MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Malaysian government’s selective listening

“The issuance of a licence to legalise sports betting is no longer an issue as a decision has been made. We always listen to the people’s wishes and put their interests above all.”

PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, declaring after an Umno supreme council meeting that the government would not legalise sports betting. The issue had aroused much controversy even within the Barisan Nasional. TheMCA and MIC backed the motion to legalise sports betting, but Umno Youthspoke out against it. (Source: The govt will not legalise sports betting, says PM, The Star, 27 June 2009)

“[The royal commission’s investigation] will be on the (MACC’s) procedures relating to its investigation, not the investigation on Teoh’s death and the normal investigations conducted by the MACC.”

Najib, in explaining that a royal commission of inquiry would not be investigating Teoh Beng Hock’s July 2009 death while in custody of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). Instead, only an inquest – seen as being hamstrung – was ordered into Teoh’s death.

This was despite pleas from Teoh’s family, civil society, the MCA and MIC to set up an independent royal commission of inquiry to probe Teoh’s death. Najib said the royal commission of inquiry would only be set up after the inquest into Teoh’s untimely death was completed. (Source: Inquest into Teoh’s death, Royal Commission on MACC’s treatment (Updated with Q&A), The Star, 22 July 2009)

“People are saying that no woman has been caned before and that Kartika should not be caned.

“Today I am announcing that we have already done it. There is no hidden agenda, we are merely executing our responsibility.”

(Courtesy of theSun)

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, in announcing that the state, under syariah law, had caned three women for “illicit sex”. Hishammuddin only made the announcement nine days after the caning of the three, in an apparent attempt to lend credibility to the punishment that had been sentenced on Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno.

The Kuantan Syariah High Court had sentenced Kartika, a Muslim, to six cane strokes in 2009 for consuming alcohol. Women’s groups and the Bar Council decried the sentence, and whipping in general, as cruel, inhuman and degrading.

The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality appealed to Najib to take immediate steps to address the issue of whipping as a punishment, especially since research showed that it was not an effective deterrent, even to violent or sexual crimes. These appeals did not stop the government from whipping the three Muslim women.

The Sultan of Pahang, however, later reduced Kartika’s sentence to three weeks’ community service. (Source: 3 women caned for having illicit sex, The Star, 18 Feb 2010)



(Courtesy of theSun)

Repeated calls to the Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil about the findings of a special task force report into the rape of Penan women and girls were met with silence. This was even though women’s and indigenous groups kept calling on the government to release the findings so that the Penan could be protected from further sexual violence.

The task force report was only made public nearly a year later, after continuous pressure including from The Nut Graph. (Source: Shahrizat keeps mum on Penan report, The Nut Graph, 19 May 2009)

“The [Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC)] contravenes principles found in the Federal Constitution and existing laws.”

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz, explaining the reason the government refused to set up the IPCMC even though human rights groups and the Bar Council have continuously called for its implementation to curb police abuses.

The de facto law minister also said the police would be oppressed if it were the only enforcement agency monitored by the IPCMC. The government replaced the IPCMC Bill with the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission Bill, which covers 21 enforcement agencies.

However, lawyer and The Nut Graph columnist Andrew Khoo pointed out that the Federal Constitution actually separates the police force from other enforcement agencies, and also allows for the setting up of a police force commission. Meanwhile, reports of deaths in police custody and police shootings continue to mount. (Source: Nazri: IPCMC would have been “unconstitutional”, The Nut Graph, 30 June 2009). Courtesy of Nut Graph

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