REFSA Rojak: Crisps of the Week (17-23 Aug)

Foong Li Mei brings to you another edition of REFSA Rojak, a weekly take on the goings-on in Malaysia by Research for Social Advancement (REFSA).

REFSA Rojak – “trawl the newsflow, cut to the core and focus on the really pertinent. Full of flavour, lots of crunch, this is the concise snapshot to help Malaysians keep abreast of the issues of the day.”

Bad law bites back

BN lawmakers who were keen to shift the burden of proof of innocence to netizens with the Section 114A amendment of the Evidence Act may now find the hammer above their heads instead. An offensive statement posted on an allegedly bogus Umno Youth Facebook page went viral.  The posting in Malay which has since been removed said, “If you agree to make Christianity the official religion of the Federation of Malaysia, continue your support of Pakatan Rakyat.”

BN Youth maintains innocence over the posting while insisting that the page does not belong to Umno Youth, and had lodged a police report.

This would appear to be the test case under the newly-amended Evidence Act which has come under intense fire. Under the Act, the apparent owner or administrator of a website on which any posting appears is presumed to have made the posting, unless proven otherwise.

However, in its investigation of this particular case, the police do not intend to apply Section 114A. The Evidence Act amendment comes in effect only if Umno Youth has been charged under other laws, as the amendment does not presume one’s guilt, but presumes the fact of a publication.

Opacity still permeates the gazette though. Lawyers are doubtful if a police report suffices to prove one’s innocence under Section 114A’s presumptions. Also, what is the legal standing of a person whose name was used in the posting of defamatory content, and did not make a police report quickly enough?

Malaysians are on edge about Section 114A and the perceived hidden intentions behind its hasty passing. After all, our federal government has a track record of selective prosecution, which some might suggest borders on political persecution.

Did the attorney-general himself breach BAFIA?

Following the arrest of PKR strategic director Rafizi Ramli and a former bank clerk for violating the Banking and Financial Institutions Act (Bafia) when unearthing the dirt on the NFC scandal, former Kuala Lumpur Criminal Investigations Department (CID) chief Mat Zain Ibrahim said that attorney-general Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail himself should also be charged under Bafia. Gani had revealed confidential banking details during a  previous investigation of a former Malacca chief minister.

REFSA has pointed out that the attorney-general can choose not to prosecute the whistleblowers in the Cowgate scandal. There are precedents – he has not prosecuted in other cases where the law had been clearly broken. For instance, Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek escaped legal action despite a video showing him and a woman engaging in fellatio (oral sex). This is an offense under Section 377A of the Penal code – the same law that opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was charged under for alleged sodomy. If Chua’s bedroom behaviour can be discounted by the attorney-general, surely Rafizi can be spared charges as well? After all, Rafizi’s exposé actually served public interest.

When you can’t beat crime, shift it!

The pressure on cops to go out and combat crime has prompted them to sit back and dabble in creative accounting instead, according to one “Anonymous Policeman”.

In a letter to Bukit Bendera MP Liew Chin Tong, the writer alleged that police have been compelled to distort crime statistics because the new Key Performance Index (KPI) set for the police in 2009 – reduce crime by 20 percent – was “absolutely a feat impossible”.

The writer explained how they rigged the system to ‘achieve’ the target.  They shifted index crime (from which crime statistics are derived) to non-index crime (which are not included in statistics), closed cases under “no further action” (NFA), selectively opened  cases for investigation, and fed doctored classification of cases into the police computing system to “produce the result that was desired”.

Various recommendations were made by “Anonymous Police” on how to improve the police force. REFSA suggests adding the redeployment of police force to the list. Our Focus Paper revealed that 41% of our men in blue are in management or administration. This works out to each manager/administrator managing fewer than two subordinates on average! Read more here or shoot a quick letter via REFSA to the Home Ministry to urge smarter use of police resources.

Tradesmen jobs are not jobs for ‘losers’

Skilled workers such as mechanics, plumbers or seamstresses should not be seen as inferior to professionals such as lawyers or doctors for they too offer essential services which everyone needs. Hence, don’t they deserve the same respect and dignity?

In his article Are blue-collar jobs only for losers?, PEMANDU Education NKEA/NKRA education director Tengku Nurul Azian called for more open-mindedness in the perception of vocational work. He revealed that “within the next eight years, 60% of the talents we require are those with technical educational and vocational training or TEVT. This means one million jobs would require vocational certificates or diplomas by 2020.”

REFSA welcomes his recognition of blue-collar workers. As pointed out in our hot-selling UMNO-Nomics: the Dark Side of the Budget, not everyone is academically-inclined but everyone has a skill to contribute to Malaysia.  With 77% of our workforce only holding SPM-level education or lower, vocational training is crucial to improve quality, efficiency and reliability, thereby enabling sustainably higher wages.

Making a career path attractive is not complicated – just show that the right attitude and hard work will always be rewarded.

That, by the way, is also another topic covered in UMNO-Nomics. Do get your copy today! Buy on-line at http://shop.refsa.org, or visit the same page for a list of book-stores carrying the title.

 

Why ‘Rojak’? Disparate flavours and textures come together in a harmonious mix to make this delicious but underrated concoction. Our Rojak weekly is much like this mix, making sense of the noise of daily newsflow and politicking.

It is also our ultimate dream that our multi-ethnic melange of communities can be made richer within the unique ‘sauce’ that is Malaysia. Let’s take pride in the ‘rojakness’ of our nation!

[Pic credit: Opened mouth, thumb-up and men in suits – Nemo/Creative Commons]

Click here for previous issues of REFSA Rojak.
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REFSA is an independent, not-for-profit research institute providing relevant and reliable information on social, economic and political issues affecting Malaysians with the aim of promoting open and constructive discussions that result in effective policies to address those issues. Visit us at www.refsa.org

Posted on 25 August 2012. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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