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TPP draft reveals surgical strike on public health

Posted: 01 Dec 2013 07:58 PM PST

Alexandra Phelan & Matthew Rimmer, East Asia Forum

On 13 November, WikiLeaks released a secret draft text of the Intellectual Property Chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The text reveals substantive proposals for expanded protection in respect of copyrightpatenttrade mark and trade secrets law, and intellectual property enforcement.

Across this, there is much cause for concern. In particular, the IP Chapter poses worrying challenges for patient care, access to medicines, and public health across the Pacific Rim. As WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange warned, '[i]f you're ill now or might one day be ill, the TPP has you in its crosshairs'.

With the drafting notes intact in the leaked TPP draft, the text reveals a fierce battle amongst the Pacific Rim nations over patent law, public health, and the objectives and the principles behind the TPP's IP Chapter.

New Zealand, Canada, Singapore, Chile, Malaysia and Vietnam have proposed thatthe agreement should 'support each Party's right to protect public health, including by facilitating timely access to affordable medicines'. As an additional clause, New Zealand, Canada, Singapore, Chile and Malaysia have proposed the agreement should recognise that countries can 'adopt measures necessary to protect public health and nutrition'.

The US and Japan opposed such recognition of the importance of public health in the agreement's objectives, with Peru, Brunei Darussalam and Mexico withdrawing their names from the proposal to include public health in the TPP objectives. In contrast, Australia has reserved its position on the scope of the objectives — a disappointing stance given that Australian leaders have publicly emphasised the importance of public health measures, such as access to medicines and the plain packaging of tobacco products.

The TPP contains a raft of measures designed to boost the position of patent holders in the fields of pharmaceutical drugs, medicine and biotechnology.

The US has proposed a broad approach to patent law — demanding that plants, animals and medical procedures be subject to patent protection by Pacific Rim members. This could result, particularly for medical procedures, in greater patent litigation against doctors, surgeons and medical professionals.

In addition, the US has argued for extensions of the patent term in respect of pharmaceutical drugs, including extensions where there have been regulatory delays — something which could result in skyrocketing healthcare prices. A review of pharmaceutical drug patents in Australia, for example, found that patent term extensions were exceedingly expensive in Australia.

There has also been concern about the problem of patent 'ever greening' — that the TPP will impose low patent standards 'likely to lead to a proliferation of secondary patents being granted … preventing fair competition for long periods'. This would be an undesirable outcome, creating excessive opportunities for the extension of monopoly protections.


A-G, 11 others bid to dismiss suit by former CCID director

Posted: 01 Dec 2013 05:15 PM PST

(The Star) - Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail and 11 others will file an application to strike out a suit by former Commercial Crimes Investigation Department (CCID) director Datuk Ramli Yusuff (picture) against them for wrongfully bringing two charges against him.

Senior federal counsel Shamsul Bolhassan, acting for Abdul Gani and 11 others, informed Judicial Commissioner Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera about the matter at case management Monday.

Shamsul said the court had given them until Dec 16 to file the application.

"The hearing of the application has been fixed for Feb 19," he said.

The court later fixed Jan 16 for the next case management.

In the suit filed on Nov 1, Ramli is suing Abdul Gani, former Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Musa Hassan and 10 others for wrongfully bringing two charges against him.

Other than Abdul Gani and Musa, Ramli also named Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) head of prosecutions Datuk Nordin Hassan, deputy public prosecutor Kevin Anthony Morais, Dept Supt Chew Kam Soon and ACA investigating officers Chew Kam Soon, E. Sok One, Saiful Ezral Ariffin, Azmi Ismail and Wan Abdul Rahman as the defendants.

The other three defendants named were the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), police and the Government.

In his statement of claim, Ramli said he was appointed as the CCID director on May 2, 2006 and was indicted on Nov 1, 2007 on charges under the Penal Code and Anti-Corruption Act 1997.

Ramli said between Dec 1994 and Dec 2001, he and Musa served as officers in the Criminal Investigations Department in Bukit Aman, where he was Musa's immediate superior officer.

Ramli alleged that in or about 1998, Musa and Abdul Gani were implicated as having fabricated medical evidence in the "black eye" incident involving the assault and injury while in police custody of the then Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

He said at the same time Musa, Abdul Gani and Nordin were also involved in the investigation and prosecution of Anwar, which became infamously known as Sodomy 1.

The plaintiff said these individuals forged a relationship with each other in the face of allegations that they had colluded to fabricate evidence and manipulate the course of justice with regard to the charges brought against Anwar in which Musa became dubbed as the "mattress carrier".

He said in or about 2001, he was directed by the then IGP Tan Sri Norian Mai to issue several show cause letters to Musa concerning breaches of discipline, procedure and protocol.

Ramli claimed that since Sodomy 1, Musa had a mecurial rise in the police force and went on to become deputy IGP in 2005 and in September, 2006 became the IGP while he (Ramli) became CCID director.

He alleged that in 2007, Abdul Gani and Musa enlisted Nordin, Kevin, various MACC officers and the police to cause investigations to be made against him and subsequently caused him to be charged with various offences.

The plaintiff alleged that when he was acquitted of all the charges, Abdul Gani in bad faith appealed against the acquittals at the High Court and Court of Appeal.

He claimed that subsequent to his acquittal and vindication by the Sessions Court, High Court and Court of Appeal, he met government leaders and requested the Government to restore his various rights and privileges.

Ramli said he also notified his intention to file legal suits against the defendants for his wrongful prosecution but he was asked to withhold his suit. He claimed various promises were made to him if he were to withhold his suit until after the 13th General Election, which was held in May.

He said after the elections, various promises that were previously made to him were not fulfilled.

The plaintiff sued the defendants, among others, for conspiracy, false and malicious investigation, abuse of power, abuse of prosecutorial discretion, malicious prosecution and prosecutorial misconduct, claiming they had acted with ill-will, recklessly or intentionally, to injure him.

He said the defendants or any two or more of them also conspired with several mainstream newspapers - namely Utusan Malaysia, Berita Harian, The Star and New Straits Times - to defame and destroy his reputation and integrity.

Ramli is seeking special damages amounting to RM1.5mil; punitive damages of RM50mil; aggravated damages of RM50mil; exemplary damages of RM27mil; general damages; costs on solicitor-client basis and such further or other order or relief which the court thinks fit and proper.


Mat Zain: Form RCI to probe Batu Puteh loss

Posted: 01 Dec 2013 04:09 PM PST

Mat Zain insists that his statutory declaration is more than sufficient to initiate investigations under prevailing laws.

(FMT) - Retired Kuala Lumpur CID chief, Mat Zain Ibrahim today pressured the government to initiate a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to investigate the loss of Pulau Batu Puteh to Singapore and also urged the Inspector General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar to probe the matter thoroughly.

The former top cop also responded to calls made by the Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Perkasa President Ibrahim Ali for him to lodge a police report in order for the police to start investigating; by explaining that the IGP had the power under Section 107 (3) (a) (b) & (c) of the Crime Procedure Act to accept his earlier statutory declaration (SD) as a police report.

"On Oct 10 2013, I have forwarded my SD to the IGP, Chief Secretary to the Government and to the Attorney General," he said in a statement today.

"I have also urged IGP Khalid Abu Bakar to accept my SD as a police report as stated under the Crime Procedure Act. He has the powers to do so," he added.

"Based on past experience, the Prime Minister had advised the Yang Dipertuan Agong to establish an independent tribunal in accordance to the Federal Constitution as in the case of former Chief of Justice Salleh Abbas in 1988.

"As well as the cabinet's decision to set up a RCI under the Commission of Inquiry Act 1950 that did not depend on any police report," Mat Zain said.

Mat Zain who recently sued the police and the government over alleged abuse of power, then referred to several articles published in newspapers and blogs where he deemed to be mischievous.

To clear the air, he added that he has already sent out emails to various news portals and several assemblymen in order to avoid any misconception and doubt among the public, especially in his claims of alleged misconduct in the part of Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail in the Pulau Batu Puteh case at the International Court of Justice.

"There have been numerous reports carrying my SD which I made on Oct 7. I find the reports very misleading.

"There is even one report specifically describing that my SD was a conspiracy to bring down the AG," he said.



Anwar seeks to disqualify Shafee again

Posted: 01 Dec 2013 03:51 PM PST

Anwar Ibrahim claims Shafee was concealing evidence of attorney-general's wrongdoings, thus making Shafee unreliable to lead the prosecution in the sodomy appeal case

Leven Woon, FMT

PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim will once again seek to disqualify prominent lawyer Mohamad Shafee Abdullah from leading the government's prosecution team in the sodomy II appeal case on grounds of the latter's alleged past deeds of concealing evidences.

This  is following former KL criminal investigation department chief Mat Zain Ibrahim's statutory declaration recently that accused Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail for corruption, which led to the loss of Pulau Batu Puteh island to Singapore in the international court.

According to Mat Zain's statement, Shafee has also claimed in a private meeting that he allegedly procured information that Gani received large sums of money credited into the latter's account in Hong Kong.

During a media conference at the Parliament's lobby today, Anwar criticised Shafee for not lodging report with the anti-corruption commission despite having information that is of national interest.

"How can a person with such credibility of concealing evidences about the bank account of the AG be entrusted by the government to lead the prosecution against my appeal case?

"I will discuss it with my lawyer to immediately initiate a motion with the federal court to disqualify him," he said.



Election petitions: Dec 12 deadline for settlement

Posted: 01 Dec 2013 03:48 PM PST

(Bernama) - The Federal Court has given the Barisan Nasional (BN) and opposition parties until Dec 12 to reach settlement on the appeals in 19 election petitions.

Court of Appeal president Md Raus Sharif, chairing a three-member panel comprising also justices Ahmad Maarop and Abu Samah Nordin, said the court would hear the appeals on that day if the parties failed to reach settlement.

Earlier, counsel R Sivarasa, representing PKR, informed the court that there had been no settlement yet but the parties had made some progress in the matter.

"The parties also need more time to discuss the settlement," he said.

BN's counsel Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin said they were optimistic of a settlement.

The court had set today for case management for the parties to update the court on the outcome of a global settlement of the 19 election petitions nationwide.

The 19 appeals included those for the parliamentary constituencies of Machang, Ketereh, Batu, Lembah Pantai, Bagan Datoh, Sungai Besar, Kuala Selangor and Titiwangsa and the state constituencies of Selising, Selama and Manong.

All the election petitions were struck out by the Election Courts with costs on preliminary objection of non-compliance with Rule 9 and Rule 34 of the Election Petition Rules 1954.

The appellants are appealing to the Federal Court to have their election petitions reinstated and remitted back to the Election Court for determination on its merits, by way of a full trial.



“Malay unity” is Umno’s code to win over PAS, says Singapore daily

Posted: 01 Dec 2013 11:30 AM PST

(TMI) - This week's Umno general assembly will see more calls for PAS and Umno to come together for "Malay unity", a phrase which the Singapore Straits Times today described as "code for trying to win over PAS".

The paper reported that such calls from Umno conservatives were to solidify its Malay support, as majority of non-Malays have long abandoned Barisan Nasional.

The paper however noted that the open invitation from Umno to PAS to join talks on fostering Malay unity could be a tough call for the Islamic party.

It quoted one analyst as saying that spurning the offer from Umno would have negative consequences to PAS.

"If PAS does not respond positively to an invitation to hold talks, it implies that PAS as a party does not want Malay unity," said Abdul Ghapa Harun from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

The paper reported that PAS had been quick to reassure its allies in Pakatan Rakyat that agreeing to talk with Umno did not mean abandoning the coalition.

PAS currently holds 21 seats in the Parliament, while PKR has 30 and DAP has 38. BN holds the remaining seats in the 222-seat Parliament.

As such, any break-up in the opposition coalition would mean a huge win for Umno, as this secures for the BN a two-third majority in Parliament, the daily added.

"The right wing of Umno wants to push for a stronger Malay coalition. So if the party feels it can work with PAS to achieve this, why not?" asked Professor Faisal Hazis of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak.



Ex-cop must lodge police report on Gani, says Abu Talib

Posted: 01 Dec 2013 11:27 AM PST

V. Anbalagan, TMI

A former police detective will not see any investigation into his allegations of wrongdoings by the Attorney General unless a police report is lodged, a former top government lawyer said when commenting on the explosive claims.

Former AG Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman said that retired Kuala Lumpur CID director Datuk Mat Zain Ibrahim must lodge a police report if he has evidence of criminal wrongdoings by Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail (pic, left).

"He was a senior police officer and must have evidence against Gani (the current AG) before making a report and stand by what he alleges.

"I am saying this not in support of Gani but to protect the public office of the AG," he told The Malaysian Insider.

He was responding to Mat Zain's insistence that police could investigate Gani based on the contents of his statutory declaration (SD) without lodging a police report.

Mat Zain drew attention to Sections 107 and 107A of the Criminal Procedure Code related to information given to the police and their powers to investigate.

He refused to comment further but said "more will be revealed in due time".



DAP working the ground to realise Pakatan’s Sabah, Sarawak dreams

Posted: 01 Dec 2013 08:08 AM PST

Another risk, said Faisal, was that DAP could scare off more Malay and Melanau voters, Sarawak's third largest ethnic community, by going into the rural areas alone. "Before the 2011 state elections, there was a decrease in support among Malays towards BN," says Faisal. But when DAP dominated the urban areas in 2011 and was perceived as being a Chinese party, support dropped.

Sheridan Mahavera, TMI

Instead of handing out flyers, holding ceramah and spewing propaganda against the ruling Barisan Nasional, DAP is now trying a different tack to win the hearts and minds of voters in rural Sabah and Sarawak.

It is on a building spree. Not highways or electricity grids. But small water systems, (kindergartens and micro-hydro projects) that help improve the lives of remote villages somehow overlooked by BN.

The new venture, called Impian Sabah and Impian Sarawak respectively, aims to break the psychological hold BN has over rural Sabah and Sarawak folk. It is an approach to show that DAP or any opposition party is not the demon that it is made out to be.

By making a real difference in the lives of rural Sabahans and Sarawakians, said DAP assemblyperson for Kapayan Edwin @ Jack Bosi, the party hoped to convince them that it was a party of action and not rhetoric.

But a Sarawak-based academic pointed out the DAP risked playing the same patronage game that Sarawak and Sabah BN had mastered. In the end, its successes could be used against the party in an election.

Building rural and deepening urban networks

This is the brainchild of DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang after the party and its allies in Pakatan Rakyat (PR) failed to make as much inroads as they had hoped to in the two states in the 13th General Election.

Lim, who is now party parliamentary leader, said the coalition has to redouble its efforts to penetrate the rural areas of Sarawak and Sabah.

"Although Sabah is among the richest states in terms of natural resources, it still has the highest poverty rate in the country. Until 2010, 43% of households in Sabah had no access to clean water and 20% did not have electricity."

The campaign involves identifying villages that need and are willing to allow volunteers come in to provide assistance, said party rural outreach coordinator Tam Kar Lye.

"We identify what they really need like water or electricity and then we do a proposal for the project. After that, we source for funds from either the public or corporate sponsors."

It has built gravity feed-water systems in two villages in Sarawak since September.

For the Impian Sabah initiative that was launched on November 27, it is also going to build a gravity feed-water system in a village in Kota Marudu and in Tenom.

The initiative relies entirely on volunteers. Not just party activists but non-party people who want to give back to society.

These are people like Zi Xiyang, who got tired of being a keyboard activist and a few months ago, plunged into the wilds of Sarawak to build a gravity feed water-system in a remote Bidayuh village near Bengoh.

"The villagers did not even get compensation after they were moved out to make way for a dam. They lost their native customary rights lands.

"We built ties with the villagers and now, some of the volunteers are helping to organise a fund drive to help them build a community hall," said the 28-year-old.

Zi is still not a DAP member. But the goodwill that comes out of participating ensures that programme helps the party continue to deepen its appeal among urban youth like him. 

To date, DAP has registered 300 volunteers for these projects.

Can't fight fire with fire

But the initiative is also fraught with risks, said Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) political scientist Dr Faisal Syam Hazis.

He said DAP risks perpetuating the patronage politics of Sarawak BN that has kept the ruling coalition in control of rural Sarawak.

"It is the type of politics that BN is very good at and for which it has unlimited amounts of money. Once they catch on, they will go in and splash more money and projects and say that they are better at serving the people than DAP."

That has occurred, admits DAP publicity chief Tony Pua. In Impian Sarawak's third project, the state government came in to finish a water supply system the DAP was building in a village in Betong.

"But it is (state government's involvement) a good thing, because it spurred the state government to do what it was supposed to in the first place," said Pua.

Another risk, said Faisal, was that DAP could scare off more Malay and Melanau voters, Sarawak's third largest ethnic community, by going into the rural areas alone.

"Before the 2011 state elections, there was a decrease in support among Malays towards BN," says Faisal. But when DAP dominated the urban areas in 2011 and was perceived as being a Chinese party, support dropped.

"In the 2013 general election, support for BN among Malay-Melanaus was at 80%."




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