Friday, December 3, 2010

Why law?

The first question anyone asks you when you first set foot in law school is,
“Why do you want to be a lawyer?”

Set aside other occupation options such as a legal advisor, judge, legal consultant or even a journalist, its common perception that the main reason you applied and was granted application to law school is because you have dreams of prosecuting. Being prosecuted is of course another case.

Before approaching the end of your studies, it is imperative to re-ask yourself this question, before falling into that sea of zombies who just do just because. Why would anyone have dreams and hopes of being a lawyer? Perhaps arguing is a passion, what more in the elegant interior of a court room. The suave cut of a lawyer’s robe brings about all the confidence within. Or the adrenaline rush of standing before the judge itself and presenting your case. It could be those simple things which make a person choose to be a lawyer. Maybe some people get a rush from lack of sleep and preparing BOAs till the wee hours in the morning. Different people, different strokes.

The Leo Drummonds of the world answer smugly of the monetary compensation. Money buys power. And power, well, power is what empowers some men. The legal profession pays handsomely, provided you know how to go around it.
In contrast, the Rudy Baylors of the world aspire and aim for justice, equality. A fair outcome for the oppressed. To defend victims of situations.

Then again, I guess we all started off as Rudy Baylors, optimistic and hopeful of justice being served, the wrong being punished. Eventually, however, we get jaded by experience. Forget that. Even four years of law school can make a person jaded. The hours put in, the workload, files being slammed in your face, the convict escaping, the victim crying, the judge shrieking, the frustrations building up. And then you question yourself, how long can you stand doing this? Can you really go on every single day of your life working like this? And for what? What do you get in the end? It’s all questionable when you no longer get that satisfaction of a job well done.
From then on, the material promises is probably the only thing that keeps you in the game. Though deep down inside, everyone knows, the material goods don’t last forever. If you can get bored of a profession, you can definitely get bored of the pay, especially when there’s too much and you don’t know where else to put it.
Intentions are personal, I suppose. To each his own. You can either be the saint lawyer or the ‘shark in the dirty water’.

My point is, maybe its time to reassess the reason one is in law school. To help the deserving? If so, how do you determine who really deserves it? Some lady can come to you and claim she’s broke and she needs free legal assistance. Turn around and you see the woman driving away in a Z4. It could be rental, you tell yourself. Well what about the beggar on the street who turns around the block and jumps into a Mercedes Cabriolet?

The world is a deception on its own.

Being a cynic is not that bad after all. A clear mind can assess the case better. But sometimes thinking with your heart gives it the extra passion.
Enough with my rambling. Go get a cup of coffee and a copy of The Rainmaker. So you’ve read it before, there’s no harm in reading it again. And while you’re at it, think, why are you a law student? What’s your purpose as a law student?
-By Atiqah Juana-

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Lawyers vs Policemen

Policeman and lawyers, constantly working together. The policemen catch the bad guys, the lawyers either help establish the fact that the bad guy is indeed, bad or protects the bad guy from severe punishment. If you want a more precise explanation, there's always the Criminal Procedure Code and the Federal Constitution, not forgetting the Police Act and Legal Profession Act to prove my point on the interrelation between policemen and lawyers.

However a question that plagued the curious, twisted mind, was

If they should, why? Nothing really puts one or the other above each other in rank, so what gives?

*previous situation in Pakistan, regarding a protest by lawyers. Nothing to do with the actual issue in question though*

Share your thoughts =)

Royal's role is still relevant-Dr Shad

SHAH ALAM 29 Nov. - Pakar undang-undang perlembagaan, Prof. Datuk Dr. Shad Saleem Faruqi berkata, peranan Yang di-Pertuan Agong dan Raja-Raja Melayu sebagai raja berperlembagaan digariskan dalam Perlembagaan Persekutuan dan Undang-undang Tubuh di negeri masing-masing.

Menurutnya, peruntukan dalam Perlembagaan Persekutuan juga telah menetapkan kuasa-kuasa baginda di dalam pelbagai perkara.

Justeru, tegas beliau, keputusan Sultan Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah untuk tidak memperkenan pembubaran Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) Perak tidak boleh dicabar kerana ia jelas dilakukan mengikut perlembagaan dan Undang-Undang Tubuh negeri itu.

Begitu juga, katanya, Yang di-Pertuan Agong mempunyai kuasa melantik Perdana Menteri, menteri Kabinet dan timbalan menteri untuk menasihati baginda dalam tugas-tugas baginda.

''Kuasa-kuasa ini diperuntukkan dalam perkara 43(1),(2) dan 43A Perlembagaan Persekutuan," katanya dalam Wacana "Raja Berperlembagaan - Perspektif Sejarah, Kini dan Masa Depan" di sini hari ini.

(taken from the Malaysian Bar site)

Friday, October 1, 2010

An Act of Desperation?

“The tragedy of it is that nobody sees the look of desperation on my face. Thousands and thousands of us, and we're passing one another without a look of recognition.”
Henry Miller

The streets are crowded, filled with anticipation of the day’s celebration. Today is what they have called their independence day. But to me, this was the day my country was taken away from me. I walk with a sense of purpose heading toward the Parliament Building, at the same time I had to remain discreet. One mistake and this would have been for nothing. I see the faces of people I do not know, and yet they seem like everyone I have ever known.

As I take the steps towards my goal, I cannot help but to reminisce of days forgotten. When I was five, soldiers had appeared at my house. My family and I were told to leave the house as it was to be demolished for the purpose of constructing the segregation wall.

It was Eid.

Imagine, how would you feel if you were forced out from your home on the most sacred day in your religion?

My parents resisted. They told them that they cannot do this. Their pleas were ignored. When they had actually started to physically remove my family, my father couldn’t be silenced any longer. He fought. The soldiers subdued him, brutally. My family and I were forced to watch as they punched and kicked him till he could not move. My father was then taken away as a “security measure.”

We never saw him again.

My family had moved in with my uncle. At night, my mother would cry herself to sleep, missing my father. She didn’t realize I was always there watching. The years passed by in a blur after that. For distraction, ironically, I plunged into my studies. I was lucky, I was considered gifted for my age and was somehow fast tracked in education. Over time, I was offered a place in the negotiation team dealing with our occupiers and the international community.

Mine wasn’t a major position; I was merely an assistant to an assistant. During my time there, I was exposed to various people even those from the other side of the wall. To my surprise, not all of them were the evil, cruel and uncaring people we have made them out to be. Some of them had genuinely cared for our welfare and truly wanted peace in the region.

Despite this, in the two years I was there, I began to lose hope in the political process. Certain quarters of our occupiers would ensure that whatever benefits we gained from the negotiations was taken away for one reason or the other. The restoration of these benefits in turn would require more and more concessions. Every year we were pushed to make even further concessions, and yet no benefits were forthcoming; more concessions were demanded for more promises. If anything the negotiations cooled international pressure on the occupiers. It gave the impression of dealing with the matter seriously (sincerely?). However, our allies in the international community began to drift away; abandoning us to our own fate.

We were forgotten. I couldn’t do it anymore. I quit.

It would seem I was not the only one who lost faith. Barely two years after my decision to resign, my people took to the ballot box and voted a new representation for our people. The result came as a shock to most people. A wave of change was in the air, we felt maybe now our views would be more strongly voiced.

We were wrong.

The months that followed proved to be a very educational experience for my people when it came to the concept of “democracy.” Democracy was only good if you chose what they wanted you to chose. Instead of respecting our choice, the international community, even the leaders that had so adamantly advocated “democracy” to the point of war had refused to recognize the new representation. Economic sanctions were made against the representation; it was my people who were punished. Some of us even began to blame ourselves; did we make the best choice?

I took out the picture I had brought with me. It was an old photo of me and my brother together with both of my parents. Things were much simpler back then. Life wasn’t easy, but at least it was simple. I took a turn into an alley that would allow me to avoid security checks on my way to the building. What little intelligence we had managed to gather had shown that I should go; to the Parliament Building and the parade. My thoughts will not be silenced. I drifted back to the memories of the economic sanctions against the representation.

Both the representation and the occupiers were at a deadlocked. For a time it would seem conflict was to be a part of our life till a ceasefire was finally agreed. It was not to last. Negotiations after the ceasefire brought no new results; the deadlock continued. After awhile, tensions grew and accusations on both sides were high. That’s when it happened.

Already being made to suffer through economic sanctions which had also blocked water and power to even the most basic of necessities, the occupiers attacked. The representation accused the occupiers of breaking the ceasefire and the occupiers accused that the representation had broken it instead. Till this day, I am still not sure who did what. And quite frankly, it doesn’t really matter.

I had lost my mother that day.

An apache missile had destroyed my home; I later found out that it was because, allegedly, my neighbor of ten years who would not hurt a fly was a suspected “terrorist.” We were given a warning to leave by way of a phone call, ten minutes before the attack. In ten minutes, your whole life was to fall apart; everything you had built was to be destroyed. Suddenly, I was five years old again; powerless to do anything. My mother insisted on saving what little keepsakes she had left of my father; we left the house a little too late.

From the rubble that was my home, I was forced to crawl out dragging the dead body of my mother. She no longer has to worry about keep sakes. In a more hopeful world, it would be easy to tell myself that she is in a better place and has perhaps joined my father. However, this is not a hopeful world. It was far from it…

But even then, people called us the lucky ones.

We weren’t exposed to white phosphorus munitions which cause painful chemical burn injuries. Many who were exposed ended up having their flesh burned right to the bone. In the midst of all this chaos, the economic sanctions continued; humanitarian aid was also put to a halt. Those lucky enough to have survived the initial exposure would later die from lack of medicine and treatment. Those who did receive treatment would still be scarred for life.

In the days of the conflict, hospitals and mosques were to be targeted as well, leaving no treatment for the injured, no solace for the living and no peace for the dead.

“Mummy, that man looks like he is about to cry…?”

“It is not polite to point Luft.”

“I’m alright little one. I guess I’m just getting a little emotional from all the celebration.”

“Yeah, it’s been a long road since our country has gotten here. It’s sometimes easy to forget what we had to go through to achieve it with all those terrorists out there. Take care sir; I apologize if my daughter had bothered you. Happy independence day.”

I shielded my eyes and wiped away my tears. Lies come easy to me now. It was necessary if I am to succeed. It may have been easy for him to forget, but I never will. The anger is still there. It is always there. Terrorists he called us. A word often used to describe my people. He had the audacity to call us terrorists.

Yet why is it when they have destroyed our homes, they are not the terrorist?

Why is it when they have killed our families, they are not the terrorist?

Why is it when they have caged us behind walls like animals, they are not the terrorist?

To them, the sheer terror and chaos cause to my people has never been terrorism. It was always an act of preemptive self defense. It was always for security concerns. It was always for one thing or another but never terrorism. I took a deep breath, reining my anger. I had to continue walking past the street; I had to get myself as near to the Parliament Building as possible. As I walked, my thoughts return to the little girl from before. She reminded me of my own niece who was six.

On the day of my mother’s funeral, I can still recall her asking me to stop them from burying her grandmother still being unable to comprehend the death of my mother and her parents. Her grandmother had promised her that she would teach her baking this coming Eid. “She never breaks her promise,” she reasons with me. “She can’t teach me if she’s buried.” Tears flow down my eyes, I hugged her in silence. We were all that was left.

Three days later, it wouldn’t matter to my niece any longer. She was shot dead. I found her next to her grandmother’s grave; she had gone to visit without me. Amidst the conflict, she had slipped away from our tent.

I should have been paying more attention to her. I should have told her not to go anywhere without me. I should have done a lot of things differently…

I am alone now. All I have left is the ashes of my home and the memories of my family.

God. I hope that man and his little girl would not be near the Parliament Building in the next half an hour… No child deserves any of this; God let her be spared of any tragedy. I forced myself to refocus my thoughts back to my anger. My niece didn’t deserve to die; neither did the rest of my family. They deserve justice. Instead, she, like so many others in my people’s history, was abandoned and forsaken.

Once the media had actually gotten around to reporting the conflict, public outcry against the attack was immediate. Those of us who had survived waited for the international community to take action; we had dared to hope that they would. Surely such heinous acts would have been enough to finally provoke a reaction from the international community. For a time it seems that it would. A United Nations Fact Finding Commission was established and a report was filed about the incident.

The report sparked controversy amongst my people and our occupiers, but most of my people believed that it was a fair assessment of the facts that was to be subjected to a further investigation. We looked forward to such an investigation. Maybe now, all the cruel inhuman treatment my people have been made to suffer would come to light. The sacrifices of my mother, niece and so many others who had died would have had a meaningful end.

This was not to be.

The international community debated the action to be taken; a majority of them even endorsed the report. They had done everything short of acting against those responsible for the incident. Slowly but surely, the incident was being forgotten by the public. The media went silent on the issue and once again, we were forgotten.
Months went by, though forgotten by the media and the international community at large; there were still a few souls not willing to see this injustice continue. They attempted to deliver aid to us via the sea. Willing to brave the occupiers’ blockade on what is left of my country. Before they could even reach us, they were attacked in international waters.

The humanitarian aid workers were accused of smuggling weapons to my people. In the attack that followed, some were killed and injured. Once again public outcry against the attack was incredible; perhaps more so then the conflict that stole my family away. It reminded me that it wasn’t my people alone who were killed in this conflict but others- Americans, Britons, Turks who are one with us. Calls for a United Nations inquiry filled the air. The Occupiers resisted. And as usual, no one could pressure them into anything, having allies on the UN Security Council does that for you I suppose. Predictably, the media went silent once more. The voices calling for justice fade.

We were silenced. And forgotten once more.

During the course of events, more and more of my country’s land was taken away. Illegal settlements on my country’s land continued to be built in defiance of past UN Security Council Resolutions. It would seem that the laws so ideally professed by the world have no bearing or effect on the occupiers. The international community continues to turn a blind eye to our plight. Our pleas for help had fallen on deaf ears, much like how my parents’ pleas were ignored when my home was destroyed. We were forsaken.

For months I wondered without purpose. Barely surviving on food packets from do-gooders- the Red Crescent and the UNRWA etc. I felt I was dead inside. I guess I had been slowly dying ever since I was five. How did we get here? How did we become so perverse in nature that the suffering of a whole people can be silenced? When murders and suffering to the point of genocide can happen and yet the world can still be made to forget…

I will not be silent.

I will not be made to disappear, forgotten. My country will not be like my home, broken and in ruins. The international community must be made to listen. They must be made to see. Everyone has forsaken us, what choice do I have left? My people shall have its day. And I will do whatever is necessary to see that they do. I decided it was inevitable, something had to be done.

Here I am six months later; already at the gates of Parliament. I position myself as close as possible. I take comfort in the fact that people have told me that my actions will be viewed favorably in the eyes of my religion. I will not allow myself to be made to lie still and die.

Maybe now they will listen. Maybe now my people will gain the attention they need. I took one last look at the picture of my family. I allowed myself one thought of hope.

Mother, Father, I am coming. Wait for me.

I release the pressure trigger.


My will was done.

* The purpose of this Article is to neither condemn nor support suicide bombing, but rather it is an attempt to present the readers, through the perceptions of the person involved, as to the possible motivations and reasoning’s for such activities. He may be a terrorist or simply a man forced into an act of desperation. *

An article by:
Amir Isyam Abdul Rahim
Tan Sri Ahmad Ibrahim Legal Research Group
28th September 2010

Read This Article and more in the TAILeRaG Revival Coming out this coming October!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Its a Drug-Full Life

Drug trafficking to society, is a crime, a sin. To another portion of the crowd, it’s easy money. Easy in a sense that you provide the drugs and you get paid. Drugs don’t come cheap, especially with the process involved in making it (waiting for a weed plant to grow doesn’t take a day or two) and the risks of legal action if caught. Once addicted, people are willing to pay any price to get hold of it.
Which is probably one of the reasons which makes women an easy target for drug lords. Most girls suffer from poor girl rich girl taste syndrome. To make ends meet, a regular job might suffice, but what about those other needs? The latest designer handbag? A new pair of shoes to match that gorgeous skirt? Lucrative promises like a week's paid vacation at a luxury resort in Jamaica, cash for clothing and toiletries before departure, spending money while there, and another check when you get home is not exactly something you can say no to. Even if the pre condition is traveling with a bag of Heroin and risking severe penalty if caught.
Most chances are, thoughts of the penalties don’t exactly cross their minds. Wealth clouds the ability to reason, apparently.

However, being a drug mule is not always by choice. It’s not always about wanting a Vera Wang gown for your wedding or a quick holiday in Belgium that leads you to easy money options like drug trafficking. There are those who are really trying to make ends meet, clothe and feed their children for instance. Some were forced into it, after being kidnapped. Some didn’t even suspect that they were drug mules until they were caught at the airport.
Such is the case as observed by Deputy Foreign Minister, A. Kohilan Pillay. According to him, about 70-80 percent of Malaysian drug mules detained in Latin American countries are women. Most of them were young and conned by the idea of winning travelling tickets but were carrying drugs in their luggage without even realizing it.
The fact that you get caught in a foreign country and are subject to the foreign country’s position on drug trafficking laws says enough. It all depends on your luck. If you land in Indonesia or Malaysia, say goodbye to your easy money and hello to hell. Otherwise would be said if you land in, say, Amsterdam. But it’s not strictly about the punishment. The process of waiting for the punishment to be executed, you’ll be stuck in prison. When has prison ever been a lovely bed of roses experience? You nor I am Lindsay Lohan. Prison is prison. Period. The experience is even worst when you’re in a foreign country where language and customs can be a barrier.

You can say that you had it coming, if you chose to be a drug mule. But what about unsuspecting victims?
This brings me to my current question, is it fair to impose a heavy punishment on these innocent beings? Sure there are legal defences you can rely on in court. But there is no guarantee of getting bailed out based on these defences. A lighter punishment perhaps, but hey, the psychological trauma of being in prison, being caught, I don’t know. Isn’t there something more we can do to help? And again, I’m not talking about drug mules by choice, but the ones who were forced into it.


Hilary Clinton's infamous 1995 speech, Women Rights are Human Rights

I would like to thank the Secretary General of the United Nations for inviting me to be part of the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women. This is truly a celebration - a celebration of the contributions women make in every aspect of life: in the home, on the job, in their communities, as mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, learners, workers, citizens and leaders.

It is also a coming together, much the way women come together every day in every country.

We come together in fields and in factories. In village markets and supermarkets. In living rooms and board rooms.

Whether it is while playing with our children in the park, or washing clothes in a river, or taking a break at the office water cooler, we come together and talk about our aspirations and concerns. And time and again, our talk turns to our children and our families. However different we may be, there is far more that unites us than divides us. We share a common future. And we are here to find common ground so that we may help bring new dignity and respect to women and girls all over the world - and in so doing, bring new strength and stability to families as well.

By gathering in Beijing, we are focusing world attention on issues that matter most in the lives of women and their families: access to education, health care, jobs and credit, the chance to enjoy basic legal and human rights and participate fully in the political life of their countries.

There are some who question the reason for this conference.

Let them listen to the voices of women in their homes, neighborhoods, and workplaces.

There are some who wonder whether the lives of women and girls matter to economic and political progress around the globe.

Let them look at the women gathered here and at Huairou - the homemakers, nurses, teachers, lawyers, policymakers, and women who run their own businesses.

It is conferences like this that compel governments and people everywhere to listen, look and face the world's most pressing problems.

Wasn't it after the women's conference in Nairobi ten years ago that the world focused for the first time on the crisis of domestic violence?

Earlier today, I participated in a World Health Organization forum, where government officials, NGOs, and individual citizens are working on ways to address the health problems of women and girls.

Tomorrow, I will attend a gathering of the United Nations Development Fund for Women. There, the discussion will focus on local - and highly successful - programs that give hard-working women access to credit so they can improve their own lives and the lives of their families.

What we are learning around the world is that if women are healthy and educated, their families will flourish. If women are free from violence, their families will flourish. If women have a chance to work and earn as full and equal partners in society, their families will flourish.

And when families flourish, communities and nations will flourish.

That is why every woman, every man, every child, every family, and every nation on our planet has a stake in the discussion that takes place here.

Over the past 25 years, I have worked persistently on issues relating to women, children and families. Over the past two-and-a-half years, I have had the opportunity to learn more about the challenges facing women in my own country and around the world.

I have met new mothers in Jojakarta, Indonesia, who come together regularly in their village to discuss nutrition, family planning, and baby care.

I have met working parents in Denmark who talk about the comfort they feel in knowing that their children can be cared for in creative, safe, and nurturing after-school centers.

I have met women in South Africa who helped lead the struggle to end apartheid and are now helping build a new democracy.

I have met with the leading women of the Western Hemisphere who are working every day to promote literacy and better health care for the children of their countries.

I have met women in India and Bangladesh who are taking out small loans to buy milk cows, rickshaws, thread and other materials to create a livelihood for themselves and their families.

I have met doctors and nurses in Belarus and Ukraine who are trying to keep children alive in the aftermath of Chernobyl.

The great challenge of this Conference is to give voice to women everywhere whose experiences go unnoticed, whose words go unheard.

Women comprise more than half the world's population. Women are 70% percent of the world's poor, and two-thirds of those who are not taught to read and write.

Women are the primary caretakers for most of the world's children and elderly. Yet much of the work we do is not valued - not by economists, not by historians, not by popular culture, not by government leaders.

At this very moment, as we sit here, women around the world are giving birth, raising children, cooking meals, washing clothes, cleaning houses, planting crops, working on assembly lines, running companies, and running countries.

Women also are dying from diseases that should have been prevented or treated; they are watching their children succumb to malnutrition caused by poverty and economic deprivation; they are being denied the right to go to school by their own fathers and brothers; they are being forced into prostitution, and they are being barred from the bank lending office and banned from the ballot box.

Those of us who have the opportunity to be here have the responsibility to speak for those who could not.

As an American, I want to speak up for women in my own country - women who are raising children on the minimum wage, women who can't afford health care or child care, women whose lives are threatened by violence, including violence in their own homes.

I want to speak up for mothers who are fighting for good schools, safe neighborhoods, clean air and clean airwaves; for older women, some of them widows, who have raised their families and now find that their skills and life experiences are not valued in the workplace; for women who are working all night as nurses, hotel clerks, and fast food cooks so that they can be at home during the day with their kids; and for women everywhere who simply don't have time to do everything they are called upon to do each day.

Speaking to you today, I speak for them, just as each of us speaks for women around the world who are denied the chance to go to school, or see a doctor, or own property, or have a say about the direction of their lives, simply because they are women. The truth is that most women around the world work both inside and outside the home, usually by necessity.

We need to understand that there is no formula for how women should lead their lives. That is why we must respect the choices that each woman makes for herself and her family. Every woman deserves the chance to realize her God-given potential.

We also must recognize that women will never gain full dignity until their human rights are respected and protected.

Our goals for this Conference, to strengthen families and societies by empowering women to take greater control over their own destinies, cannot be fully achieved unless all governments - here and around the world - accept their responsibility to protect and promote internationally recognized human rights.

The international community has long acknowledged - and recently affirmed at Vienna - that both women and men are entitled to a range of protections and personal freedoms, from the right of personal security to the right to determine freely the number and spacing of the children they bear.

No one should be forced to remain silent for fear of religious or political persecution, arrest, abuse or torture.

Tragically, women are most often the ones whose human rights are violated.

Even in the late 20th century, the rape of women continues to be used as an instrument of armed conflict. Women and children make up a large majority of the world's refugees. When women are excluded from the political process, they become even more vulnerable to abuse.

I believe that, on the eve of a new millennium, it is time to break our silence. It is time for us to say here in Beijing, and the world to hear, that it is no longer acceptable to discuss women's rights as separate from human rights.

These abuses have continued because, for too long, the history of women has been a history of silence. Even today, there are those who are trying to silence our words.

The voices of this conference and of the women at Huairou must be heard loud and clear: It is a violation of human rights when babies are denied food, or drowned, or suffocated, or their spines broken, simply because they are born girls.

It is a violation of human rights when women and girls are sold into the slavery of prostitution.

It is a violation of human rights when women are doused with gasoline, set on fire and burned to death because their marriage dowries are deemed too small.

It is a violation of human rights when individual women are raped in their own communities and when thousands of women are subjected to rape as a tactic or prize of war.

It is a violation of human rights when a leading cause of death worldwide among women ages 14 to 44 is the violence they are subjected to in their own homes.

It is a violation of human rights when young girls are brutalized by the painful and degrading practice of genital mutilation.

It is a violation of human rights when women are denied the right to plan their own families, and that includes being forced to have abortions or being sterilized against their will.

If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, it is that human rights are women's rights - and women's rights are human rights. Let us not forget that among those rights are the right to speak freely - and the right to be heard.

Women must enjoy the right to participate fully in the social and political lives of their countries if we want freedom and democracy to thrive and endure.

It is indefensible that many women in nongovernmental organizations who wished to participate in this conference have not been able to attend - or have been prohibited from fully taking part.

Let me be clear. Freedom means the right of people to assemble, organize, and debate openly. It means respecting the views of those who may disagree with the views of their governments. It means not taking citizens away from their loved ones and jailing them, mistreating them, or denying them their freedom or dignity because of the peaceful expression of their ideas and opinions.

In my country, we recently celebrated the 75th anniversary of women's suffrage. It took 150 years after the signing of our Declaration of Independence for women to win the right to vote.

It took 72 years of organized struggle on the part of many courageous women and men. It was one of America's most divisive philosophical wars. But it was also a bloodless war. Suffrage was achieved without a shot being fired.

We have also been reminded, in V-1 Day observances last weekend, of the good that comes when men and women join together to combat the forces of tyranny and build a better world.

We have seen peace prevail in most places for a half century. We have avoided another world war.

But we have not solved older, deeply-rooted problems that continue to diminish the potential of half the world's population.

Now it is time to act on behalf of women everywhere. If we take bold steps to better the lives of women, we will be taking bold steps to better the lives of children and families too.

Families rely on mothers and wives for emotional support and care; families rely on women for labor in the home; and increasingly, families rely on women for income needed to raise healthy children and care for other relatives.

As long as discrimination and inequities remain so commonplace around the world - as long as girls and women are valued less, fed less, fed last, overworked, underpaid, not schooled and subjected to violence in and out of their homes - the potential of the human family to create a peaceful, prosperous world will not be realized.

Let this Conference be our - and the world's - call to action.

And let us heed the call so that we can create a world in which every woman is treated with respect and dignity, every boy and girl is loved and cared for equally, and every family has the hope of a strong and stable future.

Thank you very much

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Racial Crisis

IF YOU HAVE YET TO READ THIS, CHECK IT OUT.!/note.php?note_id=432073840741&id=586500176&ref=mf

Is this how one celebrates Independence Day? Every time you scream, "Merdeka!", are racist thoughts burning in your head?
Flip through your history books, recall 13th May 1969. Remember the racial crisis that nearly brought this country to ruins? The only reason we achieved Merdeka or Independance is because we united, not just because we had good leaders.
Race is nothing but your ethnicity, what you were born with. That thing in your identification card. It doesn't determine who you are. Stereotypes are not a hundred percent true. What more if you look more carefully.

Think about it. Do you really want to return to an era where everthing was chaotic? Where we had no sense of identity? No freedom?

Open your mind. Satu Malaysia is a cause, a breakthrough. Living in a multiracial country was never easy but we made it. Why stop now?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Abandoned Babies- Who's to blame?

Day in day out we've been bombarded with front page news regarding innocent babies being abandoned near dumpsters. The rare yet still existent human part of us tear up at this sight. Who knew that such a cruel and animalistic act could still occur in these days of globalization? We scream of development but truth be the matter we're still acting like apes. No, forgive me, that would be an insult to apes. Even apes care for their newborns which of course I can't say the same for man.

Who is to blame in this situation?
The lack of sex education?
Maybe condoms and the morning after pill should be given away for free, so everyone can afford it and illegitimate children wouldn't be an issue
No, maybe the problem is our censorship boards aren't working. Malaysia should ban ANYTHING close to porn
Or or.. everyone should be forced to wear a chastity belt. Whoever fails to do so will be fined or imprisoned.

What's your say? Obviously it's not the babies' fault. Blame it on the parents, the government, everyone you can blame.
But apart from playing the blame game, let's think. How do we stop this montrosity?

Monday, February 8, 2010

International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law: A Future Conundrum?

I was just at a Lecture on International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law: Distinction and Compatibility given by the Director of the Qatar Red Crescent. It was somewhat interesting.

But I couldn't help but wonder, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Palestinian Wall Case (or hey, Israeli Wall Case if that's your P.O.V.) had stated that International Humanitarian Law (IHL) is the lex specialis during times of armed conflict and that International Human Rights Law (the general law applicable during times of peace) is to be interpreted in light of IHL.

It got me thinking. International Human Rights Law (IHRL) is constantly evolving and developing where as IHL is constantly staying at the bare minimum. How can IHRL still be interpreted in the future in light of IHL if one maintains the minimum and another is ever developing?

What is the next step of evolution for IHL? History shows that it would actually take a disaster of epic proportions for IHL to developed. Heck it took World War II for the Geneva Conventions to be properly codified.

So what do you think? Voice your thoughts and ideas please.

Isyam out.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

International Child Abduction

It's been a while, but I'm pretty sure every one can sort of recall the whole child abduction case that hit our shores (Malaysia, not Miami). It was a custody battle between Malaysian, Elis Syuhaila Mokhtar and Belgian, Frank Van de Ven (one of not so good looking Dutch men I've seen throughout my life).
Moving on, Elis was already granted custody rights by the Shariah Court. However, Frank (intelligently or stupidly, I can not decide here) took the child, Ferris, under the pretext of visitation rights and out for a holiday but managed to disappear out of the country- with the child.
Even more miraculously, Ferris' passport was with the mother.
Which brings me to the question, how dependable is the Hague Convention in protecting custody rights?
Well it is pretty dependable, but look at what's going on now.
Maybe Elis should have asked for a ne exeat writ. Frank wouldn't be able to escape as he's prevented from leaving the country.
Unfortunately, most of us are not educated in international marriages, our rights if (God forbid) anything goes wrong..
With globalization and very good looking Dutch guys, international marriages are definitely on the rise and one must educate oneself and do all in one's efforts to protect one's rights (if say the marriage ends and for your custody rights)
Even if you're not getting married to a foreign national, it could be a friend or a close relative.
I'm not here to condemn international marriages, in fact I support it.
But by all means, one must always take precaution as to their legal rights.
Just a little thought that crossed the mind.. =)