Posts Tagged ‘Human Rights


US report highlights rights abuses resulting from 1MDB scandal

US report highlights rights abuses resulting from 1MDB scandal

Various human rights abuses resulting from attempts to contain the 1MDB scandal was highlighted in the US Department of State’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2016.

“In the wake of a government financial scandal dating back to 2014, whistleblowers and critics faced censorship, police intimidation, investigation, and criminal charges.

“Print and broadcast media outlets self-censored news coverage of the scandal.

“Online media offered more independent and critical perspectives, but were often the target of legal action and harassment, leading one site to shut down,” read the report.

The report, released in the US earlier today, had generated its own controversy as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson broke from tradition by being absent.

Among others, the report highlighted the prosecution of Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli and the blocking of and The Malaysian Insider, all of which were linked to the 1MDB scandal.

Rafizi was on Nov 14 sentenced to 18 months in prison for leaking parts of the auditor-general’s report on 1MDB which the government had refused to release and classified it under the Official Secrets Act 1972.

The PKR vice-president remains free for now pending an appeal.

“In January the government blocked access to publishing platform Medium after it refused to remove an article hosted on its site about a financial corruption scandal involving the prime minister.

“In February the government blocked popular online news outlet The Malaysian Insider for ‘violating national laws’, allegedly related to its reporting on a government financial scandal. The site closed a month later,” said the report.

Medium was blocked after Sarawak Report used the platform to publish a report claiming Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak was negotiating an exit over the 1MDB scandal.

The Malaysian Insider was blocked after it published an article relating to evidence to possibly prosecute the prime minister in relation to the 1MDB scandal.

Najib claimed the multi-billion ringgit deposit in his personal bank accounts, first highlighted in July 2015, was not from 1MDB but a “donation” from a member of the Saudi Arabia royal family.

He denied wrongdoing or taking public funds for personal gain.

Changes in MACC highlighted

The report also highlighted changes in the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) after it probed the 1MDB scandal.

“In August the top three MACC officials retired or transferred to other ministries.

“Opposition leaders and NGOs criticised the changes as ‘the death knell of the MACC’ following multiple transfers of other key personnel in 2015 that stalled investigations into billions of dollars in funds allegedly stolen from state-owned development company 1MDB,” it said.

US report highlights rights abuses resulting from 1MDB scandal
4 Mar 2017 – Malaysiakini


Govt has little interest in defending human rights in Malaysia

Suaram queries Shafee’s appointment as human rights envoy

The new Malaysian ambassador-at-large for human rights “has no credible record on defending human rights in Malaysia”.

KUALA LUMPUR: Putrajaya should cease its attempt to misdirect the international community on its human rights record, said Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) in a statement.

The on-going human rights violations and clampdown against freedom of expression and other human rights, added Suaram Executive Director Sevan Doraisamy in the statement, “makes it clear that the government has little to no interest in fulfilling its obligations to defend human rights”.

Suaram was questioning “the unconvincing decision” to appoint Muhammad Shafee Abdullah as the Malaysian ambassador-at-large for human rights. “He has no credible record on defending human rights in Malaysia,” charged Doraisamy.

If the government was genuine in its commitment to human rights in Malaysia, continued the NGO, it would have appointed the new commissioners for the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) by now. “It would have increased the financial allocations for Suhakam instead of cutting its budget by half,” said Doraisamy.

Suhakam has been without commissioners for the past month, lamented the Suaram Chief. “The statement in Parliament on Suhakam by Paul Low — Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department — was misleading.”

He referred to Suhakam, according to Low, agreeing to limit its operation to the Klang Valley. “This highlights the hypocrisy (on human rights) of the government,” said Doraisamy.

Suaram queries Shafee’s appointment as human rights envoy
June 13, 2016 – FMT


European Parliament slams rights abuse

Malaysia a ‘pariah state’, MP says after European Parliament slams rights abuse

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 19 – Malaysia risks being stuck as a “pariah state” if Putrajaya fails to address the concerns that the European Parliament has expressed about Malaysia’s worsening human rights situation, a DAP lawmaker said today.

The European Parliament passed a resolution on Malaysia Thursday that called for the withdrawal of the controversial National Security Council (NSC) Bill 2015 and for the repeal of the Sedition Act 1948, noting a spike in the number of people facing charges or arrest under the colonial-era law.

“If nothing changes in the immediate future, Malaysia risked being stuck as a pariah state as claimed by former Prime Minister [Tun Dr] Mahathir Mohamad,” Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim said in a statement.

“All these concerns expressed in the European Parliament resolution on Malaysia are not new. The opposition and civil society in Malaysia have long been fighting an uphill battle against a regime apathetic to the voice of the people.

“Elected representatives and civil rights activists have been incarcerated, and subjected to various abuses by the government in this struggle. The EU resolution only highlights the gravity of the problem at this juncture,” the opposition MP added.

Malaysia a ‘pariah state’, MP says after European Parliament slams rights abuse
December 19, 2015 – MMO


EU deplores deteriorating human rights situation in Malaysia

European Parliament resolution of 17 December 2015 on Malaysia

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;

European Parliament resolution of 17 December 2015 on Malaysia (2015/3018(RSP))


The Criminalization of Peaceful Expression in Malaysia – HRW report

Human Rights Watch

The 143-page report, “Creating a Culture of Fear: The Criminalization of Peaceful Expression in Malaysia,” documents the government’s use and abuse of a range of broad and vaguely worded laws to criminalize peaceful expression, including debates on matters of public interest. The report also spotlights a disturbing trend of abuse of the legal process, including late night arrests and unjustifiable remands, and a pattern of selective prosecution.

The report is based on an in-depth analysis of laws such as the Sedition Act, the Printing Presses and Publications Act, the Communications and Multimedia Act, the Peaceful Assembly Act, and various provisions of the penal code. The report includes interviews with civil society activists, journalists, lawyers, academics, opposition politicians, as well as public statements by the government and media accounts of criminal proceedings involving free speech or peaceful assembly. Human Rights Watch wrote to the Malaysian Minister for Home Affairs, the Attorney General, the Inspector General of Police and the chairman of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission requesting their views on the issues raised in the report; none of them responded.

Download report


Human rights principles ARE UNIVERSAL

Human rights principles universal, not open for negotiation — Amnesty International

AUGUST 18 — Amnesty International Malaysia views with concern remarks made by Prime Minister Najib Razak that human rights in Malaysia should not be defined according to universal standards, but instead, according to the Islamic context and shariah principles.

“We seek to remind Prime Minister Najib that Malaysia has already subscribed to the spirit, substance and norms contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) when Malaysia became a member of the United Nations in 1957. The principles of the UDHR are universally accepted principles of customary and international human rights law. By virtue of their universality, these principles take precedence over faiths so as to ascribe a sense of equality among all persons.

“The remarks seem to suggest that the standard and principles of human rights remain open for negotiation. They are not,” Amnesty International Malaysia executive director Shamini Darshni said.

Article 2 of the UDHR expressly provides for the universality of rights and freedoms without regard for religion, while Article 18 provides that every individual has the freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

Evolving concepts of international human rights law provide for the rights, and protection of, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) communities around the world while abuses related to sexual orientation or gender can infringe other fundamental principles of the UDHR, including the right to protection from torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment (Article 5), arbitrary detention due to one’s identity or beliefs (Article 9) and basic rights of due process.

Human rights principles universal, not open for negotiation — Amnesty International
August 18, 2015 – MMO


Security must not come at the price of liberty, Suhakam tells Putrajaya

KUALA LUMPUR, April 8 — The government’s duty to ensure the country’s safety does not negate its responsibility to uphold citizens’ rights and the rule of law, the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) said in criticising Putrajaya’s decision to revive detention without trial.

While expressing support for government efforts to combat the risk of terrorism, the commission insisted that laws such as the Prevention of Terrorism Bill 2015 (Pota) must still be consistent with local and international human rights standards.

“Although the government has an obligation to ensure that the constitutional rights of its citizens are protected by taking positive measures to counter threats of terrorism and extremism, the Commission reiterates that such measures must not pose disproportionate challenges to fundamental human rights and the rule of law, and jeopardise the principles of democracy,” Tan Sri Hasmy Agam, the chair of Suhakam, said in a statement yesterday.

Promises that Pota would not be abused to stifle political dissent also failed to appease Suhakam, which pointed out that the lack of oversight, transparency, and accountability meant that there were insufficient safeguards to prevent possible misuse of the law.

Among others, Suhakam highlighted the lack of judicial review over detention orders issued using the law as well as the prohibition of legal representation for individuals who will be held without trial, saying these were clear violations of fundamental rights enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

“In consideration of the above, the Commission calls on the government to be committed to upholding its international human rights obligations and urges for a revision of the Act, with full and meaningful consultations with all stakeholders, including the Commission,” Hasmy added.

Security must not come at the price of liberty, Suhakam tells Putrajaya
April 8, 2015 – MMO

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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?