Tag Archives: law

Finding solace in our public institutions



Finding solace in our public institutions
By Zan Azlee

As a people living in a democratic system, we should be able to find solace in our institutions, of which its responsibility is to uphold the system and ensure that all is good.

These institutions need to uphold democracy and us, as a people, need to uphold these institutions. But the recent events that have happened are a little worrying to me personally.

First up the judiciary, which should be independent from the legislative and the executive. It has had several indecisions that put its consistency in doubt.

Certain cases that had landmark decisions have had these decisions overturned post-appeals and challenges. This would not be a problem since this system ensures protection.

But if you take a closer look at the cases, it would cause you to wonder why the overturning of these decisions happened and its motives.

First case: law lecturer Dr Azmi Sharom challenged the Sedition Act 1948 claiming that it is an unconstitutional act. He, of course, has been charged under the act and will now face trial.

His argument of why it is unconstitutional is because the act was never enacted by Parliament since the Malaysian parliament had not been established yet at that time.

The court had decided that under Article 162, it was enforceable. So that means that freedom of speech can be put aside on matters deemed threatening to national security.

And now the argument here is what is deemed as a threat to national security. The terms are vague and subjective.

Second case: the Federal Court overturned the Court of Appeals decision against the Seremban High Court saying that an anti-crossdressing shariah law is unconstitutional.

The Court of Appeal had ruled that it was unconstitutional and void because it contravened rights such as personal liberty, equality and freedom of expression.

The precedence that this case would set is that the fundamental constitutional rights of all Malaysians cannot be applied when it comes to shariah law.

Third case: the Federal Court dismissed a challenge made by a publisher of a book (Irshad Manji’s translated “Allah, Kebebasan dan Cinta”) deemed to be un-Islamic.

In this case, the court said Article 10 did not guarantee absolute freedom of speech since it had to be read together with other provisions, including that Islam is the federation’s religion.

Yes, the judiciary has in place a review and appeals system that allows for decisions to be relooked at. But all these cases have already gone through that process.

What happens if after it has exhausted the entire process and the rulings are still worrying? What happens then? What can be done?

Each case stated above actually went through the judiciary in the appropriate way and followed all the necessary procedures and process. Technically, no wrong has been done.

So the question now is, although the due legal process was followed to the letter, has justice really been served by the institution?

[This article appeared originally at The Malaysian Insider]

Should we be worried about POTA?



Should we be worried about POTA?
By Zan Azlee

So the POTA has been passed in Parliament. What is it? It’s the Prevention of Terrorism Bill 2015 and it was passed after being debated for more than 12 hours.

In essence, it is a law that is to ‘prevent the conduct or support for acts of violence involving terrorist organization of a foreign country and for the control of persons affected by such act’.

But it seems to be a very worrying bill because of the vagueness in it’s definitions and the absolute power it gives to the police and the authorities with disregard for the judiciary.

Some of the worrying points of the bill include the fact that it still means that the police can detain an individual without trial and just based on suspicion.

Also, there will be a ruling board headed by an appointed inquiry officer who seems to be very powerful and influential in determining what happens to the detained or suspected individual.

Another very worrying point is that there will be no judicial review allowed, which basically means that no court can change any decision made by the POTA authorities.

And most worrying of all is that although it says that POTA will not be used to curb political activity, the exact definition of political activity isn’t clear and can be debated very subjectively.

In fact, many academics and politicians (from both sides of the divide) have expressed that POTA will not be ideal in actually combatting terrorist activities. [Click to read the full article at English.AstroAwani.Com]

Datuk Seri Draco in da house!


Datuk Seri Draco in da house!
By Zan Azlee

How well do we know our politicians in Malaysia? We know them well enough to know that they are populists when it comes to election period.

How many people remember when the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, announced that the Sedition Act be abolished? It was before the elections. Then, when the elections were over, the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Ahmad Hamidi, stated that it should not be abolished.

And how many people remember when the Prime Minister said that the Internal Security Act would be abolished? It was before the elections. Then, when the elections were over, two days ago as a matter of fact, the Home Minister stated that there will be amendments made to the Crime Prevention Act.

Study the amendments carefully and you will notice (as many have) that the Crime Prevention Act will then become a new form of Internal Security Act. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

Walking 4 Freedom… and the Peaceful Assembly Bill was passed in Parliament anyway…

On 29th November 2011, the Malaysian Bar Council organised Walk4Freedom in protest against the Peaceful Assembly Bill proposed by the government. They had drafted an alternative bill which was presented to Deputy Minister for Law, VK Liew. However, a few hours later, the bill was passed in parliament.

Dear Assoc. Prof. Dr Mohd Ridhuan Tee Abdullah. What the hell are you talking about?

Dear Assoc. Prof. Dr Mohd Ridhuan Tee Abdullah. What the hell are you talking about?

Implement hudud by force, he says.
By Zan Azlee

OCT 28 — “Hudud needs to be implemented by force!”

I was shocked to hear an academician, Assoc Prof Dr Mohd Ridhuan Tee Abdullah, utter those words at a recent Islamic forum on hudud. According to the academician who teaches at the National Defence University, time is running out and it looks like the non-Muslims will never accept hudud and Islam. As a Muslim myself, I felt ashamed and embarrassed by what he said at such a public forum.

First of all, I would like to ask one vital question. If non-Muslims are not willing to accept hudud or Islam, why question their reasoning for it? The non-Muslims would have made their decision based on what they have seen, heard and observed. Can you blame them if what they’ve seen has been all negative? So, maybe what he should have said, instead of using force, look within and solve the internal problems before you start preaching outside.

Any educated individual who has even a little bit of learned experience, Muslim or non-Muslim, will tell you that Islam is not, and never was, a religion of force.  [Click to read my full article at The Malaysian Insider]