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Parliamentary debate on amendments to PC & CPC kicks off July 13, 2006

Posted by elizabethwong in Human Rights, Malaysia, Note2Self.
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Finally.

Parliamentary session on amendments to Penal Code (PC) and Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), as recommended by the Parliamentary Select Committee has begun. It started close to 5 pm, with the Minister tabling the bills.

Portions that are of concern to the civil liberties groups are that pertaining to definitions of what an ‘act of terrorism’ are, and right to privacy.

I know for certain, of at least 2 MPs, who will be speaking against this:- Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (People’s Justice Party – KeADILan) and Kulasegaran (Democratic Action Party – DAP). Hopefully there will be more tomorrow, and not just from the opposition bench.

Today was spent, from morning, in a fully wired environment. Usually I prefer to sit in the smoke-filled cafeteria, where it’s a little less formal. Half the people were pungent today. There was a durian party going on at the back of the cafeteria. Everyone was invited. If only they had wine and cheese too.

I found that smiles somehow get you free coffee and durians, dates, photocopy paper and staplers as well as the perennial question, “Are you Japanese?” If one needs to work undisturbed, don’t venture into this twilight zone.

A couple of Suaram people were also there, attempting to handover a memorandum as part of their final lobby to the chairman of the Select Committee, Minister Radzi. Except that, they forgot Wednesday mornings are reserved for Cabinet meeting.

In the end, because one of them had to go, I said I’d helped out. This later turned out to be a 30 sec power-walk-while-talking-and-handing-memorandum from one end of the hall to the other. This minister is a sprinter. I was impressed.

Some from the women’s groups were also present in the late afternoon to observe the Penal Code debate on sections pertaining to sexual crimes.They are the all-star team – Honey, executive director of Awam; Maria, executive director of WDC; Meera, President of WAO and Dr. Cecelia, a founding member of Awam.

The actual debate will begin tomorrow morning after 1130 hours. Expect the day to end with the bill approved in its entirety, with the wire-tapping (phone, internet and mail) provision in the CPC.

Sometimes the mind boggles; the public are up in arms because they would get fined for not carrying their ID cards, but it’s alright to allow wire-tapping that is decided between a Public prosecutor and the police, *without* having to apply to a magistrate or High Court Judge?

(More tomorrow)

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