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Monday, October 10, 2011

‘Justice not seen to be done’

A human rights lawyer says a Court of Appeal decision on a death-in-custody case has not served justice and gives the impression the police are above the law.

KUALA LUMPUR: The family of the man who died in police custody is dismayed. A human rights lawyer is disappointed. This because a Courts of Appeal ruling gives the impression the police are above the law.

On Friday, the Court of Appeal, headed by a three-person panel consisting of Abu Samah Nordin, Mohd Hishamuddin Mohd Yunus and Aziah Ali, decided to set aside a 2009 High Court decision which had found the police liable for the death of Mohd Anuar Sarip, 31, and had awarded the family some RM1.5 million in damages.

Human rights lawyer P Uthayakumar said his client, Suzana Md Aris, the widow of the Mohd Anuar, who died more than 10 years ago while being remanded in the Rawang police station, was devastated yesterday and was “immediately speechless”.

“Despite 12 years waiting for justice in respect of her husband who was ‘killed’ after police beat him to death, she has to hear the awful decision from the court,” said Uthayakumar.

He said the Court of Appeal ruling on a death-in-custody case, was akin to “condoning the various police abuses that are occurring in the country”.

Uthayakumar, the Human Rights Party (HRP) pro tem secretary-general, said he was disappointed with the court’s decision which would “send a wrong signal that the Royal Malaysian Police are above the law”.

“The judgment amounts to just that. Are the courts condoning the abuse of police powers, the continuing of the countless deaths in police custody, and the police shoot-to-kill policy?” asked Uthayakumar.
He said the Court of Appeal ‘s reason was that the victim was a drug addict.

“So what does that mean? That he deserved to die in the police lock-up?”asked Uthayakumar.
He said other grounds cited was that Mohd Anuar had a pre-condition of pneumonia, but he argued that no one should die in police custody, but rather in a hospital.

Full scale cover-up

Uthayakumar also said the court also reasoned that a clinic which treated Mohd Anuar was not cited as a party in the law suit, but he argued that the family had no way of knowing that fact as the police had “stonewalled us all the way”.

“We wrote about 20 letters, but all the relevant documents were never given to us. There was no way we knew that a hospital had treated him, it was only revealed in court later. An inquest should have been held in the first place,” said Uthayakumar.

He alleged that Mohd Anuar’s death was a “full scale cover-up” by the police, with the collusion of the medical authorities.

“The court also ruled that when Mohd Anuar had vomited blood the police brought him to a clinic and were therefore negligent as the hospital attendant did not refer him to a doctor or got him admitted to a hospital,” said Uthayakumar.

On Friday , the Court of Appeal delivered its decision on an appeal by the government and former Inspector-General of Police Norian Mai over a High Court decision to award RM1.4 million in damages to Suzana after finding the former negligent over the death of Mohd Anuar.

Last June, the Kuala Lumpur High Court granted the damages to Suzana, 44.

On Oct 20, 2009, High Court judge Kang Hwee Ghee had ruled that the police had been negligent after failing to take reasonable steps to aid Mohd Anuar, who was in the Rawang police lock-up on suspicion of being a drug addict.

Mohd Anuar, a trader at a wet market, died in the lock-up in August 1999 due to lung complications; specifically, his cause of death was “massive pleural effusion secondary to bronchalpneumonia”.

Suzana had filed the law suit in 2000 against DSP Ishak Hussin, then the Gombak CID chief, the district police chief ACP Massari Hashim, and Norian as well as the government.

The High Court had later dismissed the summons against the two lower-ranked officers (Ishak and Massari) and ruled that only the former IGP and government are responsible for paying the damages.

Uthayakumar said he would be filing an appeal to the Federal Court against the Court of Appeal decision.

Undilah video is a message on democracy

The Sun Daily
by Pauline Wong

PETALING JAYA (Oct 9, 2011): Despite the storm in the teacup that is the Undilah video, director Pete Teo remains unperturbed, even if slightly baffled, that its message on democracy would have attracted such a controversy.

The 4.48-minute video which features many well-known local personalities from celebrities to politicians and man on the streets, have been yanked from the air following a directive from the Malaysian Communication and Mulitmedia Commision (MCMC) - sparking off criticisms against the regulatory body.

Even though the MCMC clarified that the directive was made because the video had yet to be approved by the Film Censorship Board, the criticisms especially in the social network continues unabated..

Teo, despite it all, is still steadfast in spreading the message behind the video: that every Malaysian has a right to vote.

The inspiration for the video came to Teo when he was invited to speak at TED x Kuala Lumpur early last year.

"I was asked to speak on What Malaysia Needs. When researching for the talk, I realised what Malaysia needs is actually something simple - for the public to reclaim the country. Since this is a democracy, we can do it through the ballot box," he told theSun in a recent interview.

"As it is, we have about four million out of 15 million eligible voters who haven't registered. Of these four million, 75 percent are under the age of 30.

"This means that a huge proportion of the people who ought to be propelling the transformation of Malaysia aren't even registered to get their voices heard," he said, adding that he had enlisted the collaboration of well known actor, writer and director Adflin Shauki during a late supper in a meeting in Australia.

According to Teo, they agreed to turn the venture into a three-way collaboration, and sought out controversial rapper/actor Wee Meng Chee, better known as Namewee.

Namewee - the producer and main actor of hit local movie, Nasi Lemak 2.0, gained notoriety when he let loose a series of no-holds-barred videos on everything from Tenaga Nasional Berhad to Negaraku.

The collaboration was on hold until the trio could synchronise their busy schedules.

"It wasn't until when all our schedules cleared enough for a meeting a couple of months later that the project started in earnest," said Teo.

"Namewee came out with a song that Adflin and a friend added Malay and Tamil lyrics to. The video took almost a year to complete," he said.

Having produced the well-received 15Malaysia, a series of short films, Teo was eager to put his experience to full use.

"The concept of the video is fairly simple, as most good things are. A pop video is not a place to get all intellectually deep and argumentative.

"The message is: this is our country. Own it. Claim it. Citizens can do this by participating in the process of electing its government," he said.

Teo's message is echoed by his leading man, Namewee.

"The message of the video is to tell Malaysians that they are the boss," said the controversial rapper.

"If we are not happy (with the way things are run) then we can register, vote, and be in control."

The video has now gone viral on YouTube, despite the controversy, and comments from Information, Culture and Communications Minister Datuk Seri Rais Yatim that the video might be 'offensive to some people'.

With 400,000 views and counting, it would seem that the message is out there, and still going strong -- offensive or otherwise.

Deadly dreams: Man slaughters his children in their sleep

Farooq butchered Saba,3, and Waheed, 5, claimed to have had a vision. PHOTO: FILE 

MULTAN:A man killed two of his children in their sleep on Saturday evening. According to police officials, Mumtazabad Ram Kali resident Muhammad Farooq slaughtered his three-year-old daughter Saba and five-year-old son Waheed while the children were asleep. Farooq told police that he had seen a dream in which he had been ‘commanded by Allah to sacrifice his children in his name’.
The children’s mother came to know about the murder the next day when she found their decapitated bodies in their beds. “I immediately called police,” Mahnoor Bibi said.

A large number of people gathered outside Farooq’s house and protested.

“My son is mentally ill and we were trying to conceal his condition from our neighbours because there is discrimination.

He did not know what he was doing. This is a tragic incident but he is not to blame,” said Farooq’s mother Basheeran Bibi.

Police officials said that there were conflicting reports as to why Farooq had committed the murders. “His wife said he did it after seeing it in a dream but his mother insists that he did it because he was concerned about finances and didn’t think he could feed his children,” inspector Shahid said.

The bodies of the children have been shifted to Nishtar Hospital for an autopsy. Two of Farooq’s children, Akhtar and Sadaf, who were sleeping in another room survived. Police have arrested Farooq and registered a case.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 9th, 2011.

Bersih: Police corporal ‘scapegoat’ in Tung Shin scandal

Bersih steering committee member Maria Chin Abdullah said that pinpointing one scapegoat is not going to give the public any confidence that any investigation is going to be fair. — file pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 9 — Bersih 2.0 said today authorities have made a scapegoat of the policeman held solely responsible for firing tear gas into Tung Shin Hospital during the July 9 rally for free and fair elections.

“This is ridiculous. Everyone saw ... the whole world saw the video. The poor guy is the scapegoat.

“If you say just one, did they really do a proper investigation? How can they say it’s one?” Bersih steering committee member Maria Chin Abdullah told The Malaysian Insider.

Kuala Lumpur police had said yesterday that the police corporal who breached standard operating procedure (SOP) during the rally would be disciplined.

“Just like the minister of health (Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai) who denied Tung Shin was attacked by police, this is a denial that more than one police officer was involved,” Chin added.

In a report made public on Tuesday, the Health Ministry had determined that police acted in an unethical manner and breached SOP when dispersing demonstrators who had converged on the hospital to escape riot police.

The report prompted a statement from Home Ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Mahmood Adam that the matter would be referred to the police disciplinary committee.

“If you deal with abuse in this manner, having one scapegoat is not going to give the public any confidence that any investigation is going to be fair,” Chin said.

Police had absolved themselves of any wrongdoing during the July 9 rally after setting up six internal teams to investigate claims of police brutality that followed after nearly 1,700 were arrested, scores injured and an ex-soldier died during chaotic scenes in the capital.

But Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai ordered a second probe into the Tung Shin incident on July 14 after a group of medical consultants had written to the media refuting the hospital board and police who claimed that no gas canisters or water cannons were fired into the hospital.

Police finally admitted on July 21 that Tung Shin was hit with tear gas canisters and water cannon during the rally, but denied shooting directly into the compound.

But this claim flies in the face of various video clips uploaded on the YouTube video-sharing site showing water cannon and tear gas being fired into the hospital area.

PM: `Pilihan raya dah dekat’

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak juga menegaskan BN bukan parti kelas rendah yang hanya disokong petani dan nelayan

KUALA LUMPUR: Perdana Menteri hari ini memberitahu ahli penyokong BN hari ini bahawa pilihan raya umum ke 13 sangat dekat.

Berucap di majlis penerangan perdana BN Wilayah Persekutuan di PWTC, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak berkata “gendang pilihan raya sudah dipalu dan gemanya semakin dirasai”

“Anda sendiri boleh mendengarnya.”

Beliau yakin BN akan menang sekali lagi berdasarkan kelebihan dan kekuatan  yang ada.

Bagaimanapun, beliau mengingat komponen mengadakan persiapan di tahap terbaik kerana BN memasuki pilihan raya mahu menang dan bukan mahu kalah.

“BN ada kekuatan sekali lagi untuk menang kerana kita berkhidmat untuk rakyat,” katanya memberitahu 8, 000 ahli dan penyokong BN.
Pengerusi BN itu juga menegaskan BN bukan parti kelas rendah yang hanya disokong oleh petani dan nelayan.

Menurut Najib beliau mahu BN turut disokong oleh orang bandar terutama di Kuala Lumpur.

Jangan sabotaj

“Kuala Lumpur penting walaupun Kuala Lumpur bukan lagi deposit tetap (BN),” tambahnya.
Pengerusi BN itu mengingatkan semua komponen BN menyelesaikan masalah masing-masing selain tidak menimbulkan masalah baru.

Beliau juga tidak mahu orang parti sendiri membuat sabotaj sebagaimana yang berlaku dalam pilihan raya kecil sebelum ini.

Menurutnya, ada seorang setiausaha bahagian Umno membuat sabotaj dalam pilihan raya kecil kerana tidak terpilih sebagai calon.

“Bayangkan rumah Setiausaha Umno bahagian ja, 10 malam sudah gelap, buat pura-pura tidur. Dia tutup pintu rumah,” katanya.

Najib memberitahu seorang wakil rakyat BN Sarawak selama tiga penggal telah lari ke London kerana merajuk tidak terpilih menjadi calon.

Say no to racist politicians

There is no credible national effort to destroy the racist mentality.
By R Kengadharan 

The fundamental problem in Malaysia today is racism, and each day it escalates to a more dangerous level.

We cannot ignore the ugly truth that racism is the consequence of privilege, institutionalised discrimination and the claim of supremacy by one group.

The sad thing is that there is no national effort on a credible scale to destroy the racist mentality.

We must destroy racism by openly condemning it and rejecting it in whatever form it takes, including the form of a race-based political party.

The result of the 2008 general election did provide a ray of hope for a political system dominated by two multiracial parties, but the euphoria was short-lived.

No true political observer can be oblivious of the fact that racial politicking is making a comeback and threatening to push the nation ever backward.

While the vast majority of Malaysians see nothing but ugliness in racial politics, there are still many politicians who believe they cannot survive unless they continue to advocate race politic – and to hell with the consequences on the nation’s future.

Why, for instance, do we need to be constantly reminded about the dark days of the 1969 riots?
It ought to be the duty of political parties to take stern action against their members who arouse racial sentiments.

The government, especially, must act swiftly against them. Meanwhile, responsible citizens must never succumb to these racist instigations.

However, the best means of defeating racism is to educate the public on our cultural diversity and to take pride in it.

Racism is a menace and we must cripple it by restructuring our mindsets through discourse and activities that foster solidarity.

But, meanwhile, we can deal with racist politicians by:
  • rejecting all race-based policies and agendas;
  • rejecting any political party that represents only one race;
  • rejecting any attempt to indoctrinate the ideology of a supreme race;
  • boycotting every activity that encourages racism; and
  • challenging the constitutionality of any law with an embedded racist agenda.
R Kengadharan is a lawyer and a former ISA detainee.

Bajet Najib gagal tawan hati semua lapisan rakyat – Azmin

(Nabihah Hamid)
SHAH ALAM: Timbalan Presiden KEADILAN, Mohamed Azmin Ali menyifatkan Bajet 2012 yang dibentang Datuk Seri Najib Razak sebagai ‘gula-gula’ untuk meraih sokongan pengundi pada pilihan raya umum ke-13.

Beliau menyifatkan Bajet 2012 itu gagal menawan hati semua lapisan rakyat sebagaimana Belanjawan Pakatan Rakyat yang dibentang tiga hari lebih awal.

“Ini bajet pilihan raya tetapi Pakatan Rakyat sudah bersiap sedia dan melaksanakan tanggungjawab kepada rakyat dengan melancarkan bajet Pakatan.

“Kita tidak menolak kepentingan kakitangan awam kepada kemajuan negara, sumbangan perkhidmatan awam penting.

Namun begitu tumpuan juga harus diselaras kepada semua pihak.

“Dalam pembentangan semalam, tidak ada insentif untuk kakitangan swasta,” katanya kepada Suara Keadilan selepas menyampaikan ucaptama di forum bertajuk Malaysia dan Sejarah yang belum berakhir anjuran Akademi Pak Sako di sini, malam tadi.

Untuk menjana ekonomi, Ahli Parlimen Gombak itu berkata, Najib harus beri keadilan kepada kedua-dua sektor, bukan hanya mengutamakan sebelah pihak sebagai gula-gula pilihan raya.

Azmin juga menyifatkan Bajet 2012 yang meneruskan defisit untuk tahun ke-14 berturut-turut sebagai ancaman ekonomi dan memerlukan pengurusan kewangan dalam keadaan bajet berhemah.

“Kerajaan menyasarkan kutipan hasil tahun hadapan berjumlah RM186 bilion tetapi RM181 bilion akan digunakan untuk operasi mengurus manakala baki 50 bilion ringgit akan digunakan untuk pembangunan,” katanya.

Beliau berkata, tata kelola yang baik harus meletakkan bajet pembangunan melebihi perbelanjaan pengurusan tetapi Bajet 2012 memperlihat 70 peratus peruntukan pengurusan melebihi pembangunan.

“Masalah defisit tidak akan dapat ditangani disebabkan peruntukan pengurusan melebihi pembangunan.
“Justeru, rakyat melihat secara komprehensif tentang bajet yang dibentangkan dan tidak hanya memfokus kepada satu dua perkara yang dilihat sebagai gula-gula pilihan raya BN,” katanya.

Lawyer: PAS cannot go hudud

The Star

PETALING JAYA: Despite the PAS bravado about implementing the hudud law in Kelantan without the approval of the Federal Government, it cannot be done unless the Federal Constitution and other laws are amended.

Human rights and constitutional lawyer Syahredzan Johan said the barriers set by the Federal Constitution and other legal provisions governing Islamic laws made it impossible for PAS to make its hudud plan a reality.

He said the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 provided limits to the jurisdiction of Syariah Courts in meting out punishment.

“Under the Act, Syariah Courts cannot mete out punishment of a jail term exceeding three years, fine of more than RM5,000 or whipping of more than six strokes, or any combination thereof.

“Under hudud, there are punishments such as stoning or amputation,” he said.

Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat had said that the state government would set up a special technical committee to implement the hudud law.

Syahredzan said hudud law also violated the provision on equality under the Federal Constitution that stipulates everyone is equal before the law.

“The punishment for a Muslim under hudud could be more severe than for a non-Muslim for the same offence,” he said.

Since the hudud jurisdiction is non-discretionary, Syahredzan said any person convicted would have no room for appeal.

“Although it takes a lot to convict a person since the evidential burden is quite high, it may also expose a Muslim suspect to double prosecution and punishment, one under the civil law and one under hudud,” he said.

DAP national chairman Karpal Singh also said it was wrong for the Kelantan government to say that it was ready to implement hudud without the approval of the Federal Government.

He said it was not the Federal Government's place to sanction hudud as it was the Constitution which must be amended.

“As for DAP, we have reiterated that hudud is unconstitutional. Pakatan Rakyat leadership needs to sit down and find ways to overcome this,” he said.

MCA Youth chief Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong called on Pakatan to come clean and inform the people of its stand on PAS.

“Is Kelantan a Pakatan or PAS government. Pakatan must answer this question. Is PAS part of Pakatan?” he questioned.