Human Rights

21 posts

UKM should start having open dialogues with its students instead of punishing them for expressing their views

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 27th of June, 2015

UKM should start having open dialogues with its students instead of punishing them for expressing their views

On Monday, 29th of June, 2015, the Student Office Affairs at UKM will call up 13 students who were involved in a protest on the 27th of March, 2015, over the issue of water disruptions to a number of residential colleges in the university, some of which had been without water for more than two weeks.

The freedom to assemble peacefully is enshrined in Article 10.1(b) of the Federal Constitution and the students’ demonstration on the 27th of March, 2015, was definitely peaceful.

One of the accusations being levelled at the students by UKM is the fact that they handed me a memorandum during the protest on the 27th of March (See Attachment 1). I was informed that the students were organizing this protest and as the MP for Serdang, which UKM is part of, I felt that it was my duty and responsibility to listen to the problems facing the students as a result of these water cuts.

I was also told that the students had asked UKM to organize a briefing involving SYABAS, the UKM authorities and student representatives so that more information could be given to the students including the reasons behind the water cuts and the possible solutions moving of forward.

After the protest on the 27th of March, 2015, I wrote to the Vice Chancellor of UKM on the 16th of April (see Attachment 2) to seek for a meeting for us to discuss the best way to work together to solve the water problems in UKM which are not new and has been happening over the past 10 years. Unfortunately, till now, I have not received any information or correspondence from UKM in response to my letter.

This kind of attitude reflects the larger problem at hand – which is the unwillingness of UKM to engage in an open and transparent dialogue with all the stakeholders including student leaders over an important issue which seriously impacted the well-being of students in the affected residential colleges. Rather than punishing them, the UKM authorities should be working together with the students and other stakeholders such as SYABAS, the local ADUN and MP, the local authority and the state government in order to solve the problem at hand.

As long as this sort of attitude prevails in our public universities, whatever talk of trying to attain the status of a world class university will be empty rhetoric, devoid of substance. How can a public university speak about attaining academic excellence when it continues to shackle its own students?

Dr. Ong Kian Ming
Member of Parliament for Serdang

Attachment 1: UKM 13: Tatatertib Protes Air

Attachment 2: UKM 13: Surat 16 April 2015 Krisis Air UKM

If Malaysia does not tolerate any form of human trafficking, why does it occupy the lowest tier (Tier 3) in the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons 2014 Report?

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 16th of May, 2015

If Malaysia does not tolerate any form of human trafficking, why does it occupy the lowest tier (Tier 3) in the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons 2014 Report?

Prime Minister Najib, in a statement released yesterday, in response to the escalating Rohingya immigrant crisis, said the following:

 “Malaysia does not and will not tolerate any form of human trafficking. Anyone found to be perpetrating this injustice and contravening our laws will be held accountable.”

The Prime Minister’s statement is a joke given Malaysia’s atrocious record on human trafficking and the lack of political will to undertake meaningful steps in order to address these serious shortcomings.

The US Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report had put Malaysia on the Tier 2 Watch List from 2010 to 2013. Being on the Tier 2 watch list means that Malaysia is a country which is one of the “governments do not fully comply with the Trafficking Victim’s Protection Act (TVPA)’s minimum standards, but are making significant efforts bring themselves into compliance with those standards”.  After not showing any progress to improve its human trafficking record, Malaysia was automatically downgraded to a Tier 3 status country in 2014 which is one of the countries “whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.”[1]

Among some of the problems highlighting in Malaysia are the following:

“Refugees in Malaysia lack formal status or the ability to obtain work permits under Malaysian law, making them vulnerable to trafficking. Many incur large smuggling debts; traffickers use these debts to subject some refugees to debt bondage.”[2]

The issue of human trafficking and the treatment continues to be a serious one in Malaysia despite the enactment of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007.[3] The effective enforcement of this Act[4] as well as underlying weaknesses in this Act that opens itself up to abuse have not been addressed.[5]

This problem has become so serious that Malaysia’s participation in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) could be jeopardized as a result of its Tier 3 status in the Trafficking in Persons 2014 Report.[6]

As long as the Malaysian government refuses to have an honest examination of its policies towards refugees and migrants, our human trafficking record will continue to languish. The recent humanitarian crisis involving the Rohingyas is but the tip of a much larger iceberg of the human trafficking problem in our country which the Malaysian government, led by the Prime Minister, refuses to acknowledge even exists.

Dr. Ong Kian Ming
Member of Parliament for Serdang

[1] http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2014/226649.htm

[2] http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/226847.pdf

[3] http://www.agc.gov.my/Akta/Vol.%2014/Act%20670.pdf

[4] http://www.thestar.com.my/story/?file=%2F2009%2F2%2F15%2Ffocus%2F3272925&sec=focus

[5] http://www.malaysiakini.com/letters/142533

[6] http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/americas/68376779/malaysias-human-trafficking-may-doom-trans-pacific-partnership

GERAKAN MP, Liang Teck Meng, should be ashamed of himself for defending the indefensible

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 19th of April, 2015

GERAKAN MP, Liang Teck Meng, should be ashamed of himself for defending the indefensible

GERAKAN MP for Simpang Renggam, Liang Teck Meng, defended the amendments of the Sedition Act by saying the following: “If BN can deliver the goodwill of the amendments clearly to the people and also people understand the rationale of it, they (DAP) can be unseated in the next general election.”[1] It is sad to see how far a party that is supposed to be the “conscience of the BN” has fallen in its pathetic and disgusting attempt to defend the amendments to the Sedition Act.

Liang Teck Meng must be either blind or deaf or both if he thinks that the amendments to the Sedition Act were proposed in a spirit of “goodwill”. Was it the same spirit of “goodwill” which led the government to charge the cartoonist Zunar on 9 counts under the Sedition Act for his cartoons criticizing the judicial decisions to uphold the sodomy convictions against Anwar Ibrahim? Was it the same spirit of “goodwill” which led to the overnight detention and police investigation against MP for Lembah Pantai, Nurul Izzah, for a speech she made in parliament criticizing the judiciary? Was it’s the same spirit of “goodwill” which led to the overnight detention and subsequent charges under the Sedition Act against 4 journalists from the Malaysian Insider and the publisher of the Edge Media Group?

Liang Teck Meng must also think that the voters in Malaysia are stupid when he said that “In contrast, the government is actually giving greater freedom and protection to the people through recent legislative efforts… Gerakan reckons the potential threat of creating religious tension in the social media and concurs that certain control and monitoring should be introduced to keep it in check”. Is he totally ignorant of the double standards which are practised by the authorities in this country? Is he not aware that no action was taken against Ibrahim Ali even though he threatened to publicly burn copies of the Bible? Has he not read about how Minister for Agriculture, Ismail Sabri, was given the VIP treatment when he was allowed to give his statement over the telephone after his infamous Facebook post asking Malay consumers to boycott Chinese traders and businessmen? And how former Deputy Minister, Mashitah Ibrahim, was also given such a VIP treatment after she made the baseless accusation that a Chinese person had burnt a copy of the Quran in Kedah?

Dr. Ong Kian Ming
Member of Parliament for Serdang

[1] http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/295687