MALAYSIA NOW – JULY 2016

NEWS

Bersih 5.0 Rally Announced

Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah has confirmed that a rally is on the cards.

She said that now was an apt time for another rally. However, the rally is in the process of discussion with other non- governmental organizations (NGOs).

“Bersih’s process is that we have to consult the NGOs before we actually make any decision. So that is definitely an agenda on the table,” Maria said.

 

Bersih 2.0 Reveals Illegal Actions by the Election Commission

Bersih 2.0 alleged that the Election Commission (EC) moved thousands of voters to different State Assembly and Parliament constituencies during a recent locality correction exercise undertaken by the EC.

Preliminary analysis showed that 118,774 voters have been moved to different State Assembly constituencies, of which over 40,000 voters were also moved to different Parliament constituencies. Their addresses remain the same.

The number of voters moved in several State Assembly and Parliament constituencies are large enough to affect the outcome of an election. Such action is against the Federal Constitution because, in effect, it is tantamount to a re-delineation exercise which requires the approval of Parliament.

 

1MDB Updates

The US Department of Justice took a stance to allege that a number of 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) officials had misappropriated US$3.5 billion from the public fund. Billions belonging to the Malaysian people have been stolen, representing the largest single case in US history and putting Malaysia on the map of the most corrupt countries around the globe.

Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe stated at a news conference, “The Malaysian people were defrauded on an enormous scale.” Some details were presented on how the money had been used.

As of now Prime Minister (PM) Najib Razak is not named in the suit which only referred to a “Malaysian Official 1”, further depicted as “a high-ranking official in the Malaysian government who also held a position of authority with 1MDB”.

Meanwhile former PM Mahathir Mohamad asked Malaysians to push for a referendum on the current PM’s leadership. In addition, opposition leader in Parliament, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, confronted Najib to present an explanation in Parliament and take leave in order for a full probe to take place.

Furthermore, Bersih called upon both Najib and the Malaysian Attorney-General, who earlier this year cleared the PM, to resign immediately to allow full and independent investigations.

Separately, Singapore authorities have seized a total of S$240 million in bank accounts and properties, with S$120 million of that amount belonging to businessman Jho Low and his immediate family, in the course of their 1MDB investigations.

This was revealed in a joint statement by the Singaporean Attorney-General’s

Chambers, Singapore Police Commercial Affairs Department and the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Appropriate actions will be brought against those who have broken Singapore’s laws, they added, pointing out that two individuals have so far been charged in Singapore for various offences related to the investigations, while several others are still being investigated.

The Commercial Affairs Department has been investigating individuals suspected of committing offences in Singapore related to the questionable fund flows, while the Monetary Authority of Singapore has been probing the financial institutions through which the funds flowed, for possible regulatory breaches and control lapses.

Singaporean authorities have seized accounts and properties of Jho Low. Picture taken from Free Malaysia Today.
Singaporean authorities have seized accounts and properties of Jho Low.
Picture taken from Free Malaysia Today.

 

Court Rules Releasing of Yellow Balloons at PM Event ‘Not Insuting’
Dancer Bilqis Hijjas was acquitted of insulting behaviour by dropping yellow balloons during an official event attended by PM Najib Razak and his wife in a mall.

Magistrate Mohd Faizal Ismail said the prosecution failed to prove a prima facie case against Bilqis, ruling that it had not shown that her action with the balloons amounted to “insulting behaviour”.

He pointed out that the definition in the dictionary by the country’s leading Malay- language authority, Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, requires an alleged “insult” to be aimed or felt by a person, but pointed out that no one had been insulted by Bilqis’s actions.

Bilqis Hijjas outside the Kuala Lumpur Magistrate Court on 1 July 2016. Picture taken from The Malay Maail Online.
Bilqis Hijjas outside the Kuala Lumpur Magistrate Court on 1 July 2016.
Picture taken from The Malay Maail Online.

 

Amendment of Legal Profession Act

The government is seeking to amend the Legal Profession Act 1976 purportedly to make the Bar Council more transparent and democratic, and to return it to its original purpose.

The amendments are expected to be tabled in Parliament in October. These include hiking up the quorum requirement for the Malaysian Bar’s annual and extraordinary general meetings to 25 per cent of the membership, or 4,000 members, whichever is fewer. The Malaysian Bar currently has about 17,000 members. It is also proposing to raise the quorum requirement for State Bar general meetings from five to 25 per cent of their membership.

There will be no Bar Council if the Malaysian Bar fails to hold a general meeting due to the prohibitive 4,000- member quorum proposed by Putrajaya, Bar Council president Steven Thiru said.

The Malaysian Bar president pointed out that the highest quorum the peninsular legal body ever achieved in recent years for its annual general meetings (AGMs) was 1,906 members at the 69th AGM held on March 14, 2015. The current quorum is 500.

“The Bar would be effectively silenced because there would be no Bar Council, there would be no office bearers. How to speak?” Steven said.

“You would have this state of paralysis, where the Bar cannot function,” he said, adding that matters like financial accounts, reports, resolutions concerning matters of practice and public interest are discussed at the Malaysian Bar AGMs.

Malaysian Bar President Steven Thiru strongly opposes the amendments to the Legal Profession Act 1976 proposed by the government. Picture taken from The Malay Mail Online.
Malaysian Bar President Steven Thiru strongly opposes the amendments to the Legal Profession Act 1976 proposed by the government.
Picture taken from The Malay Mail Online.

 

NSC Act Coming into Force in August

The National Security Council (NSC) Act comes into force on 1 August 2016.

The NSC Act grants sweeping powers to the National Security Council, which is chaired by the PM. The government said that the Act is a must-have to deal with terrorist threats.

Since 2013, around 230 people have been arrested in Malaysia for links to Islamic State. Police said several terror plots have been foiled since then too. But in June, one plot was successful. Police said individuals linked to Islamic State were behind a grenade that went off at a nightspot in Puchong on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, injuring eight people.

The NSC Act has more sweeping powers than the now-repealed Internal Security Act and should be immediately repealed, said international NGO Human Rights Watch. It added that the legislation is “broad and vaguely worded.”

This includes declaring any part of the country a “security area” to protect “any interest of Malaysia”, which could allow authorities to limit movement and arrest, search and seize without warrant for an unlimited period.

Human Rights Watch deputy Asia director Phil Robertson added that the provisions under the NSC Act go beyond definitions of terrorism adopted by the United Nations Security Council.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Global Bersih

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We want to thank you for coming on board this journey with us. Without you, there would not be Global Bersih, a movement by overseas Malaysians to lend support to Bersih 2.0‘s mission to bring about clean and fair elections in Malaysia.

We want to keep Malaysians living abroad informed and connected to Malaysia, so that every Malaysian living abroad can be properly informed when it is time to cast their vote. We want to facilitate the use of UN and other international mechanisms and lobby the international community to create political pressure on the government of Malaysia to do what is right.

We have just launched a crowdfunding campaign to ensure our work continues, with your support. As there are over one million Malaysians who live and work overseas, Global Bersih CAN make a difference.

Global Bersih needs your support. Every little bit helps. We hope you can share this campaign with other fellow Malaysians in your city. There are some amazing “one- off” perks for those who donate too, so do check this link out!

https://www.chuffed.org/project/globalbersih

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