Saturday, November 26, 2011

NGOs protest Peaceful Assembly Bill in KLCC park (Malaysian Insider, 26/11/2011)

The first of many protest action just took place in KLCC...

The Malaysian government just do not get it - it is a right - a human right, and we do not want any laws that say we have to get permission from the police, who can give permission with conditions or say 'No'.

Peaceful assembly or protest usually happens, and there really is no organizer - it spreads by word of mouth (emails, twitters, facebook..) and people just turn up as an expression of a common position... The rare occasions when it is organized way in advance is for May Day events...

The BN government is missing the point when it talks about reducing the 30 day per-assembly notification requirement to just 10 days... Protest happens very fast - nobody wants to wait. Now, even in this case when the Peaceful Assembly Bill was tabled, if we had to wait for 30 days (or even 10 days) it may be just too late - because the Bill would have been passed and our actions of protest is just too late - and Najib may turn around and say, 'I did not know that 1Malaysia was not happy with it' - that is why this right to public protest peaceful assembly must be a right that is unhindered by the very people the protest is all about. BN government always want to paint a picture that all they do is with the blessings of the people  of Malaysia....which is far from the truth - but the impression can so easily be given when the media is controlled by the BN government and is not at all independent and do not give the other side of the story... and the people now only have very few avenues, and one of this is 'peaceful assembly' - and that is why BN just wants to also get rid of that right...

Go for a referendum now and BN will know that the people do oppose this new 'peaceful assembly' Bill.



NGOs protest Peaceful Assembly Bill in KLCC park

November 26, 2011
Approximately 300 people gathered in a quiet corner of Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) Park today to protest the Peaceful Assembly Bill today. - Picture by Jack Ooi
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 26 — Almost 300 people gathered in a quiet corner of Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) Park today to protest the Peaceful Assembly Bill. 
The mostly Chinese crowd wore yellow clothes and carried yellow balloons and flowers to show their opposition to the “draconian” Bill, which was tabled two days ago in Parliament. 

They were joined by Bersih steering committee members Maria Chin Abdullah and Wong Chin Huat, as well as Klang MP Charles Santiago, Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng, Malaysian Makkal Sakti Party acting president A. Vathemurthy and Teoh Beng Hock’s sister, Teoh Lee Lian. 

The half-hour demonstration was organised by the Freedom to Assemble Campaign, a coalition of over 30 NGOs. 

Wong said it was “completely ridiculous” for Malaysians who wished to assemble to discuss matters in the interests of the nation to have to apply for permission 30 days in advance. 

“The entire point is why one, two, three four becomes illegal. We go to pasar malam often more than four people... 

“Why the moment you think about the country it becomes illegal? What’s wrong with being patriotic? What’s wrong with a government that thinks a citizen being patriotic is criminal?” he said. 

Wong said he hoped the government would see that a majority of Malaysians were not in favour of such restrictions, and urged authorities to “move to our side”. 

Maria added that the government must drop the Bill and not just amend it as the proposed law was unacceptable. 

“The Bill itself is unconstitutional. The Bill is stifling, a rollback in terms of what Najib envisages as a democratic country,” she said. 

The peaceful protest ended at 2.45pm with a rendition of “Rasa Sayang” and the national anthem after KLCC security personnel requested that the crowd disperse. 

Putrajaya has agreed to amend seven sections in the Peaceful Assembly Bill following nationwide protests criticising it as more repressive than current laws. 

According to Star Online, de facto law minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz confirmed today that the Cabinet had reached the decision during its meeting yesterday. 

Nazri said the Cabinet decided to amend the Bill following protests from civil rights groups and opposition lawmakers. 

Among others, he said the 30-day advance notice to hold an assembly will be shortened to 10 days. 

The provision has been criticised by civil society groups and opposition lawmakers as restrictive, particularly after Myanmar, known for its poor human rights record, passed a similar law earlier this week stipulating only five days’ notice to hold a protest. 

The Peaceful Assembly Bill was mooted by the Najib administration as part of its Malaysia Day promises to foster greater democracy and promote civil liberties. - Malaysian Insider, 26/11/2011, NGOs protest Peaceful Assembly Bill in KLCC park

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