Archive for September, 2013

30
Sep
13

Anti-crime amendments ‘draconian’, like the ISA, DAP says

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 25 — Putrajaya’s amendments to the Prevention of Crime Act (PCA) 1959 appears to suggest a return to the era of the repealed Internal Security Act (ISA), a controversial law that allowed detention without trial, the DAP said today.

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng accused Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak of breaking his promise for national reconciliation, saying that “instead, he gave us national retaliation”.

“It seems to be like the ISA,” DAP chairman Karpal Singh told reporters after a hearing at the High Court here today.

“We’re looking into it. Some of the provisions seem very draconian,” added the senior lawyer.

Lim, who was with Karpal at the press conference, accused Najib of trying to “divide the people”.

“When you look at the new PCA, it’s the EO again, all but in name,” said the Penang chief minister.

Lim was referring to the Emergency Ordinance, another security law – which also allows for detention without trial – that had been abolished together with the ISA in 2011.

The ISA is a colonial era security law that critics say was abused by the government to silence dissent.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi tabled a Bill earlier today to amend the PCA to incorporate preventive detention powers in an apparent bid to crack down on the criminal underworld, after a recent string of shootings and violent crime.

A proposed clause in the Bill allows individuals to be detained for up to two years without trial, up from the current 72 days.

At the end of the two-year period, the order can be renewed for a further two years out of necessity to ensure public order, public security or to prevent crime.

Civil liberties lawyer Syahredzan Johan also noted earlier today that the Bill includes an ouster clause that could prevent judicial reviews for detention orders on grounds of merit, allowing instead reviews only on procedural grounds.

…more
Anti-crime amendments ‘draconian’, like the ISA, DAP says
By Boo Su-Lyn
September 25, 2013 – Malay Mail Online

30
Sep
13

RM30bil bumi allocation unfair to poor bumis

Affirmative action based on ethnicity is not only unfair to the poor and marginalised of other ethnic groups but also unfair to the poor in the same ethnic group as well, said a Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) leader.

“It creates a situation where the poverty of the poorer bumiputeras is used to justify allocations that ultimately will help the richest bumiputeras, and those closest to the people in power,” Dr D Jayakumar said in a statement today.

He was responding to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s recent announcement of the RM30 billion allocation to boost the bumiputera economic status.

Jayakumar said PSM accepted affirmative action as a valid and necessary policy option for government.

“Poorer communities and the people marginalised by development should be helped by society. This is a moral imperative.

“PSM also agrees that the upliftment of poorer communities cannot be left to ‘market forces’.

“We reject the notion that private companies operating for profit will somehow generate ‘trickle-down’ effects that will alleviate the poverty of the marginalised sectors,” he added.

However, Jayakumar said PSM had serious reservations about the “Bumiputra Empowerment Agenda” announced by Najib because “our experience in Malaysia had showed us that affirmative action based on ethnic criteria invariably benefitted the better off groups within that ethnic group far more than the poor in that community.”

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PSM: RM30bil bumi allocation unfair to poor bumis
Sep 17, 2013 – Malaysiakini

29
Sep
13

Najib’s Bumi Agenda overturns NEM, ETP and GTP

MP SPEAKS Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak announced an ambitious and far-reaching Bumiputera Agenda on Sept 14, two days before Malaysia Day.

Some of the highlights of this Agenda includes the setting up of a powerful Bumiputera Economic Empowerment Council, the announcement of an injection of 10 billion units of Amanah Saham Bumiputera 2 (ASB2), demands on GLCs and GLICs to increase bumiputera property ownership and to increase their respective Bumiputera Vendor Development Programmes (VDPs), ‘carve out’ policies to ensure bumiputera participation in big projects such as the Menara Warisan and Rubber Research Institute (RRI) projects, the creation of yet another bumiputera entrepreneurship fund entitled SUPERB and the creation of Bumiputera Development Units in all ministries to implement the Bumiputera Agenda initiatives.

This agenda overturns nearly all of the key aspects of Najib’s transformation programmes, namely the New Economic Model (NEM), the Economic Transformation Program (ETP) and the Government Transformation Programme (GTP).

The strategy of the NEM was to use market friendly and transparent affirmative action programmes that would focus on the bottom 40 percent of households in order to narrow disparities between the rich and the poor, the urban and the rural, the bumiputera and the non-bumiputera.

Najib’s Bumiputera Agenda makes no mention of targeting the bottom 40 percent that was a key focus of the NEM. What is more disappointing is the fact that Najib left out any mention the need to target the poor in Sabah and Sarawak, the vast majority of whom are bumiputera as well as the Orang Asli in peninsular Malaysia. These groups were specifically mentioned in the NEM as well as the 10th Malaysia Plan.

Important structural recommendations made in the NEM were given to Pemandu to monitor and implement under the six Strategic Reform Initiatives (SRIs). Najib’s Bumiputera Agenda contravenes the initiative to increase competition and liberalize key service sectors by once again restricting the players who take part in the marketplace.

Najib’s Bumiputera Agenda contravenes the initiative to reduce the government’s role in business by once again trying to influence the policies of the GLCs and GLICs. Najib would do well to remember that one of the institutions which he named in his speech as a government creation – Bank Bumiputera – no longer exists because of mismanagement and misplaced government lending directives.

He would also do well to remember that the entity that replaced Bank Bumiputera – CIMB – is a Malay-bumiputera led organisation that has become much more ethnically diverse in its make-up, has expanded aggressively around the region and is seen as a much better run bank with much less government intervention especially compared to its predecessor.

Najib’s Bumiputera Agenda contravenes the public service delivery initiative by adding another unnecessary and inefficient layer of bureaucracy that are the Bumiputera Development Units that will be created in all ministries. This will inevitably slow down the decision-making process as policies and plans are constantly evaluated on whether they will achieve the desired Bumiputera Agenda.

…more
Najib’s Bumi Agenda overturns NEM, ETP and GTP
Ong Kian Ming
Sep 17, 2013 – Malaysiakini

29
Sep
13

Najib’S New NEP aimed to deliver more GOODIES to the Umnoputras

42 years after the New Economic Policy (NEP) was launched by his father, Tun Abduk Razak, Prime Minister Najib Razak has now followed in his father’s footsteps with a new national policy specially aimed at enhancing Malay participation and control of the economy and which is expected to run into the year 2020.

There are many reasons to fear the worst from this new national policy. Firstly unlike the NEP which was initiated following the racial riots of May 1969, this policy is clearly linked to Najib’s fear of losing his position as president of UMNO in the coming UMNO general assembly elections. Najib has also made references to the fact that the new policy is to reward the Malay voters who supported UMNO during the last elections but this appears less strong a reason than his own survival as UMNO leader.

Secondly, unlike the NEP which was at least endorsed by a larger multi-racial grouping in the form of the National Operations Council, the main catalyst for the so-called Bumiputra empowerment policy has come from Malay pressure groups such as the Malay Economic Action Council (MTEM), Perkasa, right wing Malay media and bloggers and their god father, Dr. Mahathir. In fact the MTEM has claimed the credit for the new policy. Completely side-lined even though the nation is not under emergency rule has been the cabinet as well as Parliament.

The apparent failure of the ruling BN coalition of parties to even be minimally consulted on the new policy speaks volumes of how much respect Najib has for his non-UMNO BN colleagues and for the principles of parliamentary democracy. It also shows that Najib – despite all the rhetoric of 1Malaysia and the inclusive scope of the New Economic Model – is prepared to sacrifice the interest of the non-Bumiputra component of the country’s population to secure his own and UMNO’s Malay interest.

Thirdly, the policy appears to be an open-ended one. Its range of initiatives is the entire range of socio-economic sectors where UMNO’s leadership feels that the Malay position needs to be strengthened – equity ownership, business, human capital, housing, state institutions, private sector jobs, etc.

Fourthly, even though the policy talks about Bumiputra and Malay empowerment, it is clear that the main beneficiaries will be UMNO members in the business community. According to media reports, the new initiatives will amount to $31billion worth but this is likely to be an under-estimate. We can expect the figure of government expenditure on the new policy to run into the hundreds of billion by the year 2020.

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NAJIB’S NEW NEP: A sucker punch aimed to deliver more GOODIES to the Umnoputras
Written by Koon Yew Yin
16 September 2013 – Malaysia Chronicle

28
Sep
13

Measures to empower Bumis may be unconstitutional

KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 16): The measures announced by the Prime Minister to empower the Bumiputera could be unconstitutional, says senior lawyer Tommy Thomas.

Thomas pointed out that Article 8 of the Federal Constitution stated that everyone is equal before the law and Article 8(2) stated that there should be no discrimination, therefore the measures under the New Economic Policy( NEP) have actually no foundation in the Constitution.

“It is unconstitutional in that sense. But nobody has tested it in the court yet,” Thomas said.

He viewed the announcement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to empower the Bumiputeras as “a big thank you by Najib to the Malay voters who voted his party,” while the other target is the Umno election, where he wants to be reelected.

Thomas was speaking to about 60 participants at a forum today entitled “Fifty Years of Democracy: Has it Weakened or Strengthened our Federal Constitution?”

Another speaker, Azmi Sharom, Associate professor at the law faculty, University of Malaya said that this is a classic example that showed “nobody applies the Constitution in real life” and that the Constitution has no influence on this.

“Article 8 stated that everyone is equal. We don’t have the power to treat people like this,” Azmi said.

While some Malays received the measures well, some felt embarrassed by the outright move by the government to help the community.

Wan Saiful Wan Jan, chief executive of Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs ( IDEAS) said that Najib’s announcement is a political move rather than an economic move.

He also believed that the measures had exceeded what the NEP set out to be.

“The announcement of Najib last Saturday was way beyond what the NEP even envisioned originally. Now he is specifically helping one ethnic group. This is why I think he has taken the implementation of NEP to an extreme, never envisioned by the people who introduced the NEP in the first place,” said Wan Saiful.

He said that the NEP launched in 1971 was meant to restructure society and eradicate poverty in the whole of society.

“The Malays will ultimately benefit from it because they are the poor ones, but the policy itself was overarching,” he said.

…more
Measures to empower Bumis may be unconstitutional: Tommy Thomas
by Chen Shaua Fui
Sep 16, 2013 – fz.com

28
Sep
13

FAQ: The Prevention of Crime Act amendments

Following the repeal of the Emergency (Public Order and Crimes Prevention) Ordinance 1969, Putrajaya is now turning to the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (PCA) to facilitate preventive detention and detention without trial.

The authorities claim that the Emergency Ordinance had served the country well, particularly against criminal organisations, and thus certain elements of the law must be retained and thus Putrajaya is trying to push for several crucial amendments to the PCA during the ongoing Dewan Rakyat session.

How drastic are the changes?

Essentially, the core structure of the PCA is retained, whereby a person suspected of having committed a registrable offense shall appear before an inquiry.

The registrable offenses is outlined in the PCA and generally cover crimes such as triad activities, drug trafficking and organised crime. If a person is found guilty by the inquiry, he will then be placed on a registry and will be subject to certain conditions.

The proposed amendments stipulates two conditions that can be imposed by a board through an inquiry, namely a detention order and a supervision order.

A detention order allows for detention without trial for a period of two years. This order can be extended by another two years by the board.

This order can only be applied if the inquiry has concluded that the registered person has committed two or more serious offenses and had contravened the conditions of the person’s earlier supervision order.

A supervision order allows for a registered person to be attached with an electronic monitoring device and imposes conditions such as restriction on internet use or meeting with other registered persons.

The supervision order is applied on a person in the registry who the inquiry has concluded had committed two or more more non-serious offences and had not received such an order before or had previously received a supervision order but had complied with all conditions imposed.

Does the home minister still call the shots?

Unlike the repealed Internal Security Act 1960 and the Emergency Ordinance, the minister will no longer have a free hand in ordering detentions.

Instead, detentions under the PCA can only be imposed by a three-member board, comprising a Federal Court judge, a Court of Appeal judge and a High Court judge.

Can you appeal against the board’s decision?

No. The newly introduced Section 15A(1) explicitly states that no judicial review is allowed against the board’s decision or findings in the exercise of its discretionary powers.

However, a judicial review is still applicable on matters concerning the board’s compliance with procedural requirements.

The requirements are spelled out in the newly included Section 7C that outlines the criteria a person must fulfill in order to be issued a detention or supervision order.

However, there is still a grey area, because while Section 15A(1) precludes judicial review for the board’s discretionary powers, Section 19A(2) allows for a High Court review of the board’s decision when ordering a detention or extending a registered person’s detention period.

…more
FAQ: The Prevention of Crime Act amendments
Nigel Aw
Sep 25, 2013 – Malaysiakini

27
Sep
13

Amendments a most “serious assault on human rights”

These amendments are absolutely scandalous and an antithesis to our democratic and fundamental rights to freedom from arbitrary detention and punishment, due process, rule of law and legal representation.

It goes without saying that the amendments are unconstitutional especially since Malaysia is living in peace time with no threats of subversion, insurrection or civil unrest as envisaged by Article 149 of the Federal Constitution.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has reneged on his promise to “respect human rights and liberties” which he said he would uphold when announcing the repeal of the Internal Security Act (ISA) and the Emergency Ordinance on Malaysia Day two years ago, said human rights group Lawyers for Liberty (LFL).

LFL’s co-founder and adviser Eric Paulsen noted that Najib had also “persistently lied and misled the public” when he continually assured that the government would respect human rights and would not revive detention without trial.

“Although the government may argue the amendments will only target organised crime, it is almost certain from the government’s appalling track record on the use of oppressive laws like the ISA, Sedition Act and Peaceful Assembly Act – the PCA will be misused against opposition politicians, dissidents and civil society activists,” Paulsen said in a statement last night.

“See for example how MP Dr Michael Jeyakumar and five other PSM activists were detained under the EO in 2011.”

The DAP has also criticised Najib for breaking his promise, secretary-general Lim Guan Eng saying yesterday that “Najib promised us national reconciliation, but he gave us national retaliation”.

Paulsen added that the proposed law and procedure amendments to the Prevention of Crime Act (PCA) constitute the most “serious assault on human rights” since 1988’s Operation Lallang.

The move to reintroduce detention without trial at Parliament yesterday was all the more deplorable as the amendments were done in “secret”, without consultation with the opposition, civil society and the Malaysian Bar, he said

“LFL is extremely shocked and concerned with the rash of proposed criminal law and procedure amendments with far-reaching implications.”

The amendments to the PCA tabled in Parliament yesterday upset opposition lawmakers as the amendments would allow detention without trial for up to two years, which is similar to the old Internal Security Act.

Additionally, the proposed amendments exclude the provision of judicial review, except if it is on procedural measures and denies legal representation to detainees except when their own evidence is taken during the inquiry process.

The PCA in its current form allows the detention of an individual for up to 72 days unlike the repealed draconian Emergency Ordinance that allowed detention without trial indefinitely.

LFL noted that the entire preamble of the Act was amended to include the provision under Article 149 of the Federal Constitution which states “threatened by a substantial body of persons inside and outside Malaysia to cause, or to cause a substantial number of citizens to fear, organised violence against persons or property”.

“These amendments are absolutely scandalous and an antithesis to our democratic and fundamental rights to freedom from arbitrary detention and punishment, due process, rule of law and legal representation.

“It goes without saying that the amendments are unconstitutional especially since Malaysia is living in peace time with no threats of subversion, insurrection or civil unrest as envisaged by Article 149 of the Federal Constitution,” Paulsen said.

…more
After Najib’s promise, a most “serious assault on human rights” – Lawyers for Liberty
BY ELIZABETH ZACHARIAH
September 26, 2013 – TMI




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All that is necessary
for the triumph of evil
is for good men
to do nothing.

- Edmund Burke
When the people
fears their government,
there is TYRANNY;
when the government
fears the people,
there is LIBERTY.

- Thomas Jefferson
Do you hear the people sing?

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