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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Underlying the economic crisis is a human rights time bomb

2008 saw a global economic crisis. Stock markets crashed, banks went under and countries are hovering on the edge of bankruptcy – with governments rallying to find the billions needed for bailouts.

Amnesty International believes they may be missing the point…

“This is not just an economic crisis; it’s fundamentally a human rights crisis. We are sitting on a powder keg of injustice, inequality and insecurity. This is a time bomb of social, political and economic problems.” – Irene Khan, Secretary General of Amnesty International

Friday, May 22, 2009

Gerakan’s call on Chin Peng return slammed

Chin Peng & Mat Amin

KUALA LUMPUR, May 22,2009 – Bernama

The Ex-Policemen’s Association of Malaysia (PBPM) has protested against a call for former communist leader Chin Peng to be allowed to return to Malaysia.

PBPM acting president Ku Mohamad Khalid Tuan Ibrahim said the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) had waged a reign of terror against the country during the Emergency where scores of policemen were slain.

The suggestion made by Penang Gerakan chairman Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan is uncalled for, said Ku Mohamad.

Dr Teng Hock Nan has called on the government to re-look at Chin Peng’s case and allow the CPM chairman to return to the country on humanitarian grounds as he was no longer a security threat.

“Many people were also killed. The country was in upheaval during the communist insurgency,” said Ku Mohamad Khalid, adding that Dr Teng should study the implication of his suggestion.

Umno Youth information chief Datuk Reezal Merican said the movement was against any move to make a hero out of a person who had committed crimes on the people and country.

“The crimes inflicted on the people cannot be neutralised merely for sentimental values under whatever circumstances,” he said.

He urged all quarters to refrain from extremist views which could raise the anger of certain groups.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Aung San Suu Kyi

14 May 2009 - Interview: Myanmar journalist Aung Zaw

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is facing the prospect of years in prison after being charged with breaching the conditions of her house arrest.

Al Jazeera spoke to exiled Myanmar journalist Aung Zaw about the reasons for the charges.

US a Republic or Empire?

May 14, 2009 - Bruce Fein: Former Reagan official says Americans must choose between a Republic or an Empire.

Another mega-thief walks free in the US

Marc S. Dreier, center, with Michael Strahan and William Shatner at a party in 2007

Tue, 12 May 2009 - While the US criminal justice system is notoriously punitive and heavy-handed when it comes to crimes of theft and trespass, its collective heart melts when it comes up against a mega-criminal. Witness the ability of self-confessed fraud, thief, and confidence trickster Marc S. Dreier, who pled guilty on Monday in a New York court to selling $400 million worth of fake promissory notes and running an illegal Ponzi scheme, yet managed to walk free from the courthouse.

This echoes another US court's compassion toward Mr. Bernard Madoff, who was allowed bail, despite being charged with the biggest fraud in the history of mankind, near $50 billion, and who, while under 'house arrest' in his mansion apartment in New York, was busy dispensing his private possessions to relatives to avoid being forced to provide even meager restitution to his countless creditors.

Not so lucky was Mr. Jerry Williams, 27, who in 1995 was sentenced to 25 years to life for stealing a slice of pizza. Admittedly, it could have been his third offense, which put him at the wrong end of California's "three strikes" law, but in all likelihood, all that Mr. Williams ever stole in his life would not amount to Harvard Law School graduate Marc Dreier's gasoline costs for his Aston Martin and Mercedes.

Welcome to the US of A.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Why Sedition Act is the new ISA

KUALA LUMPUR, May 9 2009 | malaysianinsider — By Syed Jaymal Zahiid and Melissa Loovi

The recent spate of arrests made under the Sedition Act has led opposition leaders and lawyers to unanimously conclude that the government might have found a better tool than the Internal Security Act (ISA) to quell dissent.

The continued use of the ISA, condemned locally and internationally, does not appear to be politically tenable. This week, a number of activists and opposition party leaders were detained under the Sedition Act.

Many Barisan Nasional (BN) component party leaders have also joined their Pakatan Rakyat (PR) counterparts in calling for the government to abolish the British-inherited law. Umno is the only party that believes that the unpopular law should be maintained.

The Sedition Act is, however, perceived to be less oppressive than the ISA but yet drafted in such a way that it gives the government absolute power to make arrests on its political enemies.

According to section 4 (1) of the Sedition Act, a person is considered to have committed an offence under this law if he or she attempts to do, or make any preparation to do, or conspires with any person to do, any act which has or would, if done, have a seditious tendency.

It further read that any person is found to have committed an offence under this law if he or she utters any seditious words, prints, publishes, sells, offers for sale, distributes, or reproduces any seditious publications or imports any seditious publications.

Yet in all of this, there is no real and clear definitive guideline as to what constitutes sedition.

Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo, who is also a lawyer, said such a vague law lends the authorities indefinite power to silence the opposition.

“A conviction can be so easily secured under the Sedition Act because it is under the discretion of the judge (to conclude what is seditious or not),” he told The Malaysian Insider.

Malik Imtiaz, a prominent human rights lawyer, also said that due to the vague definition, the Sedition Act can be easily used by the BN government on its enemies.

“Where do you draw the line between responsible expression and unethical ones (if the law does not provide such guidelines) so the police are left with the power to draw its own conclusion,” he said.

Centre for Public Policy Studies, or ASLI, chairman Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam told The Malaysian Insider that with the Sedition Act, the government would stand to gain more if it were to make arrests under the Sedition Act instead of the ISA.

"With the Sedition Act, one can stand for an open trial and the government would be seen as conducting a proper exercise of the rule of law.

"But with the ISA, its provision for detention without trial is a violation of one's fundamental rights and a vital aspect of a democracy and the people would perceive this as oppressive," he said.

Navaratnam added that it was wrong for the government to clamp down on opposition leaders and rights activists in recent days as it had encroached their democratic rights to freedom of expression.

Looking back at the history of the Sedition Act, prominent academician Farish A. Noor said it was rather ironic that the British-inherited law is being used against the opposition.

"I think members of the public should remember that the Sedition Act was created by the British colonialists and it was used to silence nationalist opposition who were freedom fighters fighting for the country's independence.

"So it's ironic that the current leaders that came from the same background are actually using the Sedition Act to silence their opposition," he said.

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