Proham Logo

Proham Logo

Monday, 30 March 2015


Proham expresses great disappointment with the administration of the Federal government in the way Police action is impacting negatively the state of human rights in Malaysia.

We like to remind the government that in 2004 when the Royal Police Commission was established, there was great public outcry on the Police especially in the way people were arrested and remanded for investigations. The commission report which was released in 2005 drew out an agenda for the professional conduct of the Police consistent with international human rights standards.

The current crack down of politicians and now news editors is creating great public alarm especially in the way the arrest is taking place.

We strong feel that while the Police have the right to question individuals it must be done consistent with nature of offense and in conformity with human rights standards. There is an apparent neglect of compliance to human rights standards.
Proham calls on the Federal Government especially the Ministry of Home Affairs to urgently review the situation and work with various stakeholders to restore the situation to peace and harmony.

It is of utmost importance that the Prime Minister addresses not only Parliament on the current situation but also the general public.

Datuk Kuthubul Zaman (Proham Chairman) & Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria (Proham Secretary General)
March 31, 2015

Release Malaysian Insider editors immediately

The Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) calls for the immediate release of The Malaysian Insider (TMI) managing editor Lionel Morais, features editor Zulkifli sulong and Bahasa news editor Amin Shah Iskandar, who have been arrested under the Sedition Act and section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act. 

The three editors were arrested when the police and MCMC officers raided TMI's offices reportedly in relation to a news article TMI had published on the Conference of Rulers' reaction to Kelantan's state enactment on hudud. 

Reports had emerged that the Conference of Rulers had disputed the article and a police report had been lodged by the Keeper of the Rulers' Seal to that effect. 

CIJ questions the high-handedness of the raid and arrests. Should the article have been found to be incorrect, it could have been rebutted and TMI requested to retract it or publish a correction. 

Even if the police wanted to initiate investigations, they could have requested for the requisite information from TMI instead of raiding their office and arresting their editors. It is not a secret that TMI published the article in question, nor is TMI denying authorship of the article. There is also no need to detain the three editors overnight, nor is there a need to apply for their remand. 

Today's raid and arrests is part of a worrying trend of a decline in standards of freedom of expression in Malaysia. It is embarrassing and appalling that the law is being utilised in this manner and this constitutes an assault on the rule of law. CIJ calls for the immediate release of the TMI's editors and a cessation of the authorities' arbitrary crackdown on the freedom of expression.

Sonia Randhawa and Jac Kee
Directors, Center for Independent Journalism

Saturday, 28 March 2015


PROHAM views with concern and compassion when a citizen has to resort to appealing to the Agong for justice and help as in the case of Borders bookstore branch manager Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz who has been reported to be pleading to His Royal Highness to stop the Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Department’s  (JAWI) persistence in seeking punishment against Nik Raiana for allegedly selling and distributing a book deemed unIslamic by local religious authorities.

Despite the findings of three courts, JAWI has filed an appeal to the Shariah Appeal court on 9 March 2015. On 26 February 2015 the Shariah High Court discharged Nik Raina. Both the High Court on 22 March 2013 and the Court of Appeal on 30 December 2014 have since ruled in Nik Raina’s favour. It is valuable to recognize that the Court of Appeal found the prosecution against Nik Raina as being "unreasonable, irrational" and done in bad faith, and that it was against the "principle of fairness and justice".

Whilst PROHAM recognizes that JAWI has the option to appeal as the Shariah High Court’s discharge does not amount to an acquittal we urge the authorities to exercise discretion, wisdom and compassion not to pursue this option. The latest move by JAWI is not proportional when we have witnessed the ordeal for Nik Raina stretching almost three years when JAWI had arrested her in 2012.

PROHAM is encouraged by the Honourable Shariah High Court judge Mohd Amran Mat Zain’s ruling on the need to adhere to the spirit of fairness and justice on which the civil court and the Shariah court are grounded, as well as respecting the Federal Constitution. The Honourable judge appeared to acknowledge and empathize with Nik Raina’s suffering as a result of this case.

Furthermore the JAWI latest appeal to the Shariah Appeal Court opens up questions of illegality and constitutionality as this appeal may prove to be an act of contempt against the orders of the both the civil High Court and Court of Appeal’s orders.  PROHAM is in agreement with the Group 25, which expressed their concern that JAWI’s filing of an appeal "may well have the effect of bringing the Syariah and civil courts into a collision course and manifest a conflict of laws.”

PROHAM urges that justice, compassion and fairness be the guiding principles and values in our justice system and that we do right by Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz. 

Datuk Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari (Proham Chairman)
March 28, 2015

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Learning from historical tragedies is key to strengthen the global fight against racism

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination - Saturday 21 March 2015

GENEVA (20 March 2015) – Speaking ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, three United Nations experts on racism have called on Governments around the world to preserve the historical memory of past atrocity crimes to make more effective the global fight against racism.

The Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, Mutuma Ruteere; the  Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, Mireille Fanon Mendes-France; and the Chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, José Francisco Cali Tzay, said that  breaking the silence on past human rights tragedies can only be achieved through political will and education.

“This year the International Day for the elimination of racial discrimination has a particular resonance as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) and commence the International Decade for People of African descent (2015-2024).

Striving for a world free of racism and racial discrimination while remembering historical tragedies and inhumane actions, related to racial or ethnic hierarchizing and discrimination, which have affected global history and caused untold suffering are inseparable parts of the fight against racism that all actors must undertake. We continue to be confronted with evidence that we are still some way from realizing the goal of universal non-discrimination, inter-ethnic harmony and unbiased justice that so many have worked to achieve.

The complex linkages between past and contemporary forms of racism must indeed be considered to prevent racial discrimination, xenophobia, afrophobia and related intolerance and banish racism in our societies. In this respect, political will and education is key in breaking the silence on past human rights tragedies.
Often history books are silent about past atrocities committed in the name of race and ethnicity, falsify or distort historic facts, spread racial prejudice, and elude the history, cultures, traditions and positive contributions of those exposed to racism and discrimination, including people of African descent, minorities, migrants, indigenous peoples and other groups.

As we commemorate this important milestone for the ICERD, we can look back and see some great successes in the fight against racism; the most significant has been the end of Apartheid in South Africa.   But racism and discrimination is present today in our modern societies across the globe and in many forms.  Only by recognising and learning from history can we make past successes a contemporary reality.

We call upon States, and all relevant actors to adopt and implement measures to preserve historical memory of past atrocity crimes, to promote an accurate reflection of historical facts relating to past atrocities in text books and other educational material; to implement awareness-raising initiatives and ensure trainings for teachers on racial discrimination; prescribe unbiased schoolbooks that include the positive contribution of the victims of racial discrimination, while promoting more tolerance and respect for diversity.

We urge States to fully implement the ICERD as well as the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, and the Programme of Activities for the implementation of the International Decade for People of African Descent: Recognition, Justice and Development which constitute key instruments in the global fight against racism including past atrocities.”

Mr. Mutuma Ruteere (Kenya) was appointed by the Human Rights Council as Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in November 2011. Learn more,
For further information and media requests, please contact:
Kellie-Shandra Ognimba (+41 22 917 92 68 / Thierry del Prado (+41 22 917 92 32 /

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination by its State parties. Learn more, visit:

Monday, 23 March 2015

Hudud unconstitutional unless entire federal arrangement renegotiated

The 59 civil society organisations media statement on hudud law
We, the civil societies below representing multiethnic and multi-faith, hold that Malaysia was formed as a secular federation in 1963 and hudud law at state level is unconstitutional unless the entire federal arrangement is renegotiated.
Hence, it is grossly incorrect and inappropriate for a matter of such paramount importance to be dealt with by the Federal Parliament voting on a Private Member’s Bill or even by any State Legislature.
Our full position is as follows:
1. Malaysia was formed by the union of Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak and then Singapore in 1963 adopting the Malayan Constitution as the basis of the new federation of constitution. For all intents and purposes, Malaysia is meant to be a secular federation.
2. The Ninth Schedule of both the Malayan Constitution and the Malaysian Constitution explicitly place in the federal jurisdiction “civil and criminal law and procedure and the administration of justice” (Item 4) except “Islamic personal law relating to marriage, divorce, guardianship, maintenance, adoption, legitimacy, family law, gifts or succession, testate and intestate”.
3. Due to the centrality of the Ninth Schedule, its alteration especially on defining matters like judiciary must be treated with a deliberative full review on loosening the entire federal arrangement, and not done in isolation.
4. In any re-negotiation of the federal arrangement, Sabah and Sarawak must be treated as two equal partners to the collective of the Malayan states, as they were in 1963, not just two of thirteen.
5. The impact of hudud law will not be limited to the Muslims, as its spillover effect will definitely be borne by all Malaysians. Hence, any plan of introducing hudud necessitates a public discourse and dialogue to build understanding involving Malaysians of all religious, ethnic, ideological and socio-economic backgrounds.
6. While the existing Sharia laws govern only personal and family matters and should concern only the Muslims, in practice, non-Muslims are gravely affected in cases involving conversion and children custody when one party of an estranged marriage converts to Islam. Regrettably, this has caused the sense of alienation and fear of religious suppression on the part of non-Muslims, in contradiction to Islam’s emphasis of justice. The impact of hudud will only be more strongly felt.
7. Any state government or any party that intends to introduce hudud law is morally bound to engage all Malaysians – Muslims and non-Muslims alike – in public discourse and dialogue to convince them of the merits of hudud law in a multicultural society. It may start with commissioning independent research on the implementation of hudud – in considerable varieties – in countries and regions like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, Aceh of Indonesia and the 12 ShariaStates of Nigeria.
8. While the merits or demerits of any institutional options including hudud can be considered by Malaysia, there must not be any majoritarian imposition of any institutional option in disregard of the legitimate interests of the minorities and dissidents. At present, as there is no any detailed study on the implementation of hudud in other countries to provide an informed basis for such consideration, we oppose any move to amend the Federal Constitution to make possible the implementation of hudud.
Kenyataan media 59 organisasi masyarakat madani terhadap hukum hudud
Kami, masyarakat madani yang berikut, yang mewakili pelbagai bangsa dan pelbagai kepercayaan berpendapat bahawa Malaysia yang telah ditubuhkan sebagai sebuah persekutuan sekular pada tahun 1963 dan dengan itu hukum hudud di peringkat negeri adalah bercanggah dengan perlembagaan melainkan keseluruhan susunan persekutuan dirundingkan semula.
Lantaran itu, adalah salah dan tidak patut sama sekali untuk perkara yang sebegini penting ditentukan oleh Parlimen Persekutuan melalui pengundian Rang Undang-undang Persendirian atau oleh mana-mana Dewan Perundangan Negeri.
Pendirian penuh kami adalah sepertimana berikut:
1. Malaysia terdiri daripada Kesatuan Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak dan Singapura pada tahun 1963 dengan Perlembagaan Tanah Melayu dijadikan asas kepada perlembagaan persekutuan yang baru. Dengan semua niat dan tujuan, Malaysia dimaksudkan untuk menjadi sebuah persekutuan sekular.
2. Jadual Kesembilan dalam kedua-dua Perlembagaan Tanah Melayu dan Perlembagaan Malaysia jelas meletakkan dalam bidang kuasa persekutuan “undang-undang sivil dan jenayah dan prosedur dan pentadbiran keadilan" (Perkara 4) kecuali "undang-undang peribadi Islam yang berkaitan dengan perkahwinan, penceraian, perwalian, nafkah, adopsi, kesahtarafan, undang-undang keluarga, hadiah atau waris, wasiat dan tanpa wasiat ”.
3. Oleh kerana keutamaan dalam Jadual Kesembilan, sebarang pengubahan terutamanya terhadap perkara-perkara penentu seperti badan kehakiman perlu dilayan dengan kajian yang melonggarkan susunan keseluruhan persekutuan yang penuh, dan tidak dilakukan secara berasingan.
4. Dalam mana-mana perundingan semula susunan persekutuan, Sabah dan Sarawak hendaklah diperlakukan sebagai dua rakan kongsi yang sama secara kolektif dengan negeri-negeri Tanah Melayu, seperti mana yang mereka dilayani pada tahun 1963, dan bukannya dua negeri antara tiga belas negeri sahaja.
5. Kesan hukum hudud tidak hanya terhad kepada umat Islam, kerana kesan limpahannya pasti akan ditanggung oleh kesemua rakyat Malaysia. Oleh itu, mana-mana pelan untuk memperkenalkan hukum hudud memerlukan perbincangan masyarakat umum dan dialog untuk membina pemahaman yang melibatkan rakyat Malaysia daripada semua latar belakang, agama, etnik, ideologi dan sosio-ekonomi.
6. Walaupun undang-undang Syariah yang sedia ada hanya mengendalikan hal-hal peribadi dan keluarga dan harus melibatkan hanya umat Islam, tetapi dalam amalan, ia juga membawa kesan serius kepada orang bukan Islam ketika berurusan dengan kes pertukaran agama dan hak penjagaan anak, apabila satu pihak dalam perkahwinan yang berpisah itu menukar ke agama Islam. Malangnya, hal ini telah menyebabkan rasa keterasingan dan takut akan penindasan agama di pihak bukan Islam, yang bercanggah dengan penekanan Islam terhadap keadilan. Kesan hudud hanya akan lebih kuat dirasai.
7. Mana-mana kerajaan negeri atau mana-mana pihak yang bercadang untuk memperkenalkan hukum hudud adalah terikat dari segi moral untuk melibatkan semua rakyat Malaysia – Muslim dan bukan Islam – untuk meyakinkan mereka tentang kelebihan hukum hudud dalam perbincangan awam dan dialog di masyarakat pelbagai budaya ini. Ia mungkin bermula dengan membentuk badan penyelidik yang bebas mengenai pelaksanaan hudud – dalam beberapa kepelbagaian – di negara-negara dan wilayah seperti Arab Saudi, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, Aceh di Indonesia dan 12 Negeri Syariah di Nigeria.
8. Sementara kelebihan atau kekurangan mana-mana pilihan institusi termasuk hudud boleh dipertimbangkan oleh Malaysia, tidak boleh ada pemaksaan golongan majoriti dengan mengenepikan kepentingan sah masyarakat minoriti dan para pembangkang. Pada masa ini, oleh kerana tidak ada apa-apa kajian terperinci mengenai pelaksanaan hudud di negara-negara lain sebagai makluman asas untuk pertimbangan ini, maka kami dengan itu menentang sebarang langkah untuk meminda Perlembagaan Persekutuan bagi memungkinkan pelaksanaan hudud.
Endorsed by (by alphabetical order):

1. All Women’s Action Society (AWAM) 妇女行动组织
2. Anak Muda Sarawak (AMS) 砂拉越青年之子
3. Angkatan Warga Aman Malaysia (WargaAMAN) 马来西亚和平力量组织
4. Association of Women Lawyers (AWL) 女律师组织
5. BARAMKINI 反巴兰水坝网络
6. Centre for Malaysian Chinese Studies (CMCS) 华社研究中心
7. Centre for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC) 原住民关怀中心
8. Community Action Network (CAN) 社区行动网络
9. ENGAGE 社区参与网络
10. Federated TeoChew Associations of Malaysia (FTCAM) 马来西亚潮州公会联合会
11. Federation & Alumni Associations Taiwan University, Malaysia (FAATUM) 马来西亚留台校友会联合总会
12. Federation of Hainan Association Malaysia(FHAM)马来西亚海南会馆联合会
13. Federation of Malaysian Indian Organization (PRIMA) 马来西亚印裔组织联合会
14. Friends of Kota Damansara (FoKD) 哥打达曼沙拉之友
15. Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF) 回教复兴前线组织
16. Japan Graduates Association, Malaysia (JAGAM) 马来西亚留日同学会
17. Jaringan Orang Asal Semalaysia (JOAS) 全马原住民网络
18. Komunite Seni Jalan Telawi (KsJT) Telawi社区艺术
19. Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) 吉隆坡暨雪兰莪中华大会堂
20. Kumpulan Aktivis Mahasiswa Independent (KAMI) 独立学生活跃份子组织
21. Lingkaran Islam Tradisional (LIT) 伊斯兰传统圈
22. LLG Cultural Development Centre (LLG) 林连玉基金
23. Majlis Perundingan Malaysian Agama Buddha, Kristian, Hindu, Sikh dan Tao (MCC BCHST) 马来西亚五大宗教理事会
24. Malaysia Youth &Student Democratic Movement (DEMA) 马来西亚青年与学生民主运动
25. Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce (MCCC) 马来西亚-中国总商会
26. Malaysian Indian's Progressive Association (MIPAS) 马来西亚印裔进步组织
27. Malaysian Youth Care Association (PRIHATIN) 马来西亚青年关怀组织
28. Malaysians for Beng Hock (M4BH) 全民挺明福
29. Merdeka University Berhad 独立大学有限公司
30. Nanyang University Alumni Association Malaya (Nanda)马来西亚南洋大学校友会
31. National Indian Rights Action Team (NIAT) 全国印裔权益行动组织
32. Negeri Sembilan Chinese Assembly Hall (NSCAH) 森美兰中华大会堂
33. Oriental Hearts and Mind Study Institute (OHMSI) 东方思想研究中心
34. Partners for Community Organization Sabah (PACOS) 沙巴社区伙伴信托组织
35. Penang Chinee Town Hall (PCTH) 槟州华人大会堂
36. People Service Organization (PSO) 人民服务组织
37. Perak Women for Women Society (PWW) 霹雳妇女协会
38. Persatuan Aliran Kesedaraan Negara (ALIRAN)国民醒觉组织
39. Persatuan Alumni PBTUSM KL & Selangor ( PBTUSM KL&S)雪隆理华同学会
40. Persatuan Bekas Siswazah Universiti dan Kolej di China, Malaysia (LiuHua) 马来西
41. Persatuan Guangxi Malaysia 马来西亚广西总会
42. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER) 雪兰莪社区自强学会
43. Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS) 雪隆社区协会
44. Persatuan Promosi Hak Asasi Manusia (PROHAM)人权促进组织
45. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor (PSWS) 雪兰莪妇女之友学会
46. Project Dialogue (PD) 对话论坛圈
47. Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat (KOMAS) 社区传播中心
48. Sahabat Rakyat Working Committee (SRWC) 人民之友工委会
49. Save Sarawak River (SSR) 拯救砂拉越河流
50. Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM) 马来西亚之子
51. Sister in Islam (SIS) 回教姐妹
52. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) 大马人民之声
53. Tamil Foundation (TF) 淡米尔基金会
54. Tindak Malaysia (TM) 马来西亚行动组织
55. United Chinese School Alumni Associations of Malaysia (UCSAAM) 马来西亚华校
56. United Chinese School Committees’ Association of Malaysia (Dong Zong) 马来西亚
57. United Chinese School Teachers Association of Malaysia (UCSTAM) 马来西亚华
58. Women Development Organization of Malaysia Petaling Jaya (WDO-M) 马来西亚妇
59. Women’s Centre for Change, Penang (WCC) 槟城妇女改革中心

Friday, 20 March 2015

Human Rights Public Lecture: Race Relations & ICERD

Asean Human Rights Discussion : AICHR & Civil Society


PROHAM menggesa semua parti politik untuk menegakkan Perlembagaan Persekutuan Malaysia.
Perlembagaan Persekutuan adalah undang-undang utama Persekutuan dan Perkara 4 memperuntukkan bahawa mana-mana undang-undang yang diluluskan selepas Merdeka yang tidak selaras dengan Perlembagaan, hendaklah setakat ketidakselarasan itu, terbatal.
Perkara 74 memperuntukkan bahawa Parlimen Malaysia boleh membuat undang-undang mengenai apa-apa perkara yang disebut satu persatu dalam Senarai Persekutuan atau Senarai Bersama (iaitu Senarai Pertama atau Ketiga) yang dinyatakan dalam Jadual Kesembilan. Dewan Undangan Negeri boleh membuat undang-undang mengenai mana-mana perkara yang disebut tersenarai dalam Senarai Negeri (iaitu Senarai Kedua) atau Senarai Bersama.
Selanjutnya Perkara 75 memperuntukkan bahawa jika mana-mana undang-undang negeri tidak selaras dengan undang-undang persekutuan, undang-undang persekutuan akan diguna pakai dan undang-undang negeri itu hendaklah, setakat ketidakselarasan itu, terbatal.
Undang-undang Ketenteraman Awam, Undang-undang Jenayah dan Penciptaan Kesalahan berkenaan dengan mana-mana perkara yang termasuk dalam Senarai Persekutuan termasuk dalam Senarai Pertama Jadual Kesembilan dan dengan itu sama sekali dalam bidang kuasa Parlimen. Dewan Undangan Negeri tidak boleh meluluskan undang-undang tersebut.
Oleh itu, kelulusan baru-baru ini Kod Syariah Jenayah II 1993 (iaitu Hukum Hudud) adalah ultra vires Perlembagaan Persekutuan dan oleh itu, tidak sah di bawah Perkara 4 dan Perkara 75 Perlembagaan Persekutuan.
Di samping itu, Undang-undang Hudud melanggar Artikel 8 Perlembagaan Persekutuan yang menjamin kesaksamaan dan tanpa diskriminasi.
Memandangkan itu, PROHAM menggesa semua ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri dan Ahli-ahli Parlimen untuk menjunjung dan menghormati Perlembagaan Persekutuan sebagai undang-undang tertinggi Malaysia.
Dikeluarkan oleh Datuk Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari (Pengerusi Proham)
20hb Mac 2015


PROHAM urges all political parties to uphold the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.

The Federal Constitution is the supreme law of the Federation and Article 4 provides that any law passed after Merdeka which is inconsistent with the Constitution, shall to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.

Article 74 provides that the Malaysian Parliament may make laws with respect to any matters enumerated in the Federal List or the Concurrent List (i.e the First or Third List) set out in the Ninth Schedule. The Legislature of the State may make laws with respect to any of the matters enumerated in the State List (i.e the Second List) or the Concurrent List.

Further Article 75 provides that if any state law is inconsistent with the federal law, the federal law shall prevail and the state law shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.

Public Order, Criminal Law and Creation of Offences in respect of any matters included in the Federal List come within the First List of the Ninth Schedule and hence totally within the jurisdiction of Parliament. The State Legislature cannot pass such laws.

Therefore, the recent passing of the Syariah Criminal Code II 1993 (i.e the Hudud Law) is ultra vires the Constitution and hence, void under Article 4 and Article 75 of the Federal Constitution.

Further, the said Hudud Law is in breach of Article 8 of the Federal Constitution which guarantees equality and non-discrimination.

In view thereof, PROHAM urges all members of the State Legislature and members of Parliament to uphold and respect the Federal Constitution being the supreme law of Malaysia.

Issued by Datuk Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari (Proham Chairman)

March 20, 2015

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Suhakam slams cops over Izzah's arrest

The Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) has expressed regret over the police violation of Parliamentary privileges by invoking the Sedition Act 1948 against lawmakers' speeches made in Parliament or state legislative assemblies.

In a press release today, Suhakam chairperson Hasmy Agam (right), said the authorities must respect and uphold Parliamentary privileges in order for lawmakers to be allowed to dispense their duties without fear or favour.

"The Commission emphasises that the freedom of speech and expression in Parliament shall not be impeached or become the basis of criminal proceedings.

"It is therefore essential that MPs are guaranteed freedom from criminal prosecution, civil suits or superfluous disciplinary action," said Hasmy.

On Monday, Lembah Nurul Izzah MP Nurul Izzah Anwar was arrested under the Sedition Act over her speech to the Dewan Rakyat on March 11.

Last August, Seri Delima assemblyperson RSN Rayer was charged under the same law for directing the word "celaka" at Umno leaders during his speech at the Penang state assembly on May 20, 2014.

Although Suhakam recognises that there are exceptions to the privileges and immunities enjoyed by lawmakers as contained in Articles 63(4) and 72(4) of the Federal Constitution, Hasmy said the authorities must recognise that there are already existing measures to punish lawmakers under the Standing Orders.

"Nonetheless, the fundamental right of freedom of speech shall be upheld in Parliament at all times," he said.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Proham is dismayed with the state of Human Rights in Malaysia & calls on the Federal Government to comply to international standards.

Proham is dismayed by the many arrest under the Sedition Act in recent times including that of elected Members of Parliament and State Assembly representatives with the most recent overnight arrest  of YB Nurul Izzah. There is today in Malaysian society a significant erosion of human rights and non-compliance by enforcement authorities especially in the curtailment of freedom of expression which is a basic human right.

In this context Proham, calls on the Federal government especially the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Police to revisit the Royal Police Commission Report which was released in 2005 on the matter of establishing reasonable grounds before arrest. (Ref 4.2). The Royal commission recommended “that IOs must not practice the policy of ‘arrest first, investigate later’

The current practice of detaining over night for questioning of recent arrest in Sedition linked investigations of willing persons, who are not a flight risk nor ones who might tamper with evidence or intimidate other witnesses  is incontinent with a human rights and professional approach in modern day Policing

Proham calls on the Federal Government to arrest this decline in human rights standards in Policing and restore human rights compliance in accordance’s to international standards.

Issued by Datuk Kuthubul Zaman (Proham Chairman) and Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria (Proham Secretary General) Both Datuk Kuthubul and Datuk Denison were members of the Police Commission which prepared the Royal Commission Report between 2004-2005)
March 17, 2015

Sunday, 15 March 2015


In conjunction with World Social Work Day 2015 (which is on March 17, 2015), 

the Malaysian Association of Social Workers (MASW) and the Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (PROHAM) 

are hosting a discussion on the theme:-

From Social Work & Human Rights Perspectives'

There is a global commitment to respect human dignity and human rights. This is at the heart of social work practice as we live the reality of social injustice.  Our experience and research tells us that people, systems and the way we exist together can change for the better.

Together, we can create a better world. This conviction is the driving force behind the global social work community's efforts (spearheaded by IFSW, IAASW and ICSW) in establishing The Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development. (Document enclosed for review)

Date:               March 21, 2015

Time:               9.30am to 12.00 (From 8.30am refreshments served)

Venue:             Brickfields Asia College (PJ Campus) - VSQ@PJ City Centre.

Tentative Program:

Word of Welcome by Mr Teoh Ai Hua, President, Malaysian Association of Social Workers

Panel of Speakers

From Human Rights Perspective: Datuk Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari (Proham Chairman)

From Social Work Perspective: Prof Dr Ismail Baba (Social Work Professor and Exco of MASW)

From Social Work Perspective: Mrs Amy Bala (Treasurer, MASW)

From Human Rights Perspective: Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria (Secretary General, Proham)

Participation is by registration and admission is free. Please register with Madam Rina Wong of MASW at 03-79549379 or email to

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Group to vet how Govt makes policies

Datuk Saifuddin, Tan Sri Michael Yeoh(Asli), Denison (KITA-UKM) & Jerald (KOMAS)
KUALA LUMPUR: The Govern­ment’s policy-making process is one of the key points that will be scrutinised in a people’s document on the future direction of the country by the Global Movement of Moderates (GMM) and the Youth Academy.
GMM chief executive officer Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said policy-making was one of the issues raised in a roundtable discussion during a consultation process to draft the document, dubbed as “The Future of Malaysia”.
“Before you start a new policy, you have to revisit the old policy. Look at the United Nations, their policies are very comprehensive,” he said.
The one-year project is expected to be presented to the Government this September. The document will be shaped as the continuation of Vision 2020.
The document will also include analysis by the group on past reports and action plans to evaluate if their recommendations had come to fruition.
Some of the documents that have been identified are the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) report on illegal immigrants in Sabah as well as the one on the death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock.
“There are many reports that have been released in the past but if we could look into these from the past five years, that would be good enough,” he said after the roundtable here yesterday.
Despite the massive time, efforts and manpower invested into the reports, Saifuddin said some of their recommendations were not looked into.
“I am sure the rakyat would be appreciative to know the follow-up to these reports. Hence, we need to revisit the documents,” he said.
Other emerging issues that would be discussed in the document include education, economics, the Federal Constitution, Rukun Negara, politics, social contract, race and religion, and foreign policy.
The objective of the document is to serve as input from the people to be taken into account in the formulation of nation-building policies and programmes – similar to the United States’ “Future of America” or Australia’s “Intergenerational Report”.
Both reports are similar as they focused on future trends that would impact policy-making by their governments.

Jenny (GMM), Dr Anis (KITA-UKM) & Gan Ping Sieu (Cenbet)
Yesterday’s roundtable discussion was also attended by representatives from civil society groups such as the Association for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham) and Centre For A Better Tomorrow (Cenbet).

Friday, 6 March 2015

Member States must enforce human rights amid rising tide of extremism – UN rights chief

High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, presents to the Human Rights Council his report on the work of his Office during 2014. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré
5 March 2015 – The world may be at a “turning point” as violent extremism and intolerance remain pervasive across the spectrum of global society, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said today as he urged Member States to uphold the human rights principles underlying their communities in their fight against radicalism.
Speaking to the 47-member UN Human Rights Council earlier today, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein warned of the “real danger” that opinion-leaders and decision-makers would “lose their grasp” of the values that States built 70 years ago “to ward off the horror of war.”
When powerful leaders feel threatened by a tweet, a blog, or a high-school student's speech, this speaks of profound underlying weakness.

“The fight against terror is a struggle to uphold the values of democracy and human rights – not undermine them,” Mr. Zeid declared. “Counter-terrorist operations that are non-specific, disproportionate, brutal and inadequately supervised violate the very norms that we seek to defend. They also risk handing the terrorists a propaganda tool – thus making our societies neither free nor safe.”
At the same time, the UN human rights chief said he was “appalled” by the “rising tide of attacks” around the world targeting people on account of their beliefs. Such “horrific acts of racial and religious hatred,” he said, spanned countries in Western Europe and North America, where “unfair policing, daily insults, and exclusion” affected large swathes of the population. Meanwhile, he added, “the tentacles of the extremist takfiri movement” – an ideology where one believer apostasies another and then condemns them as impure – had reached into a wide range of countries, from Iraq and Syria to Nigeria, Yemen, Libya and Somalia.
Against that backdrop, Mr. Zeid voiced deep concern at the tendency of States to clamp down on the most basic of human rights, including the adoption of measures that restrict freedom of expression and democratic space.
“When powerful leaders feel threatened by a tweet, a blog, or a high-school student's speech, this speaks of profound underlying weakness,” he continued. “And when writers are abducted, jailed, whipped, or put to death; when journalists are assaulted, subjected to sexual violence, tortured and killed; when peaceful protestors are gunned down by thugs; when human rights lawyers, human rights defenders and land activists are arrested and jailed on spurious charges of sedition; when newspapers are attacked or shut down – such cases attack and undermine the foundations of stable governance.”
The High Commissioner also expressed regret at the renewed use of the death penalty in a number of countries – Jordan, Pakistan, and Indonesia – and “the continuing extensive use” of the death penalty in China, Iraq, Iran and the United States.
“It is the people who sustain government, create prosperity, heal and educate others and pay for governmental and other services with their labour,” Mr. Zeid concluded. “It is their struggles that have created and sustain States. Governments exist to serve the people – not the other way round.”

Make Parliament independent again, says reform group

The Malaysian Parliament is not robust nor is it functioning effectively, said civil society groups today in putting forth several steps for reform to make the country's highest legislative body more democratic, ahead of the legislative body's first sitting of the year starting Monday.

The group, Gabungan Cadangan Penambahbaikan Parlimen (GCPP), said it was concerned about the effectiveness of the Dewan Rakyat, and have four recommendations that they will present to Putrajaya soon.

The four proposed reforms for a more "robust democracy" are reinstating Parliament's independence from the civil service, introducing the committee system, practicing agenda-setting in the Dewan Rakyat, and more allocations for research by MPs and constituency development.

Reinstating Parliament's independence from the civil service could be done by bringing back the Parliamentary Services Act, which allowed the legislative branch of government to hire its own staff and conduct its own administration and financing.

The GCPP comprises electoral reform group Bersih 2.0, the Association for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham), Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas), Projek Beres and Tindak Malaysia. Supporting groups are the Global Movement of Moderates (GMM) and the Bar Council.

Maria Chin Abdullah, who is Bersih chair, said that discussions about reforming parliament had begun in July last year following the promise by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on Malaysia Day in 2011 to have a "functional and inclusive democracy".

The Parliamentary ‎services Act 1963, which was repealed in 1992, must be restored in a first step towards making Parliament administratively and financially independent of the executive," Maria said in a press conference today.

"Our proposal calls for, among others, an increase in Standing Committees."
Proham secretariat member Rama Ramanathan said the standing committees can match the ministry posts to oversee each one and reflect the composition of the House.

"Parliament now is just not efficient. We have bills that have been aborted. Besides that, MPs have little time to vet bills with constituents.

"We have five standing committees but only one (Public Accounts Committee)‎ deals with issues outside of Parliament," he said, adding that in contrast, Indonesia has 11 committees and Cambodia has 10 commissions.

The third recommendation, Rama said, refers to the process of determining the order of business of the House and time allocations for questions and debates.

"A reasonable number of days per sitting should be assigned for opposition or non-governmental business," he said.

"Also, to make all parliamentary proceedings more accessible and accountable, RTM should create a 24-hour parliament channel, which is unedited and without commentary."
Rama also said that one of the proposals under the last recommendation is for an allocation to be provided to every MP and senator, separate from his or her personal allowance salary, to hire a high-quality research assistant.

"Constituency development funds should be scrapped in favour of federal funding for MPs' offices and administration funds."

Drawing experience from his single term as an Umno MP, GMM chief executive officer Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said that there wa
s a dire need for MPs to become lawmakers "in every sense of the word".

"Now, MP‎s have to negotiate and try to balance their role as a lawmaker and a grassroots leader," he added.

He also said that there should be participatory law-making, which included all lawmakers to ensure that quality legislations are made in Parliament.

"‎Sometimes there are briefings by ministers on certain laws but whether all MPs are invited for them or only Barisan Nasional MPs is another question," the former Umno deputy minister said.

Barisan Nasional is the ruling coalition that has formed the federal government since independence.
Maria revealed that the group had taken eight months to come up with the recommendations, after consultations with lawmakers from both sides of the divide.

"We will present this to Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim (minister in the Prime Minister's department) in his capacity as the minister in charge of parliamentary affairs in a meeting we hope to have with him in the next sitting of the Dewan Rakyat," she said. – March 6, 2015

- See more at: