Rules for the review of the application that was filed about 11am today.

Anwar, in his affidavit supporting the application, questioned the swiftness of the PMO in issuing its statement on the Federal Court verdict of Feb 10, which he argued gave the impression to the public that the PMO knew the decision before its pronouncement.

Shafee’s conduct at roadshows questioned

“Further it is not a practice for the PMO to issue such a statement in a criminal appeal and it has not happened before in the past in any case. There is no special reason in issuing such a statement.

“I respectfully say it is the abnormality in the conduct of the PMO has caused me grave injustice,” the former opposition leader said.

Anwar further questioned Shafee’s conduct in having the roadshow following his conviction alleging that it was backed by Umno the ruling party.

He maintained that Umno is part of the claim of political conspiracy made against him, which was made by none other than Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak himself.

On the carpet used as evidence, defence counsel and former Federal Court judge Gopal Sri Ram said the alleged offence was said to have taken place in condo unit 11-5-1, but the carpet submitted to the court was seized from unit 11-5-2.

‘No evidence carpet was moved’

“The prosecution claimed that the carpet was moved but there is no evidence to suggest that. I do not believe in flying carpets,” the senior lawyer had said.

Based on this matter alone, Gopal argued, the sodomy incident did not occurred.

Anwar further cited it was wrong for the court not to accept the evidence of an independent witness Dr Mohd Osman Abdul Hamid, as he was not a witness with any interest in the matter.

He further claimed inconsistency in Saiful’s evidence, in which the accuser testified that the underwear he wore on that fateful day was washed by his mother, but yet the prosecution tendered another of Saiful’s underwear with seminal stains on it.

“Incredibly, the underwear tendered was not the underwear Saiful wore and this renders his evidence as totally unreliable,” Anwar argues in his application.

He also questioned investigating officer DSP Jude Blacious Pereira’s conduct in removing the samples taken from Saiful, which had been placed in a plastic bag, and re-labelling them.

“Yet the Federal Court ruled there was no break in the chain of evidence,” he said.

Anwar also questioned the court’s rejection of defence witness Dr Thomas Hoogland’s evidence that he (Anwar) was labouring intense back pain and could not have committed the purported (sex) act, but yet it accepted evidence from Hospital Kuala Lumpur’s Dr Jeyaindran Sinnadurai.

Later, outside the court, Nurul Izzah told reporters that they would continue to fight for Anwar, whom she described as a political prisoner as the family believed him to be innocent.

30 April 2015

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TMMO

Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today filed an application with the Federal Court to review his recent sodomy conviction and five-year jail sentence, in yet another attempt to exonerate himself after failing to secure a royal pardon earlier.

Anwar’s lawyer N. Surendran said that an application was filed this morning to seek a fresh panel of judges at the Federal Court to review its previous decision.

“The reason is grave miscarriage of justice in the first decision,” he told reporters here when explaining the grounds of the review bid filed under Rule 137 of the Rules of Federal Court 1995.

“The court has powers to review its own decision when there has been injustice,” the PKR vice-president added, also arguing later that the Anwar was wrongly imprisoned.

PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar, who was also present, maintained the PKR de-facto leader’s innocence and said he is a political prisoner.

“That is the sentiment of the family: ‘We will never surrender’,” Anwar eldest daughter said, noting that the family will not give up on seeking his release through existing legal avenues, despite hardships such as only being allowed monthly visits to the 68-year-old.

On February 10, the Federal Court sentenced Anwar to five years’ jail when it upheld the Court of Appeal’s 2014 ruling that had reversed Anwar’s acquittal of sodomising former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

With the sodomy conviction, Anwar was barred from appearing in Parliament and was disqualified as a federal lawmaker.

According to the application today sighted by reporters, Anwar wants both the Federal Court and Court of Appeal’s decision against him to be set aside.

Alternatively, Anwar wants to have his appeal against the Court of Appeal’s conviction reheard on its merits.

In the same court document, Anwar stated two grounds for his review bid, including his view that the Court of Appeal’s March 7, 2014 decision to convict him ought to be set aside “to prevent injustice”.

Anwar also said the Federal Court’s judgement had been rendered “objectively unsafe” by both the Prime Minister’s Office’s statement on the same day of the apex court’s decision and the conduct of the lead prosecutor after the ruling.

28 April 2015

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Assalamualaikumwarahmatullahiwabarakatuh,

Kepada rakan-rakan Permatang Pauh,
– dengan iringan doa agar usaha kita bersama diberkati Allah SWT.

Saya amat hargai dukungan dan doa selama ini. Insya Allah saya akan terus bersabar dan perkuat tekad berjuang.

Negara kini bergelut dengan pelbagai tindakan kezaliman dan mendera rakyat dengan beban cukai termasuk GST.

Sekali lagi saya mohon sokongan saudara-saudara meminta Dr Wan Azizah Ismail mewakili KeADILan dan Pakatan Rakyat untuk meneruskan perjuangan menegakkan keadilan dan membela nasib rakyat.

ANWAR IBRAHIM
27 April 2015
Mahkamah Syariah, Kuala Lumpur

 

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28 April 2015

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Keadilan Daily

Anak muda #KitaLawan akan meneruskan jelajah ke Pahang dan Pulau Pinang pada Sabtu ini 25 April 2015 bagi membangkitkan semangat rakyat di kawasan utara dan pantai timur tanahair untuk melawan pelaksanaan GST dan seterusnya untuk turun beramai-ramai ke Kuala Lumpur pada Himpunan 1 Mei 2015.

Himpunan #KitaLawanGST versi Pahang

Selepas kejayaan Himpunan #KitaLawanGST di Johor Bahru pada 11 April 2015, Himpunan #KitaLawan di Pahang akan memberi tekanan dan peringatan secara langsung kepada Najib Razak bahawa kesabaran anak muda ada batasnya. Anak muda tidak gentar untuk berhadapan dengan beliau dan beraksi di negeri kelahiran beliau bagi menghentikan kerosakan dan kehilangan harta negara.

Ketika kewangan negara dalam keadaan tenat, dasar-dasar yang menindas dan menzalimi rakyat yang diperkenalkan oleh pentadbiran Najib Razak seperti pelaksanaan GST adalah amat menjengkelkan sedangkan beliau dan kroni terus hidup bermewahan.

Anak muda menyeru khususnya rakyat Pahang dan pantai timur yang ditekan dan diperdayakan oleh kepimpinan Najib Razak untuk bersama-sama menyuarakan kemarahan mereka pada Himpunan #KitaLawanGST #UndurNajib versi Pahang di hadapan Pasarayaku, Temerloh pada 25 April 2015.

Kayuh bantah #KitaLawan versi Pulau Pinang

Manakala anak muda #KitaLawan di Pulau Pinang akan meneruskan aksi Kayuh Bantah #KitaLawanGST #BebasAnwar pada Sabtu ini dengan mengelilingi Parlimen Permatang Pauh. Kami mengajak semua untuk bersama-sama kayuh atau bermotosikal sebagai tanda bantahan terbuka terhadap pelaksanaan GST.

Aktiviti berbasikal ini akan bermula dari Jalan Sama Gagah, DUN Permatang Pasir pada jam 4.00 petang dan seterusnya akan melewati DUN Seberang Jaya dan DUN Penanti bagi perjalanan sejauh kira-kira 20 kilometer.

Aksi kayuhan anak muda ini juga akan memperingatkan rakyat Permatang Pauh bahawa selepas 17 tahun sejak tercetusnya kebangkitan Reformasi, mereka kini sekali lagi dihukum kerana memilih jalan untuk menentang kerakusan UMNO.

Rakyat Permatang Pauh menjadi harapan rakyat Malaysia bagi mengangkat suara rakyat dan anak muda bersedia untuk bersama-sama dengan mereka bagi meneruskan perjuangan melawan penindasan dan kezaliman pemerintah terhadap rakyat Malaysia.

Lagi ditekan, lagi #KitaLawan!!

#1Mei1Juta #KitaLawanGST

Sekretariat Kita Lawan

28 April 2015

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Keadilan Daily

Di sebalik tirai besi, tiada siapa menyangka, kehadiran Ketua Umum KEADILAN, Saudara Anwar Ibrahim membuka lembaran baharu kepada penghuni-penghuni Penjara Sungai Buloh.

Sulaiman Ajik, 49 yang baru dibebaskan selepas dipenjara enam bulan hadir ke pejabat Suara Keadilan berkongsi cerita dan pengalamannya bersama Anwar.

“Kali pertama melihat Anwar di dalam sel waktu itu, saya cukup sayu dan sedih. Tidak dapat digambarkan bila seorang pemimpin seperti beliau meringkuk di penjara dalam keadaan sedemikian rupa.

“Tapi beliau tidak mudah patah semangat. Dalam penjara pun, beliau selalu beri kata-kata semangat pada semua banduan-banduan lain,” kata Sulaiman menceritakan detik-detik awal ketika melihat sosok tubuh pemimpin berjiwa besar di hadapannya waktu itu.

Sulaiman berkata, masa Anwar banyak dihabiskan dengan mentelaah buku agama dan membaca Al Quran. Malah Anwar juga mengimamkan lebih 300 jemaah banduan dan petugas-petugas penjara serta menyampaikan tazkirah seusai solat.

“Beliau langsung tidak menyentuh isu politik, semua pengisian adalah berbentuk nasihat dan bagaimana mahu menjadi manusia yang baik dan berguna kepada manusia.

“Tetapi yang menariknya apabila Anwar memberi tazkirah, para banduan seolah-olah terpaku dan sentiasa ternanti-nanti pada esoknya apa yang ingin Anwar sampaikan,” katanya yang tidak ralat gambarnya disiarkan Suara Keadilan.

Sulaiman dipenjarakan atas dakwaan memiliki barang curi selepas mendakwa dirinya diperdaya untuk membeli sebuah laptop daripada seorang pelajar.

Menceritakan pengalamannya lebih lanjut, Sulaiman berkata keadaan sel penjara sangat menyeksakan bagi individu seusia Anwar.Apatah lagi, bekas Ahli Parlimen Permatang Pauh itu turut menderita sakit belakang.

Mungkin selepas mendapat bantahan peguam, katanya, Anwar diberikan sebuah meja sebagai alas tempat tidur.

“Tetapi yang sedihnya hanya tilam nipis sebagai pengalas perbaringan. Untuk bantal pula atas inisiatif banduan-banduan yang lain yang mengumpulkan lipatan kain dan dimasukkan ke dalam sarung sebagai bantal untuk Anwar tidur,” ceritanya sayu.

Dalam wawancara bersama Suara Keadilan, Sulaiman turut menceritakan kegemaran Anwar menyanyikan lagu Azizah dan berpuisi ketika berada dalam sel penjara. Malah beliau sempat mencatatkan puisi yang dibacakan Anwar.

Temubual penuh bersama Sulaiman boleh didapati menerusi keluaran terbaru akhbar Suara Keadilan yang kini berada di pasaran mulai hari ini.

28 April 2015

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TMI

A sponsored Facebook post criticising Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and urging Malaysians to vote for Barisan Nasional (BN) in the Permatang Pauh by-election has apparently backfired, as social media users left comments mocking the ruling coalition’s own policies.

The page Pilihanraya Kecil Parlimen Permatang Pauh P44 (Permatang Pauh By-Election) posted an image of Lim with the words: “This is the example of a successful leader”.

Underneath his picture, it wrote, “Bed tax beginning to be enforced, water tariffs hiked three times, assessment tax raised, government-owned land almost half sold, affordable homes just rhetoric, market rent raised 100%, construction of luxury homes prioritised, massage parlours increased, flood problems unresolved”.

“Congratulations to the people of Penang. Enough… it’s our turn! #BN4 #PRKPermatangPauh,” the page administrators wrote in the post.But many Facebook users were quick to point out in the comments section that some of the claims were misleading, and that the issues were no different from those faced by states led by BN.

Sofian Hakem wrote, “I am not a supporter of political parties.. I am not trying to suck up.. I stay in Penang..my area used to be flooded badly, if it rained heavily for an hour, there were bound to be floods, but now there are no more floods.

“The mosque now has air-conditioning, the place where I run my business has been upgraded but the rental remains the same at RM7.50 a month.”

Dunia Orina commented that prices of houses and assessment taxes were rising in all states, regardless of the party that governed it, and urged the administrators to “check their facts before coming out with foolish statements”.

“Ouhhh, Malacca has no massage parlours? Johor has no massage parlours? Tax isn’t rising in Johor and Malacca?” wrote Khairil Rijal Khizhir.

Mohd Iskandar said, “the water tariff in Johor is the highest in Malaysia, doesn’t the admin know this? Don’t think that by staying in a BN state, Malays will have it easy. What happened to BN’s promises during the election?”

Other users said BN’s own sins, such as the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal and the goods and services tax (GST) dwarfed any of the Penang government’s mistakes.

Remy Alamshah even blamed the rising taxes in Penang on the federal government’s enforcement of the GST.

Proton Putra Putri said none of the problems listed in the post were equal to that of 1MDB and its vanished money.

“So we should support BN now? No need. We’ll be worse off and get even more problems,” wrote Putra Razif Thessoullok.

Wan Paan wrote sarcastically, “I agree with admin..only BN can alleviate the people’s burden.. Do you want to know, admin? Now all the goods are cheaper.. before, top-up cost RM10, now it’s RM10.60..isn’t it getting cheaper?

“That’s why my friends love BN more and more. Only BN can alleviate our burden. Long live BN!!!!”

Mohd Yusoff Ariff, Seri Nurhayati Nordin, Iqmal Boy Zainal mocked the administrators for ignoring the failings of BN-led states, while Md Shari sung Penang’s praises.

Md Shari said a friend of his who worked as an Imam at a mosque in Penang for nine years was happy there.

“He said the entire time he has lived in Penang, there was no oppression of the Malays, in fact if the azan’s speakers sounded bad, they would provide funds to repair it so the azan sounded nice,” wrote Md Shari.

“In fact the state government increased the allocation for the surau and mosque where he worked each year. The mosque even has air-conditioning… do not defame others, the consequences are terrible in this world and the hereafter.”

Pakatan Rakyat is defending the Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat with PKR candidate Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

She held the seat three times after winning it in the 1999 by-election and 2004 and 2008 general elections before her husband, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, returned to politics.

She is up against Barisan Nasional newcomer Suhaimi Sabudin, 43, a construction company managing director from Guar Perahu, Permatang Pauh.

The Permatang Pauh parliamentary constituency has 71,513 voters, of whom 70% are Malays with the rest made up of Chinese (20%), Indians (6%) and others (4%).

There are three state seats in Permatang Pauh. PKR holds Penanti and Seberang Jaya while PAS holds Permatang Pasir.

In the 2013 polls, Anwar retained the seat with 37,090 or 58.56% of the total 63,332 votes cast, with an 11,721 majority.

Barisan Nasional’s Dr Mazlan Ismail garnered 25,369 or 40.06% of the total votes while independent candidate Dr Abdullah only received 201 votes (0.32%) and lost his deposit.

28 April 2015

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TMI

Election Commission (EC) is wrong in saying that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as a prisoner has no right to vote as the Federal Constitution only disqualifies an inmate from voting if he was already in prison at the time he applied to be a voter, says PKR.

The party’s political bureau member, N. Surendran, in a statement today said: “Article 119(3)(a) of the Federal Constitution disqualifies a person serving a prison sentence from voting only if he was already imprisoned at the time he applies for registration as a voter.”

He added that the position taken by EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof in the opposition leader’s case was wrong and breached the Federal Constitution.

Pakatan Rakyat on Sunday proposed that Anwar be allowed to cast his ballot in the Permatang Pauh by-election this May 7, and said the Home Ministry had even proposed plans since 2013 to allow convicts to exercise their right to vote in elections.Aziz subsequently told The Malaysian Insider that Anwar was not eligible to vote based on Article 119(3)(a) which states that “a person is disqualified for being a elector in any election to the House of Representatives or the Legislative Assembly if on the qualifying date he is detained as a person of unsound mind or is serving a sentence of imprisonment”.

But, Surendran today said “the qualifying date” was explained in another provision, Article 119(4)(b), as being the date on which a person applies for registration as an elector in a constituency.

He added that the EC must make the necessary arrangements to enable Anwar to exercise his right, as he was registered as a voter in Permatang Pauh long before he was imprisoned.

“Failure to do so will be in breach of the EC’s statutory duties and a serious infringement of Anwar’s civil and constitutional rights.”

PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar yesterday said the EC’s decision not to let Anwar vote in the Permatang Pauh by-election showed it was biased.

“It is unfortunate that EC is unprofessional, not only does it reject a good suggestion but it justifies the EC in acting in the interest of Umno-BN,” she said in a WhatsApp message to The Malaysian Insider.

19 April 2015

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Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak berkata cukai GST (Goods and Services Tax) tidak akan membebankan rakyat. Timbalan Menteri Kewangan Datuk Ahmad Maslan pula berkata, 500 barangan akan turun harga apabila GST dilaksanakan.

Namun sekarang, rakyat Malaysia sudah sedar bahawa semua itu tidak benar!?

GST adalah sejenis cukai rakus, bersifat regresif yang membebankan rakyat. Golongan yang paling terbeban adalah rakyat berpendapatan rendah, pesara, warga emas, pelajar dan golongan pertengahan yang terhimpit dengan Barang Naik.

Mengikut kajian, setiap keluarga dijangka terpaksa membayar paling kurang RM100 sebulan untuk cukai GST. Lapan puluh peratus keluarga di Malaysia berpendapatan kurang dari RM3,000, mereka inilah golongan yang paling teruk akan tertindas.

Benarlah seperti awalan hurufnya, GST membawa maksud, Golongan Susah Tertindas!

Kita bantah GST kerana, di dalam keadaan rakyat terhimpit dengan kenaikan harga barang, kerajaan pusat bermewah-mewahan gunakan duit rakyat membeli jet peribadi baru, salah urus tadbir ekonomi sehingga mengakibatkan hutang Negara mencapai 700 billion ringgit, ditambah dengan banyak skandal kewangan seperti 1MDB!

Malaysia cukup kaya, jika sumber negara diurus tadbir dengan betul dan amanah maka kerajaan tidak perlu laksanakan cukai GST yang jelas begitu membebankan rakyat.

Apa yang boleh kita lakukan? Jika kita terus berpeluk tubuh dan menyerah tanpa melakukan apa-apa, kita akan terus ditindas selama-lamanya. Golongan Susah Tertindas tanpa dibela. Kita lancarkan petisyen ini sebagai tanda permulaan membantah cukai rakus, GST. Tindakan susulan harus difikirkan bersama.

Never Surrender! Kita perjuangkan kebajikan diri kita di samping membela golongan susah. Tandatangan petisyen sekarang!

Pautan: Bantah GST!

13 April 2015

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The Economist

An anti-terror law curtails liberties

THREE years ago Najib Razak, Malaysia’s prime minister, fulfilled a promise to repeal the Internal Security Act (ISA), a draconian colonial-era law which had long been used to lock up dissenters without trial. In the early hours of April 7th legislators approved a new bill which reinstates some of the old law’s power. The Prevention of Terror Act gives a government panel the right to imprison terror suspects for two years, with multiple extensions, or restrict their movements for five years. Critics spy another blow to civil liberties, which were already under siege.

The government argued that the new law was needed to combat a mounting threat from domestic extremists inspired by Islamic State, the militia that occupies large parts of Syria and Iraq. Officials reckon that at least a dozen Malaysians have died abroad fighting for the militants. Police say that since 2013 they have arrested around 90 people suspected of sympathising with them. On April 5th, just hours before Parliament began debating the law, police nabbed 17 people who they said were planning attacks on Kuala Lumpur, the capital, and on Putrajaya, the government seat.

The timing looked suspicious to opponents of the act, which include Pakatan Rakyat, the opposition coalition. Many fewer Malaysians than, for example, Belgians are thought to have travelled to Syria. Nor is Malaysia, a moderately Muslim country, battling provincial Islamic insurgencies of the sort that trouble its neighbours, Thailand and the Philippines. The government has produced no evidence that such sweeping powers are warranted, the International Commission of Jurists, a human-rights group, claims. It laments that only one member of the government’s detention panel need have legal experience. Even without the panel’s consent, police may now hold suspects for up to 60 days.

The big worry is that the law will become a new weapon in a worsening crackdown on opponents of UMNO, Mr Najib’s party, which has ruled Malaysia in coalition since the 1950s but which was nearly unseated in elections held in 2013. In the first three months of this year police arrested 36 people on suspicion of making comments that violated the Sedition Act, another archaic law which is being invoked more frequently than ever. Last month Nurul Izzah, a prominent MP, was arrested on suspicion of sedition after she delivered a speech in Parliament denouncing the imprisonment of her father, Anwar Ibrahim, who leads the opposition. Many think the sodomy charge against him is politically motivated. Other recent detainees include five staff at the Malaysian Insider, a news website, and a cartoonist called Zunar, who faces nine counts of sedition and a prison sentence of up to 43 years.

Mr Najib had promised to roll back the Sedition Act, just as he promised to junk the ISA. Yet while pushing through the new anti-terror rules, his government took the opportunity to table changes to the act which would greatly toughen sentences and forbid speech that denigrates religion.

Both pieces of legislation highlight how far Malaysia has retreated from the reformist policies that Mr Najib espoused during his first term, which ended in 2013. Supporters plead that the prime minister is tacking right only to head off leadership challenges from even less palatable parts of his party (on April 2nd Mahathir Mohamad, an influential former prime minister, renewed his call for Mr Najib to step down). But that is not much comfort to anyone.

13 April 2015

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The Economist

A thuggish government is playing racial politics. Najib Razak should be dressed down

MALAYSIA’S prime minister, Najib Razak, paints his country as a model of moderate Islam—a multicultural democracy and a beacon of tolerance. He has spoken of scrapping oppressive British-era laws and nurturing a creative economy. Meanwhile, his spin-doctors explain that their liberal master is the man to vanquish the reactionary forces in his political party, UMNO, which has never been out of power and which is prone to cronyism and political thuggery. Barack Obama, for one, buys this story. He is the first American president since 1966 to have visited Malaysia. And late last year in Hawaii he enjoyed a round on the golf links with Mr Najib. The two men are said to click. The White House gushes about a “growing and warming relationship” between America and Malaysia.

Race to the bottom

Yet it is time to call Mr Najib out on the widening gulf between spin and substance. On the economic front is a growing scandal over dubious connections and misused funds at a national investment fund, 1MDB, that Mr Najib launched and which is now burdened with $12 billion of debts. Malaysia’s human-rights record is of even greater concern. Three years ago Mr Najib scrapped a notorious colonial law, the Internal Security Act, which allowed indefinite detention without trial. This week he, in effect, reintroduced it. The new Prevention of Terrorism Act allows suspects to be detained indefinitely. Though it is aimed ostensibly at jihadists, lawyers and civic groups are appalled at the law’s sweep (see article).

This fits a pattern. The coalition that Mr Najib leads uses foul as well as fair means to keep the opposition down. In the most recent election, in 2013, it lost the popular vote for the first time. Yet it held on to power thanks to gerrymandered voting districts. Even after that dubious victory, it continued to persecute the charismatic opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, who in February was sentenced to five years on trumped-up charges of sodomy. American criticism was perfunctory.

In the past year growing numbers of activists and opposition figures have been arrested under the Sedition Act, another colonial law aimed originally at advocates of independence. Mr Najib, who once promised to remove it from the statute book, now plans to strengthen it with harsher punishments and a clause forbidding speech that denigrates Islam.

Among those already arrested under the Sedition Act are opponents of hudud, corporal and capital punishments, including stoning to death for adultery, laid down in Islamic law. Hudud does not apply in Malaysia, but Islamists from an opposition party want it introduced in Kelantan state in the north-east. The government does not like the idea but is quietly supporting it in a cynical ploy to widen splits in Pakatan Rakyat, the opposition coalition struggling without Mr Anwar.

By encouraging the Islamists, the government is fanning racial and religious divisions in a majority-Malay (and Muslim) country with large ethnic-Chinese and ethnic-Indian minorities. In 1969 bloody race riots nearly tore Malaysia apart. Playing racial politics could be disastrous in this multiracial country. A better and more enlightened way for Mr Najib to boost UMNO’s prospects would be for him to repair its image with ethnic Chinese and Indians.

Malaysia’s friends should be blunter about this where they have been mealy-mouthed. They should condemn Malaysia’s corruption, its decaying freedoms and its racial politics. They should call for both the Sedition Act and unlimited detention to go. Until matters improve, not only should golf be off the agenda; so too should the prime minister’s hoped-for trip to Washington this year.

8 April 2015

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AI

A new law that would allow terrorism suspects in Malaysia to be held indefinitely without charge, trial or judicial review, is a shocking onslaught against human rights and the rule of law, said Amnesty International.

“Indefinite detention without trial is contrary to human rights law and it will not stop terrorism. Abandoning people to rot in a cell for years on end without a judicial process and proof that they have committed a crime is just like aimlessly stabbing in the dark. Authorities must ensure that human rights and fair trial guarantees are respected and protected,” said Hazel Galang-Folli, Malaysia Researcher at Amnesty International.

“Abandoning people to rot in a cell for years on end without a judicial process and proof that they have committed a crime is just like aimlessly stabbing in the dark. Authorities must ensure that human rights and fair trial guarantees are respected and protected.”

Under the newly enacted Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), a board will be established to approve detention or restriction orders for individuals “in the interest of security of Malaysia”. A suspect can first be detained for 59 days without charge before being presented to the board. This body, which will be appointed by the King and will be outside of the jurisdiction of any court, will have the power to renew detention orders indefinitely. Its decisions cannot be appealed.

The POTA is reminiscent of Malaysia’s Internal Security Act (ISA), abolished in 2012, which also allowed for indefinite detention without trial. The new law has not included the necessary safeguards to ensure fair trials and respect of human rights so it could be just as susceptible to abuse as the widely condemned ISA, which was used to unjustly detain government critics and created a climate of fear in the country for decades.

“With the stroke of a pen, Malaysia has managed to get one step closer to becoming a ‘human rights black hole’ where fundamental rights to a fair trial or freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, even if enshrined in the Malaysian constitution, are increasingly being undermined in the name of national security,” said Hazel Galang-Folli.

Today, the Malaysian government also tabled amendments to the colonial-era Sedition Act, including increasing jail terms from three years to up to seven years on conviction and up to 20 years if a suspect is convicted of sedition with causing bodily harm or damage to property. The proposed amendments could also disallow bail for those charged.

In recent months, the Sedition Act has been used to arbitrarily arrest government critics including opposition leaders, human rights defenders, activists, journalists and human rights lawyers.

“Authorities in Malaysia must immediately repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the Sedition Act and release all those who have been detained under it only for expressing their opinions peacefully,” said Hazel Galang-Folli.

8 April 2015

Pendapat

Pendapat Anda?

The New York Times

BANGKOK — Three years after abolishing detention without trial, the Malaysian government revived the practice on Tuesday with the passage into law of a highly contentious antiterrorism bill that opposition leaders fear could be used against government critics.

The bill, the Prevention of Terrorism Act, was passed early Tuesday by a vote of 79 to 60 after more than 10 hours of debate.

The government, which arrested 17 people this week for what the chief of police said was a plot to attack army camps and police stations, has sought to justify the law as necessary to combat the threat of terrorism in Malaysia.

Critics say the law is a further slide toward authoritarianism in Malaysia and a definitive reversal of personal freedoms that Prime Minister Najib Razak vowed to introduce soon after assuming power in 2009.

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