News from Home, World and the Vatican

News selected by Catholic Lawyers Society Kuala Lumpur (CLS) for Catholics in Malaysia concerned about social justice and peace.

Includes CLS Internal News | CLS in the News | CLS Press Statements

Church Honours St Therese of the Child Jesus – Patroness of the Missions and Missionaries

The story of Therese Martin, the young French girl who longed to join the Carmelites and dedicate her life to Christ, is one of the fairy tales of our age.

No doubt at all that Therese is the most popular Catholic saint of the last hundred years and no wonder Mother Teresa took her own name from this saint. Read more »

Church Honours Saint Francis Of Assisi - Founder And Mystic

Francesco di Bernadonne was born in 1182 in Assisi, to a wealthy merchant family. His youth was filled with romantic ideals, and he tried, somewhat unsuccessfully, to become a knight.

At the age of 23, he heard the crucifix in the church of San Damiano in Assisi challenge him: “Francis, go repair my house! It is falling into ruin.”

Taking these words to heart, he divested himself of his wealth, his fine clothes and his property, and left home a beggar. His mission: the ‘repair’ of the entire Christian Church. Read more »

Viewpoint: Malaysia On The Edge In Its Early Days - By Professor Michael Leigh

The declaration of Malaysia, on Sept 16 1963, ushered in the start of the two most tumultuous years for Asia’s newest nation.

From late 1963, Indonesia ramped up its confrontation, viewing this “neocolonial” creation as an affront to the non-aligned movement; to the peoples of a region emerging from colonial rule and to Indonesian leadership of the region, particularly of the Indonesian diaspora (known here as “the Malay world”). Read more »

Viewpoint: Sarawak And The Federation - By Professor Michael Leigh

Once the Sarawak Alliance had secured a clear majority of seats in the Council Negri, the next questions were who would form the cabinet, who would be the chief minister and who the governor.

Each of the successful parties had their own idea as to who should lead, as did the colonial authorities and the Malayan Alliance leaders.

Abdul Rahman Yakub was amongst those Barisan Rakyat Jati Sarawak (BARJASA) members favoured by Deputy Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein and Ghazali Shafie. Read more »

Viewpoint: Brunei Revolt And The Indonesian ‘Konfrontasi’- By Professor Michael Leigh

On the night of Dec 8, 1962, simultaneous attacks were launched against the government and police throughout Brunei, in Limbang and down as far as Sibuti in Sarawak.

Why such violence? In the most recent elections, the Parti Rakyat Brunei (PRB) swept all but one of the elected seats in the Brunei legislature, and expected the win would lead to legislative and executive power.

The sultan, his British advisers and the Malayan government were not happy with PRB exercising real power in Brunei. Read more »

Viewpoint: The Selling of Malaysia - By Professor Michael Leigh

The governments in Singapore, London and Kuala Lumpur were not about to give up the idea of Greater Malaysia, merely because there was hostility and indifference in the Borneo states.

In January 1962, the state government authored and widely disseminated a paper entitled, simply, “Sarawak and Malaysia”.

It was immediately translated into each of the principal local languages. Read more »

Viewpoint: Sarawak’s Role In The Making Of Malaysia - By Professor Michael Leigh

A TREASURE trove of the most highly classified United Kingdom records, known as “the migrated archives”, has been progressively opened to the public since April 2012.

These records document the turbulent times, the heated discussions and the set of compromises that resulted in the formation of Malaysia on Sept 16, 1963.

From these documents, it is clear that the creation of Malaysia was no foregone conclusion, and whether Sarawak would form the new nation was uncertain right up to the last minute. Read more »

Articles On Malay Privileges, Islam Not Above Constitutional Liberties, Zahid Told

Constitutional provisions on the Malays, the Malay rulers, Islam and the national language are not superior to those governing the rights of other citizens, several lawyers said in rebuttal to Umno’s Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

The legal experts reminded the home minister that while aspects of the “social contract” are embedded in the Federal Constitution, there exist other equally important elements in the country’s highest law guaranteeing the rights of non-Muslim, non-Malay Malaysians, such as fundamental liberties and the guarantee of citizenship. Read more »

More Pain Than Gain To Be Part Of Malaysia - Says Sabah, Sarawak Leaders

The Federation of Malaysia is meaningless if Sabah continues to be "occupied" by "Malayan" government officers and federal agencies, said Borneo Heritage Foundation chairperson (BHF) Jeffrey Kitingan.

"The over-presence and overbearing dominance of the federal ministries, departments and agencies showed that Sabah is just a 'colony' of Malaya in the name of the federal government," he said in his Malaysia Day message at the Batu Sumpah, Keningau. Read more »

Judges Must Have Moral Courage To Make Unpopular Decisions

Judges must have moral courage to make decisions that are unpopular with politicians, the media and the public, said Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria.

He said judges should not fear any party being dissatisfied with their decision if they had provided a clear judgement based on established case law authorities.

He said there was no directive issued to judges to agree with the majority decision of the presiding panel at the Court of Appeal and Federal Court. Read more »

Sedition Dragnet Prompts Lawyers To Hold Peaceful March

The Malaysian Bar will debate a resolution at its extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on Friday whether lawyers should hold a peaceful march, after a spate of prosecutions under the Sedition Act 1948.

Sources said the Bar Council was not against the motion seconded by 121 lawyers who included retired federal court judge, Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram and former head of prosecution in the attorney-general's chambers, Datuk Stanley Isaacs. Read more »

Finally, A Minister Disagrees With Sedition Charge On University Malaya Professor

Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jala criticised today the use of the controversial Sedition Act 1948 on Azmi Sharom, nearly a fortnight after the University of Malaya (UM) law lecturer was charged.

The minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of government efficiency broke away from the Barisan Nasional (BN) government that has so far defended the use of the colonial-era law on dissidents, saying on Twitter that academic freedom is vital to the pursuit of knowledge. Read more »

Activists Want RCI On Malaysia

Rights activists behind the Borneo’s Plight in Malaysia Foundation (BoPIM), a UK-based human rights NGO, sees a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on Malaysia as perhaps the best way forward in Borneo after over 50 years of Sabah and Sarawak in Federation with the peninsula.

“We need to institutionalise the debate through a mechanism and RCI would be the ideal approach under the circumstances,” said BoPiM President Daniel John Jambun in a telephone call. Read more »

Sarawakians ‘Confused’ Over Merdeka Day

Sarawakians on both sides of the divide are unanimous that Aug 31, the common day for Sabah and the peninsula, is not their Hari Merdeka (Independence Day).

Otherwise, they appear divided on what should be seen as their independence day.

The Sarawak Government, for the first time in 50 years, recognised July 22 as Sarawak’s Independence Day which then Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud referred to as Liberation Day. Read more »

Malaysian Bar: Sedition Act Panders To Extremists

The Sedition Act 1948 was never intended to create national harmony but it encourages extremism instead, Malaysian Bar president Christopher Leong said last night.

He said the colonial-era law panders to extremists and perpetuates disunity as it is wielded whenever others claim to be insulted or disrespected.

“The Sedition Act is the antithesis of democracy, rule of law and justice,” he said at the official launch of the #MansuhAktaHasutan campaign by the Bar Council’s National Young Lawyers Committee (NYLC) last night to repeal the Sedition Act. Read more »

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