The Nik Raina Case: Time for JAWI to end its Persecution

June 24, 2015

The Nik Raina Case: Time for JAWI to end its Persecution

by Mark Clements@

Nik Raina wins

When then Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced that Malaysia was already an Islamic state, alarm bells immediately sounded, yet no one could have imagined the consequences of such a declaration.

It was September 29, 2001, at Gerakan’s 30th national delegates conference, when he boldly said –

“UMNO wishes to state loudly that Malaysia is an Islamic country.Thinks, says Mahathir This is based on the opinion of ulamaks who had clarified what constituted as an Islamic country. If Malaysia is not an Islamic country because it does not implement the hudud, then there are no Islamic countries in the world.

“If UMNO says that Malaysia is an Islamic country, it is because in an Islamic country non-Muslims have specific rights. This is in line with the teachings of Islam. There is no compulsion in Islam. And Islam does not like chaos that may come about if Islamic laws are enforced on non-Muslims.”

Almost immediately, Nik Aziz Nik Mat, the then spiritual leader of PAS, issued the following riposte –

“You can talk all you want. You can declare a piece of wood to be gold, or a wheelbarrow as a Mercedes, but in reality, nothing has changed.

For us, an Islamic country is one which is governed according to the tenets of the Quran and Hadith. Malaysia is a secular State. If the present Malaysia is already an Islamic state, then what do you call the state ruled by Prophet Muhammed and his friends?”

In a nutshell, Mahathir was arguing that Malaysia could interweave Islamic principles into the fabric of Malaysian life without the need to introduce hudud law, and without enforcing such laws on non-Muslims. Or in more current terminology, in moderation. Nik Aziz, however, took the opposite view.

Over the course of time the ever increasing infusion of Islamic principles into the public sphere led to two judicial systems taking root in the country, one governing civil law, and the other, syariah.

Those two streams of justice were never intended to meet, withjamil-khir-baharom syariah meant to only cover personal law relating to Muslims – until, of course, the Kelantan State Assembly passed its hudud enactment in March this year. But that is a discussion for another occasion.

Even in the sphere of personal law, these streams could not be kept apart. Until today, conversion and renunciation cases and inter-religious divorce and custody battles rage on unabated.

Muslim civil judges appear sometimes in a quandary when confronted with issues affecting the tenets of their own faith. In the ‘Allah’ case, for example, the train of thought of some of the judges appeared to begin from the premise of their personal faith, rather than the Federal Constitution.

In other cases, judges have been known to shy away from exercising civil jurisdiction if the cases before them showed any hint of Islamic law, often leaving disputing parties without proper resolution.

The latest manifestation of the two streams of justice mingling with unfortunate consequences has been in the case of the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department’s (JAWI) pursuit of Borders Bookstore manager Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz.

In May 2012, Nik Raina was charged by JAWI under Section 13(1) of the Syariah Criminal Offences (Federal Territory) Act for allegedly selling a book that defiled Islam.

Absurdly, the facts showed that the book in question, Irshad Manji’s “Allah, Liberty and Love,” had not been banned or prohibited by the Ministry of Home Affairs or by any other religious authority at the time she was charged.

That ban only came three weeks later, presumably to justify her prosecution.

Concluding that she was charged simply because she was a Muslim and because JAWI could neither exercise jurisdiction over her employer nor her non-Muslim supervisor, the civil Court of Appeal found that the proceedings against her were “unreasonable”, “irrational” and offended “the principle of fairness and justice.”

Taking the cue from that decision, the Shariah High Court discharged Nik Raina.

One would have thought that the matter would end there, but JAWI was unrelenting. It pursued an appeal to the Shariah Appeals Court against the Shariah High Court’s decision!

Rosli-DahlanIt seems that it was only after her counsel Rosli Dahlan threatened contempt proceedings against JAWI that they relented and filed a notice to withdraw the appeal.

Elation and relief which followed, however, were short-lived and quickly replaced by anxiety and despair when the Shariah Court Registry fixed the withdrawal application for hearing on June 23.

To add unnecessary drama, Nik Raina’s lawyer was informed on the morning of the hearing that he would not be permitted to appear on her behalf unless he filed a fresh certificate of legal representation (wakalah). He eventually did, at the eleventh hour!

Thankfully, in the end, sanity was restored when the Federal Territory Shariah Court of Appeal, comprising Syariah Judges Yusup Che Teh, Hussin Harun and Aidi Mokhtar endorsed JAWI’s withdrawal of the criminal appeal and struck out the charge against her.

Yet, all is not well just because it ends well.

A teary-eyed Nik Raina lamented the three years of victimization she suffered at the hands of over-zealous officers from the religious department.

“Every time I was asked to sit in the dock, I felt like a common criminal. I felt so sad. I could not understand what wrong I had done. My family also suffered much shame and humiliation,” she sobbed.

She was grateful, though, for the outpouring of support she received. “I am proud that right thinking Malaysians, Muslims and non-Muslims, rallied behind me,” she said. “Malaysians have not lost their sense of right and wrong. They knew JAWI did me wrong.”

“JAWI’s actions give Islam a bad name not only here but internationally,” she goes on to say.

“Borders Bookstore provides a wholesome career to those who love Irshad Manji's bookbooks and knowledge. We even take interns during holidays. If this can happen parents will be afraid, and employers will be reluctant to hire Muslims.” “What good does that do for Malays,” she asks.

“I appeal to JAWI not to proceed with their leave application to appeal to the Federal Court. Please let this be the last time that I have to come to court, please, I beg you,” she pleads to listening reporters.

“JAWI cannot act arbitrarily and violate the Federal Constitution and the Rule of Law. Religious agencies should not do anything that will disrupt our multiracial, multi-religious and multicultural society. Civil and syariah laws can co-exist if interpreted harmoniously and by the authorities ensuring that they do not deliberately take advantage of any conflict of laws or other kinds of conflicts that may come into play,” he says.

Malaysia’s laws must be interpreted justly, harmoniously and with absolute clarity. The simple argument is that the Federal Constitution is the supreme law, and laws passed by Parliament and state assemblies are subordinate to it.

“Syariah courts cannot be ranked the same as the civil court as (these) religious courts are established by state laws,” retired Federal Court Judge Gopal Sri Ram was quoted as saying last year, adding that Parliament and the State Assemblies have no power to enact laws which are in conflict with the Federal Constitution.

The principle appears simple, clear and correct.Yet, are our judges brave enough to uphold it? They would do well to heed the words of former Lord President Salleh Abas, who once wrote, “[W]e have to set aside our personal feelings because the law in this country is still what it is today, secular law, where morality not accepted by the law is not enjoying the status of law.”

Nik Raina’s ordeal is not yet over. The Federal Court is due to hear JAWI’s application for leave to appeal from the decision of the civil Court of Appeal. Common sense dictates that they will withdraw it. But will common sense prevail?

Get serious about fighting corruption

June 24, 2015


READ THIS by DAP Senator Tunku A. Aziz:

One lesson we should never ever forget is that politicians as a breed are pathological liars. There are naturally one or two who are reliable and decent.But seriously, you would probably be better off trusting a cat with a plate of fried fish. Opposition politicians are no exception to this universal truth. So keep an eagle eye on them too, including me, just to be on the safe side.–Tunku A. Aziz (2011)

Corruption exists because people vested with power can act with impunity. Our system of governance breeds little Napoleons and big ones and rapacious rent seekers at all levels. Only the little ones are charged and punished. We as citizens are forced to bribe to get anything done.

Therefore we need a total revamp of our public administration and make politicians in power and public officials accountable for their actions. An all-powerful Executive Branch is unacceptable. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely (Lord Acton). Our present system is rotten.

Gani Patail 2Attorney-General with Power without Accountability

For example, we have to take a critical look at Article 145 of the constitution to ensure that the power of the Attorney-General is subject to oversight by a constitutional court. At present, he has “the power, exercisable at his discretion, to institute, conduct or discontinue any proceedings for an offence, other than proceedings before a Syariah court, a native court or a court-martial”[ art. 145 (3)]. The Attorney-General has security of tenure since he cannot “…be removed from office except on the like grounds and in the like manner as a judge of the Federal Court”. [art.145(6)]

But we should not act on a piecemeal basis. In stead, we should  establish a Royal Commission to review our Constitution and make appropriate recommendations. We need a system of public administration that is open, transparent and accountable.

At the same time we must ensure that no party or coalition is given two-thirds majority to enable it to amend the constitution ever again. For that to happen we must have electoral reforms to ensure free and fair elections supervised by a truly independent Elections Commission. So back to the Constitution, and why not.–Din Merican

 Get serious about fighting corruption

by Wan Saiful Wan

We must separate the roles of the Attorney-General as legal advisor to the Government and Public Prosecutor who prosecutes cases in court.

IT has become fashionable for critics to express dissatisfaction every time the Auditor-General presents his report to Parliament. So when the second report this year was tabled on June 15, the reaction was generally expected.

But the reaction from Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed is particularly important. Nur Jazlan, who is also Ideas’ Council member this time, says that he is disappointed with the performance of many Government agencies because they have failed to improve.

Nur JazlanPAC Chairman Nur Jazlan

He also said that not long ago he praised Government officials for showing improvements every time the Auditor-General’s report is published. But he felt compelled to retract that praise because this time it was particularly bad.

He went on to say that many of the problems originate from the attitude of civil servants. Apparently the quality of our civil servants has deteriorated, and they don’t even bother to read the rules.

When the PAC Chairman makes such a bold statement, you know that there is something really wrong in the way civil servants manage our money. It is ironic that the Prime Minister recently announced a bonus for our civil servants despite such abysmal indictment.

Under Nur Jazlan, the PAC has been doing a much better job in identifying weaknesses in Government machinery and in demanding accountability. In fact, thanks to the PAC, the public now knows about the risk posed by Pembinaan PFI Sdn Bhd, a Government-linked company that has one of the biggest liabilities among Malaysia’s GLCs. The company has been off the audit radar for almost 10 years, despite the large amount of debt that it has accumulated.

The work of bodies like the PAC is important in our push for better governance in the country. The issues the PAC looks into are not necessarily about corruption.Their responsibility is wider, covering also problems such as leakages and failure to adhere to published policies and procedures.

Fighting corruption, on the other hand, is more commonly associated with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). I am still waiting to see if the MACC would act on a recent admission by Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi that a Special Branch report found that around 80% of our border enforcement officers are involved in corruption.

Nevertheless, I am very aware that even if the MACC were to start an investigation, that is only half of the journey. The other half lies outside of the MACC’s jurisdiction, and that is the prosecution of corruption cases.

TS Abu KassimTan Sri Abu Kassim of MACC

Our system is designed in such a way that the MACC, just like the Police, can only investigate and not prosecute. Prosecution is the sole discretion of the Attorney-General, who doubles up as our Public Prosecutor.

I have no problem with the MACC not having the power to prosecute. In fact, I think it is right to keep prosecutorial powers away from the investigation agency. Back in 2012, we at IDEAS looked into this issue and compared the experience of Indonesia and Hong Kong in fighting corruption.

We published the findings in July 2012 and concluded that it really does not matter whether or not the MACC has prosecution power. Instead, what is most important is the integrity of the Judiciary and the Attorney-General’s Office.

Any effort to improve the quality of MACC, therefore, will have to be accompanied by reform in both the judiciary and the Attorney-General’s Office. Focusing on the MACC alone is not sufficient.

If we want to see a more effective fight against corruption we must separate the roles of the Attorney-General as legal advisor to the Government and Public Prosecutor who prosecutes cases in court.

Let me justify that with a simple analogy using the case of the allegedly corrupt border enforcement officers.Let’s say the MACC do investigate the allegation and find that the problem runs all the way up to Ministerial level.

The MACC then passes the files to the Attorney-General. How much confidence do we have that the Attorney-General will prosecute his friends in Cabinet? It is obvious that as legal advisor to the Government, he is conflicted. How can he prosecute the very party he is supposed to advise?

There are actually many more proposals to improve the MACC that deserve public attention. If you are interested in this topic, I suggest you search for reports published by the Special Committee on Corruption now chaired by Tan Sri Abu Zahar Ujang. This bipartisan committee, whose membership consists of members of the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara, regularly comes up with some very good ideas.

One of those ideas is for the MACC to be given independence in recruiting their own officers. This suggestion has been mooted since 2010 and it makes a lot of sense. To be truly independent, MACC cannot continue to be dependent on seconded staff from the Public Service Commission, because this creates a conflict of loyalty.

But unfortunately, this idea has not received the attention that it deserves from the Government. There are times when I ask myself if our Ministers are really serious in the fight against corruption. For if they are really serious, why are they ignoring sensible ideas coming from a committee whose membership is from among their own colleagues?

Don’t they realise that the longer they choose to do nothing, the more people will feel that they have things to hide?

Wan Saiful Wan Jan is Chief Executive of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (

Rosli Dahlan Vs MACC: MACC Witnesses contradict each other

June 10, 2015

COMMENT: I have been following and writing about the cases of Dato Ramli and his brilliant and Din Merican Newgutsy lawyer Rosli Dahlan over several years. What emerges from their battles with the MACC and the Attorney-General via our courts confirms that the culture of impunity is deeply entrenched in our system of governance.

Both these organizations feel that they can use their power without accountability to punish citizens at will. Most Malaysians suffer in silence but not Rosli Dahlan and his client, Dato Ramli Yusuff.They went to our courts and won but only at a huge cost in terms of time attending court sessions, emotional pain and stress, and  money.

I once asked Lawyer Rosli why he had to go after both MACC Chief Abu Kassim and Attorney-General Gani Patail now. He told me that he was delighted to have been cleared by the courts of those charges. He said that he wanted to redeem his professional reputation and personal integrity since both Abu Kassim and Gani Patail were responsible for dragging him needlessly to court in the first place. Then I said, mala fide? But Rosli did not respond. I suppose that is for the courts to decide.

The MACC Chief Commissioner and the Attorney-General do not  respect our courts. Their staff too are arrogant  and having sworn to tell  “the truth nothing but the whole truth”  they had the audacity to lie and contradict each other before the esteemed judge during testimony yesterday.

Even the findings of the Royal Commissions like those concerning the death of Teoh Beng Hock, the V K Lingam Correct, Correct video tape and Project IC (Sabah) can be put aside. They believe that nothing can happen to them. They think that they will not be punished for serving their political masters to silence dissent and  put the fear of God in citizens who are defending their fundamental rights and seeking justice from our courts. They have shown that they are prepared to drag cases through various levels of our justice system since  they have taxpayers’ money to underwrite their legal costs whereas victims of their irresponsible actions have to use their hard earned savings, or mortgage or sell their houses to defray court and legal expenses.

Their purpose is clear and that is they do not care if they lose their cases. They want put ordinary law abiding citizens through public humiliation and emotional hell so that we all can be cowed. We are fortunate have people like Rosli Dahlan and Dato’Ramli Yusuff who have the courage and stamina to defend their dignity and personal integrity, and seek justice.–Din Merican

Rosli Dahlan Vs MACC: MACC Witnesses contradict each other

FMT Reporters


The third day of the defence case in the court battle between lawyer Rosli Dahlan and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) continued today with defence witnesses making substantial concessions and appearing to contradict each other under cross-examination.

Taking the witness stand first, investigating officer Azmi Ismail began by denying knowledge of the case by answering “I don’t know” to a series of questions posed to him by Rosli’s counsel, Chetan Jethwani and Parvinder Kaur.

Chetan then pointed out to him that he was in fact the officer who effected service of the notice on Rosli and also the one who lodged a report against ex-Commercial Crimes Investigation Department chief Ramli Yusuff.

At this, his answers appeared to change to “I cannot remember” at one point, incurring a rebuke from presiding Judge Su Geok Yiam when he claimed not to know the circumstances surrounding the service of notice on Rosli.

Intense cross-examination of witnesses

The intense cross-examination which followed, however, appeared to yield several concessions and contradictions.

Azmi eventually admitted being aware that the cases between Rosli and Ramli were inter-connected and that Rosli was in actual fact merely a witness and not a suspect in the case.

He also admitted to being the officer who investigated allegations of corruption made against Ramli in 2007 although that had been “only for a while.”

When Chetan pressed him as to what he meant, Azmi replied, “I had recorded statements from three witnesses.”

“What did they say,” Chetan asked.

“They admitted they did not know Ramli and they never gave him bribes,” Azmi told the Court.

“Did you state these in your investigation papers,” Chetan asked further.

“Yes,” Azmi replied.

“Thereafter, I was asked to hand over my investigation papers to Saiful and I was taken off the case,” he said.

“I did not get involved anymore and don’t know what happened,” he added. “So, I don’t know much about the notice case.”

When asked where the witnesses were from, Azmi replied, “Perak,” adding, however, that he could not remember their names.

(In proceedings earlier this week, former MACC prosecutor Kevin Anthony Morais had alleged that notices had been issued to Ramli because there was information that Ramli had received bribes. Similarly, investigating officer Saiful Ezral Arifin had testified that MACC were in possession of witness statements containing allegations of bribery involving Ramli.)

Azmi went on to admit that during his time as the investigating officer in Ramli’s case he had never met, let alone interviewed, Moo Sai Chin.

He also testified that Moo had become untraceable after having implicated Ramli.

Azmi also told the court that investigating officers for the case had been specially selected, and that he had been instructed by his superiors to stand down, contradicting Saiful’s earlier testimony that the choice was random.

He also conceded that Rosli had been friendly and cooperative with him, even to the extent of sharing a meal when he attended to serve the notice on Rosli.

Azmi also told the court that an investigating officer will know when a suspect or witness in his case was arrested, contradicting Saiful’s testimony yesterday that he had no knowledge of Rosli’s arrest because he had been on leave.

Admitting that in the usual course a suspect would be released on bail after all formalities had been completed, Azmi told the court that the decision to charge Rosli, and the timing of his arrest, had been made by his superiors.

Rosli’s arrest as an “operation”

The next witness to take the stand for MACC was Augustine Manson who surprised observers by describing Rosli’s arrest as an “operation”.

Augustine, however, floundered several times when asked to identify which officer instructed the arrest, even contradicting his own witness statement.

Asked whether the answer in his witness statement was wrong, Augustine replied, “I don’t know. Can I explain? I was just instructed to participate in the ‘operation’.”

“Oh, so Rosli’s arrest was an ‘operation’, Chetan asked.

“Yes”, Augustine replied.

Augustine then sought to refer to an investigation diary which he claimed to have kept, detailing the arrest and the need to subdue him on account of his violent reaction.

“Do you agree you never mentioned about this diary in your witness statement or anywhere before,” Chetan asked.

“Yes, but I have it and can show it,” Augustine replied, forcing Chetan to apply to inspect the diary over the lunch break.

The afternoon’s proceedings then took an interesting turn with Chetan attempting to show that the diary had not been made contemporaneously with the event of the arrest.

Chetan: This morning you stated that from MACC HQ you went straight to Rosli’s office where Rosli was violent. Are you sure?

Augustine: Yes

Chetan: Now look at the entry in your ID which states that you left MACC HQ and went to Tropicana, and not to his office.

Augustine: Yes.

Chetan: This is different from your testimony this morning.

Augustine: Yes.

Chetan: So, which is true?

Augustine: This morning I was wrong.

When Chetan pointed out that the visit to Tropicana was not stated in Augustine’s witness statement, Augustine replied, “Yes, witness statement and this morning not correct.”

Chetan: Do you know how far these places are from each other?

Augustine: Sorry, I am from Sarawak and only 1 year in KL, I don’t know these places well!

Chetan then sought to establish various other contradictions in the diary, including Augustine’s claim that the house which he went to was occupied by a Chinese family, pointing out that Rosli’s identity card bore its address.

“I can’t blame you for not knowing where you went, since you had just come from Sarawak then and because you said that you just followed Moses.”

The court then burst into laughter when someone in the gallery was heard saying, “Hopefully, he didn’t follow Moses across the Red Sea!”

Augustine brought more laughter upon himself when he sought to explain the proper way to make an arrest and to apply handcuffs, only to later admit that he has never administered handcuffs on suspects himself.

After a brief re-examination by MACC’s counsel Rishwant Singh, proceedings for the day ended with Justice Su noting that both sides appeared battle weary.

Their battle resumes tomorrow.

Malaysia’s Ms. Reformasi speaks her mind in OSLO

May 26, 2015

Phnom Penh

Malaysia’s Ms. Reformasi speaks her mind in OSLO

OSLO, May 26 — Five years ago my father, Anwar Ibrahim, delivered a speech right here on Nurul-Izzah-Anwarthis very stage entitled ‘Half A Century of One Party Rule’. He was talking about my country, Malaysia, which has been dominated by the same party for more than 50 years.

That same year here at the Oslo Freedom Forum my father spoke on the same stage as Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who declared that: “When you meet Anwar, be careful.” During his visit to Malaysia, Julian was detained by secret police just hours after speaking to my father.

My father – a popular and unifying figure in my country’s history – is seen as a very dangerous man by the UMNO party regime. When he served as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance in the 1990s, he amended the corruption act to further strengthen it – which displeased the political elites – and by September 1998 his anti-corruption campaign led to his sacking from government, arrest, his beating under custody whilst blindfolded and handcuffed, and his eventual sentence and imprisonment in trials that were condemned by rights organisations and governments worldwide.

Initially, it was announced that at least 20 charges would be brought against my father; including treachery, being an American and Israeli agent, corruption and sodomy. They did forget to throw in the kitchen sink. They jailed him for six years, much of which he spent in solitary confinement.

Anwar’s trials earned Malaysia our own International Commission of Jurists report– the very same body that observed Nelson Mandela’s flawed trial. It was entitled: Justice in Jeopardy, Malaysia 2000.

As I speak to you today, Anwar, my father, and the former Opposition Leader of Malaysia, is behind bars again on his second trumped-up charges of sodomy.

I have been told that of the nearly 200 speakers in this conference’s history, only four are in jail right now: my father, Nayeel Rajab from Bahrain, Thulani Maseko from Swaziland, Leopoldo Lopez from Venezuela. The Malaysian regime keeps some very authoritarian company.

Malaysia without AnwarSpecifically, for my father, this is his third incarceration since 1998. He is now in urgent need of medical attention. My father was also a political prisoner in his youth; when he was about my age. Thankfully, he grew more handsome over the years but no less rebellious.

The year 1998 brought the historic Asian Financial Crisis and my father’s imprisonment to Malaysia. Equally important for me, it marked my own political awakening.

As a child I wanted to be an engineer, and I would have pursued that if it wasn’t for the events of 1998. Well, I owe the Malaysian government many thanks for getting me involved in politics. Really, I do.

If my government didn’t abuse institutions – influencing the Judiciary, rigging votes, controlling the media, if they didn’t use force to shut their opponents up – my father would be free, and I might be working for Shell or any other decent oil and gas company. Or maybe not – not with oil at 60 dollars a barrel.

Well, now it is not just Anwar who is Malaysia’s most wanted. It also includes me and the whole opposition, the movement for free and fair elections (Bersih), and many others demanding for a democratic and just Malaysia.

In our last national elections in 2013, Anwar Ibrahim led the opposition to victory, winning 52 per cent of the popular vote. But he was defeated by extreme gerrymandering, malapportionment and election fraud. The ruling coalition clung to power by holding on to 60 per cent of the seats.

The Electoral Integrity Project, based in Sydney and Harvard University recently rated Malaysia as having the worst electoral-district boundaries in the world and among the worst election rules. This places Malaysia alongside countries like Zimbabwe, Angola and Egypt.

The government’s gerrymandering was compounded by the abuse of postal votes. In fact, out of 222 seats we lost almost 30 to postal votes and early votes alone! And since those flawed elections in 2013; almost 20 Members of Parliament and state legislators have been charged, arrested, and locked up, along with 150 others including lecturers, students, journalists, even cartoonist and ordinary citizens.

So now you might be thinking, “What about you, Izzah?”

Growing up, I was a prefect, and like the rest of you here – never smoked pot in my entire life. I played by the rules. I was a model example of a compliant citizen who wanted to go along and get along.

But, mind you, thanks to the corruption, oppression and sheer injustice of the Malaysian government, this girl scout is now a second term Member of Parliament – defeating two sitting Ministers along the way – thanks to my electorate who voted in favour of reforms.

In March, I was recently arrested and locked up for a speech I made on behalf of my father in Parliament.

Yes, beautiful, sunny, twin towers-clad Malaysia. But Members of Parliament have zero parliamentary immunity and can be arrested for sedition.

The whole experience of being a political prisoner in Malaysia is quite bizarre. We have a draconian 67-year-old prison rules that forbid slippers, for example, as the government claims they could be used for suicide. The colonial British laws the Malaysian government loves to preserve.

So you spend the night sleeping on the floor only to be asked questions such as:“Who is this Devil you referred to in your speech made in parliament?”

You see, I had condemned the Federal Court judges in my father’s case for having sold their souls to the Devil. I said this because Malaysia needed judicial reform. Along with electoral reform and fighting for a multiracial Malaysia – where diversity is seen as a strength, not something that divides us.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak (L) and his wife Rosmah Mansor (R) arrive at the airport in Tokyo on May 24, 2015. Najib is on a three day visit to Japan.   AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak (L) and his wife Rosmah Mansor (R) arrive at the airport in Tokyo on May 24, 2015. Najib is on a three day visit to Japan. AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO

Reformists in my country are the most wanted, and the most feared by our government. Why? Because we are the future – with a zeal for reforms.

Malaysia’s most wanted are those who clamour for an end to the unequal distribution of wealth and against corruption and extravagance of the men or women who govern over us.

Malaysia’s most wanted are those who despair that our children receive low international education rankings – at one point we were surpassed by Vietnam!

Malaysia’s most wanted are those, who reject the use of racial and religious extremism to scare indigenous Malays into voting for the status quo.

Malaysia’s most wanted are those, who realise anti-terrorism laws are often just guises to justify the detention of political dissenters in the name of ‘security and stability.’

Malaysia’s most wanted, who are sick to the bone with failed governance and mammoth financial scandals. Most recently is the controversial government investment fund, 1MDB has burdened Malaysia with a RM42 billion debt.

The Prime Minister also the Finance Minister is the chairman of 1MDB’s board of advisors. Dubious financial dealings now go hand in hand with the Malaysian government.

Shout out to Mr Tom Burgis – meet our very own Sam Pa.Malaysia’s most wanted are the young generation of Malaysia, who up to 88 per cent voted for my party in the recently concluded Permatang Pauh by-elections.

My father’s seat – which he lost upon his conviction – has been retained by our party, despite the enormous political and financial obstacles put in our way by the regime. Malaysia’s most wanted will not give up. Just last week, the Opposition Coalition chose my mother as Malaysia’s Opposition Leader. They can’t lock all of us up. The reformist might be behind bars but the reform agenda stays true.

We know that more of the world will see beyond the Petronas Twin Towers and give more attention to us, Malaysia’s most wanted, the rising dissidents and democrats who refuse to accept the current government.

So what of the future you ask? I’ll tell you. The future belongs and will be determined by Malaysia’s most wanted.

Long live reforms. Long live reformasi!And thank you Thor and the selfless team at Oslo Freedom Forum for allowing Malaysians to live in truth.

God bless you.

* The above is the text of the speech delivered by Nurul Izzah as the first speaker at the Oslo Freedom Forum in Norway.

– See more at:

Malaysian Bar Council initiates Campaign to Repeal POTA

May 17, 2015

From Democracy to Dictatorship: At what stage is Malaysia?

In 1887 Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at  University of Edinburgh  had this to say about the fall history-of-democracy-stephen-stockwellof the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years prior:

“A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse over loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship.”

“The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

From bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage.”

Thank you, Commander (rtd) Thaya Param for sending this to me. Let  our intelligent, clear sighted and articulate readers and commenters decide at what stage Malaysia is in, given the introduction of draconian laws like the Prevention of Terrorism Act,  the Sedition Act and Official Secrets Act, a subdued and muzzled media and subjugated Judiciary, a rubber stamp Parliament, rampant corruption, religious bigotry and racist politics with toxic institutions like the Police, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and Attorney-General’s Office, and  an incompetent civil service.

Worst of all, we have a mismanaged economy by a dishonest, lying, corrupt  and weak political leadership aided and abetted by fawning and self serving politicians of all stripes and colours. Is Malaysia still a democracy? –Din Merican in Phnom Penh.

Malaysian Bar Council initiates Campaign to Repeal POTA

by James

Regressive, unnecessary and open for abuse, like the old Internal Security Act, makes judges into rubber stamps’.

Zunar in POTAThe Bar Council began a national campaign today (May 16) to repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), currently awaiting royal assent, calling it “regressive, unnecessary, as well open to abuse” much like the now-repealed Internal Security Act.

Bar Council President, Steven Thiru said the law reduced the judiciary into being a mere rubber stamp or, worse, completely bypasses it. Misuse of the ISA had scarred the country for many years, he said.

Speaking at a forum to begin the repeal campaign, Thiru said the ISA, the terrorism act and recent amendments to the Sedition Act were abhorrent to the rule of law and made major encroachments on and eroded the independence of the Judiciary.

Steven ThiruHe said Malaysia had spoken in favour of a United Nations resolution which called for recognition of human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law as being complementary and mutually reinforcing with effective counter-terrorism measures. However, Malaysia had failed to its obligation to stand its pledge and had taken a short cut by legislating the Prevention of Terrorism Act without learning from the experiences of other nations on the forefront on global counter-terrorism.

“When you take short-cuts on rule of law, when you breach your obligations under the law, you do not make advances in the fight against terrorism. Indeed, you radicalise more people into terrorism. You make it worse,” Thiru said.

He acknowledged that counter-terrorism was a complex issue with no right answer, but felt judicial scrutiny and pota1oversight were crucial in order for far-reaching laws such as POTA not to be abused.

The law contained broad language and definition, and an ambiguous reach, Thiru said, open to be used on everyone and anyone; ministerial assurances that it would not be abused were simply not sufficient.

“Good men come and go. The law remains. It is the law that has to be clear. Having good men to look at the law is a bonus”.

Thiru said the Bar council is obliged to stand up for the independence of the Jjudiciary, in being placed between the might of the Executive and the common man on the street. “If the Bar is relegated, or the hands of the Bar tied in representation, then the men and women on the street are left without protection,” he said.

Malaysia–End of Freedom of Speech

May 16, 2015

Phnom Penh by The Mekong

Malaysia–End of Freedom of Speech

Prime Minister Najib Razak has chosen to go back to the politics of race and religion and use draconian laws to suppress political opposition and people’s dissent. You can expect more as Najib struggles to survive politically. As Prime Minister, he has let the nation down by flip-flopping on policy,  and by pandering to the demands of extremist elements in his party and ultra nationalist NGOs like PERKASA and ISMA. The evidence is clear and that is Malaysia in heading towards being a failed state headed by a weak leader who is no longer trusted by a majority of Malaysians.

najib-n-obamajpgObama and his Malaysian Poodle–TPPA Agenda

What surprises me is that the Obama Administration has chosen to ignore this reality because Najib has become their poodle. The United States, the so-called champion of democracy, freedom and justice, remains muted in its criticisms of the UMNO-Barisan Nasional regime. As someone who was educated in the United States and is an admirer of the sterling qualities of the American people including their generosity,I can understand what is happening because the politics in Washington  DC which is driven by corporate vested interests and strong lobby groups does not necessarily represent the feelings and views of Americans.

Malaysia without AnwarThe Obama Administration knows that Malaysia is no longer a moderate Muslim country; yet it chooses to ignore the views of the Malaysian people  as depicted in the Al-Jazeera video (below). Najib’s Coalition of the Moderates is a hoax. The country is being led by thieves of state (kleptocrats) who can act with impunity. This is because our institutions of governance has been destroyed by UMNO and its complicit partners, which has ruled Malaysia for nearly 60 years. –Din Merican