Media statements issued never do get media coverage, and if it does it often does not report all that is stated. Given the fact, there seem to be no real documentation of all these civil society voices, this Blog has been started hoping to capture and preserve the voices of civil society for all. Appreciate it if you could forward me (chef@tm.net.my) statements that have not been picked up by this Blog.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Nuclear Energy in Malaysia: From “Option” to “Point of No Return”

Press Statement                                                                                                                                                                                                                      19 July 2012

Nuclear Energy in Malaysia: From “Option” to “Point of No Return”
 
We, the undersigned civil society organisations, are extremely concerned that the Malaysian government is going ahead with its plans to build two nuclear reactors, without sufficient public information, consultation or debate. There is concern that the government has quietly proceeded to advance its plans on nuclear energy, ignoring wide public concerns about the dangers of nuclear energy and the lethal risks of nuclear accidents, as in the Fukushima melt-down last year.
 
At a forum in February 2012, statements by the Malaysia Nuclear Power Corporation (MNPC) and Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) revealed that the Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) project has tiptoed to an advanced stage of development:
 
*  Nuclear energy was singled out as one option for electricity generation on 26 June 2009 and a pre-feasibility study completed in 2010.
*  The construction of two nuclear power plants (NPP), with a total capacity of 2 gigawatts, was identified in 2010 as one of the Entry Point Projects in the Economic Transformation Programme.
*  The MNPC is preparing a Nuclear Power Infrastructure Development Plan (NPIDP) which is expected to be completed by 2013, culminating in the delivery of Malaysia’s first nuclear power plant by 2021.
*   The final decision to ‘go nuclear’ is expected to be made in 2013 or early 2014.  
 
A detailed timeline on nuclear power deployment (Source: Nuclear Malaysia; Malaysia NKEA OGE Laboratory 2010), indicates that the final site selection will be made in 2014, marking this as the POINT OF NO RETURN, when the government makes its final decision and awards the contract to the successful vendor. It is expected that the twin-unit NPP will require a RM21.3 billion investment up to 2020.
 
It has come to our knowledge that the following potential sites have already been identified:
·         Five coastal sites, one each in Kedah, Perak and Terengganu and two in Johor.  
·         Two inland sites, near Tasik Temenggor, Perak, and Tasik Kenyir, Terengganu.
 
We have learnt that Burns and Roe Enterprises Incorporated of the United States of America has been appointed to conduct the NPIDP (refer to handout), feasibility studies and make recommendations to MNPC, with regard to optimal siting, reactor technology, reactor size, infrastructure development needed to support the nuclear power option, and preparation of the bid documents for solicitation of potential vendors for the NPP.
 
We are disappointed that the Malaysian government is determined to consider nuclear as an energy option when such technology has been rejected by a growing number of countries and carries enormous risks to health and public safety, including the indefinite accumulation of radioactive waste, which cannot be disposed of safely and which will remain lethal to future generations of Malaysians for thousands of years.
 
Nuclear power is not a feasible option for Malaysia, whereas renewable energy and energy efficiency are.   Besides, the cost of nuclear energy is escalating world over while the costs of renewable energy have been declining.
 
Moreover, there has been no process of public consultation and decisions are being made without transparency or accountability.  We do not accept that government-sponsored and corporate-funded meetings by pro-government groups, including academia, constitute such engagement or information, particularly when statements, made at such meetings, represent disinformation. As a result, the public has been deluded and misinformed about the facts of nuclear energy and nuclear power plants. The undeniable truth is that nuclear energy and nuclear power plants are not cheap, clean or safe.  
 
In view of the serious long-term impacts of nuclear power production, we demand that the Malaysian government abandon its plans for nuclear energy and invest in safe renewable energy and energy efficiency.  We further demand that the government come clean on its plans including disclosing the potential sites for the nuclear power plants. We call on the government to stop the on-going implementation process immediately.
 
 
 
List of supporting organisations
 
1.         Centre for Independent Journalism
2.         Consumers' Association of Penang
3.         Centre for Orang Asli Concerns
4.         Dignity International
5.         EcoKnights
6.         Environmental Protection Society of Malaysia (EPSM)
7.         Himpunan Hijau
8.         Institute for Development of Alternative Living (IDEAL)
9.         Jaringan Muafakat Pertubuhan Islam Perak
10.       Majlis Perundingan Pertubuhan Islam Malaysia
11.       Malaysian Physicians for Social Responsibility (MPSR)
12.       Nuke Off
13.       Pahang Raub Ban Cyanide in Gold Mining Action Committee
14.       Peoples Green Coalition
15.       Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor
16.       Persatuan Persaudaraan Muslimah Malaysia
17.       Persatuan Teras Pendidikan Dan Kebajikan Melayu Malaysia
18.       Pertubuhan Gelombang Hijau Kuantan
19.       Pertubuhan Muafakat Warga Desa (Rural Citizens) Negeri Kedah
20.       Sahabat Alam Malaysia
21.       Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA)
22.       Sekretariat  Himpunan Ulama Rantau Asia
23.       Social Economic Committee of Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall
24.       Stop Lynas Coalition
25.       Tenaganita
26.       TERAS Pengupayaan Melayu
27.       Third World Network
28.       TrEES (Treat Every Environment Special)
29.       Warga Permuafakatan Pertubuhan Islam Darul Aman
30.       Women's Aid Organisation (WAO)
31. LLG Cultural Development Centre
32.    Borneo Resources Institute Malaysia (BRIMAS)
 
 
 
and
 
 
 
 
For further enquiries, please contact:
 
Hilary Chiew, Third World Network      019-3553821
Mageswari Sangaralingam, Consumers’ Association of Penang    0128782706
Theivanai Amarthalingam, Sahabat Alam Malaysia    017 2440505

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Malaysian Bar welcomes proposal to give Judges discretion on death sentence


Press Release

Malaysian Bar welcomes proposal to give Judges discretion on death sentence
 

The Malaysian Bar welcomes the Honourable Attorney General’s recent announcement that the Attorney General’s Chambers (“AGC”) is considering proposing an amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 to give Judges the discretion not to impose the death sentence on drug couriers.  The AGC is reportedly also considering a proposal that those on death row be resentenced.

This is a positive first step towards realising the cross-party initiative, led by the Minister in charge of Law and Parliamentary Affairs, to end the use of the mandatory death penalty for drugs-related offences.  There is great wisdom in leaving the decision on punishment for such offences to the discretion of the Judiciary.

The next step must be a moratorium on the use of the death penalty, which must ultimately culminate in the abolition of the penalty, as the execution of human beings by the State serves as an “example of barbarity” to society and legitimises the taking of human life.

This goal will earn Malaysia a rightful place amongst modern and progressive democracies, as the worldwide trend has been to abolish the death penalty. 

Lim Chee Wee
President
Malaysian Bar

20 July 2012

Thursday, July 19, 2012

SMSL TO LYNAS, NO APOLOGY!! (18/7/2012)




Description:
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-fWw5qHBYvkI/TeZ5otc_gqI/AAAAAAAAABM/4znziHXzD08/s250/SaveMalaysiaBlogThumbnail.jpgPress statement of Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL)
SMSL Will FIGHT Lynas Till The End
July 18, 2012

In a recent International Business Times (IBT) article, it was misreported that SMSL has apologised to the Lynas Corporation and has retracted a statement made about its rare earth refinery plant.  Accessed at http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/363755/20120717/malaysia-rare-earths.htm#.UAYv8dV0xVv

This news story is erroneous and factually incorrect because SMSL has made NO such apology or retraction.  SMSL is determined to and will continue to defend the rights of citizens to free speech, to campaign for a clean and safe future for our family and our country.

Mr Tan Bun Teet, the spokesperson for SMSL said, “I have written to the Editor of IBT to seek an immediate public apology and to correct the article.  The IBT journalist should have contacted SMSL about it before putting the story out.”

SMSL is committed to fighting Lynas until the end, including the Lynas defamation suit. It is the online news portal Free Malaysia Today (FMT) that has chosen to apologise to Lynas and retracted the so-claimed defamatory statement.  Its action has no bearing or any association with SMSL’s current or future direction on the Stop Lynas campaign.

“SMSL will take up the relevant legal action against the IBT if no apology is forthcoming by the end of today and if no retraction is made.  SMSL will also lodge a complaint with the Australian Journalists Association which is strict on journalistic ethics and professionalism.” Added Mr Tan.

“SMSL remained firmed on our stance and our statements about the Lynas rare earth plant because we have reliable information and relevant professional experts to back up our statements in court.” He asserted.
Towards this end, SMSL is highly appreciative of the strong spirit of solidarity and support demonstrated by civil society groups and concerned individuals all over Malaysia and overseas.  

The Lynas rare earth project is not just a Kuantan issue as it will affect the whole nation.  No one should tolerate a foreign company building a risky plant of the scale and size in a developing country with limited capacity to monitor, assess and managed.

The 12-year tax break granted to a project in exchange for a massive amount of hazardous and radioactive waste to contaminate Malaysia forever is a last straw on a camel's back for us.  This is the most ludicrous political decision the government has made.

Tax payers and citizens expect a Government to exercise its duty of care to ensure a nation's well beings and long-term future are secured not to subject citizens to the hazards of Lynas’ radiation and toxic waste.

SMSL and concerned citizens will converge at the Kuala Lumpur High court tomorrow 19th July from 3.30pm onwards to await the court decision on Lynas’ defamation application.

“We welcome any concerned Malaysians to come along to show Lynas that we are a proud people with integrity and courage.  Join us in our fight against the risks and hazards of the world’s largest rare earth plant.”

For further comments, please contact SMSL hotline :+60 (0) 12-982 3302
Or Mr Tan Bun Teet, spokesperson for SMSL, Hp: +60 17 973 0576

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

BAR: Acquittal on charge of consensual sex between adults is in accord with evidence

Press Release: Acquittal on charge of consensual sex between adults is in accord with evidence


Monday, 09 January 2012 03:07pm
ImageThe Malaysian Bar welcomes the decision of the High Court in acquitting Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim.  The principles of natural justice call for nothing less, in light of the grave concerns over whether the accused’s right to a fair trial was preserved.
 
Based on news reports of the trial, it is clear that the High Court decision is in accord with the evidence for, amongst others, the following reasons:

(1) The lack of full disclosure: Both prior to and during the trial itself, the legal team for the defence was denied access to certain documents and physical evidence in the possession of the prosecution, which disadvantaged the accused in the preparation of his defence.

(2) Unreliable DNA evidence: There were obvious concerns that the DNA sample submitted as evidence was unreliable or may have been compromised.

(3) Certain unusual findings during the trial proceedings: 
(a) The trial judge made an unprecedented finding at the end of the prosecution’s case that the complainant was a truthful and credible witness, without the benefit of having heard the defence.

(b) While the court allowed the Prime Minister and his wife to be interviewed by the defence legal team, the subpoena issued by the defence compelling the attendance of the Prime Minister and his wife was set aside by the High Court upon the application of the prosecution.  The absence of curiosity in this regard casts grave concerns on the credibility of the complaint in the first place. 

(4) The unrefuted relationship between the complainant and a member of the prosecution team, which raised serious questions whether the complainant had access to investigation papers, which would have enabled him to tailor his evidence at trial.

The charge against Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim, which is based on an archaic provision of the Penal Code that criminalises consensual sexual relations between adults, should never have been brought.  The case has unnecessarily taken up judicial time and public funds. 

The Malaysian Bar hopes that the Attorney General would not pursue any appeal, and will instead focus the valuable resources of the Attorney General’s Chambers on more serious crimes.
 
Lim Chee Wee
President
Malaysian Bar

9 January 2012

SUARAM: Government must Repeal the UUCA Now!

Press Statement: 10 January 2012

Government must Repeal the UUCA Now!

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) condemns the suspension of student activist Adam Adli by the University Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI). He has been suspended for three semesters, amounting to a total of 18 months over charges of damaging the reputation of Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI).

Adam’s disciplinary action was taken under the infamous Universities and University Colleges Act 1971 (UUCA) in reaction towards his act of lowering a flag bearing Prime Minister Najib Razak’s portrait to replace it with a flag which bears the words “Academic Freedom”. The UUCA restricts students from participating or getting involved in any political or human rights related activities. SUARAM views that the suspension of Adam Adli is a violation of freedom of expression and is politically motivated with the intention to use his case to serve as a warning for other students who may be involved or intend to get involved in the academic freedom movement. The incident reflects on the lack of freedom and independence by the students in expressing their view without prejudice and fear.

SUARAM views this development as a serious concern to the development of human rights in Malaysia. The recommendation to suspend Adam reflects the practice of selective punishment on university campuses. There is a double standard which insists that one can protest to support the university to take action against Adam but one cannot voice disagreement on university policies or to defend academic freedom in the campus. This gross injustice undermines the fundamental values of academic freedom, critical thinking, and freedom from discrimination, all of which are presumably the hallmark of higher learning and democratic society.

SUARAM calls upon the Chancellor of UPSI to withdraw this unjust decision and to restore the integrity of the academy. The Chancellor of UPSI should be mindful that this decision will establish the university’s reputation as the university that silences dissent and represses student activism. We also call for an end to the continued harassment, threats and intimidation against student activists, which became apparent after a recent student-led protest.

We also urge the government to repeal the UUCA and recognise students’ right to participate in the democratic processes and any right guaranteed to all under the Malaysian Constitution.


Released by,

Nalini.E
Program Manager
SUARAM



Background
On 17 December 2011, Adam Adli a second-year student at Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) had lowered a flag bearing Prime Minister Najib Razak’s portrait to replace it with a flag which bears the words “Academic Freedom”. Reports stated that the protest flag was raised for five minutes, taken down and the flag with the PM's face was raised again. Many UMNO supporters denounced the action, targeting their fierce criticism at Adam. Since then, Adam has been attacked and threatened by some group of individuals via SMS, phone calls and videos.

On 19 December 2011, Adam lodged a police report at the Bukit Aman police headquarters with regards to the said harassment including threats to his personal safety. After speaking to police officials about the harassment, he held a press conference at the entrance to the Bukit Aman headquarters. A minor scuffle broke out, during which an unidentified man who later introduced himself to be Ruslan Mokhtar, tried to punch Adam. Adam suspected that the assailant was a plainclothes policeman who was present when Adam met with the police officers earlier. He also noted that none of the uniformed personnel tried to break the scuffle.

He lodged a report with the Tun HS Lee police station in regard to the scuffle as well as the harassment he and his family in Penang are facing.

On 9 January 2012, he was suspended for 18 months by the university administration.