Monday, July 25, 2016

Unnecessary charges against teacher under the Official Secrets Act (OSA)

Media statement by M. Kula Segaran MP Ipoh Barat in Kuala Kangsar on 25th July 2016

Unnecessary charges against teacher under the Official Secrets Act (OSA)

Today the Kuala Kangsar Court gave its decision on ongoing case against teacher UMA MAGESWARI A/P PERIASAMY @ MAYANDY 28 YEARS OLD a teacher in a Tamil school charged under the Official Secrets Act.

She has been charged for being in possession in her hand phone the UPSR Science question paper of 2014.

Her defense is she did not ask for those questions/documents but was independently sent to her in her WhatsApp group.

Deputy Public prosecutor (DPP) Yusaili Amer prosecuted but the decision wa take by DPP Jayanthi.
Sessions Judge Johari Bin Hassan who has been transferred so new local Sessions Judge Niran Tan Kran delivered the decision today.

Lawyers representing the accused were M. Kula Segaran, Augustine Anthony and N. Selvam

This case started in late 2014 and finally today after nearly 20 months and over 20 days of court hearing with a total of 14 wittiness gave evidence for the Prosecution.

The court delivered its decision to day and the Judge said the following matters were not proved namely

1) Appointment of public officer to classify official documents as “secret” etc under Section 2B of the Official Secrets Act(OSA) the minister need to give a certificate under his hand. The court held the certificate dated 17/9/14 as produced in court was not signed personally by the then Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin only a rubber stamp signature was affixed. This the judgew says does not satisfy the requirements of S2b of the Act. Thus the UPSR papers of 2014 are not official secret within the meaning of Section 2B of the OSA Act.
2) The evidence of Dr Na’inmah and Investigating officer ASP Irwan were most unsatisfactory. He said further the evidence was unreliable.
3) The ingredients of the charge were not proved to the satisfaction of the Court
Thus at the end of the prosecution case the court held there was no prima facie case established. Thus the accused was acquitted and discharged.

The whole process of charging the teachers for apparently leaking the 2014 UPSR exam question papers were most unsatisfactory. To date the real culprit who had originally leaked the question has not been charged let alone arrested. This culprit is walking free. How can this happen?

We hope teacher Uma will be reinstated immediately as soon as possible to her former school without any delay. Since she was charged
her teaching post has been left vacant and the school is short of a teacher.

This is the 3rd case where the teachers cases under the OSA has been thrown out. Two more cases are pending in the Courts.
It is hoped the prosecution will not appeal this decision as Uma has suffered enough agony.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Urge AG should drop all plans to appeal to the High Court

Media statement by M. Kula Segaran MP Ipoh Barat and DAP National Vice Chairman in Ipoh on 19th July 2016

Urge AG should drop all plans to appeal to the High Court ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Loh Kar Yee aged 17 years then, who just left the secondary school, was working for part time as a clerk in a bookshop store located in Jalan Pasir Puteh, Ipoh.

On the 29th November 2013, police ambushed into the her working place and arrested her together with the employer (Tang Chung Keat) on the grounds that they were exploiting a labour with force which falls under Section 13 of the Anti- Trafficking in Persons Act 2007.

Her case was first heard on 6th August 2014 and the decision was delivered today at the Ipoh Sessions Court . After 17 days of Hearing of the case, the court freed both the accused after the close of the prosecution case. The court said there was no case against the accuseds.

We (M. Kulasegaran and Selvam Nadarajah) have acted for Loh Kar Yee on a Pro Bono (free of charge) as she is a daughter of a poor vegetable seller in the Buntong Market, Ipoh.

Loh Kar Yee at this age (21 years old) had due to this case gone through a lot of pain and suffering in her life, which made her unable to continue with her higher education. We wrote to the AG, asking for her charge to be brought some 2 years ago. However, the application was refused. Due to this charge brought against her, she could not pursue with her studies. At all material she claimed innocence to the charges.

The future of this young lady have been destroyed due to the unwarranted and unfair charge being brought against her.

If found guilty she faces a minimum sentence of 3 years maximum 20 years.

We are also asking the AG not to appeal this matter to the High court and the charge against Loh Kar Yee and Tang Chung Keat should be dropped.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Malaysiakini news : Kula: Gov’t OSA-ing 1MDB report ripe for legal challenge

The decision by the government of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to place the auditor-general’s report on 1MDB under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) is ripe for a legal challenge.
The MP for Ipoh Barat, M Kulasegaran, in remarks made at the 50th anniversary of his party’s Bercham branch on Saturday, noted that nowhere in the constitutional provisions on the auditor-general’s role does it say that the auditor-general’s findings can be prorogued by the prime minister.
“By placing the auditor-general’s report on 1MDB under an OSA seal, the government has prorogued the constitutional exercise of that office,” said the federal legislator from the DAP.
As outlined by the constitution, Kulasegaran said, the auditor-general's role is to submit reports of the financial performance and state of the government to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and to Parliament for public scrutiny of legislators and people who elected them.
“In no way can the auditor-general’s reports be impounded and prorogued by executive fiat,” commented Kulasegaran.
He said that in placing the auditor-general’s report on 1MDB under the seal of a law as “obsolete” as the OSA of 1972, the government had obstructed the constitutional exercise of that office.
“The government is in contempt of the Federal Constitution and as such, the decision to place the auditor-general’s report under OSA is ripe for a legal challenge in the courts,” said the lawyer, who is the DAP national vice-chairperson.
Kulasegaran said time was nigh that “something as obsolete as the OSA be replaced by a Freedom of Information Act, such as the state governments in Penang and Selangor have promulgated, in what may be described as a trailblazing way”.
“The federal government should not hide behind laws that are holdovers from a colonial era, especially when the former colonial powers themselves have abandoned them in their home countries,” Kulasegaran said.

Abolition of Death Penalty

Speech by M. Kula Segaran MP Ipoh Barat on “Abolition of Death Penalty” organized by Amnesty International of Ipoh on 17th July 2016


First and foremost I would like to thank Amnesty international Malaysia for inviting me to present on the topic of death penalty. Amnesty international have been in the forefront in highlighting the facts on the death penalty around the world and why it should be abolished. One of those worrying trends from this facts is the arbitrary manner in dealing with the death penalty and its lacking of proportionality to the crime, due to questionable judicial processes, and prejudices inherent in the justice system of the state, besides social economic factors that deprives the poor of competent attorneys to represent them.

The Malaysian situation on death penalty
In Malaysia the number of individual currently under death sentence is at least 1,043. 

In a reply to Parliament on 12th November 2014, the Minister of Home Affairs informed Members of the House of Representatives that there were 975 persons under sentence of death. Among these, 347 had filed for appeals (310 to the Federal Court, and 37 to the Court of Appeal), and 255 to the Pardons Board. Prison Department Director Abdul Basir told the press in May 2015 that there were 1,043 death row inmates nationwide. 

As of October 2013, 564 death-sentenced individuals had been on death row for over 5 years, representing just over 50% of all death row inmates. 

In October 2012, the DPP commissioned Professor Roger Hood, Professor Emeritus of Criminology at the University of Oxford, to design and analyze the findings of a public opinion survey on the mandatory death penalty in Malaysia. The survey of a representative sample of 1,535 Malaysian citizens from all over the country, was carried out by Ipsos Malaysia, a leading market research company.

The research was designed to elicit views on the mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking, murder and offences under the Firearms Act. By using a series of scenarios it shows the extent to which members of the public support the mandatory death penalty when faced with the reality of having to judge whether the crime merits the death penalty. In the findings a large majority said they were in favour of the death penalty, whether mandatory or discretionary: 91% for murder, 74 to 80% for drug trafficking depending on the drug concerned, and 83% for firearms offences. 

Concerning the mandatory death penalty, a majority of 56% said they were in favour of it for murder, but only between 25% and 44% for drug trafficking and 45% for firearms offences.This was basically in theory.. When asked to say what sentences they would themselves impose on a series of ‘scenario’ cases, all of which were subject to a mandatory death sentence, a large gap was found between the level of support ‘in theory’ and the level of support when faced with the ‘reality. 

For example of the 56% who said they favoured the mandatory death penalty for murder whatever the circumstances, only 14% of them actually chose the death penalty for all the scenario cases they judged. This was only 8% of the total number of respondents. When interviewees were asked whether they would support the death penalty if it were proven that innocent persons had been executed, the proportion in favour for murder fell to 33%, for drug trafficking to 26%, and to 23% for firearms offences.

These findings suggest that there would be little public opposition to abolition of the mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking, murder, and firearms offences. Public support for the death penalty for murder is also lower than is perhaps assumed, so may not be regarded as a definite barrier to complete abolition.

Research on death penalty Overseas
A report released by death penalty information centre on April 18 by the prestigious National Research Council of the National Academies based on a review of more than three decades of research concluded that studies claiming a deterrent effect on murder rates from the death penalty are fundamentally flawed.

 The report concluded: “The committee concludes that research to date on the effect of capital punishment on homicide is not informative about whether capital punishment decreases, increases, or has no effect on homicide rates. Therefore, the committee recommends that these studies not be used to inform deliberations requiring judgments about the effect of the death penalty on homicide. 

There are also various studies done in the United States which highlights how the death penalty has been a used unjustly against the black community 

Jurors in Washington state are three times more likely to recommend a death sentence for a black defendant than for a white defendant in a similar case. (Prof. K. Beckett, Univ. of Washington, 2014). • In Louisiana, the odds of a death sentence were 97% higher for those whose victim was white than for those whose victim was black. (Pierce & Radelet, Louisiana Law Review, 2011).

Since 1973, more than 150 people have been released from death row with evidence of their innocence. (Staff Report, House Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil & Constitutional Rights, 1993, with updates from DPIC). From 1973-1999, there was an average of 3 exonerations per year. From 2000-2011, there was an average of 5 exonerations per year.of-defendant discrimination, or both. (Prof. Baldus report to the ABA, 1998).

Social and psychological dimension of crime dilutes the fear of death penalty

The death penalty in Malaysia has been hardly a deterrent factor in reducing serious crimes. For an example the death penalty have not resolve the drug trafficking problems due to poor enforcement related to corruption, besides the inability of the Law enforcement officer to nab influential syndicates who has global links and their ability to pay a lucrative amount to drug traffickers around the world. In the case of homicide the rage of the moment of individuals whose mind is clouded, are not in a position to think about the consequences of his or her action that could lead to a death penalty.

Broader understanding of issues related to the Justice system
While there are legal dilemma facing the death penalty due to arbitrary processes ,there is a need to look into a broader dimension on whether a death penalty is the right choice of the State in addressing capital punishment. There is a need to understand that death penalty could never be proportional to the crime committed due to various factors in regard on how the crime was committed and the manner of how factual evidence was gathered, the social economic situation of the perpetrator who might not have the means to hire a competent Lawyer to represent him. 

Government response to the death penalty

Being a member of parliament and the secretary of the PGA I have highlighted the injustice related death penalty in parliament. It is significant that Attorney General Apandi has stated that the government plans to review the death penalty on certain crimes . Former minister in the Prime Ministers department Nancy syukri has ensured me in parliament that there is a comprehensive review on the death penalty. This are encouraging signs that shows that the effort put by MPs and amnesty international, and concern NGOs is beginning to bear fruits.

From the empirical research in can be concluded that the death penalty for crimes, does not stand the test of due process and proportionality between crime and punishment. Its so-called deterrent effect has not been conclusive. The survey in Malaysia and research done overseas shows there is lack of definite conclusions whether the death penalty in itself is able to deter crime, and the discrimination effecting minority communities when it comes to death penalty. The social and psychological factor of individual rage of the moment that blind an individual from assessing the implications of the crime is not taken into consideration by the proponent of death penalty. We have to go beyond the reductionist mindset and take a broader dimension to solve violent crime in our society. The most significant aspect of the survey is, Malaysians in General would support the abolition of death penalty if the facts surrounding this capital punishment are disseminated through forums of this nature and role played by civil society, public intellectuals, and members of parliament. The media should play its rightful role in this education process of abolishing the death penalty. Let’s stand together and say no to death penalty.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Malaysiakini news :- ‘Rash of temple vandalism evokes 1978'

The current rash of instances of Hindu temple vandalism evokes the deity-destroying spree in 1978 that eventuated in the deaths of some of it perpetrators, said DAP national vice-chair M Kulasegaran.
“I fear that if the current rash of instances of Hindu temple vandalism does not stop, heaven forbid, things leading to a recurrence of what happened in 1978,” said the MP of Ipoh Barat.
The federal legislator was commenting on the latest case of vandalism at a Hindu temple in Bayan Baru, coming as it had done after a brace of instances of temple vandalism in Penanti, on the Penang mainland.
“The authorties were tardy in perceiving the gathering threat in the initial stage of the deity-destroying spree that zealots were on to in 1978,” recalled Kulasegaran in remarks made in the wake of a destruction of a temple in Bayan Baru, on Penang island.
“These incidents have a way of snowballing because they are the work of a few zealots - rarely more than a fitstful - who count on the apathy of the authorities and the public to persist on the destructive path.
“Before long people are jolted into realising that what had begun as an aberration has grown into a rash and fatalites soon occur before most people are aware that a preventive stitch in time would have saved lives,” he said.
He said that preventive action taken early could be seen as much ado over what may appear as trifling distrubances but in the perspective of what happened in 1978 when four people died in the bloody instance of deity destruction in Kerling, in Selangor, “preventive haste is a safer option than complacent waiting”.
“Temple and deity destruction are matters are best tackled preemptively ratherthan tardily,” opined Kulasegaran.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

The issue of custodial deaths should be tackled with a two-pronged approach – the changing of police mindset and the implementation of the independent Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission

Press Statement by M Kula Segaran, MP for Ipoh Barat and DAP National Vice Chairman in Ipoh on 2nd July , 2016

The issue of custodial deaths should be tackled with a two-pronged approach – the changing of police mindset and the implementation of the independent Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission
In a recent written reply to my parliamentary question, Home Ministry said that there were a total of 269 deaths in custody nationwide over the past 16 years.
The answer revealed that:
1. two hundred and twenty of the deaths were caused by a series of illnesses that damaged the vital organs of the inmates
2. for 102 deaths in custody since 2000, it was decided by the court that no inquest was necessary, while inquests into 85 such deaths had been done
3. fourteen deaths in custody are still in the inquest process, while investigations are ongoing for another 15 cases

The annual number of deaths certainly shows that there is a systemic problem which must be effectively addressed.

The government must realise that every life is important and all prisoners have the same right to life as others.

At the “Rogue Cops: Workable Solutions - Police Accountability in Malaysia” forum held recently, former chief justice Tun Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah said that deaths in custody were only possible because the police has turned a blind eye towards police violence, with disregard over human rights and weak self-accountability.

He said that this police culture has been instilled even starting at their training stage, where there is little focus on respecting the rule of law or the sanctity of human life.

"On 4 February 2004 Dzaiddin was appointed by the Yang di Pertuan Agong as chairman of the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysia Police. On 30 April 2005,the Report was submitted to the Government. It contained 125 recommendations,the core proposal was the establishment of a body called the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC)."
The 2005 report, proposed that the IPCMC shall conduct oversight of police and in this regard perform the following main functions:
i) receive and investigate complaints about PDRM and its personnel;
ii) prevent, detect and investigate corruption and other serious misconduct
in PDRM;
iii) propose measures to the Minister of Internal Security to improve police integrity, reduce misconduct and build public confidence in PDRM.

The issue of custodial deaths should therefore be tackled with a two-pronged approach – the changing of police mindset and the implementation of the independent Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).

However, till today, the government has been refusing to set up the IPCMC, which is a body that should be set up instead of Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC).

It is an undeniable fact that EAIC, a watered down version of IPCMC, has not been able to eradicate police abuses.

The government cannot take custodial deaths as mere statistics and allow them to become the rule of the day.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Malaysiakini news : Bersih 2.0 hands evidence on 'illegally shifted' voters to EC

Electoral reform movement Bersih 2.0 today presented evidence of what it claimed to be an illegal shift of thousands of voters from their state or parliamentary constituencies, following the Election Commission’s recent locality correction exercise.
Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah this morning handed over the evidence, involving more than 100,000 voters, to the EC at its headquarters in Putrajaya.
Maria later told reporters that Bersih 2.0 would visit the EC every Friday with more evidence on discrepancies in the electoral roll, if no action was taken on its claims.
“We are giving them (the EC) two weeks after Raya to answer us. Otherwise, we will come back every Friday with more exposes of what they have done to the constituencies,” she said.
Aside from demanding an explanation on the need for EC to implement the locality correction exercise, Maria said Bersih 2.0 also wants the voters to be moved back to their original parliament or state constituencies.

“This is because such changes can only be done via a redelineation exercise,” she said, adding that it had caused difficulties to not only voters but to elected representatives as well.
According to Bersih 2.0, among parliamentary seats with the highest number of affected voters is Bakri in Johor, where 6,322 voters were allegedly shifted from the Sungai Abong state seat to Bentayan.
In Hulu Selangor, 5,590 voters were found to have been shifted from Batang Kali to Kuala Kubu Baru.
Some 20 Pakatan Harapan leaders accompanied Maria to the EC, including PKR vice-presidents Nurul Izzah Anwar, Tian Chua and Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin, Amanah information chief Khalid Samad, as well as PAS Kuala Kangsar division chief Dr Raja Ahmad Iskandar Al-Hiss.