Archive for March 2010

Oudated Internal Security Act

March 22, 2010

Outdated ISA must be repealed 

Internal Security Act 1960 suppresses and violates human rights and denies justice to the detained. This law has been successfully used against political opponents of government and remains a powerful tool to the police and minister of internal affairs. Under ISA minister of home affairs and police can detain any person without trial for 60 days and they can decide if they wish to detain for a further 2 years and even a further 2 years. Under Section 8 of the ISA the Minister has been conferred powers of preventive detention that is draconian in nature but nevertheless valid under the Malaysian Constitution. The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) has recently recommended that the ISA be repealed and replaced by new comprehensive legislation that, while taking a tough stand on threats to national security (including terrorism), does not violate basic human rights.

Preventive detention was first introduced by the British in 1948 to primarily to combat the armed insurgency of the communist during the Malayan Emergency days. Even though the emergency ended in 1960, the government introduced ISA in 1961 under Article 149 of the Malaysian Constitution to continue with preventive detention giving the minister of home affairs wide and far reaching power to maintain law and order. The Article 151 of the ISA allows detainee the opportunity within three months, to make representations against the order to an Advisory Board. Since the advisory board is not a court, the appeal by the detainee may not make any headway given the wide discretionary powers of the home minister.  (more…)

Local Councils Are Tied To Civil Service Bureaucracy

March 15, 2010


The legislation of Local Authorities Elections Ordinance in 1950 entrusted local councils to organize elections for the office of the councilors, who are the people who govern local area. Subsequently amendments were made to this legislation to empower residents to establish more local councils in their area. The government in 1965 formed a Malaysian royal commission to investigate the local government system with the aim of abolishing it. The local government elections were abolished on 2nd March 1965.

The uncertainties and insecurities during the ‘konfrontasi’ era with Indonesia were cited as a primary reason for abolishing local government elections. During this period of time the opposition parties were very critical towards the national policies and they had very dominant influence in several local authorities. The alliance government to cut off the opposition influence on local authorities and to regain its control of the government frontline formed the Malaysian royal commission to justify the abolition of local elections. There was considerable opposition to the abolition of local government elections later. This led to the preparation of Nahappan report which was well received by many community leaders, but the government used the May 13th incident to do away with local government elections for good. (more…)

Orang Asli must head the department of native affairs (JHEOA)

March 1, 2010


Orang Asli(aboriginal people) the natives of this country from Peninsular Malaysia have long been under the direct supervision and surveillance of department of natives’ affair, Jabatan Hal Ehwal Orang Asli (JHEOA) which is within the Ministry of Rural and Territorial Development. Apart from the establishment of the Department of Orang Asli Affairs (JHEOA), the Orang Asli are protected under the Aboriginal Peoples Act of 1954. Orang asli are the only ethnic community in Malaysia protected and catered for by a department and legislation. These are the British legacy left behind being still followed by the Malaysian government.       

 JHEOA was set up in 1953/54 to protect the orang asli way of live from development and exploitation and provide educational facilities for natives (orang asli) children and cultivate agricultural and other opportunities that are sustainable for them. With a population of 148000 natives (orang asli) they live with a poverty rate of 76.9% while the national poverty rate is 6.5%. Still with high level of illiteracy, poor health care and high dependency on government, what have changed for the natives (orang asli) for all these years under department of native affairs (JHEOA).   (more…)