Monday, November 28, 2011

PA Bill 2011 - further extinguish a right that already is being suppressed by the draconian Police Act...

The call must be:-

Withdraw Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011

Repeal Police Act 1967, especially section 27..


Art. 10 of the Federal Constitution deals with the freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and the freedom of association, this same article acknowledges the right -- and then withers away this right at the same time.

10.  Freedom of speech, assembly and association.
(1) Subject to Clauses (2), (3) and (4) -
(a) every citizen has the right to freedom of speech and expression;
(b) all citizens have the right to assemble peaceably and without arms;
(c) all citizens have the right to form associations.
(2) Parliament may by law impose -
(a) on the rights conferred by paragraph (a) of Clause (1), such restrictions as it deems necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of the Federation or any part thereof, friendly relations with other countries, public order or morality and restrictions designed to protect the privileges of Parliament or of any Legislative Assembly or to provide against contempt of court, defamation, or incitement to any offence;
(b) on the right conferred by paragraph (b) of Clause (1), such restrictions as it deems necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of the Federation or any part thereof or public order;
(c) on the right conferred by paragraph (c) of Clause (1), such restrictions as it deems necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of the Federation or any part thereof, public order or morality.
(3) Restrictions on the right to form associations conferred by paragraph (c) of Clause (1) may also be imposed by any law relating to labour or education.

(4) In imposing restrictions in the interest of the security of the Federation or any part thereof or public order under Clause (2) (a), Parliament may pass law prohibiting the questioning of any matter, right, status, position, privilege, sovereignty or prerogative established or protected by the provisions of Part III, Article 152, 153 or 181 otherwise than in relation to the implementation thereof as may be specified in such law.

Then we have the Police Act which states that a person wanting to exercise their right to assemble peacefully must get the police permission first... if not it is illegal -

Sec. 27(2) Police Act 1967  
Any person intending to convene or collect any assembly or meeting or to form a procession in any public place aforesaid, shall before convening, collecting or forming such assembly, meeting or procession make to the Officer-in-Charge of the Police District in which such assembly, meeting or procession is to be held an application for a licence in that behalf, and if such police officer is satisfied that the assembly, meeting or procession is not likely to be prejudicial to the interest of the security of Malaysia or any part thereof or to excite a disturbance of the peace, he shall issue a licence in such form as may be prescribed specifying the name of the licensee and defining the conditions upon which such assembly, meeting or procession is permitted:

Provided that such police officer may at any time on any ground for which the issue of a licence under this subsection may be refused, cancel such licence.
Sec. 27(5) Police Act 1967
(5) Any assembly, meeting or procession-
(a) which takes place without a licence issued under subsection (2); or
(b) in which three or more persons taking part neglect or refuse to obey any order given under the provisions of subsection (1) or subsection (3),
shall be deemed to be an unlawful assembly, and all persons attending, found at or taking part in such assembly, meeting or procession and, in the case of an assembly, meeting or procession for which no licence has been issued, all persons taking part or concerned in convening, collecting or directing such assembly, meeting or procession, shall be guilty of an offence.
Now, note that even when the license is given - it can very easily be revoked at any time. Even, when applied for, the giving of the license can take time - sometimes coming only at the 11th hour... BUT I believe that this is a BAD law which must be repealed, there should be no requirement for any license/permit to the police for the exercise of a right. Too much power given to the police... If need be, maybe the police could merely be notified of the protest - and this is for the purpose of the police being able to assist in traffic flow and maybe even to ensure that whatever protest/peaceful assembly proceeds without being disrupted by others who may hold an opposing view... which will always be the case.

The law also seem not to allow one or 2 persons to apply for a license, it requires 3 - and this is a denial of rights because sometimes, the one calling for the protest may just be one...

Now, the police in Malaysia is not perceived as being independent - and for those that hold a differing view from the government of the day find that they cannot easily get any permits, and even when they do get, it comes with conditions, some of which could be really absurd. I have heard of an Opposition political party being given a permit to organize a political dinner function on condition that there be no political speeches...

In protest against these unjust and absurd laws, most persons in Malaysia will just proceed with their protest/peaceful assembly without bothering to get police permission ...

This protest has been on-going for years but unfortunately the Barisan Nasional government just does not listen - and is again trying to further hinder the already stifled right to peaceful assembly by this new Bill - Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011...

Some may say - why don't you just use the Town Halls, Community Halls, fields, stadiums - well, for those who do not know, you will almost never get permission to use these premises which are controlled by the government. Remember BERSIH - remember how they were denied Stadium Merdeka, and any other Stadiums in KL...

It is the suppression of rights and freedoms that will finally result in an eruption people's protest in Malaysia - Our rights and freedoms have been suppressed for way too long - over 50 years. Many have just accepted this....but today, more and more people are waking up and actively protesting this state of affairs irrespective of the threat of arrest, torture, tear gas, water cannons, detention, being charged, the risk of imprisonment and fine, the disqualification from holding the office of MP or ADUN, the possibility of job-loss, discrimination at the workplace, etc... 
It is no more just a few hard-core activist (normally around 50) - but today we see large numbers even going up to 100,000 coming out... and this is a new phenomena in Malaysia, and if the BN government do not change their 'draconian, repressive' ways, the people will bring about a change in government soon.

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