Monday, 19 September 2011
The current debate raging throughout Malaysia is on the reforms that Najib Tun Razak is introducing and the repeal of the ISA. I wrote about this matter in an earlier article two days ago (READ HERE). Maybe it is time we discussed some of those details which we should be looking at as part of this reform agenda. Of course, this is not complete but can be the beginning of the foundation of Malaysia’s new Bill of Rights. I hope Najib will sincerely consider these proposals, which have been given in good faith.
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
1. Everyone is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and benefit of the law.
2. Equality includes the full and equal enjoyment of all rights and freedoms. To promote the achievement of equality, legislative and other measures designed to protect or advance persons, or categories of persons, disadvantaged by unfair discrimination may be taken.
3. The state may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds, including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth.
II. Freedom and security of the person
Everyone has the right to freedom and security of the person, which includes the right:
i. not to be deprived of freedom arbitrarily or without just cause;
ii. not to be detained without trial;
iii. to be free from all forms of violence from either public or private sources;
iv. not to be tortured in any way;
v. not to be treated or punished in a cruel, inhuman or degrading way.
Everyone has the right to privacy, which includes the right not to have:
i. their person or home searched;
ii. their property searched;
iii. their possessions seized;
iv. the privacy of their communications infringed.
IV. Freedom of religion, belief and opinion
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of conscience, religion, thought, belief and opinion.
2. Religious observances may be conducted at state or state-aided institutions, provided that:
i. those observances follow rules made by the appropriate public authorities;
ii. they are conducted on an equitable basis;
iii. attendance at them is free and voluntary and without compulsion or force.
V. Freedom of expression
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, which includes:
i. freedom of the press and other media;
ii. freedom to receive or impart information or ideas;
iii. freedom of artistic creativity;
iv. academic freedom and freedom of scientific research.
2. The right in subsection (1) above does not extend to:
i. propaganda for war;
ii. incitement of imminent violence;
iii. advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that constitutes incitement to cause harm.
VI. Freedom of assembly, demonstration, picket and petition
Everyone has the right, peacefully and unarmed, to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket and to present petitions.
VII. Freedom of association
Everyone has the right to freedom of association.
VIII. Political rights
1. Every citizen is free to make political choices, which includes the right:
i. to form a political party;
ii. to participate in the activities of, or recruit members for, a political party;
iii. to campaign for a political party or cause.
2. Every citizen has the right to free, fair and regular elections for any legislative body established in terms of the Constitution.
3. Every adult citizen has the right:
i. to vote in elections for any legislative body established in terms of the Constitution, and to do so in secret;
ii. to stand for public office and, if elected, to hold office.
No citizen may be deprived of citizenship.
X. Freedom of movement and residence
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of movement.
2. Everyone has the right to leave the country.
3. Every citizen has the right to enter, to remain in and to reside anywhere in, the country.
4. Every citizen has the right to a passport.
XI. Labour relations
1. Everyone has the right to fair labour practices.
2. Every worker has the right:
i. to form and join a trade union;
ii. to participate in the activities and programmes of a trade union;
iii. to strike.
3. Every employer has the right:
i. to form and join an employers' organisation;
ii. to participate in the activities and programmes of an employers' organisation.
4. Every trade union and every employers' organisation has the right:
i. to determine its own administration, programmes and activities;
ii. to organise;
iii. to form and join a federation.
5. Every trade union, employers' organisation and employer has the right to engage in collective bargaining.
XII. Arrested, detained and accused persons
1. Everyone who is arrested for allegedly committing an offence has the right:
i. to remain silent;
ii. to be informed promptly:
a. of the right to remain silent; and
b. of the consequences of not remaining silent;
iii. not to be compelled to make any confession or admission that could be used in evidence against that person;
iv. to be brought before a court as soon as reasonably possible, but not later than:
a. 24 hours after the arrest; or
b. the end of the first court day after the expiry of the 24 hours, if the 24 hours expire outside ordinary court hours or on a day which is not an ordinary court day;
v. at the first court appearance after being arrested, to be charged or to be informed of the reason for the detention to continue, or to be released.
2. Everyone who is detained, including every sentenced prisoner, has the right:
i. to be informed promptly of the reason for being detained;
ii. to choose, and to consult with, a legal practitioner, and to be informed of this right promptly;
iii. to have a legal practitioner assigned to the detained person by the state and at state expense, if substantial injustice would otherwise result, and to be informed of this right promptly;
iv. to challenge the lawfulness of the detention in person before a court and, if the detention is unlawful, to be released;
v. to conditions of detention that are consistent with human dignity, including at least exercise and the provision, at state expense, of adequate accommodation, nutrition, reading material and medical treatment;
vi. to communicate with, and be visited by, that person's
a. spouse or partner;
b. next of kin;
c. chosen religious counsellor; and
d. chosen medical practitioner.
3. Every accused person has a right to a fair trial, which includes the right:
i. to be informed of the charge with sufficient detail to answer it;
ii. to have adequate time and facilities to prepare a defence;
iii. to a public trial before an ordinary court;
iv. to have their trial begin and conclude without unreasonable delay;
v. to be present when being tried;
vi. to choose, and be represented by, a legal practitioner, and to be informed of this right promptly;
vii. to have a legal practitioner assigned to the accused person by the state and at state expense, if substantial injustice would otherwise result, and to be informed of this right promptly;
viii. to be presumed innocent, to remain silent, and not to testify during the proceedings;
ix. to adduce and challenge evidence;
x. not to be compelled to give self-incriminating evidence;
xi. to be tried in a language that the accused person understands or, if that is not practicable, to have the proceedings interpreted in that language;
xii. not to be convicted for an act or omission that was not an offence under either national or international law at the time it was committed or omitted;
xiii. not to be tried for an offence in respect of an act or omission for which that person has previously been either acquitted or convicted;
xiv. to the benefit of the least severe of the prescribed punishments if the prescribed punishment for the offence has been changed between the time that the offence was committed and the time of sentencing;
xv. of appeal to, or review by, a higher court.
4. Whenever this section requires information to be given to a person, that information must be given in a language that the person understands.
5. Evidence obtained in a manner that violates any right in the Bill of Rights must be excluded if the admission of that evidence would render the trial unfair or otherwise be detrimental to the administration of justice.
XIII. State of emergency
A state of emergency may be declared only in terms of an Act of Parliament, and only when:
1. the nation is threatened by war, invasion, general insurrection, disorder, natural disaster or other public emergency; and
2. the declaration is necessary to restore peace and order.