- [PRESS STATEMENT] ROME: The Courage Of Hope
- [KENYATAAN MEDIA] Pertemuan Dengan Pope Francis
- Poverty And The Environment
- [KENYATAAN MEDIA] Pemilihan Semula CEC DAP
- Trust, rationality, and detention without trial
- AG’s report reveals ministry official claimed RM300,000 for trip worth under RM50,000
- Ministry Prepared Judgments for the Tribunal
- What Does Erdogan’s Democratization Package Offer Kurds, Minorities?
Posted: 01 Oct 2013 10:32 AM PDT
Muslims in Europe expressed disgust at the growing intolerance. Islamophobia against Muslims. Christian minorities in the Arab world experienced persecution in the current turbulence. We need to pursue our “common word” initiative by Muslim scholars and Pope Benedict. And now we commend the efforts of the Community of Sant’Egidio.
The precondition for dialogue is knowledge and understanding; acknowledge the differences but committed to peace and human dignity, freedom and justice.
I emphasise knowledge because Muslims tend to associate Christianity with colonial rule and past atrocities while Christians decried the recent attack against Christians in the Arab world.
It’s critical that Muslims and Christians work together to demand freedom and justice for all.
Posted: 01 Oct 2013 10:24 AM PDT
Beberapa perwakilan sidang antara agama turut di undang menemui Pope Francis. Saya mengambil kesempatan menggesa Pope mendukung kerjasama antara Muslim dan Kristian. Dan memandangkan kemelut parah di dunia Islam, saya turut menyarankan agar Pope terus menggunakan pengaruhnya mendukung usaha perdamaian serta menghentikan kezaliman dimana saja.
Posted: 01 Oct 2013 10:23 AM PDT
According to Jeffry Sachs, we are facing an unprecedented challenge in dealing with the survival of our planet. Values are of paramount importance. Science alone will not see us through. Religion is essential in this equation.
We have achieved great progress and development with a world population of 7.2 billion people and USD 93 trillion in terms of total productivity but at what price?
Our carbon emissions are at equally unprecedented levels. Skeptics continue to be in denial but the fact is we are taking in much more infra red radiation. With our ever increasing contribution of greenhouse gases, global warming is growing at a much faster rate. We are systemically destroying our habitat.
And even with the massive growth, gross inequality persists with at least 3 billion people being mal-nourished and 1 billion living in abject poverty. Our morality, ethics and history do not prepare us for this challenge.
Earth Summit 21 years at Rio has not impacted nations because of our obsession with growth. We urgently need to take stock of science, technology and religion.
Fundamentally we face a moral crisis for our children and posterity. It is to take a small amount to secure our survival. 1500 people control USD5 trillion but many of them are blind to this reality. Private property ultimately has a moral context in the service of humanity.
The absolute necessity to protect the poor is a fundamental issue. It is the poorest countries – Chad, Niger, Mali – that have the highest numbers in birth rates. The most recent UN projection of sub-Sahara population for 2015 is 3.5 billion. On that demographic trajectory and with climate change, it is impossible to avoid grinding poverty in Africa.
We face a unique time in our history. No country is secure with environmental degradation – flooding, draught and massive destruction of habitat. We have procrastinated for too long. We need a moral basis for our economies.
Posted: 01 Oct 2013 10:19 AM PDT
Tahniah kepada DAP kerana berjaya menyelenggarakan pemilihan semula secara teratur. Saya berharap pihak Pendaftar Pertubuhan tidak lagi menggunakan kuasa menekan tanpa alasan kukuh. Tindakan sewenang sedemikian tambah memperkukuh kebimbangan kami bahawa jentera kerajaan turut digunakan bagi menekan parti pembangkang.
Posted: 01 Oct 2013 08:32 AM PDT
In defending the controversial amendments to the PCA, the government says that there is a need for the government to possess the power of detention without trial to enhance public security.
In response to the various objections to this power, the government replies that it will exercise the power responsibly. In short, it advances what may be called the "Trust Us Thesis."
How should citizens think about the government's reliance on the Trust Us Thesis as a defense of detention without trial?
Others have rehashed the objections to detention without trial. In the main, the history of detention without trial in Malaysia shows that the government in power has had authoritarian inclinations, especially when it comes to detention without trial. The ISA was a source of great abuse.
And if we take a broader and less parochial view of the history of detention without trial, then the problem is even more apparent. Governments of all stripes all over the world have abused that power. The worst case in recent history is perhaps Apartheid South Africa where security forces used detention without trial against critics of the ruling regime often as a prelude to the "disappearance" of political opponents.
Even liberal democracies post 9/11 have abused the power to detain without trial. Not only have innocents been detained in the so-called war on terror, detention without trial became the context for torture. This history shows that laws enabling detention without trial have never been associated with good political judgment, even when those in power have professed a commitment to good political intentions and values.
These facts show that no government can be trusted to use the power to detain without trial responsibly. The facts are clear: detention without trial is a kind of power that is apt to be abused by government.
Quite apart from these problems, there is also a profound problem with the Trust Us Thesis as an acceptable idea in politics, whether or not it relates to detention without trial.
Let me explain.
In any political context where citizens cannot be assured that they or their representatives will be in power forever, it is rational to select a mode of political justification that removes personal character as part of adequate justification for the appropriate use of public power. Today's winners could be tomorrow's losers in the game of politics, so it is rational for them to insure that their basic interests will not be undermined if and when they are not in power.
Instead, it is rational for them to opt for a form of political justification defined by a commitment to the rule of law as a constraint on political judgment and action. The ideal of the rule of law is to be distinguished from the personal or arbitrary rule of men (or women). Citizens should find it rational to reject the Trust Us Thesis in favor of the a system of that upholds the rule of law that systematically protects their rights and where officials are under a duty to show how any exercise of public power is consistent with the law.
I suspect that government officials who now invoke the Trust Us Thesis have forgotten that the primary perspective from which to assess all questions of legal and political legitimacy is the citizen's perspective, not the official perspective. Even if officials feel they have trustworthy character so citizens should place their trust in them, that fact is not sufficient to address questions of adequate political and legal justification. From the citizen's point of view, an adequate justification must be one that comports with the rule of law. Even if officials are truth worthy, it is rational for citizens to require something more than mere trust in officials as a protection of their fundamental rights and interests.
Perhaps they should keep in mind that one-day they might no longer be in office. They should ask if it is any comfort to them that a future government may also rely on the Trust Us Thesis whenever they choose to exercise power?
The Trust Us Thesis seems flimsy in the face of that question. This flimsiness indicates that present day officials should not rely on that thesis when seeking to justify political action because this paves the way for an incumbent government to invoke that same thesis to legitimate authoritarian action against previous political opponents. Even from the perspective of rational self-interest, present day officials have an interest in upholding the rule of law. If they as present day political winners respect the rule of law not, then it is likely that a future government will display similar respect, which is apt to work in favor when they are political losers.
In sum, today's officials should see that it is irrational not only to argue for detention without trial but that it is also irrational to invoke the Trust Us Thesis.
Posted: 01 Oct 2013 08:24 AM PDT
The Auditor-General questioned a RM303,813 travel claim by a Communications and Culture Ministry senior officer for a four-day study trip to Geneva, Switzerland, which the auditors felt was worth only RM50,000.
The 2012 Auditor-General Report revealed that even if the officer took a return first-class flight, stayed in the best hotels, wined and dined in fancy restaurants and was given allowances to shop for winter clothing, the final tab would have cost no more than RM50,000.
The claim was made by the officer as part of the ministry's Malaysian Emergency Response Services (MERS) 999 project. MERS 999 is a government initiative to have only one emergency number, sub-contracted out by the ministry to Telekom Malaysia (TM).
The project, done in phases from 2007 to 2012, cost the government a total of RM801.55 million.
The report also pointed out that the ministry overpaid for various charges, with the auditor-general's office unable to verify the claims since no receipts were given.
The auditor-general noted that TM was overpaid by RM27.59 million for the MERS 999 project. The report showed that the government-linked telecommunications firm hired local and foreign consultants for RM9.97 million. It was RM1.92 million more than what the experts were supposed to receive.
Among other things, TM was paid RM6.7 million for media publicity and school programmes to educate children about the MERS 999 system. The only problem was that the programme was cancelled in October 2008 but TM still charged the ministry for it.
The project's whole purpose was to increase efficiency and reduce the number of non-emergency calls. The data tabulated by the auditor-general's office, however, showed that the number of false-alarm calls increased by 4.9% or 820,000 from 2010 to 2011.
Although TM was overpaid for the project, the report mentioned that the firm had provided a less than satisfactory service since 7.65 million (32.4%) of the calls made to the emergency line went unanswered.
It was also revealed in the report that from January 2010 to August 2012, 50.31 million calls (97.5%) made to the MERS 999 system were non-emergency calls.
Posted: 01 Oct 2013 08:23 AM PDT
It has now transpired that the verdict to be delivered by the Tribunal against Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury was prepared in the Ministry of Law and Parliamentary Affairs. A copy of the verdict that is to be delivered today by the International Crimes Tribunal-1 was recovered from a computer in the office of the Secretary-in-Charge of the Ministry of Law of Parliamentary Affairs, Abu Saleh Sheikh Zahirul Haque. What is more surprising is that the verdict was being drafted from 23 May, 2013, when the prosecution was still examining its witnesses.
A total of 23 charges were framed against Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury in relation to offences committed during the liberation war of 1971. The prosecution produced witnesses in relation to 17 of the charges. From the copy of the verdict obtained from the Ministry of Law, it appears that Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury was found guilty of 9 of the charges and acquitted of 8 of charges.
No witness was produced in relation to 6 of the 23 charges and as such Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury was also acquitted of all 6 of these charges.
The 9 of the 17 charges on which Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury was guilty are i) Charge No.2 (Maddhaya Gohira genocide), ii) Charge No.3 (Murder of Nutun Chandra Singha), iii) Charge No.4 (Genocide at Jogotmollopara) iv) Charge No.5 (Murder of Nepal Chandra and three others), v) Charge No.6 (Genocide at Unsuttarpara), vi) Charge No.7 (Killing of Satish Chandra Palit, vii) Charge No.8 (Killing of Mozaffar and his son, viii) Charge No. 17 (abduction and torture of Nizamuddin Ahmed) and ix) Charge No. 18 (abduction and torture of Saleh Uddin).
The file containing the verdict was found in the D Drive of a computer located at the 6th floor of the Secretariat Building of the Ministry of Law and Parliamentary Affairs. In this drive there was a folder entitled 'Alam' within which there was a subfolder 'Different Courts n Post Creation' within which there was another subfolder titled 'War Crimes Triubunal'. In this subfolder there was yet another subfolder titled 'Chief Prosecutor – War Tribunal'. This subfolder contained a file titled 'saka final – 1' which contained the draft verdict against Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury. When the verdict was finalised the name of the file was changed from 'saka final – 1' to 'ICT BD Case NO. 02 of 2011 (Delivery of Judgment) (Final)'.
The folder titled 'Alam' belongs to a computer operator (by the same name) of the Secretary in Charge of the Ministry of Law.
The properties section of the file containing the verdict shows that work on the verdict began on 23 May, 2013 at 12.01 in the morning, when the examination of prosecution witnesses was still going on. The file size is 167 KB and contains 164 pages. The verdict has been prepared over 2587 minutes.
The copy of the verdict obtained from the Ministry of Law evidences the Tribunal's dissatisfaction with the attitude of Salahuddin Quader Chowdury. The Tribunal noted that Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury never rose from his seat when the Tribunal exited and that he would directly addressed judges as either Chairman Sahib or Member Sahib.
Posted: 30 Sep 2013 09:37 PM PDT
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced his long-awaited “democratization package” in a press conference on Monday, Sept. 30.
He said the announcement of the package was a “historic moment for Turkey.” He sent a message to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Kurdish movement by saying that new reforms will follow as long as politics are used as a means of solving issues.
In his talk, Erdogan frequently referred to the 1960 military coup. He said that the coup had broken the mechanism of a well-functioning democracy, and that the shadow of that coup has obstructed change in Turkey since. This was an indirect allusion to the Gezi protests. The 1960 military coup followed intensive protests by university students, secular and urbanized segments of the population — a bit similar to the makeup of the Gezi Park protests.
What was noticed immediately was the absence of two important reforms that were expected in the package. Recognition of Alevi places of worship was not mentioned. The only gesture toward Alevis was the renaming of Nevsehir University to Haci Bektasi Veli University, honoring a historically important Alevi figure.
Also missing was the reopening of the Halki Seminary. Reopening this school is vital for the survival of the Greek Ecumenical Patriarchate of Istanbul. Unless this school reopens and starts accepting students from all over, it will be impossible to find and train new bishops and religious officials for the mostly aging Greek population of 3,000 in Turkey.
To better understand the reforms introduced, it will be useful look at them under subtitles:
Reforms related to the Kurdish issue: The current 10% election threshold will be discussed in parliament. Three options will be offered. It could stay as is, be reduced to 5% or be totally eliminated by introducing a majoritarian election system. It will be the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) that will most gain from abolishing the threshold. Although they cannot reach the threshold on a nationwide scale, they get the most votes in the Kurdish-populated southeast. With the threshold removed, BDP's deputies would increase substantially. The package also would lower the percentage of votes needed to qualify for parties to get treasury assistance to 3%; this would provide treasury assistance to the BDP.
Having political party co-chairs would be legalized. Political parties would henceforth be allowed have not more than two co-chairs. This, too, is a step favoring the BDP, which is the only party with co-chairs. They would now be officially recognized.
By allowing election campaigns in different languages and dialects, the way would be open to now use Kurdish in political activity.
The ban on the use of letters X, Q and W would be annulled, which frees the use of Kurdish alphabet. Private schools would be able to teach in different languages and dialects. Private schools would be able to use Kurdish as their mother tongue.
I asked the chairman of the Bar Association of Diyarbakir, attorney Tahir Elci, what he thought of the parts of the package pertaining to Kurds. He thinks it is a modest step toward democratization. He interpreted Erdogan's remarks that the rights and reforms will be expanded as long as “politics prevail” as one way of saying, as long as the PKK disarms, we will take matching steps. But Elci also points out that the package does not include steps such as amnesty, which is a prerequisite for total disarmament.
According to Elci, the package doesn't cover key steps needed to solve the Kurdish issue. The wide-ranging definitions of “terror” and “organization membership” that are the cause of the detentions of many Kurdish politicians and activists would remain, and legal provisions that enable mass detentions would stay unchanged. Limiting mother tongue education only to private schools is a big flaw, he said, noting that public schools had to be included.
Reforms related to minorities: Stiffer punishments for hate crimes would be added to penal codes. Turkey would have hate-crime legislation for the first time. But for which crimes stiffer punishment would be imposed is not known yet. Sexual orientation was omitted from hate crimes, which is a major flaw as it is LGBT persons who are subjected to most hate crimes.
The Council for Equality and to Combat Discrimination would be established. Although it sounds good, it is too early to see the purpose it would serve before it becomes active. Let's not forget how the hopes for the ombudsman system introduced by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government withered away when a judge who had once sentenced Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink to prison for "insulting Turks" was appointed ombudsman.
The package provides for the return of confiscated real estate property of the historical Mor Gabriel monastery in Mardin province. Earlier, the monastery's property was confiscated by the state via a court decision. A law will be enacted so that all assets would be returned. No doubt this will reassure the Syriacs of Turkey. Erdogan said the process of returning the assets of the minority foundations will continue, but did not indicate any further steps envisaged.
One of the pleasant surprises of the package was the announcement that a Roma (Gypsy) language and cultural institute would be established. Erdogan said the new housing to be built for Romas in the framework of urban transformation projects would be designed to meet particular needs of Romas.
I asked Rober Koptas, the managing editor of weekly Turkish-Armenian newspaper Agos, what he felt about the arrangements for the minorities. Koptas said in general he felt the package was significant. “It would have been great if the ecumenical school was to reopen,” he said, expressing his disappointment. He also found the lack of reference to the restoration of all confiscated assets of the non-Muslim foundations as a flaw. Bringing legal measures against hate crimes is important, but Koptas said he wants to wait and see. Absence of status for Alevi cemevis, or houses of worship, is also a defect, he said.
Other reforms: Restrictions on collecting charitable donations would be abolished, which would benefit Muslim charities that had limitations on collecting donations; restriction on wearing head scarves by civil servants would be lifted except for the army, police and judiciary; and any action to prevent the practice of religious beliefs would be against the law.
We will see how far this democratization package will contribute to the actual democratization of Turkey. It now appears that the package will be debated for a long time and that it will remain on the public agenda for some time to come.
|You are subscribed to email updates from Anwar Ibrahim |
To stop receiving these emails, you may unsubscribe now.
|Email delivery powered by Google|
|Google Inc., 20 West Kinzie, Chicago IL USA 60610|