PM’s Religious Affairs Department: Current LGBT Laws Not Effective, Harsher Laws Considered

The government recently announced that it does not rule out the possibility of amending the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 or Act 355 in order to prosecute members of the LGBT community more harshly.

According to Ahmad Marzuk, the deputy minister in the prime minister’s department of religious affairs, the current sentence which provides three years of prison time, RM5,000 fine and six cane strokes is considered to be not effective on people identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transexual (LGBT).

According to reports by Free Malaysia Today (FMT), he told reporters that this amendment should be deemed necessary and stern action has been taken upon those who do not dress according to their gender.

“All state religious agencies and enforcers have been instructed to take action against those (LGBT) who do not behave accordingly,” he said.

He added that it’s important that “their wrongdoings” are addressed as well.

Here’s how Malaysians reacted to the news.

Although distressed by the move, some were more worried of the government’s priorities as of during a global health pandemic.

Some also highlighted the issue of child marriage, minimum wage, and the government’s lacking towards fixing these issues instead.

Others also input their opinions to “support and respect” or “don’t support but respect nonetheless”.

Trump’s Last Day as President of the United States

Wall Street Journal

Ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s swearing in ceremony to the White House hot seat later today, Donald Trump is packed and getting ready to head out as he wouldn’t be present at the succeeding president’s inauguration ceremony.

What is his final hours of the presidency, it’s not what one would associate with a president as apart from inciting a mob and being in denial of an election result, Trump is also facing an impeachment trial for the second time in just two years,

Here’s how Trump is scheduled to do on his last day as President.

Trump’s final presidential schedule

LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

 “The President and The First Lady will depart the White House at 8:00AM for Palm Beach, Florida.”, it says. 

That’s it, there’s even no mention of a send-off ceremony scheduled at Joint Base Andrews that is expected shortly after Melania Trump leaves the White House.

White House officials not up for a departure ceremony

Megan Varner/Getty Images

A number of former administration officials were invited to Trump’s departure ceremony, but many are passing on the invitation due to recent happenings which had fueled their disgust with Trump.

According to CNN, one former senior White House official said, “Is there a disappointment factor, yes!”.

“Sending the mob was a red line,” a senior White House adviser said.

Another former senior White House official noted that invitees can bring five guests, describing that as “a sign of desperation”.

Even the president’s right hand man, Vice President Mike Pence, won’t be attending Trump’s departure ceremony tomorrow, according to his public schedule.

Sources have blamed the logistical challenge of having Pence at both the departure ceremony and at Biden’s inauguration, but those close to the vice president have also made their frustration with Trump clear ever since the riots happened.

Trump to start new political party?

Washington Post

After being denied a second presidential term, Trump has raised the idea of starting a new political party, a senior Trump advisor confirmed but has dismissed it as not serious.

Another White House adviser has called the idea “lame” and another noted that Trump is “disgusted” with Senate Republicans who will soon decide whether the president will be convicted in his impeachment trial.

It remains unclear to how Trump will plant the seed to his on political party. In his farewell message video, he has vowed that his movement will carry on although latest polls show that Trump has the lowest approval ratings of his presidency.

Leaving as a figure that has made the news for all the wrong reasons, the Wall Street Journal reports that Trump may call his new party the “patriot party”.

Debate About Restaurant Business Hours Births a #SiBodohKauDengarSini on Twitter

We get it, we’re all frustrated about the re-implementation of MCO all over again, but nobody was more frustrated than Twitter user, @yarafaee_, the author behind a cultural masterpiece.

A hungry Malaysian can get pretty sketchy, but one who is working In the food industry can themselves get sketchier when more than half of the whole country are coming in with their orders.

It started when a local @farhanazahan was complaining about how there were problems with his food delivery order. He had placed his order at 5pm as other options weren’t going to make his order in time. After that, he went on inputting about how ministers had not worry like him as they had servants to prepare food for them once they’re home.

This triggered a response from @puterirajawan who entered the conversation with her saying she don’t understand how people can make an issue out of the slightest mishap. She then said that @farhanazahan should instead order earlier as certain food delivery companies stop receiving orders at 7pm.

She ended the reply with saying that if you know that you are going home late, you’re better off ordering one day ahead and to leave your meal in the refrigerator.

Now this is where @yarafaee_ comes in with the infamous #sibodohkaudengarsini.

She started with the phrase before moving on to explaining that with most business hours go from 11am to 8pm and the whole of Malaysia is placing their orders between this time. She then said that the number of orders sometimes even make the order-taking machines and equipment go haywire. 

Instead of blaming it on the people to find a way, she suggested then @puterirajaawan took her comments to the government instead on how operating hours should be extended as the current ones are more likely to make the staff and cooks more stressed.

For two whole days, #SiBodohKauDengarSini was trending on Twitter and as of Tuesday night, has been tweeted 62,000 times.

Soon after, Malaysians everywhere were taking the hashtag out of context to use in their own and various ongoing situations.

“Tak Suka, Tak Payah Apply”: Criticized for Enquiring About A Job’s Salary

The job market hasn’t been ideally a smooth ride for those in search for a job as while they’re working tirelessly to look for one, many with jobs are being laid off from their as well.

Like any other employer out there, a local TV host had a job opening and wanted it to be known to the public. She had gone on to social media to promote the opening for a full-time media executive or media officer earlier, some were quick to mention to her that the job responsibilities were inclusive of three different roles instead which is photography, videography and also video editing. 

After being called out, she made another video explaining her situation and mishap; she had then said that she wasn’t expecting high-level studio quality from the work as this is a junior role and won’t be forcing anyone to pick up the job as she already has people working on those roles.

However, she then took a quick jab at those who had enquire about the position’s salary as they were said to be allegedly provoking her instead of wanting to know more about the job.

She ended the video thread saying that those interested should apply instead to know more, but took another unusual turn with her stance saying “I’ve seen your name, tak tau la you dapat ke tak”.

Netizens were quick to jump in saying that it’s the right for people to know these details when applying for a job. Other than that, some were also questioning if the undisclosed amount is in fact lower than the basic of RM2,000.

American Tourist Who Moved to Bali Accused of Being Tone-Deaf with Her Twitter Thread

Bali is a top tourist destination spot for many, especially for those coming from the Western world who are in search of that white sand blue sea exotic experience, but a recent Twitter thread wrote by an American woman about her move to Bali had sparked accusations of her being tone-deaf.

A so called “digital nomad”, @kristentootie who has now went private on Twitter, intended the thread to be a guide to “how you can thrive in life”, but turned out to show the privilege she holds on to as it starts out with one simple step – book a one-way flight to Bali. She also boasts of the island she has been as she built her own graphic design business and live in a “treehouse”.

She then described this experience as the “perfect medicine” for her physical and emotional health and went on to list the benefits of living here such as, safety, low cost of living, luxury lifestyle, and the acceptance towards LGBT people.

She has since locked her account after backlash against her utilizing her privileges and also being guilty of gentrification.

Apart from that, the thread is also problematic for a number of reasons which includes the mis-labelling of Bali as LGBT-friendly when in reality, locals who are part of that community live in constant fear and are targeted by authorities and groups.

Her perception of a so called “low cost living” may be affordable for a foreigner as she talks of the US$400 rent, but little did she know that the provincial minimum wage is only about US$177.

What’s more disturbing is that she also encourages people to work their way around imposed travel restrictions during this whole pandemic to visit Bali, especially when Indonesia is trying to control the pandemic themselves.

Even though the pandemic is well present in Indonesia, she mentioned of staying there ever since the pandemic began there in March, as her plans “went out the window”.

While official policies may take sometime to take place especially during this pandemic, locals on Twitter sure weren’t waiting around to see privileged folk run their country dry of the resources.

MCO 2.0 As Seen Around Malaysia

The second round of the Movement Control Order (MCO) is again in place to curb the ever-dreadful daily new cases which are surging at a worrying state.

Selangor who is the state with the highest total along with Penang, Melaka, Johor, Sabah, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan are all to go through this until January 26th; nobody is ensured that this would all end at that time as we continue to see cases coming in by the thousands, even seeing 4,000 at one point.

While majority of us continue to stay apart and work from home, cities and streets  have been left empty; what was usually packed with cars and pedestrians are now similar to dead towns seen in movies. Here’s how those said states looked like during the first week of MCO 2.0.

Selangor

Media_Selangor/Twitter
Media_Selangor/Twitter
Media_Selangor/Twitter

Kuala Lumpur

Hazwanhfiz/Twitter
Hazwanhfiz/Twitter
Hazwanhfiz/Twitter
Hazwanhfiz/Twitter

Putrajaya

Penang

Sabah

Bernama

Melaka

Melakahariini/Twitter
Melakahariini/Twitter
Melakahariini/Twitter
Melakahariini/Twitter

Johor

mhdhafizee/Twitter
mhdhafizee/Twitter
mhdhafizee/Twitter

Labuan

Bernama

Navalny: Poisoned Opposition Leader Arrested Upon Returning to Moscow

A Russian opposition figure and anti-corruption activist, poisoned with a nerve agent earlier in 2020, has recently returned to Moscow five months after the incident and has been detained by authorities upon his return.

According to his spokeperson, Alexei Navalny was taken away alone and without explanation when flown in from Berlin.

Live footage also showed him talking with dark-uniformed and masked officers at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport before kissing his wife and walking away with them.

Russian denies involvement in Navalny’s poisoning and Putin himself said that if Russian security services had wanted to kill Navalny, they “would have finished” the job.

Return

The pair landed in Moscow just after 8pm and had stayed in Germany for five months prior in order to allow Navalny to recover from the Novichok poisoning.

“This is the best day in the past five months,” Navalny said to journalists upon arriving and before being arrested.

“Everyone is asking me if I’m scared. I am not afraid,” he said. “I feel completely fine walking towards the border control. I know that I will leave and go home because I’m right and all the criminal cases against me are fabricated.”

Before his return, Navalny was in the federal wanted list last month for violating terms of probation related to a year’s old fraud case, where he had dismissed as politically motivated. The Russian Federal Penitentiary Service confirmed on Sunday with a statement that Navalny had been detained and would remain in custody until a court hearing later this month.

He now remains held in custody at a police station in Khimki, north of central Moscow, and has now been allowed to his lawyer. He is likely to remain until a court hearing later this month.

Flight diversion

A large crowd of supporters and journalists were to welcome Navalny back at Vnukovo airport initially, but the flight was diverted in the last minute to Sheremetyevo in Moscow. A number of those supporters and journalists were arrested soon after.

Before the flight, he had thank the other passengers. “Thanks to you all, I hope we will get there fine,” he said.

“And I’m sure everything will be absolutely great.”

He also gave his gratitude to the German people for hosting him in an Instagram post on Saturday, citing them as “nice, sympathetic, friendly people”.

Next steps for Navalny

Navalny was found in guilty in 2014 of fraud after he and his brother Oleg were accused of embezzling 30 million rubles (1.6 billion ringgit) from a Russian subsidiary of French cosmetics company Yves Rocher; he was given a suspended sentence while his brother jailed. 

The Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) is requesting that his suspended sentence is replaced with a real prison term.

Navalny is now facing new accusations of violating his probation by failing to show up for scheduled inspections in Germany. Navalny’s hearing has been set for January 29th where if FSIN’s request is granted, he would be facing 3.5 years in jail.

If now convicted in January, Navalny will still face a newer fraud case of alleged misuse of donations form supporters.Last month, Navalny called the new criminal cases brought up against him in Russia “demonstratively fabricated” and an attempt to prevent him from coming back to Russia

Malaysian Lawyer Called Out for Accounts of Inappropriate Behaviour and Sexual Advances

In a recent thread of posts that have been circulating on Twitter, the Chairperson of the Kuala Lumpur Bar Practice Reform Committee has been called out for multiple accounts of alleged harassment and inappropriate behaviour.

It all started with Surendra Ananth, a lawyer and also known public speaker at events such as the Asian Law Students Association (ALSA) forum, who had been accused of violating a conditional consent and shaming his former acquaintance. 

“You violated my conditional consent. I assented to unprotected intimate relations with you on the STRICT condition that you tell me if you have relations with anyone else. You failed to do so, and I became ill as a direct consequence.” said the author of the tweets, @tashny.

You refused to reveal your own STI results to me, but claimed to others they were negative and alleged I had multiple other partners, slut-shaming me. You gaslit me saying you had told me about your other partners”.

“You rebuffed attempts to organise a community mediation so we could address matters. You said I was crazy for speaking to your boss and father in an attempt to keep other women safe.”

Tashny then also accused Surendra of falsely claiming an attempted suicide after she had simply taken Xanax after a streesful day.

The thread which has now gathered over 951 likes and 929 retweets sparked a row of other victims who had decided to come forward anonymously with their experiences as well.

@tashny

Questions regarding what they’re wearing, attempts to meet-up with at a hotel bar and more than one attempt of having sexual relations were just one of the many violations that Surendra had been accused of.

They had also revealed Surendra for having such intentions with several law students at Brickfields Asia College (BAC), and also to be pushy and downright abusive at times with his advances.

One of the victims had also came out to reveal her experience of a said “internship” offer that turned out to be ill-mannered instead.

Surendra has since came forward with a statement that tells his side of the story and to address said allegations. 

Surendra Ananth/Twitter

He accused @Tashny for making comments that are untrue etc. and that his lawyers are “dealing with this matter”; he then mentioned of how he had been the victim of “harassment as well as cyber-stalking since July 2020”.

He then ended his statement by asking Tashny to “apologize, and retract her statements immediately”.

Surendra is yet to comment on the other allegations, along with the Kuala Lumpur Bar who is yet to address the accusations on one of its members.

Noor Hisham: Time to Take This MCO Seriously, Worst is Yet To Come

As the country records 4,029 daily news cases yesterday, health director general Noor Hisham has once again reached out to remind people on how “the worst is yet to come”.

“If we do not get this MCO right, the worst is yet to come. A daily reminder to all “please stay at home”. Stay home and stay safe” he said in a tweet yesterday upon news of the record breaking daily new cases.

He also mentioned of how red zones will be a common sight if this MCO is not taken seriously.

In an earlier Facebook post, he also mentioned of the challenges faced by healthcare workers who are barely managing the burial rites for victims who had from Covid-19.

“It is not an easy task for the health frontliners to manage the remains of patients who died from Covid-19.

“Under the hot sun, they (health and medical staff) would be drenched in sweat since they are required to don complete personal protective equipment (PPE) until the remains of Covid-19 patients are laid to rest and the burial rites concluded.

“I hope all of us understand the odds and challenges faced by all frontliners. Let us all help (to control the spread of Covid-19 in) the country by continuing to embrace the ‘Kita Jaga Kita’, ‘Kita Jaga Keluarga’ spirits.

“May all of us be protected from the fury of Covid-19,” he said.

UMNO Fined For Distributing Frozen Chicken in Unapproved Event, Sparking “Chicken Cluster” Concerns

Merely four days into MCO 2.0, the Putrajaya UMNO youth decided that they were to hand out free frozen chicken via a drive-through system.

However, the event which had also caused a standstill in Putrajaya from over 2,000 people who went nuts for the freebies, was later found out to be unapproved by proper authorities and had failed to comply with Covid-19 rules set in place.

According to Putrajaya Umno Youth vice-chief, Mohd Zushaidey Zulkifli, he claims to have had obtained the neccasary approvals from the National Security Council and the police. He also mentioned that Covid-19 protocols were followed when distributing the frozen chicken; however, officials said that checks by the police showed otherwise.

Putrajaya district police chief, Mohd Fadzli Ali said that the event should’ve not be held as the federal territory was currently under MCO since Wednesday and the event wasn’t even given the necessary approvals.

He also said it a statement that compound fines have been issued to the organizers under Section 22(B) of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988.

As reported by Sinar Harian, at least 2,000 birds were passed out outside an animal shelter in Presint 9.

While pictures of the said drive-through showing extremely long line of cars and crowds were trending on social media as it happened, netizens were quick to express their frustration towards this as it could lead to a surge in the already worsening Covid-19 daily cases; or in other words, a “chicken cluster”.