Thursday, December 9, 2010

Hindraf duo to file suit against Najib

Two lawyers and Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leaders, P Uthayakumar (below, right) and M Manoharan, are scheduled to file a RM200 million suit against Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak tomorrow over their allegedly unlawful detention under the draconian Internal Security Act law for 514 days.

hindraf btn 151209 manoharan uthayakumarThey will also name former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and former inspector-general of police Musa Hassan and the government as the other defendants.

Manoharan(above, left) told Malaysiakini that they decided to cite Abdullah as a defendant as it was during the former premier's tenure that they were detained, while it was during Hishammuddin's tenure that they were finally released.

They also named Musa as he was the IGP who may have ordered their detention.

They claimed that their detention which began on Dec 13, 2007 was unlawful, where they had been kept for 514 days.

According to them, this was the first suit filed against Najib in his personal capacity as it was during his premiership that he had earlier decided to release some ISA detainees, and later released three Hindraf detainees including the two in May 2009.

The two, who are seeking RM100 million each, are scheduled to file the suit tomorrow at the Kuala Lumpur High Court civil registry.

Rulers’ Conference needs to also protect minority’s rights

It seems that the Rulers' Conference fail to comprehend that as rulers they are also duty bound to the second limb of Article 153 of the Federal constitution as the minority’s interests also need to be safeguarded in the current polarized state of affairs between the Muslims and the non-Muslims.

By R.Shan (Human Being)

Bearing the escalation of conversion rows (latest involving Yi Min in Penang), including 'body-snatching' cases where Islamic authorities have battled with relatives over the remains of the alive and dead when religion is disputed encouraged the cabinet to table proposed amendments to the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976, Administration of Islamic Law (Federal Territories) Act 1993 and Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) Act 1984.

Initially when the Rulers’ conference was approached in June 29, 2009, it was decided by them that matter of the conversion and religion must be referred to the state religious authorities before proceeding with it.

The proposed changes would involve procedures on the dissolution of marriage, right to custody of children when coversion happens after marriage, maintenance of children and wife, and division of matrimonial assets.

Now the current reluctance by the Rulers' Conference to consent to the proposed amendments although the proposals are only reflective of a person’s rights prior to becoming a Muslim. It seems that the Rulers' Conference fail to comprehend that as rulers they are also duty bound to the second limb of Article 153 of the Federal constitution as the minority’s interests also need to be safeguarded in the current polarized state of affairs between the Muslims and the non-Muslims.

In no instance do these proposals diminish the rights of either a Muslim or their obligations but rather to ensure the minority rights are not neglected in contrary to Federal constitution on unreasonability and installation of fear through religion as we have seen at a rampant stage in Malaysia of late.

As Rulers, they have the natural duty to safeguard and protect the Islamic faith, but not in a retrospective manner prior to them embracing the Islam faith or how it is forced upon without their natural consent.

The consensus requested by way of these bills will no doubt weather the storm of the currently strained race relations in Malaysia and enhance the position of the Rulers that they are indeed concerned with the second limb of Article 153.

As for the UMNO & PAKATAN state governments, it is obvious that they are trying to do a balancing act to ensure their vote counts in their typical political manner whereas the public continues to suffer in silence. By pushing the buck to the Rulers, it does nothing but undermine the faith of the people on how ineffective they have become when the public’s interest is at stake when the constitution is crystal clear that minorities are to be protected to ensure their own freedom of practice.

This indeed would be a clear indication that the Rulers’ Conference is equally concerned to ensure justice, reasonableness and fair play is afforded in their role as the rulers for each and every Malaysian besides only serving what is politically expedient.

Lawyers sue cops for 'unlawful' arrest

By FMT Staff

KUALA LUMPUR: Six lawyers, one of whom is a member of Parliament, filed a civil suit at the high court here this morning over their “unlawful” arrest and detention three years ago.

The lawyers, Subang MP R Sivarasa, N Surendran, Latheefa Koya, Eric Paulsen, Amer Hamzah and Johny Andu were arrested during the Human Rights Day walk on Dec 9, 2007.

They named former Dang Wangi district police chief Che Hamzah Che Ismail as the first defendant.

According to a statement by Laywers for Liberty, Hamzah had acted as the “ground commander” for the operation even though he had given permission for the participants to walk.

Also named as co-defendants were the inspector-general of police, the Home Ministry and the government.

“The unlawful arrest and detention led to them being detained overnight in the police lock-up and charged the next day on exaggerated, malicious and frivolous charges under Section 143 and 145 of the Penal Code (unlawful assembly with the intention to cause public nuisance) and alternatively under Section 27 of the Police Act (unlawful assembly).

“During the charge, Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail had outrageously and in bad faith tried to object to the bail application on the ground that since the accused persons had not adhered to the police warning not to assemble and walk, they posed a threat to national security,” read the statement.

However, bail was granted to the lawyers on a “personal bond” of RM2,000 without surety.

“On April 16, 2009, at the end of the prosecution’s case, the judge bravely discharged and acquitted the accused persons of all charges,” said Lawyers for Liberty.

In addition to the “unlawful arrest and detention”, the six also claimed to be victims of “malicious prosecution” as the facts and circumstances of the case do not support such charges at all, and that the police had “falsely and maliciously” implicated them.

As a result of these acts, the lawyers were among other things claiming for a declaration that their constitutional rights had been violated and that the police acted wrongfully and unlawfully.

They were also claiming exemplary and aggravated damages.