Tag Archives: malaysia

Trafficking involves more than just sex workers

Posted: April 14, 2015 at 9:40 pm

Malaysia needs to be more diligent in stopping all forms of worker exploitation and trafficking of human persons, says Charles Hector.

Many of us wrongly believe that trafficking in persons is only about sex workers but this is not true as it also includes the exploitation of workers.

Trafficking in persons is defined internationally as constituting three elements:

Likewise in Malaysia, the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act 2007 defines trafficking in persons or traffics in persons to mean the recruiting, transporting, transferring, harbouring, providing or receiving of a person for the purpose of exploitation; and exploitation means all forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude, any illegal activity or the removal of human organs;

We will be looking at specifically at worker exploitation in Malaysia, including forced labour or services. Forced or compulsory labour is defined as all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily. Forced labour refers to situations in which persons are coerced to work through the use of violence or intimidation, or by more subtle means such as accumulated debt, retention of identity papers or threats of denunciation to immigration authorities.

The local worker a victim of trafficking?

The local worker in Malaysia can come under the threat of dismissal or a delay in promotion or wage increase. They are discouraged from claiming their legal rights or standing up for rights.

Even trade union leaders are not saved from such intimidation and some find they are overlooked for promotion and wage increase exercises when their fellow workers who are not union leaders or active union members get promoted or are awarded wage increases.

Unionists are also targeted for disciplinary action and dismissal for the carrying out of legitimate activities such as the issuance of media statements, picketing, involvement in campaigns for the promotion and protection of worker rights and such matters which reasonably should be considered as legitimate union activities.

If union members are so intimidated and under the menace of such penalties, what more the ordinary worker who is not unionised? The lodging of a complaint to the relevant authorities about non-payment of wages, overtime and a violation of other rights may result in not just intimidation but even disciplinary action and termination.

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Trafficking involves more than just sex workers

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Malaysia resurrects indefinite detention, passes anti-terror act

Posted: April 12, 2015 at 6:51 am

Prime Minister Najib Razak had promised a new era of greater civil liberties. Photo: Bloomberg

Bangkok: Malaysia’s government has revived a law that allows indefinite detention without charge that critics say could usher in a new wave of repression in the south-east Asian nation.

Parliament’s passing of a highly contentious Prevention of Terrorism Act comes amid a crackdown on freedom of speech and civil rights where dozens of people have been arrested under a draconian Sedition Act and face up to five years jail.

The government argues the power to detain terrorism suspects without trial, court challenges or legal representation is necessary to combat the rising threat of extremists drawn to groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.


Police claim that 17 militants arrested this week across Malaysia were plotting to attack army camps and police stations. None of them have been named.

Authorities have repeatedly warned that dozens of people from Muslim-majority Malaysia have volunteered for IS jihad.

“This is a real threat and prevention measures are needed,” said Home Minister Zahid Hamidi.

But opposition MPs, human rights and civil society groups have attacked the new anti-terror law, which they say is a revival of a colonial-era Internal Security Act that was used to silence the government’s opponents before it was repealed in 2012, as Malaysia Prime Minister NajibRazakpledged a new era of greater civil liberties.

Analysts say the Prime Minister’s hard line is in response to criticisms of him by conservative figures in his ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), including former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, who has called on him to resign.

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Malaysia resurrects indefinite detention, passes anti-terror act

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Draft anti-terror, sedition laws seriously undermine freedom of expression: UN

Posted: April 11, 2015 at 7:40 am

GENEVA UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad Al Hussein today urged the government of Malaysia to withdraw its proposed amendments to the 1948 Sedition Act.

He warned that the new provisions would seriously undermine the freedom of expression and opinion in the country and would be in breach of Malaysias Federal Constitution and its international human rights obligations.

Zeid also expressed concern at the passage of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota) in the lower house of Parliament on Tuesday this week. Among the serious human rights shortcomings in the law are provisions that allow the indefinite detention of individuals without trial and the granting of sweeping powers to law enforcement authorities without sufficient safeguards to prevent abuses and ensure accountability for violations of human rights.

The UN Human Rights Office has long urged Malaysia to either repeal the 1948 Sedition Act or to bring it in line with international human rights standards. The government had committed to repealing the Act during its Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council in 2013, the High Commissioner said.

It is very disappointing that the Malaysian government is now proposing to make a bad law worse.

The proposal to amend the overly broad Sedition Act, tabled on Tuesday, further broadens the scope of the offences and introduces harsher penalties, including up to 20 years imprisonment for aggravated sedition. New provisions for travel bans are also worrying as they may allow for arbitrary restrictions against individuals on the basis of an ill-defined law.

These proposals are particularly worrying given that the Sedition Act has been applied in many instances to curb the legitimate exercise of freedom of expression in Malaysia including through the arrests of individuals for merely tweeting their criticism of government policies and judicial decisions, the High Commissioner said.

Since the beginning of 2014, at least 78 people have been investigated or charged under the Sedition Act and in 2015 alone, so far, at least 36 individuals have already been investigated or charged.

High Commissioner Zeid urged the government to review the cases of all those who have been charged under the Sedition Act.

Silencing dissent does not nurture social stability, but an open democratic space does, the High Commissioner said. Curtailing the legitimate exercise of human rights in the name of fighting terrorism has been shown, time and again, to backfire and to only lead to festering discontent and a strong sense of injustice.

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Draft anti-terror, sedition laws seriously undermine freedom of expression: UN

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Sedition is not murder

Posted: April 8, 2015 at 4:50 am

Lawyers criticise proposed amendments as a serious attack of freedom of speech.

PETALING JAYA: Constitutional and civil liberty lawyers have criticised the proposed amendments to the Sedition Act, 1948 as a serious attack on freedom of speech, the Malay Mail reports.

Although the amendments recently tabled in Parliament via the Sedition (Amendments) Bill 2015 contain positive aspects by seeking to decriminalise criticism of government and the administration of justice, several other provisions make unacceptable inroads into the freedom of speech and the liberty of citizens, lawyers say.

The Bill makes for a chilling read, constitutional lawyer Syahredzan Johan was quoted as saying, and amounts to the most serious attack on freedom of speech Malaysia has ever seen.

Lawyers took issue with several provisions contained in the Act.

Chief among them was the creation of a new offence.

The proposed new section 4(1A) of the Act makes it an offence for anyone to utter seditious words which cause bodily injury or damage to property and imposes a minimum term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum of twenty years as punishment.

The loose wording of the provision has raised suspicion as to its actual intent, a senior lawyer told FMT today.

To me it appears ultimately to be targeting statements made at political rallies and other assemblies, and runs counter to the Peaceful Assembly Act, 2012, which the Prime Minister himself initiated, he said.

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Sedition is not murder

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New anti-terrorism law a shocking onslaught against human rights: Amnesty

Posted: at 4:40 am

A new law that would allow terrorism suspects in Malaysia to be held indefinitely without charge, trial or judicial review, is a shocking onslaught against human rights and the rule of law, said Amnesty International.

Indefinite detention without trial is contrary to human rights law and it will not stop terrorism. Abandoning people to rot in a cell for years on end without a judicial process and proof that they have committed a crime is just like aimlessly stabbing in the dark. Authorities must ensure that human rights and fair trial guarantees are respected and protected, said Hazel Galang-Folli, Malaysia Researcher at Amnesty International.

Under the newly enacted Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota), a board will be established to approve detention or restriction orders for individuals in the interest of security of Malaysia. A suspect can first be detained for 59 days without charge before being presented to the board.

This body, which will be appointed by the King and will be outside of the jurisdiction of any court, will have the power to renew detention orders indefinitely. Its decisions cannot be appealed.

The Pota is reminiscent of Malaysias Internal Security Act (ISA), abolished in 2012, which also allowed for indefinite detention without trial. The new law has not included the necessary safeguards to ensure fair trials and respect of human rights so it could be just as susceptible to abuse as the widely condemned ISA, which was used to unjustly detain government critics and created a climate of fear in the country for decades.

With the stroke of a pen, Malaysia has managed to get one step closer to becoming a human rights black hole where fundamental rights to a fair trial or freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, even if enshrined in the Malaysian constitution, are increasingly being undermined in the name of national security, said Hazel Galang-Folli.

Today, the Malaysian government also tabled amendments to the colonial-era Sedition Act, including increasing jail terms from three years to up to seven years on conviction and up to 20 years if a suspect is convicted of sedition with causing bodily harm or damage to property. The proposed amendments could also disallow bail for those charged.

In recent months, the Sedition Act has been used to arbitrarily arrest government critics including opposition leaders, human rights defenders, activists, journalists and human rights lawyers.

Authorities in Malaysia must immediately repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the Sedition Act and release all those who have been detained under it only for expressing their opinions peacefully, said Hazel Galang-Folli.

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New anti-terrorism law a shocking onslaught against human rights: Amnesty

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Gerakan: Does IGP really know the law?

Posted: March 28, 2015 at 11:51 am

More pressing matters for police instead of clamping down on free speech, says Andy Yong.

KUALA LUMPUR: Gerakan Youth has questioned whether the Inspector-General of Police truly understands the law, while carrying out a crackdown on free speech and peaceful assembly, and criticised his misplaced priorities.

Andy Yong, deputy leader of the youth wing, said the IGP appeared to be defning seditious tendency according to his own wishes, Malaysiakini reported.

He said the security of the country, and illegal activities, were more pressing matters for the police rather than sedition as defined by the IGP and peaceful protests.

I urge the police to concentrate more on reducing crime instead of being perceived as being used as a political tool, he was quoted as saying.

Yong pointed out that the Peaceful Assembly Act provided every citizen the right to assemble, whether or not notice was given to the police.

Yong questioned the police forces intent in criminalising the right to assemble. Until there actually is a report of violence escalating during the rally, there is no need for the police to enforce the PAA, he was reported to have said.

Malaysia should emulate countries Hong Kong or Britain, where police were present to ensure public order and security.

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Gerakan: Does IGP really know the law?

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IGP: Freedom of speech is not to defame others

Posted: March 21, 2015 at 9:57 pm

IGP says crackdown on seditious statements is necessary especially in a multi-racial country like Malaysia.

KUALA LUMPUR: The right to freedom of speech should not be used as an excuse to legitimise actions or statements which are seditious in nature which can threaten peace and public security.

Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said despite the numerous police warnings on the matter some still persisted on committing it.

I have warned many times especially political leaders and non-government organisations to be careful when expressing opinions and views specifically on social media because it can result in a situation which threatens public security.

I feel now I dont want to give warnings but instead any individual who breaks any rule will be immediately dealt with. And they should not seek cover behind freedom of speech, he said.

Khalid was speaking in a special interview with the media in conjunction with the 208th Police Day Memorial here, today. The event is to be celebrated on March 25.

Commenting on claims he was trying to curb freedom of speech when giving a directive via his Twitter account for action to be taken against any individual who made seditious statements, Khalid said it was necessary to prevent the spread of such statements.

My aim in issuing the directive via Twitter is for fast action against sedition and the spread of untruths.

I think this method is effective to prevent society from being influenced by untruths which should be immediately stopped, he said.

Police, he said, always respected the right of freedom of speech but freedom had its limits specifically in a multi-racial and multi-religious country like Malaysia.

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Death threats to Aisyah are criminal, says NGOs

Posted: March 20, 2015 at 3:56 pm

According to one NGO, the BFM journalist was entitled to freedom of speech under Article 10 of the Federal Constitution.

PETALING JAYA: Several NGOs have come out to voice their support for Aisyah Tajuddin, the BFM 89.9 journalist who received threats of violence, murder and rape after presentng a video by BFM Kupas on PAS pushing for Hudud law in Kelantan.

The Institute of Journalists (IoJ) Malaysia in a press statement condemned the vicious threats which they felt were not only an attack on the press, but also on the freedom of speech in the country.

According to IoJ, the issue of Hudud was one that should be discussed and debated by all Malaysians.

The group added that the Malaysian media should not be forced into silence due to intimidation over an issue that had a direct or indirect effect on society.

The IoJ said this was all the more pertinent if the intimidating parties had abandoned whatever dubious moral grounds their comments were based on, when they threatened Aisyah with rape and murder under the guise of defending religious principles.

The IoJ asked the authorities to investigate the parties behind the threats made to Aisyah, which they said were tantamount to criminal intimidation.

Sisters in Islam assistant manager for legal advocacy and public education, Afiq M Noor revealed that the threats were un-Islamic and amounted to criminal offence under the Penal Code, The Star Online reported.

The Hudud laws in Kelantan can be criticised by anyone because they are man-made laws and not from God.

It can also be reviewed in the courts, he said, adding that Aisyah was entitled to freedom of speech under Article 10 of the Federal Constitution.

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International groups condemn arrest of Nurul

Posted: March 18, 2015 at 4:52 am

Release her immediately, says International Commission of Jurists; government excessive in stifling free speech, says Human Rights Watch

BANGKOK: International human rights groups have condemned the arrest and detention of Nurul Izzah Anwar, the daughter of imprisoned Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, for sedition.

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) which issued a statement condemning Nurul Izzahs arrest had in addition called on the Government of Malaysia to immediately release Nurul Izzah and reiterated its call for the repeal of the Sedition Act.

Human Rights Watch, in a statement, said the arrest shows that the Malaysian government seems to know no bounds in its efforts to stifle free speech.

Nurul Izzah, the Member of Parliament for Lembah Pantai, was arrested at 3.30pm at Dang Wangi police station in Kuala Lumpur. She was summoned by police to provide a statement for her involvement in a demonstration on February 14 over the jailing of her father for sodomy.

Police have detained her for investigations into a speech she made in parliament on March 10 that was deemed seditious under section 4(1) of the colonial-era 1948 Sedition Act.

Nurul Izzah had read out her fathers statement in Parliament that reportedly criticised the judges in her fathers Sodomy II case. Anwar who has been jailed five years for sodomy is still the MP for Permatang Pauh but he was not released to attend the recent sitting of Parliament.

The Malaysian authorities must stop the continued use of the offence of sedition to arbitrarily detain and stifle freedom of expression, said Sam Zarifi, ICJs regional director for Asia and the Pacific.

The arrest of MP Nurul Izzah Anwar shows that the Malaysia government seems to know no bounds in its efforts to stifle free speech and (the government is) criminalising dialogue that would be a normal part of political discourse in much of the rest of the world, said Phil Robertson, the Deputy Asia Director of Human Rights Watch.

Prime Minister Najib and his government are shamefully using the Sedition Act like an axe to hack down opposition politicians, community activists, and any others who dare speak their minds.

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Misconception about the Worlds Oldest Profession

Posted: March 10, 2015 at 3:41 am

Mary Ann Lim peels aways a widely believed myth shrouding prostitution in Malaysia and comes face-to-face with the grim reality of human trafficking.

The glamour, the attention, the praises, the popularity, and the ridiculously expensive items all the good things that come with money as a girl thinks about the benefits of her job while she strolls the streets of Kuala Lumpur with her brand spanking new Herms handbag.

Regardless of how much it cost her, it will be easy to earn it back. She sighs as she pulls out a Louis Vuitton purse to pay for her Starbucks Frappuccino; it will be another long night at work though.

Whats the catch? She sells sex in the back streets of Jalan Chow Kit for a living.

The scenario above is a huge misconception the common person has about prostitutes. For one, someone working in Chow Kit Road wont be able to afford a Hermes handbag.

This would be especially for a sex worker who works in Malaysia after having been cheated by an agent who promised her a good life here. A better life for a woman and the occasional man she may have here in our homeland when compared to the rural life they were plucked out from.

The subject of prostitution caught my interest when I read about high-class Japanese courtesans in the 17th Century who were sold to brothels when they were as young as five.

This then prompted me to look into what our country has to offer in the worlds oldest profession. I admit I was under the impression that prostitutes earned tremendous amounts of easy money, seeing as I lived quite a sheltered lifestyle for the past 21 years. That lifestyle didnt require me to venture out into dark alleys which housed dodgy hotels.

Imagine my utter shock and horror when I was walking with my mother to KFC one afternoon not long ago in my hometown. At the entrance of an old run-down hotel next to this popular fast food joint sat a couple of saggy old ladies.

Ma, whyre there aunties sitting there? Do people even book hotels like these anymore? I innocently asked as I whispered into my mothers ear.

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Misconception about the Worlds Oldest Profession

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