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 ( statements that have not been picked up by this Blog.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia (GBM) Calls for Immediate Implementation of IPCMC

Inline image 1

Media Statement For Immediate Release
 Gabungan Bertindak  Malaysia (GBM) Calls for Immediate Implementation of IPCMC
4 June, 2013

These days Malaysians go to bed with the shocking news of a custodial death only to wake the next morning to learn of another death in police custody. The custodians of law and order must take full responsibility for these custodial deaths.

From January 14 to June 1, 2013, eight custodial deaths have been reported. According to the chief of the police force these are apparently "unfortunate". Referring to the latest death in IPD Tampin, the IGP Khalid Abu Bakar had reportedly said in a text-message to The Malay Mail, “It's just unfortunate that he died in our lock-up."

In this connection, the Minister of Home Affairs had earlier said that he had to be careful about taking action against the police in order to ensure that it would not have any demoralising effect on the police force.

GBM regards both these statements as unbecoming of leaders who are duty bound to protect the people of this country and condemn them for being insensitive and indifferent towards the preservation of precious lives.

GBM notes with utter disgust that the wanton cruelty of the police personnel towards their victims has been so prominent all these years that a Royal Commission had to be set up in 2005 which among others concluded that deaths in the lock-ups are "a serious cause for concern".

The Royal Commission produced 125 recommendations to clean up the police force, the most important  being the setting up of an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).

Almost eight years have passed, but the government has not shown any inclination to establish the IPCMC, which, in the opinion of GBM, legitimises the police force to continue with its wayward ways.

GBM, an alliance of 25 NGOs, fervently believes that this state of affairs cannot be allowed to continue and calls upon the government to undertake the following actions without any further delays or excuses:

(1) To implement the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) as proposed by the Royal Commission of Inquiry immediately. There should be no overt or covert attempts to weaken the authority or terms of reference of the IPCMC.
(2) To undertake speedily all the other recommendations made by the Royal Commission of Inquiry. A schedule of implementation of the recommendations should be prepared by the Government for adoption by Parliament. 
(3) To appoint the Inspector-General of Police (IGP)  as recommended by an independent Selection Board consisting of a representative from the Home Ministry, retired judges, retired senior police officers, SUHAKAM commissioners, representatives of the Bar Council and other civil society organizations. If the recommendation is not accepted by the Home Minister, it should be automatically referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs for hearing and decision making.
(4) To decentralize the Police Force from its present centralized authority, and to move the Federal Constitution provision relating to the police from the Federal List to the Concurrent List. At present, the police is exclusively emplaced within the Federal jurisdiction. This has led to the politicization of the police. The greatest benefit from decentralizing the police is that it allows local public feedback to be better incorporated into police work. This tie-up will ensure more effective crime prevention, and will definitely have a positive impact on police work.
(5) To take immediate action to arrest and charge all police personnel involved in the latest series of custodial deaths. Only through a swift and transparent judicial process will it enable the police force to clear its name!

Issued by the Executive Council of Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia

Note: GBM comprises of the following 25 civil society organisation members:

1)  Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) 吉隆坡暨雪兰莪中华大会堂
2)  Aliran 国民醒觉运动
3)  Tamil Foundation 淡米尔基金会
4)  Pertubuhan IKRAM Malaysia (IKRAM) 马来西亚回教革新理事会
5)  Majlis Perundingan Malaysia Agama Buddha; Krisitian; Hindu; Sikh dan Tao (MPMA-BKHST) 马来西亚五大宗教理事会
6)  Negeri Sembilan Chinese Assembly Hall (NSCAH) 森美兰中华大会堂
7)  Penang Chinese Town Hall (PGCTH) 槟城华人大会堂
8)  The Federation of Chinese Associations Johore State (FCAJ) 柔佛中华总会
9)  Lim Lian Geok Cultural Development Centre (LLG) 林连玉基金
10) United Chinese School Alumni Associations of Malaysia (UCSAAM) 马来西亚华校校友会联合会总会
11) Muslim Professionals Forum (MPF) 穆斯林专业论坛
12) Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) 人民之声
13) Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat (KOMAS) 社区传播中心
14) Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM) 马来西亚之子
15) Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan (Permas) 雪隆社区协会
16) National Indian Rights Action Team (NIAT) 全国印裔权益行动组织
17) Peoples Green Coalition (PGC) 马来西亚人民绿色联盟
18) Anak Muda Sarawak (AMS) 砂拉越青年之子
19) All Womens Action Society (AWAM) 妇女行动协会
20) Partners in Community Organising (Pacos Trust) 沙巴社区伙伴信托组织
21) Persatuan Bekas Siswazah Universiti dan Kolej di China, Malaysia (Liu-Hua) 马来西亚留华同学会
22) Nanyang University Alumni Malaya (Nanda) 马来亚南大校友会
23) Japan Graduates Association, Malaysia (JAGAM) 马来西亚留日同学会
24) Gabungan Persatuan Alumni Universiti Taiwan Malaysia (GPAUTM) 马来西亚留台校友会联合总会
25) Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF) 回教复兴前线组织


Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia(GBM)
Plan of Action for Malaysia  (PoAM)
c/o The KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) GBM Secretariat
Phone: 03 2272 3594/012 320 6959    Fax:03 2272 4089

Online licensing effort a means to control online media and to stifle dissenting opinions.

CIJ views any online licensing effort as a means to control online media and in effect, an effort to stifle dissenting opinions. 

In a media monitoring exercise of GE13 coverage run by CIJ in collaboration with University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, of all types of media which were monitored -- online, newspapers, television and state media (Bernama and RTM) -- online news portals performed the best, giving approximately equal quantities and quality of coverage to both BN and Pakatan Rakyat. CIJ believes a key contributing factor is that online media -- unlike its print and broadcast counterparts -- is not regulated by the state and has more room to practice independence and fairness in reporting. 

Any form of online censorship, however indirect (eg through licensing), will affect access to information to media portals, currently the choice of urban, young and middle-class reading public -- the very constituencies which contributed heavily to BN government's worst showing in the recent general elections.    

We hope Information Minister Shabery Cheek's suggestion to study how online media can be regulated is not another step to teach Malaysians a lesson in voting for Pakatan Rakyat collectively more than for BN.

At best, the Minister's mulling over licensing is a cowardly idea lacking in imagination. 
There is no reason to copy Singapore's move, given our neigbour's poor standing in any world press freedom ranking. 

Minister Shabery Cheek mentioned that social media has become mainstream media. Has the Minister thought about how to implement licensing on Twitter and Facebook accounts -- run by commercial Internet giants -- which have more than 50,000 followers/likes? Singapore's licensing move covers websites that report regularly on issues relating to Singapore and those with 50,000 unique visitors from Singapore for a month over two months 

Online media enjoys strong support from the Netizens -- even for portals which require subscription. They are a source of news not just for those in Malaysia but also for the international community. Any form of licensing imposed on online media will be strongly opposed by civil society in Malaysia and the borderless online community. 

The Information, Communication and Culture Ministry is one of two bodies responsible to uphold MSC Malaysia's Bill of Guarantee No.7 -- to ensure no censorship of the Internet -- is respected. It needs to take steps to promote the exchange rather than curb the flow of information on the Internet. 

Centre for Independent Journalism Malaysia
Tel: +603-4023 0772
Twitter: CIJ_Malaysia
Facebook: Centre for Independent Journalism

The Centre for Independent Journalism, Malaysia (CIJ) is a non-profit organisation that aspires for a society that is democratic, just and free, where all peoples will enjoy free media and the freedom to express, seek and impart information.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Absurd Detention and Deportation of Australian Senator (Malaysian Bar)

Press Release: Absurd Detention and Deportation of Australian Senator
Saturday, 16 February 2013 02:28pm
ImageThe Malaysian Bar is astounded at the absurdity of the Malaysian authorities in detaining Australian Senator Nick Xenophon upon his arrival on Malaysian soil this morning.  He is currently in custody, having been reportedly refused entry into the country, and will be deported.

Such shameful action on the part of the authorities shows the sizeable gulf between the aspirational statements of the Prime Minister that Malaysia is a modern democracy, and the irrational actions of the people around him.

During the Senator’s visit to Malaysia, he was scheduled to meet representatives of the Government, the Opposition, civil society groups, as well as leaders of the Malaysian Bar.

The authorities are apparently relying on section 8(3) of the Immigration Act, which stipulates the classes of prohibited immigrants, as the legal basis for detention.  However, in the public mind the most natural inference is that the Malaysian Government opposes, and is fearful of, the Senator's views and comments, as he has been outspoken and critical of the Government regarding issues of democracy and human rights.1

Criticism of policy and governance must be respected and received without reprisal, even if they contain inconvenient and uncomfortable truths.  Any other reaction would be a sign of insecurity, and would disrespect the rule of law.

The Malaysian Bar reminds the Prime Minister that action must follow aspiration.  In this instance, the authorities owe an unreserved apology to Senator Nick Xenophon and must promise such an incident will not happen again, to him or any other visitor, merely on the basis of their views.

The Malaysian Bar also calls on the Government to allow the Senator entry into the country, and to assure his colleagues that they will be permitted entry as well.

Lim Chee Wee
Malaysian Bar
16 February 2013

1See “International Fact-Finding Mission on Elections in Malaysia, 25-29 April 2012: FINAL REPORT”, accessible here.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

44 Groups say Stop the Killings: Set up the IPCMC Now

Secretariat : Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)

Joint Press Statement: 15 February 2013
Stop the Killings: Set up the IPCMC Now
Civil society groups are outraged with the violation of human rights principles and the continued abuse of police powers by the officials of the Royal Malaysian Police. Almost every day there is some news on the abuse of power be it death in custody, police shooting, police abuse of suspects, unlawful arrests and many more.

There seems to be no ending to these events. The men in blue who are suppose to uphold the law continues to take the law in their hands. The culture of impunity of the Royal Malaysian Police needs to be arrested and stopped.

We call upon the government under Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib to stop being deaf to the voice of the people, affected communities and members from the civil society to implement the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC). The IPCMC will ensure that the reputation of the police will no longer be tainted by improper conduct or false accusations but move them to be effective in creating a safe environment for all.

The report done in 2005 is comprehensive, progressive and reformist in nature. To restore the public confidence in the police force and to end the violation of human rights by the police, we call upon the government to act with firmness, courage and commitment to implement the recommendations stated in the report for setting up of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC)

·         Implement Recommendation 12 in Chapter 6- Establishment of the IPCMC
·         Table the reading in Parliament at the next sitting
The killings and abuses by the men in blue are serious and never ending. If this persists, it will be a threat to the well being of our nation and the rule of law.

We, Stop State Violence Coalition urge the Government to have political will in establishing IPCMC and adhering to the report. It is high time for the government to implement its own findings initiated through the Royal Commission and make a stand in reforming its police force without any delay.

This statement endorsed by,
1. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
2. Malaysian for Beng Hock
3. Malaysian Physicians for Social Responsibility
4. Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)
5. Education and Research Association for Consumers (ERA Consumer)
6. Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)
7. Tenaganita
8. Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (MADPET)
9. Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT)
10. Community Development Center (CDC)
11. Malaysia Youth & Students Democratic Movement (DEMA)
12. Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)
13. Community Action Network (CAN)
14. Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat (KOMAS)
15. Women's Aid Organisation (WAO)
16. Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI)
17. Center for Orang Asli Concerns
18. Lawyers For LIberty (LFL)
19. Association of Women Lawyers
20. Amnesty International Malaysia
21. Johor Yellow Flame
22. Kill The Bill
23. Youth section of KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall
24. Persatuan Komuniti Prihatin Selangor dan KL
25. Youth Section of Serdang Bahru Alumni
26. Aliran
27. Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF)
28. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)
29. Johor Yellow Flame
30. Kill The Bill
31. Youth section of KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall
32. Persatuan Komuniti Prihatin Selangor dan KL
33. Youth Section of Serdang Bahru Alumni
34. Association of Women Lawyers
35. Mama Bersih
36. Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH)
37. Persatuan Alumni PBTUSM KL & Selangor
38. LLG Cultural Development Centre (LLG)
39. Women's Centre for Change (WCC)
40. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor
41. Persatuan Mahasiswa Islam UPM (PMI UPM)
42. Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia (SMM)
43. Youths for Justice and Peace Movement
44. Transparency International Malaysia

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

75 Groups:- MINIMUM WAGES FOR ALL WORKERS, INCLUDING MIGRANT WORKERS - No to Wage Deduction to recover Levy Payable By Employers -

Joint Statement- 5/2/2013 (now 75)

- No to Wage Deduction to recover Levy Payable By Employers -

We, the undersigned 75 civil society organizations, trade unions and groups are shocked with the recent decision of the Malaysian cabinet on 30/1/2013 to allow employers of migrant workers to recover levy that they paid the government to employ foreign workers from migrant workers through wage deductions. 

According to the law, workers in Malaysia were to receive minimum wages of RM900[USD291](for Peninsular Malaysia) and RM800[USD259] (for Sabah and Sarawak) as of 1/1/2013. Khalid Atan, the President of the Malaysian Trade Union Congress(MTUC) said, “…if workers were asked to pay the levy, the minimum wages policy would not benefit them at all, as whatever little increase in salary they enjoyed, would be wiped out with the levy payment…” [Star, 10/1/2013, MTUC: Don't give in to employers' demand on foreign workers levy]

Some employers have also been trying to avoid this obligation to pay minimum wages, which is basic wages not inclusive overtime, existing allowances and other benefits. Some do it by re-structuring worker remuneration by including all other allowances, incentives and benefits to make up the RM900, which is very wrong. Some employers are making employees to sign documents agreeing to these changes, whereby this is made easier when there are no worker unions. Workers generally have no avenue of complaint, or even choice in the matter especially when many now are employed based on short-term employment contract. A refusal by the worker means a non-renewal or no new employment contracts when their contracts expire.

To avoid paying workers minimum wages, the Malaysian government also allowed employers the right to apply for a delay in paying workers minimum wages, and vide Minimum Wages(Amendment) Order 2012 dated 28/12/2012, the government allowed more than 500 employers to delay paying workers minimum wages. What was blatantly wrong in this process was that the aggrieved workers and/or their unions were not given any right to be heard before the employer’s application to deny them their entitlement to minimum wages was approved.

The Malaysian government, in the past, on the application of certain employers, allowed them to make wage deductions and/or wage advances, contrary to the general provisions in law with the intention to allow employers to recover from migrant workers monies expended by employers to get migrant workers to Malaysia to work for them. This included sometimes not just a means to recover levy paid, but also all other costs incurred by employers to recruit and bring in migrant workers. Approvals were given by the government with no consultation or agreement of the worker or their unions. As of 1/4/2009, the Malaysian government stopped this practice, and made it clear that it is employers that have to pay the levy and they cannot recover the said sum from migrant workers.

Labour Director-General Datuk Ismail Abdul Rahim was reported saying that, “…The rationale behind getting employers to bear the levy was to discourage them from employing foreigners…” [Star, 16/4/2009, Employers can deduct levy from wages, again]. As such, this current move to make migrant workers pay the levy removes the very intention of levy, i.e. to discourage employers from employing foreign workers.

The reason for the new decision ‘… is to alleviate the hiring cost for employers, said Finance Minister II Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah...’ [Star, 30/1/2013, Cabinet: Foreign workers to pay levy instead of employers with immediate effect]. If the Malaysian government now wants to reduce the financial burden of employers who hire migrant workers, then rightfully the government should reduce or remove the levy – not shift the burden to workers.

Migrant workers sacrifice a lot when they elect to come to Malaysia to work. They have to leave behind the spouses, children, family and friends for Malaysian law allows them to only come alone and work in Malaysia, and they also are barred from falling in love and getting married during their employment period  which is usually for at least 5 years. They also end up incurring substantial debt when they come, for they have to pay, amongst others recruitment agents, most times these payments include both legal and ‘illegal’ payments. Whilst in Malaysia, they are bound to just one employer – having no right to change employers.

When they claim rights, even through existing legal avenues, they generally are terminated and their employment pass/permits are also cancelled depriving them the right to stay (or work) legally in Malaysia until their claims are resolved. The termination of these passes/permits is done by the Malaysian government irrespective of whether there are outstanding claims or pending cases concerning the said worker’s rights.

This precarious reality of migrant workers makes them vulnerable to exploitation by some employers, knowing that it is most easy to violate worker rights and then get off scot free. Until laws and policies are amended to protect migrant’s worker rights, naturally migrant workers become the preferred choice over local workers as they are certainly a more easily exploited class of workers.

We call on the Malaysian government to immediately rescind the decision made by the Malaysian cabinet on Wednesday(30/1/2013) to allow employers of migrant workers to recover the levy they pay the government by deduction of wages of migrant workers.

We take the position that all workers, including migrant workers, are entitled to receive minimum wages, whereby this is the basic wage and should not include allowances, benefits and other work incentives. Employers should not be permitted to remove pre-April 2012 worker entitlements and benefits, being the date the Minimum Wage Order 2012 came into force, from existing and subsequent employment contracts.

We call on the Malaysian government to end all forms of discrimination against workers, with regard to, amongst others, their nationality, gender, duration of their employment contracts.

Charles Hector
Pranom Somwong
Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud

For and on behalf the 75  groups listed:


Angkatan Rakyat Muda Parti Rakyat Malaysia (ARM-PRM)

Asian Migrant Centre (AMC), Hong Kong 

Asian Migrants Coordinating Body (AMCB) Hong Kong

Asia Monitor Resource Centre, Hong Kong

Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law And Development (APWLD)

Asia Pacific Mission For Migrants (APMM ), Hong Kong

Association of Indonesian Migrant Worker in Hong Kong (ATKI-HK)

Bangladeshi Ovibashi Mohila Sramik Association (BOMSA)

Burma Campaign Malaysia

BWI (Building and Wood Worker's International)

CAW (Committee for Asian Women)

Centre for Human Rights and Development-Sri Lanka

Center for Orang  Asli Concerns (COAC), Malaysia

CEREAL - Centro de Reflexión y Acción Laboral – Guadalajara, Mexico

Clean Clothes Campaign( CCC )

Community Action Network (CAN), Malaysia

Community Development Services, Sri Lanka

COVA (Confederation of Voluntary Associations), India

Electronic Industry Employees Union Western Region (EIEUWR), Malaysia

Far East Overseas Nepalese Association (FEONA), Hong Kong

Filipino Migrant Workers Union (FMWU)

GoodElectronics Network

Human Rights Ambassador for

IMA Research Foundation, Bangladesh

International Domestic Workers Network

Kesatuan Pekerja-Pekerja Polyplastics Asia Pacific Sdn Bhd.

Kesatuan Pekerja-Pekerja MHS Aviation Berhad

Kesatuan Sekerja Industri Elektronik Wilayah Selatan (EIEUSR), Malaysia

LSCW (Legal Support for Children and Women), Cambodia

MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)

Malaysia Youth & Students Democratic Movement (DEMA)

MAP Foundation, Thailand

Migrant Domestic Workers Trust, India

Migrant Forum, India

Migrant Health Association in Korea

MIGRANTE International

Mindanao Migrants Center for Empowering Actions, Inc. (MMCEAI)

Mission For Migrant Workers - Hong Kong

MTUC (Malaysian Trade Union Congress)

Myanmar Ethnic Rohingyas Human Rights Organization Malaysia (MERHROM)

National Domestic Workers Movement, India

National Union of Transport Equipment & Allied Industries Workers (NUTEAIW)

Network of Action for Migrants in Malaysia (NAMM)

NLD-LA (National League for Democracy-Liberated Areas), Malaysia

NUBE (National Union of Banking Employees), Malaysia

OKUP (Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Program) in Bangladesh

Parti Rakyat Malaysia(PRM)

Paper & Paper Products Manufacturing Employees' Union Of Malaysia (PPPMEU)

 Persatuan  Sahabat  Wanita, Selangor

Persatuan  Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)

Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor & Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)

PILAR (United Indonesians in Hong Kong against Overcharging) , Hong Kong


Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia {SABM}

SUARAM, Malaysia

Tamilnadu Domestic Workers Union, India

Tamilnadu Domestic Workers Welfare Trust, India

Tenaganita, Malaysia

Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2), Singapore

United for Foreign Domestic Workers' Rights (UFDWR )

WAC, Philippines

WARBE Development Foundation-Bangladesh

Women Workers Lead

WH4C – Workers Hub For Change

Yayasan LINTAS NUSA - Batam – Indonesia

Solidaritas Perempuan (SP) / Women's Solidarity for Human Rights, Indonesia

SEWA (Self Employed Women’s Association), India

Electronic Industry Employees Union Eastern  Region(EIEUER), Malaysia[KSIEWTSM]  


Nepal Labour Journalists' Association

Migrant  Care, Indonesia

CIMS (Centre for Indian Migrant's Studies)

United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-MIGRANTE-HK)

Kav LaOved – Protecting Workers' Rights