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Biweekly Human Rights Roundup

Conviction for Attempted Suicide, Anti-Fake News Act, UUCA… Human Rights Round-up (07/02/20)

  1. Disabled man convicted for attempted suicide
7 Feb 1
(Canva)

#Disablity

A disabled man has been sentenced to 6 months imprisonment by the Magistrate’s Court in Kuala Terengganu for attempted suicide. It was reported that he is depressed. Rights groups, Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) and Hakam, urged the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) to review the case immediately. LFL director Melissa Sasidaran pointed out that the man was not represented by a lawyer and the prosecution was not in line with the government’s intent to decriminalise suicide; Hakam suggested the man be given psychiatric assistance instead. De facto law minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong also expressed concern about the worrying verdict. He affirmed that the AGC has been studying the decriminalisation of suicide and was hopeful that amendments to the law will be tabled by the middle of 2020.

2. Gobind: no need for new anti-fake news law 

7 Feb 2
(Facebook page ‘Anti-Fake News’)

#Anti-FakeNewsAct

Communications and Multimedia Media Minister Gobind Singh Deo said there is no need for new anti-fake news law to deal with those who spread false information regarding the Wuhan virus outbreak. Thus far, six people have been arrested for the offence of spreading fake news about the outbreak.

Also, there have been at least 10 viral messages about the coronavirus which has been proven to be fake. Minister Gobind Singh mentioned that the police will work with Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to identify the owner of the social media account and the police will deal with the report.

3. “11 men charged for attempting sex: what you need to know”

7 Feb 3
(Queer Lapis)

#LGBT

Last November, the news of five men being charged for attempting ‘unnatural sex’ by the Selangor Syariah High Court went viral in Malaysia. However, there were actually 11 men in total who were charged and they have been abused throughout the ordeal.

It was alleged that during the raid, (i) the Islamic Religious Department of Selangor (JAIS) and the National Anti-Drugs Agency forced all of them to pose full-frontal nude and took photos of them, (ii) forced the men to remain nude throughout the entire raid of over 2 hours, (iii) JAIS tried to force a confession out of the men while they were naked. In addition, JAIS did not have an arrest warrant nor the police present during the raid, instead called news reporters and their crew, increasing the humiliation and traumaCheck out more at Queerlapis.com.

4. Calls for public pressure on Pakatan Harapan to abolish the UUCA this year

 

7 Feb 5
(Free Malaysia Today)

#UUCA #StudentActivism

Members of a working committee made up of student activists to study the Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA) were removed from their positions without proper explanation and procedure. It was said that the decision was final and new appointees would be announced soon. This incident confirmed worries that Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who is now the interim education minister, would curtail the progress of reforms for more academic freedom.

In response, student activists have called upon the public to pressure the government to carry though its promise of abolishing the UUCA this year. The Gerakan Pembebasan Akademik (GPA) representatives also called for more transparency about the plan to dismantle the contentious law.

5. Two Indonesian Women Rescued From Forced Labour

7 Feb 6
(Canva)

#WorkersRights

Two Indonesian women approached the immigration enforcement team and asked for help during an integrated operation at a traditional medicine shop in Lebuh Pantai, Penang. It is believed that they have been forced to work exceeding 12 hours a day and not paid the monthly salary of RM 1,000 as promised.

Penang Immigration director Muhamad Husni Mahmud said the case is being investigated under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007. Upon investigation, Husni said the two women were only allowed to sleep on the floor on the ground floor of the premises and any contact with anyone outside will receive reprimand and warning from their employer.

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