Friday, July 31, 2015

Kula: Our tardiness in joining ICC a bane

12:29PM Jul 30, 2015

By Terence Netto

Kula: Our tardiness in joining ICC a bane

Malaysia’s tardiness in signing up to join the International Criminal Court (ICC) hinders the country’s championing of justice for favoured causes, one of which is Palestinian rights.

Secretary of Parliamentarians for Global Action, Malaysian chapter, M Kulasegaran told a one-day seminar in Kuala Lumpur on international rule of law and the protection of civilians that the Malaysian Parliament had moved motions that had wanted the ICC to act, but ironically, the government itself was chary of signing up with the ICC.

“The Malaysian Parliament on June 7, 2010 adopted 15 motions in the aftermath of Israel’s attack on the fleet of ships carrying humanitarian aid bound for Gaza,” recalled the MP for Ipoh Barat, a four-term member of the Lower House.

Kulasegaran (photo) was referring to the interdiction by Israel of a Turkish ship that was ferrying humanitarian aid to Gaza, an attack that became an international cause celebre.

He said one of the 15 motions urged like-minded countries to bring a resolution to the United Nations Security Council to refer  the Israeli attack to the ICC, and another motion urged Turkey to take action under the Rome Statute of the ICC.

“From the facts stated it can be construed that while Malaysia would like the ICC to take action against a certain nation for the crime of aggression, it has no political will to accede to the Rome Statute, using technicalities as a reason, which impedes its credibility as a moral voice,” said Kulasegaran.

He said that the moral voice had gained stature from the country’s election to a rotating seat of the Security Council and from being the current chair of Asean.

Kulasegaran said Malaysia had in 2011 expressed an intent to sign up with the ICC, but held back on the grounds that issues of genocide and crimes against humanity needed to be clarified and absorbed into domestic laws before enlisting with the ICC.

Kulasegaran observed that two nations, Philippines and Maldives, which had also in 2011 expressed interest to join the ICC actually signed up with the court, leaving Malaysia marooned on technicalities rather swimming with the currents that had brought 123 countries to accession with the court.

In his keynote address to the seminar, Justice Raul Cano Pangalangan of the Philippines, newly-elected to the ICC, referred to the growing moral consensus in the comity of nations on the necessity of preventing genocide and protecting civilians but he said he perceived a resistance among nations to sign up to “something strange”.

Referring to the Philippines’ experience, he said that having signed up four years ago with the ICC, there has yet to be a move among the swarm of restive groups in his country to report the country to the ICC for crimes against humanity.

He noted that the Philippine experience of difficulty in enforcing claims for restitution by victims of human rights violations under the disctatorship of Ferdinand Marcos (1965-1986) had played a part in propelling the country towards ICC membership.
 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

It is time that race based politics and policies should have no place in Malaysia



Press Statement by M Kula Segaran, DAP National Vice Chairman and MP for Ipoh Barat in Ipoh on 15th July, 2015

It is time that race based politics and policies should have no place in Malaysia

The Low Yat mob incident not only shocked the nation but it also stained the nation’s international reputation. 

Malaysians were terribly shocked that a simple clear cut theft incident could become a mob incident which threatened to turn into a race riot. 

There are many questions that need to be looked at and reflected upon. I have two questions.

Firstly, despite the police having announced that the incident was a clear cut theft incident, how could internet lies and provocations spread like wild fire and easily believed?

Why has the police’s explanation such low public credibility and acceptance? 

Secondly, Kuala Lumpur Police Headquarters is located not far from where the mob incident took place, yet it was quite obvious that there was not sufficient police personnel initially to prevent or stop the violence. So what went wrong? 

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said he has instructed inspector-general of police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar to ensure that the Low Yat Plaza incident does not recur.

He added that the incident should be seen as a criminal matter and not a racial issue.

The cause of incident certainly was not racial at all, but the mob incident in the KL streets was a racism issue. 

As the Prime Minister, Najib should address the question that Malaysians are most concerned about—how could a simple theft incident be turned into a racial issue simply because of internet lies and provocations? 

I am sure Najib himself knows the answer, just like many Malaysians know the answer.
The fact is despite the fact that the nation has achieved independence since 1957, racial unity is still fragile. Decades of BN rule has not strengthened race relations but has in fact further divided the people. 

And the root cause is due to the race based politics and policies practiced by BN and Umno.
It is time that race based politics and policies should have no place in Malaysia.






Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Court of Appeal ruled in favour of Kg Tai Lee residents



Press statement by M. Kula Segaran, DAP National Vice Chairman and MP for Ipoh Barat in Putra Jaya on 7th July 2015

Court of Appeal ruled in favour of Kg Tai Lee residents

it was good news today when the 54 Kg Tai Lee residents who decided to continue their fight against their eviction to the Court of Appeal won their case. 

It is hoped that the developer will have discussion with the residents to find a win win solution.
In 2007, the new owner of Kg. Tai Lee Ipoh issued notices of eviction to over 100 residents residing in this village.

Over the years, many took some form of compensation ranging from RM 2000 to RM 5000 and moved out from the village. Many moved out of fear that at the end of the day, they would be kicked out without any compensation. 

I, as the Member of Parliament for the area where the village is located, offered free legal services to the remaining residents. My partner and lawyer N. Selvam was very thoroughly involved in the preparation of court documents etc.

In December 2013, after nearly 10 days of full hearing, the Ipoh High Court ordered all the 54 remaining residents to move out from the village and provided each resident a compensation of RM 10,000.

The 54 residents were not happy with the High Court decision. After much discussion, they advised me to appeal to the Court of Appeal.

The residents whose forefathers settled here some 100 years ago wanted housing lots or houses to permanently settle in the village. The 54 residents were tenants and not squatters as alleged by the newest land owner Teh Teng Seng, the well known developer in Ipoh town.

At the Court of Appeal today, we argued that the notices and the summonses were defective as the 54 residents were referred to as squatters when in fact they were tenants. The 54 tenants were paying rent to the previous owners until 1996.

The developer’s lawyer Visvanathan argued that the eviction notices were correct although the residents were alleged to be squatters.

The case was presided by YA David Wong, Umi Kaltum and Zamani. After over 1 hour discussion, the Court of Appeal judges unanimously agreed with us and stuck out the developer’s case.

Eviction should not be the solution and in all cases of such disputes, developers and the state government should play their part to help find a win win solution.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Kula hails heritage panel’s move to preserve ashram

11:30AM Jul 7, 2015

By Terence Netto

Kula hails heritage panel’s move to preserve ashram

DAP vice-chair M Kulasegaran welcomed the decision of the National Heritage Commission to gazette the 110-year-old Vivekananda Ashram as a heritage asset and urged its trustees not to appeal the decision.

The MP for Ipoh Barat disclosed that Heritage commissioner Dr Zainah Ibrahim had on June 24  notified the ashram trustees of the government’s intention to gazette the building as per Section 31 of the National Heritage Act 2005.

“Having made our decision after hearing both parties and notifying the trustees of our intention (to designate site as heritage), as well as informing them of the dos and don’ts, we are now proceeding to our next step which is to publish our intention in the Gazette and a local newspaper,” Zainah told the Star Metro in a text message.

Kulasegaran welcomed this decision but remained sceptical that the fight to save the ashram located in Brickfields from plans for its redevelopment proposed by its trustees was over.

He said the ashram’s trustees have 30 days to appeal after the notice of the gazette has been published.

He noted that despite the public protests staged by the Indian community in Brickfields and elsewhere, the trustees have stuck to their stance of wanting the area in which the ashram stands to be redeveloped.

Kulasegaran and other DAP leaders, together with social activists from NGOs concerned with Indian issues, had objected to the redevelopment plans on grounds that these would irrevocably alter the character of the place.

As a reflection of the trustees’ disposition, they had on March 19 submitted a letter of objection to the Heritage Department a day before the deadline for objections to the plans of department to declared the ashram a heritage site.

Kulasegaran urged the board to accede to the wishes of the Indian community to preserve the site rather than redevelop it.

He said he was prepared to raise the issue in Parliament at its next sitting if efforts at preserving the site falter.
 
 

Monday, July 6, 2015

I will spare no efforts to ensure that the action to declare the Ashram building will be a success and certainty



Press Statement by M Kula Segaran, DAP National Vice Chairman and MP for Ipoh Barat in Ipoh on 6th July, 2015

I will spare no efforts to ensure that the action to declare the Ashram building will be a success and certainty

DAP welcomes the action of the Heritage Commission to gazette the 110 year old Vivekanada Ashram as a heritage asset. 

According to media report, the Heritage commissioner Dr Zainah Ibrahim said that the department had notified the ashram trustees on the government’s intention to gazette the building on June 24 last month as per Section 31 of the National Heritage Act 2005.

“Having made our decision after hearing both parties and notifying the trustees of our intention (to designate site as heritage), as well as informing them of the dos and don’ts, we are now proceeding to our next step which is to publish our intention in the Gazette and a local newspaper,” Zainah told the Star Metro in a text message.

However, the fight to save Vivekanada Ashram may not be over as the ashram trustees will have 30 days to appeal after the notice has been published.

It has to be noted that despite the series of protests carried out by the Indian community against the trustees ‘development plan, the trustees have stuck to their stand.

The process to gazette the building has taken longer time due to the trustees’ objections. 

The National Heritage Department had issued a written notice under Section 272(2) of the National Heritage Act to the board on January 14.

However, on March 19 2015, the board of trustees submitted a letter of objection to the department at the eleventh hour - a day before the deadline for objections.

I wish to call on the Board of Trustees to take heed of the sentiments and wishes of the Indian community and not to file any appeal against the Heritage Commissioners’ action to gazette the building as a heritage. 

The Board has disappointed and even infuriated the Indian community before and it is hoped that they will this time support the action to save the Ashram as a heritage. 

It is not too late for them to change their stand and make the right decision.

In any case, I wish to reiterate my stand that I will spare no efforts to ensure that the action to declare the Ashram building will be a success and certainty. 

If need be, I will continue to champion the issue in the coming Parliament meeting.

Kg. Tai Lee case to be Heard in Court Of Appeal on Tuesday



Press  Statement by M. Kula Segaran , DAP National Vice Chairman and MP for Ipoh Barat in Ipoh on 5th July 2015

Kg. Tai Lee case to be Heard in Court Of Appeal on Tuesday

Last night, a meeting was held with the residents of Kg. Tai Lee. In the said meeting,  the DAP Ipoh Barat team were also present.

In 2007 , the owners of Kg Tail sent out legal notices to evict the residents of Kg.Tai Lee and later court proceedings were filed. After full hearing at the Ipoh High Court in December 2013,  the court ordered 1) 53 remaining residents to move out by middle of last year(2014)  and 2) each family would be paid compensation of RM10,000.

The 53 residents unhappy with the decision have appealed to the Court of Appeal in Putra Jaya and the case is now fixed for Hearing for Tuesday the 7th of July 2015.

In the meantime on this case , I as the lawyer handling this matter have consulted and got advice from senior lawyers and retired Judges. All consulted have expressed hope the residents
will see justice at the end of the day.

The residents expressed regret that to date the State Government has not found a permanent solution to the issue. On Jan 3, 2010, when a gotong-royong event was organized by the state government with the Kg Tai Lee residents, the Perak Mentri Besar Zambry Abdul Kadir ordered the local council of Ipoh (MBI) to find a solution to settle the issue faced by the residents. Nothing has come out of this.

When the Pakatan was running the Perak Government , we found out there is a 4 acre empty land next to the Kg. Tai Lee. The PR state Government was working on giving this plot of land to the residents. But unfortunately, with the collapse of PR Government , the issue was not continued by the present BN Government.

The residents are hoping a favorable out come in the Court of Appeal on Tuesday. All the 53 residents are expected to go by bus from Ipoh to the Court in Putra Jaya.