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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs   9 October 2013  

Malaysia compensates politicians for wrongful jailing

Malaysia, in a rare out-of-court settlement, agreed Tuesday to pay an opposition lawmaker and five others $63,000 after they were detained under a tough security law two years ago.

The six members of the Socialist Party of Malaysia were arrested in 2011 and imprisoned for almost a month under the Emergency Ordinance which allowed detention without trial, before a mass rally for electoral reforms.

Choo Chon Kai, one of those detained, said the government agreed to pay damages totalling 200,000 ringgit ($63,000) in return for the dropping of a civil lawsuit filed last year for wrongful arrest and detention.

Prime Minister Najib Razak's government scrapped the Emergency Ordinance and other tough security laws in December 2011 following criticism that they were abused to silence dissent.

But amid a recent surge in violent crime, the government has approved amendments to a 1959 crime prevention law that will once again allow detention without trial.

Najib has said the amendments will help crack down on crime and will not be used against government critics.

Choo said their case demonstrated the "high risk of (security laws) being abused by the authorities".

"Ours is a strong case for us to argue against detention without trial," he told AFP. "It has been abused. Our case is one of the examples."

Government lawyers could not immediately be reached for comment on the legal settlement.

Malaysia is generally a peaceful country but crime is seen to be on the rise, including dozens of shootings in recent months.

Police have called for tougher laws to fight crime, blaming the violence on a turf war by gang members they say were freed when the Emergency Ordinance was abolished.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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