22 December, 2010

2010 Democracy Index - 71 Malaysia: Flawed democracy, 82 Singapore: Hybrid regime

Norwegians have the privilege of enjoying the most democratic government on the planet, a new report has found.

Now in its third edition, the Economist Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index 2010 aims to provide a snapshot of the state of democracy for 165 countries and two territories based on electoral process, political culture and civil liberties. The poll groups nations into four types of regimes: full democracies, flawed democracies, hybrid regimes and authoritarian regimes.

Norway came in at #1 as a "full democracy," while the U.S. is ranked at #17, just ahead of the U.K. (#19) to come in on the lower end of the "full democracy" spectrum. Designated as a "flawed democracy," France follows at #31, while Belarus, Qatar and North Korea are positioned toward the bottom of the poll as "authoritarian regimes."

The report also pinpoints what is described as a "democratic recession," with only 12.3% of the world's citizens enjoying access to a "full democracy," an overall decline reportedly sparred by political malaise in light of the global economic crisis.

Malaysia is ranked 71th in the world, and classified as a ‘Flawed democracy’

Singapore is ranked a pathetic 82th in the world, the same rank it attained two years ago and remains classified as a ‘hybrid regime’ among the likes of Russia, Pakistan and Cambodia.

The Democracy Index is an index compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit examining the state of democracy in 167 countries, attempting to quantify this with an Economist Intelligence Unit Index of Democracy which focused on five general categories: electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, functioning of government, political participation and political culture.

The countries are categorized into “Full Democracies”, “Flawed Democracies”, “Hybrid Regimes” (all considered democracies), and “Authoritarian Regimes” (considered dictatorial).

The Democracy Index 2010

1 Norway 9.8 Full democracy
2 Iceland 9.65 Full democracy
3 Denmark 9.52 Full democracy
4 Sweden 9.5 Full democracy
5 New Zealand 9.26 Full democracy
6 Australia 9.22 Full democracy
7 Finland 9.19 Full democracy
8 Switzerland 9.09 Full democracy
9 Canada 9.08 Full democracy
10 Netherlands 8.99 Full democracy
11 Luxembourg 8.88 Full democracy
12 Ireland 8.79 Full democracy
13 Austria 8.49 Full democracy
14 Germany 8.38 Full democracy
15 Malta 8.28 Full democracy
16 Czech Republic 8.19 Full democracy
17 United States 8.18 Full democracy
18 Spain 8.16 Full democracy
19 United Kingdom 8.16 Full democracy
20 South Korea 8.11 Full democracy
21 Uruguay 8.1 Full democracy
22 Japan 8.08 Full democracy
23 Belgium 8.05 Full democracy
24 Mauritius 8.04 Full democracy
24 Costa Rica 8.04 Full democracy
26 Portugal 8.02 Full democracy
27 Cape Verde 7.94 Flawed democracy
28 Greece 7.92 Flawed democracy
29 Italy 7.83 Flawed democracy
30 South Africa 7.79 Flawed democracy
31 France 7.77 Flawed democracy
32 Slovenia 7.69 Flawed democracy
33 Estonia 7.68 Flawed democracy
34 Chile 7.67 Flawed democracy
35 Botswana 7.63 Flawed democracy
36 Republic of China (Taiwan) 7.52 Flawed democracy
37 Israel 7.48 Flawed democracy
38 Slovakia 7.35 Flawed democracy
39 Cyprus 7.29 Flawed democracy
40 India 7.28 Flawed democracy
41 Lithuania 7.24 Flawed democracy
42 Timor-Leste 7.22 Flawed democracy
43 Hungary 7.21 Flawed democracy
43 Jamaica 7.21 Flawed democracy
45 Trinidad and Tobago 7.16 Flawed democracy
46 Panama 7.15 Flawed democracy
47 Brazil 7.12 Flawed democracy
48 Poland 7.05 Flawed democracy
48 Latvia 7.05 Flawed democracy
50 Mexico 6.93 Flawed democracy
51 Argentina 6.84 Flawed democracy
51 Bulgaria 6.84 Flawed democracy
53 Croatia 6.81 Flawed democracy
54 Suriname 6.65 Flawed democracy
55 Sri Lanka 6.64 Flawed democracy
56 Romania 6.6 Flawed democracy
57 Colombia 6.55 Flawed democracy
57 Thailand 6.55 Flawed democracy
59 Papua New Guinea 6.54 Flawed democracy
60 Indonesia 6.53 Flawed democracy
61 El Salvador 6.47 Flawed democracy
62 Paraguay 6.4 Flawed democracy
62 Peru 6.4 Flawed democracy
64 Mongolia 6.36 Flawed democracy
65 Serbia 6.33 Flawed democracy
65 Moldova 6.33 Flawed democracy
67 Ukraine 6.3 Flawed democracy
68 Montenegro 6.27 Flawed democracy
69 Namibia 6.23 Flawed democracy
70 Dominican Republic 6.2 Flawed democracy
71 Malaysia 6.19 Flawed democracy
72 Benin 6.17 Flawed democracy
73 Macedonia 6.16 Flawed democracy
74 Philippines 6.12 Flawed democracy
75 Guyana 6.05 Flawed democracy
75 Guatemala 6.05 Flawed democracy
77 Lesotho 6.02 Flawed democracy
77 Ghana 6.02 Flawed democracy
79 Mali 6.01 Flawed democracy
80 Hong Kong 5.92 Hybrid regime
80 Bolivia 5.92 Hybrid regime
82 Singapore 5.89 Hybrid regime
83 Bangladesh 5.87 Hybrid regime
84 Albania 5.86 Hybrid regime
85 Malawi 5.84 Hybrid regime
86 Lebanon 5.82 Hybrid regime
87 Ecuador 5.77 Hybrid regime
88 Honduras 5.76 Hybrid regime
89 Turkey 5.73 Hybrid regime
89 Nicaragua 5.73 Hybrid regime
91 Zambia 5.68 Hybrid regime
92 Tanzania 5.64 Hybrid regime
93 Palestine 5.44 Hybrid regime
94 Bosnia and Herzegovina 5.32 Hybrid regime
95 Senegal 5.27 Hybrid regime
96 Venezuela 5.18 Hybrid regime
97 Liberia 5.07 Hybrid regime
98 Uganda 5.05 Hybrid regime
99 Mozambique 4.9 Hybrid regime
100 Cambodia 4.87 Hybrid regime
101 Kenya 4.71 Hybrid regime
102 Bhutan 4.68 Hybrid regime
103 Georgia 4.59 Hybrid regime
104 Pakistan 4.55 Hybrid regime
105 Sierra Leone 4.51 Hybrid regime
106 Kyrgyzstan 4.31 Hybrid regime
107 Russia 4.26 Hybrid regime
108 Nepal 4.24 Hybrid regime
109 Armenia 4.09 Hybrid regime
110 Burundi 4.01 Hybrid regime
111 Haiti 4 Hybrid regime
111 Iraq 4 Hybrid regime
113 Madagascar 3.94 Authoritarian regime
114 Kuwait 3.88 Authoritarian regime
115 Mauritania 3.86 Authoritarian regime
116 Morocco 3.79 Authoritarian regime
117 Jordan 3.74 Authoritarian regime
118 Ethiopia 3.68 Authoritarian regime
119 Fiji 3.62 Authoritarian regime
120 Burkina Faso 3.59 Authoritarian regime
121 Cuba 3.52 Authoritarian regime
122 Bahrain 3.49 Authoritarian regime
123 Nigeria 3.47 Authoritarian regime
124 Togo 3.45 Authoritarian regime
125 Algeria 3.44 Authoritarian regime
126 Cameroon 3.41 Authoritarian regime
126 Comoros 3.41 Authoritarian regime
128 Niger 3.38 Authoritarian regime
128 Gambia 3.38 Authoritarian regime
130 Belarus 3.34 Authoritarian regime
131 Angola 3.32 Authoritarian regime
132 Kazakhstan 3.3 Authoritarian regime
133 Gabon 3.29 Authoritarian regime
134 Rwanda 3.25 Authoritarian regime
135 Azerbaijan 3.15 Authoritarian regime
136 People’s Republic of China 3.14 Authoritarian regime
137 Qatar 3.09 Authoritarian regime
138 Egypt 3.07 Authoritarian regime
139 Côte d’Ivoire 3.02 Authoritarian regime
140 Vietnam 2.94 Authoritarian regime
141 Swaziland 2.9 Authoritarian regime
142 Republic of the Congo 2.89 Authoritarian regime
143 Oman 2.86 Authoritarian regime
144 Guinea 2.79 Authoritarian regime
144 Tunisia 2.79 Authoritarian regime
146 Zimbabwe 2.64 Authoritarian regime
146 Yemen 2.64 Authoritarian regime
148 United Arab Emirates 2.52 Authoritarian regime
149 Tajikistan 2.51 Authoritarian regime
150 Afghanistan 2.48 Authoritarian regime
151 Sudan 2.42 Authoritarian regime
152 Eritrea 2.31 Authoritarian regime
152 Syria 2.31 Authoritarian regime
154 Djibouti 2.2 Authoritarian regime
155 Democratic Republic of the Congo 2.15 Authoritarian regime
156 Laos 2.1 Authoritarian regime
157 Guinea-Bissau 1.99 Authoritarian regime
158 Libya 1.94 Authoritarian regime
158 Iran 1.94 Authoritarian regime
160 Equatorial Guinea 1.84 Authoritarian regime
160 Saudi Arabia 1.84 Authoritarian regime
162 Central African Republic 1.82 Authoritarian regime
163 Burma 1.77 Authoritarian regime
164 Uzbekistan 1.74 Authoritarian regime
165 Turkmenistan 1.72 Authoritarian regime
166 Chad 1.52 Authoritarian regime
167 North Korea 1.08 Authoritarian regime



21 December, 2010

Malaysia Bus crash that killed 28 possibly due to human, technical factors ?

Police believe that the express bus crash at Km15 of the Cameron Highlands-Simpang Pulai road yesterday in which 27 people were killed, mostly Thai tourists, was due to driver factor and technical problems of the bus.

Perak police deputy chief Datuk Zakaria Yusof who said this, also denied that the accident could have been caused by the road's oily patches.

"However, it is up to the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros), Puspakom and Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB) to determine the cause of the accident,".

A double-decker bus carrying Thai tourists overturned on a Malaysian highway Monday, killing 28 people on their way back from a hill resort in the country's worst road accident in years.

The tourists were heading to Kuala Lumpur after a weekend trip to the popular Cameron Highlands in central Malaysia when their bus spun out of control and crashed into a protective barrier, a district police official said.

The bus then flipped over and landed beside a rocky slope, he said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make public statements.

Rescuers recovered 22 bodies, and another six people died after being taken to a hospital, he said. About a dozen other passengers were injured.

The bus was reportedly operated by San Holiday Express, a Malaysian-based tour company.

Earlier, it was reported that the bodies of the Thai passengers killed and those injured will be flown home using a Royal Thai Air Force C-130 transport aircraft tomorrow.

Thailand's Foreign Ministry deputy spokesman Thani Thongpakdi was quoted in the Bangkok Post Online today as saying that the C-130 Hercules would leave for Malaysia about 8am tomorrow from the Don Muang Air Force Terminal.

He said other than a team of doctors and Consular Affairs Department deputy director-general Mathurapojana Ittharong on board, a relative of each of the victims would also be allowed to travel on the plane.

Thani said he had learned that the company that operated the package tour had an insurance policy that covered all passengers

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16 December, 2010

Singapore leaders getting a bitter taste of its own medicine?

As Singapore appears to be embroiled in a protracted diplomatic spat with its neighbors following a series of damning releases by WikiLeaks, one cannot helping wondering how a small country has become so maligned and vilified at least in the region after the United States of America.

The shocking releases of Singapore diplomats making unflattering remarks about Malaysia, Thailand, Japan and India by two Australian papers last Sunday was followed swiftly by another diplomatic cable leaked on WikiLeaks a few days later with PAP strongman Lee Kuan Yew calling Burma’s generals “stupid” and “dense” and expressing his reservations about Laos, Cambodia, Burma and Vietnam joining ASEAN.

Poor George Yeo must have a busy time of late trying to contain the damage from the diplomatic fallout.

It doesn’t matter if MFA comments on the leak, less so if they are really mere “gossip” and “cocktail talk” as Mr Yeo will want the world to believe. The fact remains that Singapore’s reputation has taking a battling with even the Japanese media giving extensive coverage on Tommy Koh’s remarks on them being a “big fat loser.”

Does it surprise us or anybody that our diplomats and leaders are capable of making the most callous, disrespectful and yes, undiplomatic comments about their purported friends and allies within diplomatic circles?

Singapore officials have acquired a reputation of being condescending and arrogant with a “superiority complex” over its neighbors, noted a Malaysian diplomat which is why Malaysia Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said quite frankly that he did not expect an apology from Singapore when he handed a protest note to the Singapore’s High Commissioner in Kuala Lumpur.

The “holier-than-thou” attitude displayed by our leaders has peeved off quite a number of countries over the years though they may not have expressed it explicitly out of courtesy, coupled with their propensity to sue the foreign media, doesn’t make them exactly popular among some countries in the region.

While Australia has maintained friendly ties with Singapore for a number of years, the same cannot be said of the Australia media whose coverage of Singapore is always less than favorable.

Nearly 1,000 cables were leaked by WikiLeaks exclusively to the two Australian papers – why did they choose to pick on Singapore only and not on others?

Consider the following headline carried on the Sydney Morning Herald:

Though the comments were made by Singapore diplomats, the Australian paper chose to shift the focus to Singapore’s leaders instead.....more

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14 December, 2010

Has WikiLeaks changed journalism forever?

WikiLeaks is a whistleblowing Web site that became the focus of a global debate over its role in the release of thousands of confidential messages about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the conduct of American diplomacy around the world.

The once-fringe Web site, which aims to bring to light secret information about governments and corporations, was founded in 2006 by Julian Assange, an Australian activist and journalist, along with a group of like-minded activists and computer experts.

Wikileaks made its initial reputation by publishing material as diverse as documents about toxic dumping in Africa, protocols from Guantánamo Bay, e-mail messages from Sarah Palin’s personal account and 9/11 pager messages. When it published tens of thousands of confidential military field reports about the two wars in July 2010, it was denounced by American officials for endangering the lives of soldiers and civilians.The release of some of a trove of 250,000 diplomatic cables obtained by Wikileaks led to anger and criticism from officials around the world.

Wikileaks made the material on Iraq and Afghanistan available to a number of news organizations, including The New York Times, in advance. The Guardian shared the diplomatic cable collection with The New York Times. By early December, Wikileaks had posted only a few thousand on its website.

The uproar over the diplomatic cables coincided with mounting legal troubles for Mr. Assange, its founder.

Think back to 2008, when WikiLeaks simply released documents that suggested the government of Kenya had looted its country. The follow-up in the mainstream media was decidedly muted.

Then last spring, WikiLeaks adopted a more journalistic approach — editing and annotating a 2007 video from Baghdad in which an Apache helicopter fired on men who appeared to be unarmed, including two employees of Reuters. The reviews were mixed, with some suggesting that the video had been edited to political ends, but the disclosure received much more attention in the press.

In July, WikiLeaks began what amounted to a partnership with mainstream media organizations, including The New York Times, by giving them an early look at the so-called Afghan War Diary, a strategy that resulted in extensive reporting on the implications of the secret documents.

Then in November, the heretofore classified mother lode of 250,000 United States diplomatic cables that describe tensions across the globe was shared by WikiLeaks with Le Monde, El Pais, The Guardian and Der Spiegel. (The Guardian shared documents with The New York Times.) The result was huge: many articles have come out since, many of them deep dives into the implications of the trove of documents.

Notice that with each successive release, WikiLeaks has become more strategic and has been rewarded with deeper, more extensive coverage of its revelations. It’s a long walk from WikiLeaks’s origins as a user-edited site held in common to something more akin to a traditional model of publishing, but seems to be in keeping with its manifesto to deliver documents with “maximum possible impact.”

Julian Assange, WikiLeaks’s founder and guiding spirit, apparently began to understand that scarcity, not ubiquity, drives coverage of events. Instead of just pulling back the blankets for all to see, he began to limit the disclosures to those who would add value through presentation, editing and additional reporting. In a sense, Mr. Assange, a former programmer, leveraged the processing power of the news media to build a story and present it in comprehensible ways. (Of course, as someone who draws a paycheck from a mainstream journalism outfit, it may be no surprise that I continue to see durable value in what we do even amid the journalistic jujitsu WikiLeaks introduces.)

And by publishing only a portion of the documents, rather than spilling information willy-nilly and recklessly endangering lives, WikiLeaks could also strike a posture of responsibility, an approach that seems to run counter to Mr. Assange’s own core anarchism.

Although Mr. Assange is now arguing that the site is engaged in what he called a new kind of “scientific journalism,” his earlier writings suggest he believes the mission of WikiLeaks is to throw sand in the works of what he considers corrupt, secretive and inherently evil states. He initiated a conspiracy in order to take down what he saw as an even greater conspiracy.

“WikiLeaks is not a news organization, it is a cell of activists that is releasing information designed to embarrass people in power,” said George Packer, a writer on international affairs at The New Yorker. “They simply believe that the State Department is an illegitimate organization that needs to be exposed, which is not really journalism.”

By shading his radicalism and collaborating with mainstream outlets, Mr. Assange created a comfort zone for his partners in journalism. They could do their jobs and he could do his.

“The notion that this experience has somehow profoundly changed journalism, the way that information gets out or changed the way that diplomacy happens, seems rather exaggerated,” said Bill Keller, the executive editor of The New York Times, which used information from the leaks to report a series of large articles.

“It was a big deal, but not an unfamiliar one. Consumers of information became privy to a lot of stuff that had been secret before,” Mr. Keller said. “The scale of it was unusual, but was it different in kind from the Pentagon Papers or revelation of Abu Ghraib or government eavesdropping? I think probably not.”

(Read more here)


13 December, 2010

Malaysia wants Singapore to explain the damaging remarks

Malaysia wants Singapore to explain the damaging remarks allegedly made by its senior government officials against Malaysia and its Prime Minister, reported The Star.

Malaysia’s officials said it would be best to wait for Singapore’s explanation before any reaction was given.

“I am sure Singapore will explain soon enough. I am sure some people are already embarrassed with the leak,” said a senior official commenting on leaked US diplomatic cables exposed by WikiLeaks.

The cables, recorded in 2008 and 2009, involved Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) senior officials Peter Ho; Bilahari Kausikan and Tommy Koh in meetings with US Deputy Secretary of Defense for East Asia David Sedney.

Kausikan reportedly said: “A lack of competent leadership is a real problem for Malaysia”, citing the need for Datuk Seri Najib Razak to prevail politically over the murder case of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu.

In his reply to media on Sunday, Singapore’s Foreign Minister George Yeo had dismissed these comments as confidential “gossip and cocktail talk” which should not have been released.

He added that the ministry would not check the veracity of the remarks, nor comment on what could have gone on in an informal and confidential setting.

Malaysia’s officials should take note that Singapore’s elite million-dollar ministers and officials can never be wrong and even if they are, its just an “honest mistake”.

What happened was indeed very bad, Malaysia should just move on.


12 December, 2010

Singapore diplomats slam Asian leaders in WikiLeaks cables , reportedly said “Malaysia’s decline” is fueled by incompetent politicians !

Several Singapore diplomats have expressed a poor opinion of some Asian leaders, according to confidential US diplomatic cables quoted by an Australian news report on Sunday.

The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper said it received copies of diplomatic messages from the whistleblower website WikiLeaks, including controversial comments by Singapore top officials on Malaysia, Thailand and other Asian nations.

In one of the cables, which could not be accessed online for verification, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Bilahari Kausikan in September 2008 supposedly told a US diplomat that "a lack of competent leadership is a real problem for Malaysia."

"The situation in neighbouring Malaysia is confused and dangerous," and there was a "distinct possibility of racial conflict" that could see ethnic Chinese flee Malaysia and "overwhelm" Singapore, the newspaper quoted him as saying.

In March 2008, then foreign affairs permanent secretary Peter Ho described Najib Razak, now Malaysia's prime minister, as "an opportunist," said the report.

"Although he (Razak) has not been critical of Singapore, he will not hesitate to go in that direction if it is expedient for him to do so," Ho reportedly said of Malaysia's current leader.

In a cable dated September 2008, Kausikan supposedly labelled former Thailand's prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra as "corrupt," along with "everyone else, including the opposition."

Meanwhile, according to Wikileaks, the Aussies and the kiasu Singaporeans knew about Dr Anwar and Saiful all along, about it being a set-up and how Dr Anwar had known that it was an entrapment but didn't - or could not - give a damn.

Malaysia’s improved ties with Singapore could be in jeopardy after the republic’s senior government officials reportedly said “Malaysia’s decline” is fueled by incompetent politicians.

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08 December, 2010

Malaysia Law minister:"underage marriages practice is permitted under Islam." !

Malaysia's law minister on Wednesday shot down calls to ban underage marriage, despite an uproar over the recent wedding of a 14-year-old Muslim school girl.

Siti Maryam Mahmod wed 23-year-old teacher Abdul Manan Othman last weekend in a mass wedding at a major mosque, after being given permission in an Islamic syariah court.

Malaysian Muslims below the age of 16 are allowed to marry as long as they obtain the permission of the religious courts. Sharia law runs in parallel with civil law in the multi-ethnic country.

Nazri Abdul Aziz, a minister in the premier's department in charge of legal affairs, said the government has no plan to review laws allowing for underage marriages because the practice is permitted under Islam.

"If the religion allows it, then we can't legislate against it," he told a press conference.

"Islam allows it as long as the girl is considered to have reached her pubescent stage, once she has her menstruation," he added.....more here.

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06 December, 2010

Malaysia: Torture practiced systematically in widespread caning

Malaysia openly practises widespread torture and other ill-treatment by subjecting thousands of refugees, migrants and Malaysian citizens to judicial caning each year. This form of corporal punishment has nothing to do with Islamic law. Under international law, judicial corporal punishment such as caning constitutes torture or other ill-treatment, which are absolutely prohibited in all circumstances. As a member of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN), Malaysia should consider the regional consequences of caning migrants and refugees. To comply with international law, the Malaysian government must abolish judicial caning altogether.

6 December 2010

The Malaysian government must immediately end the practice of judicial caning, which subjects thousands of people each year to systematic torture and ill-treatment, leaving them with permanent physical and psychological scars, Amnesty International said today in a new report.

A Blow to Humanity provides an in-depth look at Malaysian caning, which leaves victims, including many foreigners seeking asylum, with little recourse, support or hope. Many have no understanding of the charges or fate that awaits them.

“Caning in Malaysia has hit epidemic proportions,” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Director. “In every case that we examined, the punishment amounted to torture, which is absolutely prohibited under any circumstances.”

In recent years, Malaysia has increased the number of penal offenses subject to caning to more than 60. Since 2002, when Parliament made immigration violations such as illegal entry subject to caning, tens of thousands of refugees and migrant workers have been caned.

In Malaysian prisons specially trained caning officers tear into victims’ bodies with a metre-long cane swung with both hands at high speed. The cane rips into the victim’s naked skin, pulps the fatty tissue below, and leaves scars that extend to muscle fibre. The pain is so severe that victims often lose consciousness.

The Malaysian government does not punish officers for their actions. Instead, it trains officers how to conduct caning and pays them a bonus for each stroke. Many double their income through their caning work. Others take bribes to intentionally miss, sparing their victims.

State-employed doctors also play an integral role in caning. They examine victims and certify their fitness to be caned. When victims lose consciousness during caning, they revive them so the punishment can continue. After caning, some victims suffer long-term physical disabilities.

“The role that Malaysian doctors play in facilitating deliberate pain and injury through caning is absolutely contrary to international medical ethics,” said Sam Zarifi. “Instead of treating the victims, the doctors are preparing them for punishment.”

Malaysian officials and states employees who are complicit in torture are liable to prosecution worldwide under universal jurisdiction for grave human rights crimes such as these, Amnesty International said.

Judicial caning was originally imposed under British colonial rule in the 19th century. Under international law, all judicial corporal punishment constitutes torture or other ill-treatment, which is prohibited in all circumstances.

Refugees who fled torture and forced labour in Myanmar told Amnesty International how Malaysia (which does not recognize refugees) caned them for immigration violations, sometimes repeatedly. In Indonesia, Amnesty International met migrant workers deported by boat from Malaysia; 63 of the men had been caned.

“Neighbouring countries significantly contribute to Malaysia’s economy by sending tens of thousands of migrant workers,” said Sam Zarifi. “Indonesia and other migrant-sending countries should insist that Malaysia stop caning their citizens.”

Amnesty International called on the Malaysian government to:

• Enact immediately a moratorium on caning punishment in all cases, with a view to its abolition;
• Ratify the UN Convention Against Torture and its Optional Protocol, as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
• Amend legislation to treat immigration violations as administrative offences rather than crimes punishable by prison or corporal punishment.


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01 December, 2010

Malay Supremacy Not Mentioned In Constitution !

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 30 (Bernama) -- The terminology "Ketuanan Melayu" or Malay Supremacy need not be debated because it does not exist in the country's constitution, said history expert, Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Khoo Kay Kim.

He said that from the historical aspect, only the Rulers' Supremacy was stated in the constitution where the people must show their loyalty to the Rulers.

"In the past, 'Malay Supremacy' was never mentioned within the Malay community. In history, such things are incorrect. What is stated in the constitution is only the Rulers' Supremacy, where you show loyalty to the state where you reside in.

"The Malays obtained the special privileges because they are the subjects of the Ruler. The position of the Malays is given special consideration and need not be disputed," he said when contacted by Bernama, here Tuesday night.

He was asked to comment on the statement by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail on the Malay Supremacy in her policy speech at the 7th National Congress of the party on Sunday.

Dr Wan Azizah called for the abolition of the concept of Malay Supremacy to enable Malaysian children to grow up with the vision of a 'race of integrity' or 'Malay of Integrity'.

Khoo said the terminology 'Malay Supremacy' was only raised by politicians purely for political purposes, and he observed that politicians were now frequently raising issues that could lead to racial confrontations.

"Politicians should focus on their services to the public, helping the people. They should not encourage the people to quarrel," he said.

Meanwhile, the Director of the Institute of Ethnic Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Prof Datuk Dr Shamsul Amri Baharuddin shared Khoo's opinion that the term Malay Supremacy was coined by politicians in portraying the political and economic position of the Malays.

Questioning Dr Wan Azizah's motive in raising the issue, he said the statement by the wife of PKR de facto leader, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, was merely a political gimmick and purely to cover up the crisis faced by the party currently.

"I don't know why the issue was raised. What I notice is "Anwar's Supremacy" in the PKR. It is Anwar's Supremacy that must be abolished. The Malay Supremacy is merely to demolish Anwar's Supremacy. In my opinion, the concept (Malay Supremacy) does not exist," he said.

He said Dr Wan Azizah should re-examine what was meant by the term supremacy and should not question the special privileges of the Malays which had been enshrined ever since the era of the Malay Sultanate.

Shamsul Amri said that looking from the economic aspect, the Chinese community dominated 70 per cent of the economy while the Malays had only 30 per cent and there was no such thing as the Malays dominating in all aspects.

"If we look at it, the 70 per cent should be the supreme group. So, what does the Malay Supremacy show? What does supremacy mean? She (Dr Wan Azizah) herself is not clear on the meaning of supremacy," he said.

Dr Shamsul Amri said politicians should be thinking about issues that were relevant for discussion instead of raising issues that could bring about negative developments between the races.

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