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Posted: 13 Feb 2012 08:58 AM PST
Posted: 13 Feb 2012 07:49 AM PST
Posted: 13 Feb 2012 02:57 AM PST
Just days before the Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak is to announce the government's decision on the proposal to establish a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants in Sabah given citizenship and rights to vote, Pakatan Rakyat demanded that the RCI cover not just the land below the wind but the whole nation.
"We urge the government to establish (the RCI) immediately and don't limit it to just Sabah because this is a national issue," said PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim during a press conference at PKR headquarters after chairing the Pakatan leadership council meeting.
The opposition coalition also wanted the authorities to verify the citizenship and voting rights of those dubious voters before calling the next general election.
It was reported that Najib is expected to make the much-awaited announcement with regard to the federal cabinet's decision on the RCI during his next visit to Sabah, slated for two days beginning on Feb 16.
According to Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Maximus Ongkili, the recent cabinet meeting had discussed the issue in detail.
Posted: 12 Feb 2012 08:00 PM PST
Posted: 12 Feb 2012 06:37 PM PST
Statement of the Hon. Alcee L. Hastings
Regarding the Recent Speech of Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah Gul
MALAYSIA,15 OCTOBER 2003
It is a particular honor and privilege to take part in this Welcoming Dinner among such a distinguished group of guests and speakers.
I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute for this well-thought occasion to discuss such a topical subject.
Tonight I will briefly share with youTurkey's understanding and practice of the relationship between Islam and Modernization, and the challenge we face as Muslim societies.
Let me start by challenging the choice of a word in the title of our dinner; "Islam versus Modernization". I would decline to see Islam and modernization as competing concepts.
The Turkish experience and many other efforts in the Muslim world in political, economic and social development rest on the belief that it is perfectly possible to advance a society in all fields while Islamic faith and culture continues to play an important role in people's individual lives.
Our challenge is to prove that traditional and moral values can be in perfect harmony with the modern standards of life.
Not only that. Our values can contribute to and strengthen the modern world.
I acknowledge that the contemporary Muslim societies, at times, have had temporary difficulties in coping with the universal developments in the fields of politics, economics, science and technology.
Yes, they have not always attained the highest standards of democracy, equality, or social rights yet.
However, the good news is that there is a growing awareness of the shortcomings and a desire to overcome them.
These are all important indications.
I am confident that the new generations of Muslims, the youth, have the consciousness and the capacity to attain a glorious future which will surpass their history.
Their history as cultivated, tolerant, developed and good governed people.
Leaving aside the theoretical discussions on the issue, I would like to take this opportunity to brief you on our own experience. Our experience as a government, less than one year old.
To many people, it seemed like a paradox: A government that was formed by a party known to be based on moral and traditional values was implementing a most spectacular economic and political reform campaign in Turkey; reforms that even astonished the liberals at home.
There was nothing to be surprised about. We had put in front of us a mission to accomplish: We were to prove that a Muslim society is capable of changing and renovating itself, attaining contemporary standards, while preserving its values, traditions and identity.
We acted on the premise that highest contemporary standards of democracy-fundamental freedoms, gender equality, free markets, civil society, transparency, good governance, rule of law and rational use of resources were universal expectations. We believed that Turkish people and other Muslim nations fully deserved to have these-expectations met.
We believed that our societies could only benefit from the realization of these standards. And indeed, Muslim societies have the necessary historical background and moral and spiritual strength to adapt themselves to modernity.
We believed that encouraging political participation, increasing transparency and accountability would make regimes stronger in the long run. The result would be self-confident and cohesive societies which have an interest in peace and harmony.
Our strength came from being eye to eye with our people. The big support we got during and after the elections showed our strong ties with our grassroots. Our experience has differed from the others by not relying only on the elites.
We began our reform from the very day we formed the government: We decreased the number of ministries from 35 to 23, thus making the administration more streamlined and efficient.
This was followed by a Public Administration Reform project aimed at the decentralization of most public services.
This would give the Central Government more time and space to tackle the global issues while at the same time speeding up the delivery of the services.
The Penal Code, the Civil Code and the Press Law are all being further modernized.
During the eight-month times Turkish Parliament adopted there major political reforms packages. These were related to the process initiated by the previous governments to upgrade the Turkish legislation on fundamental rights and freedoms in conformity with Europe.
Through the reforms and other measures, my Government achieved the following:
Fundamental rights and freedom were extended to the most liberal standards. Some residual restrictions were removed.
The principle of zero tolerance to mistreatment and torture became the basis of the relevant laws and their implementation.
The civilian nature of the administration was consolidated in keeping with the European standards.
Full transparency of public expenses, including the military, was secured.
Capital punishment was formally abolished. This decision was further consolidated by the ratification of the relevant Conventions.
Economic reforms complemented the political ones. Priority was given to the rational and effective use of our resources.
Having told all these, I do not mean that everything is perfect in Turkey. I believe that social and political development is a dynamic process. It can always be improved, bettered, deepened.
The important thing is to give the societies the possibilities and instruments to renew themselves.
On the other hand, we know that there is no single or a simple formula to achieve this goal. We need to act in recognition of our peculiarities and different historical experiences.
These values are "universal" because no one can claim monopoly over humanistic values that are the common inheritance of civilization. Islam has made highly significant contributions to this common civilization.
Finally, I would like to reiterate my belief that the maladies of the Muslim societies can be cured. Shortcomings can be overcome. Institutions can be reformed.
However, the problems that inflict some of the Western societies, like racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, materialism, violence, drugs, etc. seem to me most difficult to cure. This is another important challenge that should be tackled by all. May be as a theme of another meeting like this one.
Posted: 12 Feb 2012 01:16 AM PST
The retired judge highlighted the amendment to Article 121 of the Federal Constitution, made during Dr Mahathir's administration in the 1980s, which effectively clipped the judiciary's wings for over two decades.
As a result of the amendment, the judicial powers of the courts were removed and they have only such judicial powers as Parliament gives," Mohd Dzaiddin said, adding that it meant "Parliament is more superior than what the judiciary was."
The man, who once headed the country's courts, said the amendment was repugnant "because Parliament attempted to dictate to the judiciary that it only has judicial powers which Parliament itself says the judiciary has."
He stressed: "This alters in my view in a very fundamental manner the basic structure of the Federal Constitution, from the concept of the independence of the judiciary to dependence of the judiciary on the executive for its judicial powers."
Malaysia's judiciary is not a tool to be used by the government for any kind of political expediency, Mohd Dzaiddin said.
"The judiciary should be completely independent both of the executive and the legislature," the retired judge said in his keynote speech celebrating Tunku Abdul Rahman's birthday and the Institute of Democracy and Economic Affairs' (IDEAS) second anniversary at the Tunku Abdul Rahman Memorial today.
In 1988, then Lord President Tun Mohamed Salleh Abas was sacked by then-Prime Minister Dr Mahathir.
Mohd Dzaiddin said the incident was due to clashes in opinions between Dr Mahathir and Salleh over the roles of the two arms of government.
Bar Council president Lim Chee Wee also said the incident in 1988 should never be repeated.
"I think there is a recognition now by everybody, we must never go back to the days of '88, we must never allow a prime minister to sack judges just because he made a judicial pronouncement which was unfavourable to the government of the day, that must never ever happen again," he said.
Lim said for commercial cases, Malaysia's judiciary system was credible enough to handle cases from the region.
"But the ultimate test is of course when it comes to politically sensitive cases or religious cases and how our appellate courts deal with it.
"On that score, I still give them a minus because so far as religious cases go, the conversion cases, there is a fear by our appellate courts in having to make a decision. They keep postponing, the controversial cases just being postponed, then there is of course the Perak crisis," he said.
On Wednesday, a three-man panel of judges in the Court of Appeal ruled that the rights and freedom of speech enshrined in the Federal Constitution are not absolute.
As a result, veteran DAP MP Karpal Singh's statement at a press conference in 2009, that the Sultan of Perak could be sued, had crossed legal lines and amounted to sedition, the judges said.
"To be fair, we have very courageous judges who have awarded substantial damages against the government for wrongful detention. So to be fair there are those, in the words of Tun Dzaiddin, 'silver lining out there'," Lim said.
Posted: 10 Feb 2012 09:27 PM PST
Posted: 10 Feb 2012 09:05 AM PST
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