Condition - Apply for Police Permit
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
The Malaysian police is under the Prime Minister and the government, but now one wonders whether the police is more powerful than the Prime Minister - for after the YDP Agung's intervention, there seem to have been an 'agreement' of sorts between the PM who wanted the peaceful assembly not to be done along the roads in Kuala Lumpur but in a stadium. In fact, if I am not wrong, the PM suggested and the BERSIH 2.0 agreed. All that the PM wanted was that it be peaceful - arrive peacefully, assemble/protest peacefully and leave peacefully. But, now the PM seem to be back-tracking (or 'playing out' BERSIH 2.0) and now what he is saying is that the decision rests with the police - and new conditions are being imposed on the organizers - apply for permit, etc
Condition - Apply for Police Permit
In my opinion, it is absurd that the exercise of a right of freedom of assembly and expression is pre-conditioned on an application, and thereafter a permission by the police. If BERSIH applies for police permission, it will be negative implication (a bad precedent) to our struggle for the right and freedom of peaceful assembly. BERSIH can meet, negotiate, discuss, inform, etc - but not seek police permission. This is my own opinion.
Too much power is given to the police. I believe, any person who wants to have a protest or a peaceful assembly should be encouraged to inform the police, who thereafter will be able to do the needful to ensure that the assembly proceeds as plan safely (and peacefully) without the interference of others. Now, police permission is needed when 3 or more want to gather...and this is absurd, and these laws must repealed.
If there are 2 or 3 groups, intending to have a procession and/or assembly, police steps in to make sure that the events are happening at different venues and/or there is no clash of the routes of these procession. This is what happens at every nomination day of the General Elections, and what is wonderful in Malaysia is that these assemblies/processions are always relatively peaceful - no clashes/fights/bloodshed/etc . This is the Malaysian way - and it can be done.
What do the members of the different opposing groups do even when they are near each other - there will be hurling of slogans(words) at each other, etc - quite entertaining really... but no violence or physical fights.
"Violence" and chaos usually erupts when the police attempts to disperse peaceful assemblies, using truncheons, water cannons, tear gas, etc...and party being violent is normally the police not the protesters.
The cause of the 'violence', chaos ...always starts with the police generally. This has been my observation.
HRH the King and our Prime Minister have given the 'green light', and the police should have no role whatsoever deciding whether permission be given or not, imposing conditions,etc. What the PM wants simply is that the event be peaceful and not violent - that is all. Now, BERSIH says they want the gathering at Merdeka Stadium - and what PM (as head of government and 'boss' of police) should do is say "OK" - and tell them to make sure all goes on peacefully. And that is that...
I expected today that all being detained in connection with BERSIH 2.0 will be released, and all charges pending in court will be withdrawn. I expected such an announcement from our PM - still waiting for it.
I went to KL today, and before the Bentong Toll - there were about 30 police officers and some busses were pulled aside. Why?
WHY? WHY? WHY? The matter has already been resolved.
The free and fair election movement has compromised a lot (too much, in my opinion) - they have agreed to no more walk to the palace to hand over the peoples' memorandum on the issue to the YDP Agung - now, it will just be a gathering at a Stadium.
The public advocacy and awareness building element that would have happened in a procession/peaceful assembly at the road side, etc within the sight and hearing of other Malaysians will also no longer be there in a Stadium ( a closed environment) where the other Malaysians will not be able to see or hear - as there is also likely to be no live direct telecast on TV or radio, or agreements that allow the placement of large screens in places where other members of the public can see and hear what is happening in the Stadium.
Really, if it is going to be held in a Stadium, maybe best for the organizers to consider just cancelling the event. It makes no sense to have a gathering of the 'converted' sitting and listening to talks/speeches/slogans that they already agree to.
BERSIH 2.0's objective achieved already
In fact, one can say that the objectives of BERSIH 2.0, that movement for free and fair elections have already been achieved..
* Thanks also to the poor reactions by the government and the police, the awareness of the failings of current election commission and election process, and the proposed 'changes' needed to make it more free and fair is already there. People are already talking and still talking about this - and even our Election Commission has reacted, sadly with apologetics and defending what is present as being fair and free. A good independent Election Commission will and should always accept, consider and implement any suggestions from any Ali, Devi, Mary or Chan for always the election process and system can be made MORE and MORE fair and free.
* The other objective was to convey the views of the Malaysian people to the Yang Di Pertuan Agung. Well, if there was a delegation or a procession, that memorandum would most likely be received by some officer or person for and on behalf the Yang Di Pertuan Agung. Now, the Chairperson and 2 others from BERSIH 2.0 was granted a private audience with the King. This was an achievement so far greater, I believe, that what the organizers and the people of this movement would have dreamt off.
So, is there really any more reason to pursue a gathering in a 'room' away from the eyes and ears of the other Malaysians?
So, is there any more reason to subject oneself to actions, omissions, failings, 'conditions', etc of our Prime Minister (and his police)
Maybe, it is time to move on to other issues and concerns in Malaysia...like the current threat to employment relationships in Malaysia...
Our Malaysian government is trying yet again to destroy the nature of employment relationship in Malaysia, that has been in existence since independence to something that will be most detrimental to all current and future workers in Malaysia.
I will explain:-
NOW - in a factory, plantation or workplace, owned and/or operated by the principal, there is ONE employer (the principal) and all the workers at the workplace are the employees of this ONE employer. If there are complaints, disputes and issues, then the workers will deal with their employer. If there is a union, then all workers of the ONE employer can be members. If there is to be a collective agreement, then the union or the workers collectively can sit down and work out with this ONE employer (the principal).
What the Malaysian government is trying to do is to change this current employment relationship - and create a situation whereby in a factory, plantation or workplace, not all the workers there will be employees of the ONE employer (the principal). There will be workers (or groups of workers) who will be employees of OTHER Employers - not the principal, and as such these workers no longer will be treated the same as all other workers, no longer will they be able to join unions or collectively negotiate(or bargain) with the ONE employer (the principal) because they will be no longer employees of the principal but some other.
Who are these OTHER employers? They will be the 'contractors for labour', and today this would include those now known as 'outsourcing agents/companies'. In the 2010 Bill that wanted to amend the Employment Act, that Bill clearly stated that the definition of employer will be extended to suppliers of workers/labour - but in the new amendment, this was left out, but the other sections proposed achieve the same meaning and end result, and if passed these suppliers of workers, the 'contractors for labour', will be and will continue to remain the employers of workers that they supplied to principals to work at the factories, plantations and workplace of the principal.
This situation where there are groups of workers of 'other employers' at a factory, plantation or workplace would certainly weaken workers, their unions and their strength in the collective bargaining process to improve their working condition, wages, benefits, etc... That ONE Employer(Principal) can simply ignore the demands - and of course, if they still demand, so easily can he just start using more and more workers from the 'OTHER' employers, to whom the Principal will have no legal duties as employer, and no need to worry about their rights, welfare or other work benefits.
We have to create awareness about what our pro-business pro-employer government is trying to do, and stop them from legalizing this and destroying what is now a more just employment relationship, that will protect worker rights and welfare.
The Employment (Amendment) Bill 2011 was tabled on 21/6/2011 - and may be passed speedily at the next sitting of the Dewan Rakyat, if we, who are concerned about justice and human rights, do not now do something about this...
ONE factory/plantation/workplace ONE employer(the principal), and ALL workers working there will be employees of that ONE employer (the principal).
For more about this, see my earlier posts:-