Our beloved PM calls on Asean countries to take a tougher stance on hate speech, including those targetting gender and sexual orientation. Nothing wrong with that, right? Well, he's being slagged for it. Don't worry, we'll fill you in.

In other news, Suhakam reveals some astonishing – but sadly, not so astonishing – things; and, the MCO for all states will now end on the same day. If it's not extended again, that is.

Walk the talk, Mr Prime Minister

That sickeningly sweet stench of hypocrisy

People in glass houses really shouldn’t throw stones, Mr PM.

You see, glorious leader Muhyiddin Yassin courted flak for his keynote address at the Asean Digital Ministers’ Meeting yesterday.

Our friend advised Asean member to consider tougher legislation against hate speech targeting anyone based on race, religion, disability, nationality and (drumroll please) gender as well as sexual orientation

Lovely sentiment, we agree 100%. But is our (deluded?) PM even aware of what’s happening in his own backyard?

Le premier’s impassioned speech came even as his own gomen’s contemplating amending the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 – or Act 355– to allow for heavier punishments against the LGBT community. 

BT-Dubs, the gomen is justifying the move by saying the law is outdated. You can read PAS’s stupid excuse here. But, as Malaysiakini points out, amending the act to allow harsher Syariah punishments has been a long-term goal for PAS, and often used to rally support from its base.

So, does Moo’s speech mean it’s not OK for hate speech, but perfectly fine to take criminal action against the LGBT community? 

We’ve no idea what other Asean leaders thought of his speech (hint, they probably were laughing their butts off considering Malaysia is one of the worst places in the region for LGBT folk), but back home, Moo’s been advised to walk the talk and bring the act in line with international human rights standards. 

It’s not just at the federal level; cosmetics entrepreneur Nur Sajat was recently charged in Pakatan Harapan-run Selangor for cross-dressing. 

And it ain’t just hate speech and LGBTs – we don’t exactly have a sterling record on race and religion either. For example, in Perikatan Nasional-run Kedah, cuti peristiwa for Thaipusam’s been unceremoniously cancelled.

MB Sanusi Nor’s been slammed by several quarters, including MIC’s M. Saravanan, DAP’s P. Ramasamy and Lim Guan Eng, and even Umno troll king Najib Razak over the move.

 

Sanusi – the guy who recently cast the off-coloured and racially-tinged ‘drunk on toddy of popularity‘ slur against Indian leaders – has claimed cancelling the holiday wasn’t meant to sideline Hindus but due to the state being under MCO. Instead, he did the whole “it’s all DAP’s fault” song and dance. Yes, it’s as WTF as WTF can be. 

None of it explained the state’s need to cancel the holiday. After all, although Hindus mayn’t be able to throng the temples, they can and will still pray at home with loved ones.

One of Sanusi’s aides questioned why there was no criticism against the seven states which do not list Thaipusam as a holiday. True, but two wrongs mean you’re still wrong.

And hey, you know he would never suggest this for Chinese New Year or Hari Raya, regardless of what MCO is in place.  

Police-sanctioned beatings

This is sickening. First, we hear a child was raped while in police lockup in Miri, and now this.

The Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) has allegedly uncovered that a man who died in the Bentong lockup last year, had been beaten by two other detainees on the instructions of a police officer. G. Jestus Kevin sustained many injuries including broken ribs, but ultimately died from swelling to the brain due to blunt force trauma.

Suhakam alleged the copper instructed the detainees to “tenteramkan” (control) Jestus and watched as he was beaten. According to the commission, Jestus’d shown signs of mental instability prior to the beatings, but was never given help.

Suhakam said it has identified all involved in the death and is calling for action to be taken. But it doesn’t end there. 

Suhakam’s also found evidence of alleged forced conversions of indigenous children in Sarawak to Islam. This involves children of broken interfaith marriages raised according to other faiths. 

It also wants the gomen to address cases of those allegedly registered as Muslims by mistake due to having “bin” or “binti” in their names – also used by Christian bumiputeras.

Least shocking was Suhakam’s findings that politicians and campaigners were the least compliant of Covid-19 SOPs during last year’s Sabah elections. Remember how the polls led to our worse third wave of infections? We’ll just file this in the ‘No Shit, Sherlock’ folder, k?

To infinity (err... Feb 4?) and beyond!

The MCO for all states (except Sarawak) will now end on the same day – Feb 4. This comes after the MCO for Penang, Selangor, Melaka, Johor, Sabah, Kelantan and the three federal territories of KL, Putrajaya and Labuan was extended yesterday. 

It’s unsurprising as our daily Covid-19 numbers and infectivity rate continue to be high. Yesterday saw 3,170 new cases and 12 deaths while the number of ICU patients has now hit a new record of 260. Our active cases now stand at 41,755 and death toll at 642. Yesterday also saw 16 new clusters, equalling the previous day’s record.

Meanwhile, despite the rising number of cases among students, the gomen is sticking to its decision that only those who display symptoms will be screened for Covid. The gomen will, however, seek the Health Ministry’s advice whether mass screenings are warranted. 

Some good news! Eateries can now stay open till 10pm, a two-hour extension to operation hours under the MCO. The decision was made after numerous complaints and a hilarious Twitter hashtag, as many folks were finding it difficult to get food (seriously, what’s life without late-night roti canai?).

Anyways, here’s the other big Covid-related news from yesterday:

  • The gomen may use its emergency powers to increase fines and jail terms for violations of Covid-19 regulations.
     
  • Though taxis and e-hailing services are allowed to operate, they must ensure passengers have the necessary approval before crossing district or state lines.
     
  • Human Rights Watch has urged the gomen to withdraw police powers for the military due to high risk of excessive use of force since soldiers aren’t trained as police officers.
     
  • Pakatan Harapan has nominated PKR’s Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, DAP’s Anthony Loke and Amanah’s Dzulkefly Ahmad to the independent committee advising the King on the emergency. 

Kudos to a caring cop

There’s been a lot of criticism over the handling of the MCO and SOPs by the powers that be. But praise is due when they get it right.

The man of the hour is Petaling Jaya OCPD Nik Ezanee Mohd Faisal. You see, a mother-of-three had been caught shoplifting cake, sausages and fever medicine. Upon hearing what items had been taken, our man Nik felt something wasn’t quite right. 

Realising the woman must be going through tough times, he visited her, bringing along a hamper of goodies (including fever meds) and a sack of rice. True enough, the MCO had left the family in a very tight spot and with hungry children.

Now this is the kind of cop we need and deserve. Syabas and thank you, sir.

Here are some other dangling bit of news from yesterday:

  • Umno sec-gen Ahmad Maslan’s call to petition the Agong for a special session of Parliament to debate the emergency has allegedly been met with tepid support from MPs from his own party. 
     
  • Before he left the Oval Office for good, Donald Trump granted a pardon to his former fundraiser Elliott Broidy, who’d previously pleaded guilty to charges of illegal foreign lobbying linked to the 1MDB scandal.
     
  • MDEC has announced a line-up of new hires from local and multi-national giants such as Microsoft and Media Prima to replace eight top execs who left. MDEC chairperson Rais Hussin had also denied a news report the resignations were due to an internal crisis.
     
  • MCMC has advised the public to be wary of fraudulent tactics aimed at taking over users’ WhatsApp accounts. And what of gomen agencies wanting to buy your social media accounts then? 😏
     
  • The “Hotpot Datuk” and his friend have pleaded guilty to the assault of a young couple at a PJ restaurant, a video of which had gone viral since the Jan 12 incident.

“But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated.”

- Amanda Gorman, The Hill We Climb -

IN INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • Saying Covid-19 deaths in the US could top 500,000 by next month, new POTUS Joe Biden has unveiled a his plan to battle the pandemic.

    Meanwhile, the world has welcomed Biden’s decision for the US to rejoin the Paris climate accord but said Washington must cut emissions and use its influence to encourage other countries to do the same.
     
  • A fire at the world’s largest vaccine producer in western India has killed five people. However, the company said vaccine production will not be affected.
     
  • Twin suicide blasts at a Baghdad market have left at least 32 people dead. Pope Francis, who is due to visit Iraq in March, has condemned the attack.
     
  • The EU has lost credibility on human rights by sealing an investment deal with China, according to a resolution passed in the European Parliament yesterday.

    The resolution also condemned the crackdown on Hong Kong activists by the central government in China and called for “targeted sanctions” against Chinese and Hong Kong officials responsible for the police action. 

ABOUT THIS NEWSLETTER

This weekday newsletter is brought to you by Trident Media, a group of Malaysian journalists with 60 years of combined media experience in four countries across TV, print and digital media.

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Trident Media · Seksyen 35 · Shah Alam, Selangor 40470 · Malaysia

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