Friday, December 14, 2007


This two news appeared in the News Straits Times December 13, 2007. I leave you to make your own conclusion.



Kota Kinabalu: Eight months after his shocking resignation from the Sabah cabinet, Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat yesterday filed an appeal at the High Court registry here against the Government’s decision to rescind its approval for the construction of the “Goddess of the Sea” deity statue at his hometown of Kudat.

Chong, 59, who was deputy chief minister when he left the cabinet, filed the appeal in his capacity as Kudat Thean Hou Charitable Foundation chairman and named the Kudat Town Board and Central Town and Country Planning Board at the state Ministry of Local Government and Housing as first and second respondents, respectively.

The appeal was filed through his lawyer Ansari Abdullah, who is the Parti Keadilan Rakyat Sabah chief.

Ansari said approval for the statue’s construction was given on Feb 8 last year but was withdrawn by the Kudat Town Board a month ago on Nov 15, prompting Chong to file appeal under Section 16 of the Town and Country Planning Ordinance.

In an affidavit supporting the appeal, Chong who is Tanjung Kapur assemblyman, said the Foundation was not given an opportunity to be heard after the withdrawal order was made by the Kudat Town Board following various directives from the chief minister, Central Town and Country Planning Board and the mufti of Sabah.



Jakarta: A property developer has built what may be Asia’s tallest statue of Jesus Christ Christian region of this predominantly Muslim nation.

Officials and Christian leaders inaugurated the 30-metre high statue last week in Manado city, in the mainly Christian province of North Sulawesi.

The white-robed Jesus with upraised hands stands on a 32-metre high hill in a residential estate built by Ciputra, a property company named after its founder.

Ciputra, 76, was recently ranked as one of Indonesia‘s wealthiest men with a personal fortune estimated at US$335 million (RM1.2 billion).

An architect by training, he spent his childhood in Manado and has built the statue as a token of gratitude for his success, said Yuliarso Christono, a company estate design manager.

“He lived a simple life as a child in North Sulawesi and experienced a hard life under Dutch occupation. Now he is successful,” Christono said.

He said the statue, made of metal fibre and steel, tallest in Asia and this had been confirmed by the Indonesian Museum of Records.

The world’s tallest is the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, which is stands 39.6 metres tall and overlooks the city.

The giant Jesus Christ statue in the town
of Manado, Indonesia.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Appeal Court Nullifies Public Order Act

From Funso Muraina and Chuks Okocha in Abuja, 12.12.2007

The Court of Appeal in Abuja yesterday put to rest the controversy surrounding public procession over whether or not there is a need for police permit.

The court said it was no longer necessary to obtain permit before embarking on any assembly.

In its judgment, the appellate court presided over by Justice Danladi Mohammad held that such police approval infringed on the fundamental human rights provided for in the 1999 Constitution.

“The provision of the Act is unnecessary. We are in democracy and Nigeria has joined the league of civilised societies,'' Justice Olufunmilayo Adekeye who read the lead judgment said.

Justice Adekeye said it was wrong to continue to rely on the colonial method of suppressing people from exercising and enjoying their rights under the guise of Public Order Act.

The lead counsel to the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP), Mr. Femi Falana, had filed a suit on September 21, 2003, condemning the police for disrupting the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) rally at Kano with tear-gas.

The panel gave the judgment in an appeal by the Federal Government against the decision of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

Justice Anwuri Chikere of the High Hourt had in 2005 nullified the Act on the ground that it was obsolete and a neo-colonialist rule.

Dissatisfied with the decision of the lower court, the Attorney General of the Federation and the Nigerian Police Force had filed an appeal.

The plaintiffs had contended that the Federal Government was using the Act to victimise and terrorise opposition.

CNPP had also alleged that the Act was used by the PDP to suppress the opposition.

Justice Chikere also issued an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Inspector General of Police (IGP) from preventing aggrieved citizens of Nigeria including the plaintiffs from organising or convening peaceful assemblies, meetings and rallies against unpopular government policies.

According to the presiding judge, the court held that the provisions of the Public Order Act (Cap 382) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (1990) were in conflict with the provision of Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution.

The CNPP had on April 2, 2004 written to the Federal Capital Territory Police Commissioner, Mr. Emmanuel Adebayo, for a permit in line with the provisions of the Public Order Act, (Cap 382) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990 which required the issuance of police permit to any group wishing to embark on rally.

They wrote the letter sequel to a proposed mass rally by the parties in protest against the 2003 general elections.

Section 1 of the Act made it mandatory for a police permit to be procured before embarking on a rally.

After the controversial Kano rally, the CNPP filed a suit at a Federal High Court in Abuja challenging the constitutionality of the Act.

The parties through their lawyer, Falana, had filed the suit on February 9, 2004 at the Federal High Court, Abuja asking the court to restrain the Federal Government from preventing their members and any aggrieved citizens from holding rallies in any part of Nigeria.

They asked the court to declare that the requirement of police permit for the holding of rallies was illegal and unconstitutional.

The parties posted the following questions for the court to answer.

Whether police permit or any authority was required for holding rally or procession in any part of the Federal Republic.

Secondly, the parties wanted to know whether the provisions of the Public Order Act which prohibits the holding of rallies or processions without a police permit are not illegal and unconstitutional by virtue of Article 11 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (Cap 10) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria of Nigeria, 1990.

The parties urged the court to declare that the provisions of the Act which required police permit or any other authority for the holding of rallies or processions in any part of Nigeria was illegal and unconstitutional as they contravene section 40 of the 1999 Constitution and Article 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement Act.)

They sought a declaration that the Inspector General of Police was not competent under the Public Order Act or under any law whatsoever to issue or grant permit for the holding of rallies in any part of Nigeria.

In the affidavit attached to the writ, which was sworn to by Maxi Okwu, the General Secretary of the CNPP, the parties stated that the IGP prevented them from staging a peaceful rally on May 29, 2003.

He averred that the solidarity rally organised by the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in Kano, Kano State on September 22, 2003, was disrupted by the police on the ground that no police permit was obtained.

“That in the course of disrupting the rally the police tear gassed the crowd and the ANPP leaders including Dr. Chuba Okadigbo who died barely 24 hours later,” Okwu said.Government in defending the suit filed no counter affidavit as they came to court asking that the entire suit be dismissed.

The high court judge refused and heard the matter. She not only answered the two fundamental questions in favour of the political parties, she also granted all the prayers sought.

The plaintiff political parties in the case include ANPP, National Conscience Party (NCP), Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), National Democratic Party (NDP), Democratic Alternative (DA), APGA, PAC, Peoples Salvation Party PSP), United Nigeria Peoples Party (UNPP), MDJ and Community Party of Nigeria (CPN).

Reacting to the judgment, the CNPP commended the judiciary for consigning the Public Order Act to the dustbin of history.

The Director of Publicity of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Maxi Okwu and the Assistant National Legal Adviser, All Nigeria Peoples Party, Mr. Enobong Ete, said the ruling was a victory for democracy. Okwu said the judgment was a landmark in the history of the country as the police had killed many Nigerians during the military era and under the present democratic dispensation, while attempting to disrupt peaceful assembly.

“I commend Justice Chikere for her courage and this landmark judgment which is a victory for democracy.

“In fact, the ruling is a milestone in our politics because Nigerians will no longer be under the ubiquitous control of the police, which had for so long trampled on their right to peaceful assembly under Section 40 of the constitution.

“The law is a colonial heritage, which should not be part of our statute books because the colonial masters used it to checkmate anti-colonial struggles of early nationalists,” he said.

Ete, who is also the Editor-in Chief of Nigeria Labour Law, said, “The judgment marks a new dawn for democracy in Nigeria. This has put paid to abuses of the rights of Nigerians by the police who demand that permit be obtained from them before any rally is carried out.”

He regretted that the court pronouncement could not come before the 2003 Kano rally, where the police disrupted it with teargas, which allegedly led to the death of Dr. Chuba Okadigbo, who was ANPP’s presidential running mate.

The CNPP said the judgment had reaffirmed the spirit and letters of Sections 39 and 40 of the 1999 Constitution and Sections 9 and 11 of African Charter on Peoples Rights, which upheld inalienable right of freedom of expression and association.

According to the group, “In this instance, our commendation goes to the Appeal Court, Abuja, for upholding and reaffirming the earlier judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja, presided over by Hon. Justice Anwuli Chikere on 25th June 2004; declaring police permit illegal and expunging all provisions relating to obtaining police permit for peaceful assembly.

“By this historic judgment, one of the obnoxious relics of colonialism, the Public Order Act has been consigned to the dustbin of history. Our democracy is the greatest beneficiary of this judgment, for freedom of expression and assembly are core ingredients of democracy.

“CNPP is vindicated for the fact that with the judgment, Nigeria has joined other democratic nations to exercise the fundamental and inalienable rights of liberty and freedom. In other words, Nigerians can peacefully protest unpopular government policies without police permit.

“Most importantly, the judgment has demonstrated that tyranny can only reign if patriots keep quiet in the face of tyranny. Hence, freedom and liberty corollary by this judgment was earned by the commitment and devotion of CNPP leadership.”

Source: Thisday Online

Nigeria: Appeal Court Voids Public Order Act

Vanguard (Lagos)


Posted to the web 12 December 2007


A THREE MAN panel of the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, yesterday, dismissed an appeal by the Inspector-General of Police seeking to reverse a court's verdict voiding the Public Order Act requiring Nigerians to obtain police permit before embarking on protest rallies against unpopular government's policies.

The court said the decision by the trial high court was okay and must not be disturbed.

Presiding judge of the Court of Appeal panel which delivered judgment in the case yesterday, Justice Rabiu Danladi Muhammad, said the offensive provision of the Public Order Act requiring Nigerians to procure police permit before holding rallies was not only barbaric but also alien to the nation's democracy.

"The Inspector-General of Police has no right to make laws. The IGP should be divested of the powers of giving permit to people before they can stage rallies.

"This is a democracy. Nigeria has joined the league of civilised nations and as such, no individual or group requires a police permit or approval to hold rallies and peaceful assembly.

"This is because the provision of the Act impinges on the fundamental rights of Nigerians as provided for in the 1999 constitution," he said.

Vanguard recalls that a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, had, about two years ago, voided the controversial Public Order Act which requires Nigerians to procure police permit before protesting against inimical policies of governments through peaceful rallies.

The high court judge, Justice Anwuli Chikere, who nullified the Act while giving judgment in a suit initiated by 12 political parties in Nigeria against the Federal Government to challenge the Act held that the law was both illegal and unconstitutional.

Said the judge: "The Public Order Act, as it is, has outlived its usefulness and since it is against the provision of the constitution, I hereby declare it null and void."

Besides, the high court judge also issued an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Inspector-General of Police, his agents, privies and servants from preventing aggrieved citizens of Nigeria including the plaintiffs from organising or convening peaceful assemblies, meetings and rallies against unpopular government policies.

Specifically, the court held that the provisions of the Public Order Act (Cap 382) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (1990) were in conflict with the provision of section 40 of the 1999 Constitution.

The said Public Order Act provides that any group of Nigerians willing to stage or hold public rallies either in commemoration of a particular event or to protest an unpopular policies of the government of the day must obtain the permission of the state governor of the state where the rally is to be held.

The governor has the statutory power to delegate the power of granting the permit to the commissioner of police in his state or any most senior police officer in the state in the event the commissioner of police is not available at the time. The position of the state governor on such permit is said to be final.

The said Public Order Act is said to be in conflict with section 40 of the 1999 Constitution which provides that "every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons and in particular, he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his interests."

Commending the judgment at the time, Mr Adesina Oke, who represented the political parties with Mr Femi Falana said: "We commend your courage in giving this epochal judgment. This is the type of verdict that could help democracy in Nigeria to grow.

"This ruling is an attestation to the fact that the judiciary is waxing stronger. It will go a long way to boost the image of the judiciary.

"This is a very courageous verdict. Now Nigerians can peacefully demonstrate against any inimical policies of the government of the day.

They can also gather together to discuss without fear or intimidation or queuing up for police permit or the fiat of the governor before holding any rally.

Although the immediate past Inspector-General of Police, Mr Sunday Ehindero, had said he would comply with the court's judgment until set aside, he said he was of the view that the appellate court would upturn it. But rather than upturning it, the appeal court, yesterday, affirmed the decision of the trial court.

The background of the case is that 12 political parties through their lawyer, Mr Femi Falana, had approached the registry of the Federal High Court in Abuja on February 9, 2004 with an originating summons, asking the court to determine two fundamental cum constitutional questions including:

Whether police permit or any authority is required for holding a rally or procession in any part of the Federal Republic of Nigeria ;

Whether the provisions of the Public Order Act (Cap 382) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990 which prohibit the holding of rallies or processions without a police permit are not illegal and unconstitutional having regard to section of the 1999 constitution and Article 11 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (Cap 10), Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.

The Federal Government was represented in the case by the Director of Civil Litigation, Chief Wole Aina.

The plaintiff political parties in the case included ANPP, National Conscience Party, People's Redemption Party, National Democratic Party, Democratic Alternative, APGA, PAC, People's Salvation Party, United Nigeria People's Party, MDJ and Community Party of Nigeria.

Source :

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Truly Malaysia

Category: News
Posted by: raja petra

Editorial Jakarta Post
Although the ongoing anti-government movements in Malaysia are still at a very preliminary stage, Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi has threatened to impose the much feared and draconian Internal Security Act against those who still defy his warnings to cease street demonstrations.
The threat to jail protesters for an indefinite period of time seems to have worked, at least for the time being, because the number of street demonstrations has sharply declined. But the prime minister needs to remember that demands for justice, more freedom and more political and economic equality cannot be silenced just by throwing more people into prisons.
PM Badawi and the ruling United Malays National Organization (UMNO) need to remember that as long as the roots of discontent exist anti-government movements will not subside.
The experience of Soeharto before his fall in May 1998 showed there was a point where people lost their fear of the iron-fist man and did not care anymore about his brutal responses to their protests.
It is clear the current situation in Malaysia today is very different from what Indonesian faced nine years ago, especially in terms of economic conditions. In 1998, Indonesia's economy was on the brink of disaster, while Malaysia's economy today is relatively healthy. But as its economy shows declining growth amid soaring oil prices, many people have begun to feel the heat.
The attitude of many Malaysian officials in responding to the street demonstrations is similar to the attitude of Indonesian officials in 1998. They point their finger at "third parties", "western countries" or "irresponsible press" creating the political unrest. They are reluctant to accept the street facts, because they have been too long in power, enjoying all privileges.
As its constitution is perceived by the minority as discriminatory against non-Malays and non-Muslims, more Malaysians now are demanding real equalities. Sixty percent of the 26 million population is Malay -- synonymous with Muslim according to the constitution -- while the rest are Chinese, Indian and other ethnicities.
Badawi should demonstrate his strong leadership as the country prepares for an early election, because he has not been able to fully control the ruling party. Many Muslims in his ruling party are increasingly impatient with Badawi because they think things were better in Malaysia before Mahathir Mohamad handed over power to Badawi in 2003.
Mahathir is widely regarded as much more protective of Malays than his successor is. Many Malaysians perhaps forget that Mahathir left many fundamentals problems -- from an ailing economy to corruption -- for Badawi. The fact the succession from Mahathir to Badawi was not conducted by fully democratic means also created friction among the elites and dissatisfaction among the people.
The Malaysian government needs to be more sensitive in listening to the aspirations of its people. Defensive attitudes -- such as blaming others, probably including this newspaper -- will not be helpful at all.
It is time now to honestly listen to criticism from citizens. Putting anti-government activists in jail is only a very short-term solution. PM Badawi needs to show he is the prime minister of all Malaysian citizens no matter their ethnic or religious background.

Source : Malaysia Today