Hello – and Goodbye! How Royal Powerplay aborted Malaysia’s ICC Membership

On 5 April 2019, the United States revoked the visa of the ICC chief prosecutor because of her attempts to investigate allegations of war crimes in Afghanistan, including any that may have been committed by American forces. On the same day, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad announced that his country was withdrawing its signature from the Rome Statute, just one month after having signed it. Did the Malaysian drama just coincide with Washington’s move? The most likely answer is yes. Rather, it reflects long-existing tensions between Malaysia’s federal government and the country’s royalty.

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A Look behind the Fake News Laws of Southeast Asia

In Southeast Asia, attempts to regulate the fake news phenomenon can be broadly categorized, on the one hand, in cases where fake news laws are conceived at least also as the government’s weapon to silence critics and dissenters, and on the other hand, cases where the discourse is lead more open-ended. Under the first category, Malaysia springs to mind, Cambodia and Vietnam possibly too. Thailand is a somewhat mixed case. Much more open-ended are the fake news discourses in Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore.

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Affirmative Action in Malaysia: Constitutional Conflict with the ICERD?

Four days ago, Malaysia finally decided not to ratify the United Nations International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. This was preceded by massive protests against ratification. Why, one might ask? Is it really an unreasonable thing to hope for racial equality? An answer could lie in what Thomas Sowell once stated: “When people get used to preferential treatment, equal treatment seems like discrimination.”

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Gerrymandering and Judicial Review in Malaysia

On 28 March, the Malaysian Parliament passed new electoral maps. The re-delineated boundaries create an imbalance in constituencies, prompting allegations of mal-apportionment and gerrymandering. They remain largely unchallenged, not only through ouster clauses in particularized elections legislation, but also through the unwillingness of the judiciary to recognize the importance of the constitutional question relating to fair and equitable electoral management.

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