Friday, August 21, 2015

MADPET & 65 Groups - Repeal MAS Law That Suspends Or Deny Existing Worker And Trade Union Rights And Access To Justice



Media Statement-    4 August 2015 (now 66)
The statement was reported by Rakyat Post and also carried in Malaysiakini

Repeal MAS Law That Suspends Or Deny Existing Worker And Trade Union Rights And Access To Justice – Laws that deny worker rights to assist businesses should never be enacted

We, the undersigned 66 civil society organizations, trade unions and concerned groups, are disturbed by the Malaysian government’s unjust use of an Act of Parliament to suspend and/or deny existing worker rights in law, including also access to justice mechanisms, for the benefit of a private business and employer, being the Malaysian Airlines System Berhad(MAS Bhd), now wholly owned private company by Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund, Khazanah Nasional Berhad, a company.

Malaysia tabled and passed speedily the Malaysian Airline System Berhad (Administration) Act 2015 [Act 765], which came into force on 20/2/2015. This Act is most unjust to workers and trade unions of employees of the airline.

The Act, in section 11, states that “…on the appointment of the Administrator, a moratorium shall take effect during which… (e) no proceedings and no execution or other legal process in any court or tribunal may be commenced or continued with, and no distress may be levied, against the Administered Companies or their property except with the prior written consent of the Administrator;” – whereby the Administered company includes MAS Bhd, its wholly owned subsidiaries and some partially owned subsidiaries. The Administrator was appointed on or about 25/5/2015, and the period of administration could last for a maximum period of 2 years commencing from the date of the appointment of the Administrator. 

What is disturbing is that when administration and moratorium ends, all monies, assets and business of MAS Bhd would most likely be transferred to a new legal entity Malaysian Airline Berhad(MAB). MAS Bhd would most likely be left an empty shell.

Worker Claiming Rights Cases Against MAS Bhd – Stopped and May Not Proceed

There are currently many cases initiated and filed, now pending before access to justice mechanisms, including tribunals and courts between workers and MAS Bhd, the employer,   claiming wrongful dismissal and/or other worker rights, or between trade unions and MAS Bhd. The effect of the moratorium is that all these actions and cases will stop, and not proceed further until administration of MAS Bhd ends.  

At the end, when moratorium is lifted, MAS Bhd would most likely be an empty shell – with no work and no money. Hence, it will be workers and trade unions that will suffer. Workers and Trade Unions do not just lose their right to justice, but also will have to shoulder additional loses, including all the monies utilized for lawyer and court fees,  time and others. For many workers, it may also mean loss of wages for the days they could not work because they had to attend at relevant departments, tribunal or court in their pursuit for justice. Hence, not only will workers and trade unions be denied justice, but will suffer even more injustice by reason of this anti-worker legislation.

Right To Join Parties To Satisfy Worker Claims Against MAS Bhd Denied

Normally, when the employer has lost the ability to provide remedies, damages or compensation to satisfy the claims of the worker, to ensure justice, the worker can proceed with an application to join third parties to the suit, possibly the owners (Khazanah Nasional) or others.

This MAS Act now unjustly prevents this ability to join parties, in amongst others, in section 25(2), which states that “ The Malaysia Airlines Berhad, the appointer and the Administrator shall not be named as a party in any claim or application made or joined as a party in any proceeding commenced or continued by or on behalf of any employees or former employees of the Administered Companies pursuant to the Industrial Relations Act 1967 [Act 177], Employment Act 1955 [Act 265], Sabah Labour Ordinance 1950 [Sabah Cap. 67], Sarawak Labour Ordinance 1952 [Sarawak Cap. 76] or the Trade Unions Act 1959 [Act 262].’
In fact, section 25(1) says clearly, amongst others, that ‘…the Administered Companies, the Administrator, appointer or the Malaysia Airlines Berhad shall not—(a) be regarded as the successor, assignee or transferee or a successor employer to the Administered Companies; (b) be liable for any obligation relating to any retirement plan or other post-employment benefit plans in respect of the employees or former employees of the Administered Companies or any predecessor of the Administered Companies that exists prior to the assumption of control or appointment; or (c) be liable for any sum which is calculated by reference to a period of time prior to the Malaysia Airlines Berhad becoming the employer of the person in question…’

Same Owner of both MAS Bhd and new Malaysian Airline Berhad(MAB)

Considering that the it is Khazanah Nasional that is the sole owner of MAS Bhd, and also the new company MAB, clearly all that is happening is really nothing other than the ‘same person changing shirts’ – and justice would demand that the new entity MAB or the owner, Khazanah, should be justly taking over the obligation and responsibility of MAS Bhd especially for cases involving worker and trade union rights.

The new MAB and MAS Bhd, both owned by Khazanah, really is nothing other that the same owner forming a new company to escape responsibility and liability to workers, is also supported by the following:-
  1. Christoph Mueller, the new chief executive of MAS Bhd was appointed on 1/5/2015, would later assume the same position with MAB. Same CEO for MAS Bhd, and new MAB?
  2. When the employees of MAS Bhd received their termination letters in early June 2015, those that were offered employment by the new MAB, were offered a different termination package from those not offered employment in MAB. Those offered employment in MAB, which was to take effect from 1/9/2015, were asked to continue coming in to work in MAS Bhd, while the others, about 6,000, were asked to stop coming in to work with the assurance they will continue to receive normal salary but could not commence employment with another employer before 31/8/2015 unless they first get approval of MAS Bhd’s Human Resource Department. For many airline employees, other than basic wages, income from allowances and such if they are working makes up sometimes 50% or more of their monthly take home income. Rightly, all employees of MAS Bhd, irrespective of whether they will be later employed in MAB, should have received the same benefits and ex-gratia on termination by MAS Bhd.
In the name of justice, MAB or Khazanah or the Malaysian government should really take over the obligation of any or all claims of employees and trade unions against MAS Bhd.

Avoiding Just Principles of Lay-Off and Termination

When an employer wants to reduce staff, they would justly retrench the number of workers they no longer need – and there are just  requirements that need to be complied in any retrenchment exercise like the ‘Last In First Out’(LIFO) principle. Here, this is avoided by MAS Bhd simply terminating all employees on 31/8/2015. Justly, the about 6,000 who were no longer required to come into work since June, should have been laid off then and there and paid all their entitlements.

Union Busting?

With the termination of all employees of Malaysia Airlines Systems Bhd (MAS Bhd), it would also mean the demise of about 7 in-house trade unions.

The only national trade union, the National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia, managed to  show support of 62.73% of the qualified employees, and obtain the Minister’s order that made it  a recognized union in MAS Bhd. Rather than accept this, MAS Bhd  went  for judicial review challenging the Minister’s decision. NUFAM alleges that only 2 out 10 executive committee members of the Union, who are employees in MAS Bhd have been offered employment in the new MAB.

As such, this ‘restructuring exercise of the airline’ and this new law can also be considered a means of union busting.

Loss of Regular Employment Until Retirement

Many workers who are regular employees until retirement in MAS Bhd, who have been offered employment in the new MAB find that they will now become precarious employees on short-term contracts, some even on 3 or 6 months employment contracts. There is no law in Malaysia that stipulates that short-term contract employees will continue as employees if the work they were hired to do still exist. Short-term and other precarious forms of employment also would likely deter union formation or involvement, deter workers from claiming rights and facilitate easier exploitation of workers.

Ignoring Worker and Families Financial Security and Wellbeing

Workers in Malaysia have families and dependents, and also many now have monthly loan-repayment obligations, and justly they should be provided secure regular employment until retirement, whereby they still could be terminated for misconducts, or laid off where the employers has to reduce jobs.

Whilst Malaysia says that it is concerned about the airline business, it has demonstrated a serious lack of concern for the welfare and wellbeing of workers.

We therefore urge:-

That the said Malaysian Airline System Berhad(Administration) Act 2015 be repealed, and the effect this Act has had on workers and trade unions be reversed. No law should be enacted to suspend/deny worker rights for selected employers;

That all pending cases with regard to labour matters, be it with workers or unions, shall be justly resolved or settled forthwith by MAS Bhd, and its owners Khazanah Nasional;

That for all worker and trade union cases against MAS Bhd,  MAB and Khazanah Nasional shall agree to be joined in as parties and assume obligations of MAS Bhd to workers;

That if the Malaysian Airlines is desirous of reducing the number of employees, it be done by letting go employees in compliance with the Last In First Out(LIFO) principle and other established just legal principles;

That if the Malaysian Airlines is to be taken over by another entity, like the Malaysian Airlines Berhad(MAB), workers should be employed by MAB as secure regular employees and not by means of precarious forms of employment like short-term contracts;

That Malaysia considers the rights, welfare and wellbeing of workers and their families are just as important, if not more, than the wellbeing and profits of government-owned or linked businesses.  

Charles Hector
Syed Shahir bin Syed Mohamud
Mohd Roszeli bin Majid
Pranom Somwong

For and on behalf the 66 organisations, trade unions and groups listed below

ALIRAN
Airlines Workers' Union Sarawak
Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (Altsean-Burma)
Asia Monitor Resource Centre(AMRC), Hong Kong
Centro de Reflexión y Acción Laboral, CEREAL (Labour Studies and Action Centre), México
Center for Orang  Asli Concerns (COAC), Malaysia
Clean Clothes Campaign
Club Employees Union Peninsular Malaysia
Committee for Asian Women
CWI Malaysia (Committee For Workers’ International, Malaysia)

Daeduck Employees Union-Ind., CEPZ, Rosario, Cavite, Philippines
Eagle Ridge Golf Course and Residential Estate Employees Union, Cavite, Philippines
Electronic Industry Employees Union (EIEU) Southern Region, Peninsular Malaysia
Electronic Industry Employees Union(EIEU) Northern Region, Peninsular Malaysia
Garment and Allied Workers Union, Haryana, India
Globalization Monitor
Hye Sung Workers Union, CEPZ, Rosario, Cavite, Philippines
Institut PEREMPUAN (Indonesia)
Jaringan Kampung Orang Asli Semenanjung Malaysia(JKOASM)
Kesatuan Pekerja-Pekerja Perodua

Kesatuan Pekerja-Pekerja Mitsui Copper Foil(MCFEU)
Kesatuan Pekerja-Pekerja MHS Aviation Berhad(MHSEU)
Kesatuan Eksekutif AIROD
Kesatuan Pekerja-pekerja Perodua Engine Manufacturing Sdn. Bhd
Kesatuan Pekerja-Pekerja Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional Sdn Bhd (KPP Proton)
Knights For Peace, International
MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)
Network of Action for Migrants in Malaysia(NAMM)
Nagkakaisang Manggagawa ng Keyrin(trade union), CEPZ, Rosario, Cavite, Philippines
North South Initiative

Malaysian Humanist and Rationalist Movement ("myHARAM")
Malaysian Trade Union Congress(MTUC)
Metal Industry Employees' Union(MIEU), Malaysia
MAP Foundation, Chiangmai, Thailand
Masyarakat Akar Rumput (MAKAR Indonesia)
Migrante International
Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia (MERHROM)
National Union of Transport Equipment & Allied Industries Workers (NUTEAIW)
National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (NUFAM)
National Union of Hotel, Bar and Restaurant Workers (NUHBRW)

National Union of Journalist (NUJ) Cawangan Utusan Melayu
National Union of Tobacco Industry Workers(NUTIW)
National Union Employees in Companies Manufacturing Rubber Products(NUECMRP)
Non-Metallic Mineral Products Manufacturing Employees Union (NMMPMEU)
NUBE (National Union of Banking Employees)
Paper Products Manufacturing Employees’ Union of Malaysia (PPMEU)
Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM)
Peoples Service Organization (PSO)
Perak Women for Women Society (PWW)
PERMAS (Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor & Wilayah Persekutuan)

Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor
Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor
Persatuan Komuniti Prihatin Selangor dan Kuala Lumpur
PINAY (Filipino Women's Organization in Quebec), Canada
Pusat KOMAS
Railwaymen's Union of Malaysia (RUM)
Sahabat Rakyat (人民之友)
School of Acting Justly, Loving Tenderly and Treading humbly (SALT)
Solidarity of Cavite Workers, Cavite, Philippines
Tenaga National  Berhad Junior Officers Union (TNBJOU)

Tenaganita
Workers Assistance Center, Inc (WAC),
WH4C (Workers Hub For Change)
Yayasan LINTAS NUSA Batam – Indonesia
Kesatuan Pekerja-Pekerja AIROD Sdn Bhd
PROHAM - Society for the Promotion of Human Rights, Malaysia

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Do away with state-sponsored killing – Amy Maguire (Malaysian Insider)

Do away with state-sponsored killing – Amy Maguire

The execution by firing squad of Australian nationals Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in April this year brought the issue of capital punishment to the forefront of Australia’s consciousness and reignited debate over the practice on a global scale.

The two young men were executed alongside six others in Bali after being convicted of drug offences in Indonesia. In light of this we must ask what sort of crimes – if any – justify state-sanctioned killings.

Public opinion in Australia in relation to the executions was hard to discern. Polls reflected conflicting sentiments on the death penalty. In January 2015, a Roy Morgan poll found 52% supported the penalty for those convicted of drug trafficking overseas. A month later, a conflicting Lowy Institute Poll found 62% of Australian adults opposed the executions of Chan and Sukumaran.

The mixed public opinion in relation to these executions echoed that in evidence when Australians Kevin Barlow and Brian Chambers were hanged in Malaysia in 1986. A historical report from the Australian Institute of Criminology suggested public support for capital punishment at the time ranged from 43% to 70%, depending on the crimes. A national survey in May 1986, however, revealed only 17% supported the death penalty for persons convicted of serious drug trafficking. 
 
Despite the variance in public sentiment, in both cases the Australian government response was strongly stated and in definite opposition to the death penalty. The then prime minister Bob Hawke called the execution of Barlow and Chambers “barbaric”, sparking outrage in Malaysia. The remark drove a wedge between Australia and Malaysia. Relations were only rebuilt after the 2003 retirement of former prime minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

In response to the execution of Sukumaran and Chan, Australia’s prime minister, Tony Abbott, and foreign minister, Julie Bishop, labelled the killings “cruel and unnecessary”. Australia’s official response emphasised the men’s rehabilitation during their ten years on death row.

Hours after their deaths were confirmed, Tony Abbott announced the “unprecedented step” of recalling Australia’s ambassador to Indonesia. As many guessed, however, this move was only short-lived. The ambassador returned quietly about five weeks later.

Although ultimately ineffective, there is no doubt Australia lobbied strongly against the death penalty in the case of Chan and Sukumaran. Australia’s response to the executions reflected the official and well-established view that Australia is opposed to capital punishment in law and policy.

Yet the death penalty is imposed thousands of times each year and in many cases Australia and other abolitionist countries do not lobby strongly in protest. At a time when the issue is fresh in the public mind, an examination of the worldwide practice is warranted.

Which countries execute – and why?
 
Amnesty International reports annually on the imposition of the death penalty globally. It provides only minimum figures, because it only reports figures where reasonable confirmation exists. China, North Korea and some other states treat capital punishment as a state secret. The numbers executed in those states are not reported, although it is estimated that China executes and sentences to death thousands of people each year. Published reports of capital punishment statistics therefore exclude practices in China and North Korea.

In 2014, at least 22 countries carried out the executions of 607 people or more. At least 2,466 people were sentenced to death around the world. The five countries responsible for the most executions, according to confirmed data, were Iran (289), Saudi Arabia (90), Iraq (61), the US (35) and Sudan (23). In the US, 3,035 people were living on death row.

The death penalty is imposed in some countries for “crimes” which are not even regarded as such in many other countries. The Cornell University Law School Project Death Penalty Worldwide charts the practice of capital punishment in all retentionist countries. Australian observers of the death penalty are arguably most familiar with the punishment as it has been applied to drug offenders in some Southeast Asian countries.

However, in Afghanistan, it is legal for the state to execute a person convicted of apostasy, adultery or consensual homosexual sex. In Iran, the death penalty may be imposed for recidivist theft. In Saudi Arabia, executions are carried out as punishment for “crimes” including sorcery, witchcraft and repeat partaking of alcohol.

Although official statistics are unavailable, it is known that Chinese law permits capital punishment for serious graft or bribery offences involving large sums of money.

In 2014, executions were carried out in various countries by beheading, hanging, lethal injection and shooting. In the United Arab Emirates it is legal to execute by stoning. In 2014 all executions in the US were carried out by lethal injection – but some states retain other methods as legal options, including hanging, shooting, the gas chamber and the electric chair.

Amnesty International is currently campaigning to prevent the execution of people with mental or intellectual disabilities. Capital punishment continues to be imposed against people who lack the capacity to adequately understand their actions or punishment.

In January this year, the US states of Texas and Georgia executed intellectually disabled men. This contravened federal court bans on imposing the death penalty in such cases. Texas defines intellectual disability in relation to a character in the John Steinbeck novel Of Mice and Men rather than according to the standards set by medical science.

Globally, and notably in the US, the death penalty is also imposed disproportionately against the poor and those from minority racial and ethnic groups. In violation of international law, Egypt, Iran, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and other countries continue to execute juveniles.

Barbaric and ineffective
 
Even the most pragmatic analysis must reject the death penalty as ineffectual and unreliable. In the US since 1973, more than 150 death row inmates have been exonerated, often based on DNA evidence. There is no evidence that capital punishment is any more effective at deterring crime than life imprisonment.

States that carry out capital punishment debase their justice systems and devalue human life. The practice is indefensible regardless of the severity of the crime for which it is meted out. When imposed against the mentally ill, intellectually disabled people or children – or disproportionately against racial minorities and the poor – capital punishment is barbaric. Abolitionist countries are obliged to lobby against the practice, whether or not it affects their nationals. – The Conversation, August 10, 2015.

* Amy Maguire is lecturer in International Law at University of Newcastle.
  * This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.
 

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Sirul finally disclosing who ordered the killing? Not true it seems...but good if he does soon.

Sirul Azhar Umar and former Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri death sentence must be commuted to imprisonment.

WHY? Besides all the obvious reason why death penalty need to be abolished, in this case there are other reasons..

There has always been doubt whether these 2 persons were acting on their own, a view that gained even more strength when Sirul in Australia allegedly said that he was ordered/instructed/directed to do what he did...Stay alive they must so that we can also unravel who else were involved in the murder, and ensure that all responsible are caught, tried and duly sentenced...

Further, if we look at the trial transcripts, we find that the evidence are 'questionable'..remembering the fact that the 2 never confessed...so (1) Why will they take the police to the allege site and say that this is how and where they killed - doubtful too since it is just the testimony of police officers, uncorroborated with any tape or video recordings; (2) Jewelery in the jacket, and one of them told them this??? - odd, since would not the police have already gone to the house, car, etc of murder suspects to find any evidence that will solidify their belief... to say they went just when the suspect told them is odd to me (or maybe I have been watching too many TV programs), ... In any event, even the Court of Appeal (3 Judges) was not ready to affirm the conviction - and they acquitted both of them.

Political Agenda - PM or his wife may have ordered the killing? This is all not at all relevant for the moment - all that is important is that there should not be a miscarriage of justice...

There will be a 'miscarriage of justice' if they are both executed, and the full truth is thus suppressed..

Some say ' why did Sirul not say so earlier?' Well, if he did, then still this would be tantamount to admitting that he 'murdered' someone, and he would be facing the death penalty. I killed because I was ordered is certainly no defence. It makes sense, that now after the final appeal at the Federal Court is done that he now speaks out... after all, at this stage there is almost nothing to lose anymore...So, it was sad that the police here was not keen to re-open the investigation ...more to find and bring all others involved to justice. It was also most sad that Najib, as Prime Minister, did not call for the investigation to be re-opened...we certainly do not want any accomplice to get away scot free for murder...

 

 

  

 

Lawyer denies Sirul testifying in Aussie court on Altantuya murder

Thursday July 9, 2015
09:30 AM GMT+8
File picture of Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar (heads covered) during one of their court appearances in 2009. — Picture by Choo Choy MayFile picture of Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar (heads covered) during one of their court appearances in 2009. — Picture by Choo Choy May KUALA LUMPUR, July 9 — Sirul Azhar Umar’s lawyer has dismissed as a hoax a message circulating on WhatsApp that his client will testify in Australian courts that Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor ordered the ex-police commando to murder Altantuya Shaariibuu.

Local daily The Star reported Sirul’s lawyer, Hasnal Rezua Merican, as saying that the message on the mobile messaging app cited a purported report by Australia’s Herald Sun that Rosmah had ordered the killing of the Mongolian woman for blackmailing her husband, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

“I have checked with Sirul and he has absolutely no knowledge of saying any such thing or speaking with any journalist from the Herald Sun,” Hasnal was quoted saying.

“The message, which is being spread, is a hoax, and I believe that it originated in Malaysia and was meant for a local audience,” he added.

The Star reported the lawyer as saying that he could not find any such report by the Herald Sun. Malay Mail Online could not find the purported report either.

Sirul is being held at an immigration detention centre in Sydney when he went to Australia after he and former Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri were acquitted by the Court of Appeal in 2013 of murdering Altantuya.

The Federal Court reversed the acquittal last January and sentenced them to death by hanging.

Sirul has claimed that he had killed the 28-year-old Altantuya under orders, but did not mention who was behind such instructions.

Malaysia is seeking to extradite Sirul home to face his sentencing, but he remains in Sydney as Australian law forbids the government from sending criminals to countries that have the death penalty.
- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/lawyer-denies-sirul-testifying-in-aussie-court-on-altantuya-murder#sthash.fXClK8kL.dpuf

Malaysia's Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) adopt on 11 June 2015 for abolition of death penalty

Malaysian chapter of Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) will play a pivotal role to spearhead the people’s campaign to banish the death penalty....in Kuala Lumpur on June 11 had adopted the stance.

PGA Malaysian Chapter is headed by Tourism and Culture Minister and Padang Rengas MP Nazri Aziz while its deputy chairman is Minister in Prime Minister’s Department and Batang Sadong MP Nancy Sukri...The Secretary is DAP’s Ipoh MP M Kula Segaran

Kula said Nancy, who had raised the issue many times with the federal government, revealed that the Attorney-General in a June 9 reply to her written enquiry said his chamber’s study on the matter was still ongoing.

In 2010, Nazri, then Law Minister, said the federal government intended to abolish the death penalty while the AG in a statement in 2012 said that laws would be introduced to abolish it. 

PGA M’sia to play pivotal role in death penalty abolishment

 | June 17, 2015 
 
Its secretary says PGA Malaysia will promote and advance the abolition of the death penalty in Malaysia.
m,kula,The Malaysian bab Parlimen Tindakan Global (PGA)
GEORGE TOWN: The Malaysian chapter of Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) will play a pivotal role to spearhead the people’s campaign to banish the death penalty.

PGA Malaysia secretary and DAP’s Ipoh MP M Kula Segaran said the chapter’s meeting held in the Parliament House committee room in Kuala Lumpur on June 11 had adopted the stance.

He said PGA Malaysia sensed that there was a strong undercurrent movement in the country to end the death penalty.

However it also acknowledged that stronger public pressure and discussions with all stakeholders were required to bring real and long term changes.

“The meeting decided that PGA Malaysia will play the role of the promotion and advancement of abolition of the death penalty in Malaysia,” said Kula.

PGA is a non-profit, non-partisan international network of committed legislators that informs and mobilises parliamentarians in all regions of the world to advocate for human rights and the rule of law, democracy, human security, non-discrimination, and gender equality.

Currently it consists of over 1,100 legislators in more than 140 elected parliaments around the globe.

PGA Malaysian Chapter is headed by Tourism and Culture Minister and Padang Rengas MP Nazri Aziz while its deputy chairman is Minister in Prime Minister’s Department and Batang Sadong MP Nancy Sukri.

PGA’s Human Rights Committee chairman, Italian MP Mario Marazziti and its secretariat representative Maia Trujillo attended the meeting.

Other members present were Kota Melaka MP Sim Tong Him, Lanang MP Alice Lau Kiong Yieng, Bukit Katil MP Shamsul Iskandar, Ipoh Timur MP Thomas Su and Kapar MP G Manivannan.

Kula, the DAP national vice-chairman said Nazri reaffirmed his stand at the meeting that the death penalty must be abolished.

However Nazri acknowledged that in view of current public pressure, PGA Malaysia must first focus on repealing the mandatory death sentence.

Kula said Nancy, who had raised the issue many times with the federal government, revealed that the Attorney-General in a June 9 reply to her written enquiry said his chamber’s study on the matter was still ongoing.

Marazzitti also briefed the PGA Malaysia about his experience in getting the people and elected representatives to support the abolishment of the death penalty. He has written books on the subject and been instrumental in pushing for it in various countries.

In 2010, Nazri, then Law Minister, said the federal government intended to abolish the death penalty while the AG in a statement in 2012 said that laws would be introduced to abolish it.

“Although the above are positive developments, real changes into the abolishment have yet to materialise.

“In essence, Malaysians were not against the abolishment of the mandatory death penalty,” said Kula. - FMT News,17 June 2015

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Selangor Sultan saves a life in commuting death sentence of Filipino drug trafficker

Filipino drug convict in Malaysia spared from death penalty

Associated Press
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Malaysia's pardons board has commuted to life imprisonment the death sentence on a Filipino woman convicted of smuggling 5 kilograms (11 pounds) of cocaine at Kuala Lumpur's airport, the Philippine Embassy in the Malaysian capital said Tuesday.
 
The embassy said the pardons board of the central state of Selangor headed by Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah Al-Haj on June 15 commuted Jacqueline Quiamno's sentence following clemency requests from the embassy and her family.

The good news comes as the fate of another Filipino woman on death row in Indonesia for illegal drugs remains unclear. Mary Jane Veloso's execution on April 29 was postponed after appeals by the Philippines to allow her to testify against her arrested illegal recruiters.

Quiamno was arrested in 2005 and the Shah Alam High Court handed her a guilty verdict in November 2010. The verdict was affirmed by the Federal Court in July 2013.

The embassy, in a statement conveyed "its heartfelt appreciation to the Sultan of Selangor and the Selangor Pardons Board for this sterling manifestation of benevolence and compassion."

The death penalty remains in the statute books of Malaysia, and local courts continue to impose it in grave offenses. But the embassy said there has been a reluctance to carry it out in recent years pending the government's final decision on the proposal to abolish capital punishment. - Yahoo News, 30/6/2015

259 deaths in police custody since 2000 (FMT)

 A total of 259 deaths in police custody have been investigated from 2000 until now

Here we are just talking about deaths in police custody only - deaths in custody would also happen in prisons, other detention places, etc

The answer in Parliament seems to be just about how many have been investigated - so, how many more are yet to be investigated. 

How many policeman have been taken to court with regard death in custody - unfortunately the Bernama report is vague about this...

Where the death occurs is also of interest - did it happen in the police lock-up? police station during interrogation?  - There are CCTV cameras in the lock up, but when it come to the inquest, the reasons why we cannot see what was recorded....was (1) CCTV has no recording capacity... (2) spoiled... > hopefully now, we have CCTV with recording capacity not just at lock-ups but at all parts of the police station - maybe our policemen should also be equipped with CCTV on their person and on their patrol vehicles ... In Hong Kong, it has been a long time since every movement of the person is recorded, and the accused and the lawyer will be given a CD... very important to ensure that there was no torture...or anything done that was not permitted by law...Malaysia should really be putting that in place...Maybe today Malaysian lock-ups and police station also all have CCTV that records

259 deaths in police custody since 2000

June 15, 2015 
 
Inquest into 82 cases have been completed, while 12 are still ongoing, and no further action on another 100, says deputy home minister.

junaidi,kematian

KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 259 deaths in police custody have been investigated from 2000 until now, said deputy home minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

He said of the total, the inquests of 82 cases had been completed, while 12 were still ongoing, and no further action on another 100.

“Meanwhile, 34 cases were referred to deputy public prosecutors, 10 to magistrates, 16 are still under investigation and five had been taken to court,” he said in reply to G.Manivannan (PKR-Kapar) at the Dewan Rakyat today.

Manivanan wanted to know the breakdown on the number of inquests pertaining to death-in-custody cases by state, as well as the statistics on policemen who had been tried in court on the matter.

Wan Junaidi said of the 82 inquests which had been completed, Selangor recorded the highest number of cases with 22, followed by Johor (11), Kedah (10), Kuala Lumpur and Negeri Sembilan (eight), Penang (seven), Perak (five), Sarawak (four), Kelantan (three), Sabah (two) and Perlis and Terengganu (1).

Whereas for the 12 cases with ongoing inquests, Negeri Sembilan recorded the highest number with three, followed by two cases each in Penang, Selangor and Sabah, as well as one each in Perak, Kuala Lumpur and Johor.

In the meantime, Wan Junaidi said three court cases against police officers for various other offences had been reported in the same period, in which two cases had resulted in conviction, and one was still on trial.

– BERNAMA - FMT News, 1/7/2015

Friday, June 26, 2015

'Pota an open invitation for detainee torture' - Abolish Torture in Malaysia

See also: 

MADPET(26/6/2009):Make Malaysia Torture-Free - Ratify Convention on Torture, Set Up the IPCMC

Join the Campaign by signing the ONLINE PETITION 

Calling on Malaysia to ratify the UN Convention Against Torture

 ACT4CAT PETITION_2

'Pota an open invitation for detainee torture'

The Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota) 2015 can easily open up space for abuse and torture, cautions Malaysian Bar Council president Steven Thiru.

Speaking at the launch of the Joint Campaign for Malaysia's Accession to the Convention Against Torture (ACT4CAT) at University Malaya today, Thiru (photo) said that Pota in its current form contains many provisions that can be abused.

"Experiences of those held under the Internal Security Act (ISA) are perhaps the best evidence of torture in detention and there is enough in Pota to say that it is a revival of ISA," he said.

He warned that Pota had the potential to be even worse than the ISA as the latter at least defined its targets clearly while the former left the definition of a 'terrorist' wide open.

Plus the fact, he added, that someone who is arrested under Pota just 'disappears into the system'.

Thiru said that anyone arrested under Pota was handled behind closed doors and this could very well lead to torture being used on prisoners.

Thiru explained the situation was exacerbated by Section 10(3) of the controversial act which states that a police officer may '… procure and receive all evidence, whether the evidence be admissible or not under any written law, which he may think necessary or desirable.'

This provision implies that the officer has the sanction to utilise torture to extract evidence and information if he or she  deems it necessary.

'Be serious, stop torture'

"We need to say that we do not want Pota, because it seems that torture can thrive under it and we do not want any law that allows torture," he insisted.

This is one of the reasons why the Bar Council has lent their support to this joint campaign calling for the government to ratify the United Nations Convention Against Torture (UN-CAT), he said

Also for the campaign were Lawyers For Liberty (LFL), Suaram, Suhakam and Amnesty International Malaysia.

Amnesty International Malaysia executive director Shamini Darshni said they realised  there won't be an overnight change in terms of using torture if the government ratifies UN-CAT.

"It is an ongoing change but what we want is for the Malaysian government to show that it is serious about torture eradication," she said.- Malaysiakini, 26/6/2015

"...Torture is under-reported. That is a simple, plain fact. The numbers are vague and ambiguous because around the world, governments smother the truth to hide incidences of torture. And despite this, the general public consensus tells us that people are fearful of being tortured in the custody of the authorities. People should not need to live in fear. As a global community, we need to move towards recognition of torture as a cruel, inhuman and most importantly, a criminal act that violates the international understanding and acceptance of human rights...

Inmates and detainees are locked behind bars and tucked away from the sight of society. Hidden, the actions of the police force and other authorities remain unknown, hence unquestioned. Hidden, inmates remain vulnerable to torture and cruel treatment with no means of voicing it. Imprisonment for a crime is not a warrant to disregard the rights of an individual. 

Right here, right now, why do we need to address torture in Malaysia? Suaram reports that in 2015, there have been 9 cases of deaths in police custody – 6 in hospital, 1 in lock-up, 1 in prison and 1 in a detention centre, bringing the total number of deaths in police custody to 251 from the year 2000. Amnesty International Malaysia’s focus this year has been in joining the call for the establishment of a dedicated independent police oversight mechanism to tackle the issues of torture and deaths in police custody. 

Incidences of torture and questionable deaths continue to permeate law enforcement agencies. You are probably aware of the recent ghastly discovery of mass graves between the borders of Thailand and Malaysia. Most of the bodies found have either been Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in Myanmar or economic migrants from Bangladesh. In the past few months, a horror story began playing out at the Thai-Malaysia border. One hundred and thirty-nine graves of victims of human trafficking were discovered, after initial vehement denials of such camps on the Malaysian side. As this story unfolded, 12 police personnel were held on suspicion of having links to people-smuggling camps weeks before the Perlis police chief claimed there were no elements of foul play in 26 of the 139 human remains. Days later on June 22, when 21 bodies were laid to rest, the Home Minister revealed that causes of death included disease, starvation, torture and murder. What has happened and is happening to trafficking victims is barbaric. One of the many things this issue has exposed is how the police are unable to police themselves, and hence why we continue to advocate for the establishment of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission or IPCMC. Further, an Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience, Ali Abdul Jalil, who is facing three counts of sedition and was shuttled between police stations in Selangor and Johor in 2014, had alleged being punched in his stomach, slapped in his face, and hit on his leg with a baton and rubber pipe whilst detained at the Sungai Buloh prison. To date, Ali’s allegations of torture have not been investigated. 

A system of accountability is the essence of the UN Convention Against Torture. At the local level, a signatory is required to implement mechanisms to address the issue of accountability in torture cases. At the global level, signatories to the convention would be held accountable to international values and standards against torture. Ratification of the Convention Against Torture and its Optional Protocol will signal the Malaysian government’s effort to eradicate torture, ensure that torturers are found out and brought to book as well as demonstrate the intention to protect from harm those deprived of their liberty. 

The ratification of the UN CAT and its Optional Protocol will not mark a swift end to torture practices, but it will demonstrate a government’s firm commitment to put an end to a deplorable practice which has existed for far too long. Ratifying the Convention will also put a spotlight on domestic laws and their compatibility with the treaty obligations. The US Senate just last week amended its National Defense Authoritisation Act, or NDAA, to ban US officials from using torture techniques including mock executions, sexual humiliation, hooding prisoners and waterboarding. The amendment to the NDAA is largely attributed to distressing reports which revealed torture practices by the Central Intelligence Agency, or CIA – a laudable move in the effort to wipe out state-sanctioned torture...
 
What remains crucial is Malaysia’s commitment to eradicate state-sanctioned, state-approved, state-supported torture. Malaysia remains one of about 30 countries in the world that has not ratified the UN Convention Against Torture. It is almost mind-boggling that any government would not want to assure its citizens and the global community that it would not ill-treat, degrade, cause harm or inflict torture its people. Make no mistake, torturers are international outlaws. A robust international legal framework has been built up with the Convention Against Torture and over 150 countries are state parties to this UN Convention. This is real and meaningful progress. We want the Malaysian government to protect people within its borders, be it citizens or non. The culture of impunity must end....
 
Amnesty International Malaysia is honoured to be partnering with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia, the Malaysian Bar, Lawyers For Liberty and Suaram in this ACT4CAT Campaign, to advocate for Malaysia to ratify the UN Convention Against Torture and its Optional Protocol without delay. With the act of ratification, Malaysia would declare that it will no longer tolerate acts of torture and demonstrate solidarity with other members of the global community. AI Malaysia calls on the Malaysian government to recognise that it has the primary responsibility to strengthen the protection of people deprived, and to establish and implement effective safeguards against torture as a route to change. These include key safeguards implemented at the time of arrest, in detention, within the judicial process, during questioning and after a detainee is released.

In line with this call, Amnesty International Malaysia is launching a petition calling on the Malaysian government to ratify the UN Convention Against Torture. This initiative will run from today and conclude in December. The petitions are available on amnesty.my as well as on our social media platforms. We will announce the results of this petition in December...." - Extract of speech of Shamini Darshni, Executive Director, AI Malaysia - 26/6/2015 >> Source: Malaysian Bar Website
 

Friday, June 12, 2015

FINAL DECLARATION OF THE ASIAN REGIONAL CONGRESS ON THE DEATH PENALTY Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - June 12, 2015




FINAL DECLARATION
OF THE
ASIAN REGIONAL CONGRESS ON THE DEATH PENALTY
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - June 12, 2015


WE, the over 300 participants in the First Asian Congress on the Death Penalty, taking place in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), on June 11th and 12th, 2015, co-organized by the Association Together Against the Death Penalty (ECPM) and the Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN), in partnership with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) and the Bar Council Malaysia;
ADOPT the following Declaration;

WE EMPHASIZE:
- that every human being has the inherent right to life. This right must be protected by law;

WE ARE PLEASED:

- that over the last decades, five countries in the Asia region have abolished the death penalty for all crimes, Nepal, Bhutan, Philippines, Cambodia and Timor Leste;

- that Mongolia committed to the abolition of the death penalty by ratifying the 2nd Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of the United Nations (ICCPR);

- that some countries are abolitionist in practice (Brunei Darussalam, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Papua New Guinea, South-Korea, Thailand);

- that the relationships between civil society, National human rights institutions, bar councils, academics, jurists, journalists, and prominent figures for the abolition of the death penalty are being strengthened;

WE REGRET THAT:
- Asia remains the continent with the highest number of executions in the world.

- Since the beginning of 2015, some countries have resumed executions after the death penalty was suspended, such as Pakistan (over than 155 executions), Singapore and Indonesia (14 executions), while others plan to reintroduce the death penalty such as Sri Lanka and Papua New Guinea;

- The death penalty is still applied for non-most serious crimes with reference to ICCPR definition and international standards;


WE CALL ON:
Asian Retentionist states:

- To work toward the abolition of the death penalty to comply with the resolutions for a moratorium on executions, pending the abolition of the death penalty, passed by the General Assembly of the United Nations since 2007;

- To publish transparent, regular and reliable information on their implementation of the death penalty;

- To reform the justice criminal systems to ensure fair trials and stop the use of mandatory death penalty: “the automatic and mandatory imposition of the death penalty constitutes an arbitrary deprivation of life, in violation of Article 6, paragraph 1 of the ICCPR”, and is fundamentally incompatible with the right to fair trial and due process guaranteed in Article 14;

- To reduce by law the list of crimes punishable by death, including those related to the drug trafficking and the fight against terrorism in accordance with the “most serious crimes” provision of the ICCPR;

Intergovernmental regional organizations and international organizations:

- To continue and intensify their cooperation with States toward abolition;

- To collaborate with Asian and international civil society to promote the universal abolition of the death penalty;

Asian Abolitionist states:

- To commit, beyond words, in concrete and stronger actions in favour of the universal abolition of the death penalty, especially in their diplomatic relations with the retentionist states and with the inter-governmental regional organisations;

- To take the lead of the abolitionist movement among regional human rights bodies;

- To sign and ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR and to call on other Asian states to do the same;

- To provide assistance and support to national citizens on death row abroad;

People’s representatives (Parliamentarians, Congressmen, Deputies):

-  To gather in national, regional and international networks and bring the debate to abolish into the heart of retentionists Parliaments;

National Human Rights Institutions:

- To work jointly at a national and regional level to bring the issue of the abolition of the death penalty among their priorities and recommendations;

Bar Councils:

- To mobilize, raise awareness and train lawyers and jurists everywhere in Asia on the fight against the death penalty, including on defences in capital cases, for due process and fair trials

Judges in retentionist countries:

- To use their discretionary power to individualize sentences, to not sentence to death or to encourage juries to decide not to condemn to death;

Abolitionist civil society and academic actors:

-  To NGOs, lawyers, academics and human rights defenders in Asia-Pacific to join the Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) to promote human rights and the abolition of the death penalty;

- To act jointly with, and eventually join, the World Coalition against the Death Penalty and strengthen interactions;

- To undertake educational activities in favour of abolition with the public, including policy makers,  students; and to celebrate every year the annual World Day against the Death Penalty on October 10th and the Cities for Life on November 30th;

- To actively continue in our work towards abolition of the death penalty including supporting and attending the upcoming World Congress against the death penalty in Oslo in June 2016.

Kuala Lumpur
June 12, 2015

* Participants came from about 22 Asia-Pacific Countries, and there were many others from Europe and America.