Thursday, January 07, 2010

Finally an endorsement by the government of peoples' right peaceful assembly, protests, etc..

Finally, we have the Malaysian government endorsing the right of people to protest... the freedom of expression, the freedom to protest, the freedom to publicly demonstrate...

Let us hope that this freedom is not only when the protest is in support of a position that the UMNO-led BN government endorses...

Muslim groups are free to protest and express their views about the "Allah" issue as long as it does not spill over into something more serious, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

"The authorities are prepared to face any situation.

"We hope the protests will not spill over. Better still if the protest is minimal," Najib said after opening the first 1Malaysia Clinic here Thursday.

Najib added that the authorities could not stop groups from gathering at mosques and protesting there.

"As long as it doesn't spill over into something serious, they can still express their views," he said. - Star, 7/1/2010, PM: Don't let protest spill over

And, at the same time PKR, vide the Menteri Besar of Selangor, seems to be against public protest. He says it is only OK if it it is done in an enclosed area like the Stadium. In fact, he goes on to say that he is in agreement with the police. See that Malaysiakini video. Khalid says that he is against 'street protest' ... but 'he and I(Ketua Polis Negeri) accept the fact that if you want to protest you can protest inside the stadium... 

We who fight for freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of public protest must be consistent. We cannot be claiming this right on one hand, and denying this right depending on who is doing the protest...and the subject matter of the said protest.

Pakatan Rakyat has been shown to have these double standards. An example when it came to a protest in front of the Penang State Legislative Assembly not too long ago.

So, there are some persons who may be protesting against the High Court decision in the 'Allah' case, and our response should be that this is their right, and that they must be free to have this demonstration....There should be no 'buts'... and we, who are for this freedom and right should not now be calling the police to crack down on these protesters if it is peaceful.

On that 'Allah' issue, it saddens me that Anwar Ibrahim and PKR is not really taking a clear issue. The President of PAS has made a statement taking a clear position but not Anwar Ibrahim (being the head of the PKR) or the President of PKR. PKR's statement is made by some head of some committee. Anwar tells the press the PKR's stand - but really an official written statement  signed by him (or the President) would be best.

Anwar meanwhile echoed PKR's stand on the issue by saying that it was acceptable for Christians to use the term "Allah".

"Islamic tenets do not forbid the use of the term 'Allah' for other religions.

"Also, there is clear understanding among religious scholars and ulamas such as Wahbah Zuhaili, Sheikh Taha Jabir and Yusof Qardawi on this," he said. - Malaysiakini, 7/1/2010, Anwar tells supporters not to join protests

And now, we see Anwar saying that he discourages...but still you can go join that protest. Anwar, state clearly PKR's and Pakatan's official position, i.e. either you are for or you are against.

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim today discouraged Pakatan Rakyat supporters from joining in the protests organised for tomorrow against a court decision that allowed a Catholic publication to use the term "Allah".

He said that while he will not stop Pakatan supporters, he nevertheless advised them to stay away. - Malaysiakini, 7/1/2010, Anwar tells supporters not to join protests

No comments: