Tuesday, May 14, 2013

PEACEFUL ASSEMBLY ACT 2012 erodes the right to Peaceful Assembly - Wait for more than 10 days to protest? Absurd...

The right to Peaceful Assembly was effectively further eroded by the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012

PEACEFUL ASSEMBLY has most of the times been a form of public expression that is fast and immediate.... but not in Malaysia...

PEACEFUL ASSEMBLY has many a time been a public response - where there are really no 'organisers' as such. People just come out and protest. Malaysia believes that peaceful assembly have organisers - identifiable organisers...which is not the case most of the times. 'Some people are gathering in front of PJ Police Station to protest death in police custody - come and join' - that is usually how word of mouth spreads, SMSed... and usually no one knows who had the original idea... and when it happens, people go and ....peacefully assemble and protest...There is really no one organiser or organisation that organised... that is 'peaceful assembly' - but the BN government and the law seems totally clueless of this reality... 

Say, if TODAY Israel suddenly starts bombing and killing persons in the  Gaza Strip, and we in Malaysia are outraged at Israel and the inaction of the US or the United Nations, we CANNOT HAVE A PEACE ASSEMBLY tomorrow, 3 days or 5 days time....in protest of what is happening...or to pressure the UN or the US to act immediately to end the killing..... No, we in Malaysia will have for at least 10 days to pass.... get the consent of the people who own(or occupy) the place where the peaceful assembly is to be held....

1) Because, the law says we need to NOTIFY the police TEN(10) days before the said peaceful assembly - if not we may be fined up to RM10,000 - this is stupid, as most public reactions by means of peaceful assembly are 'immediate' response to some injustice or wrong... If someone is threatening to tear down houses,...forests... by the time ten(10) days lapses, the injustice or the violation of rights would have already occurred. Protest about the unfair GE13 - it is absurd if we had to wait until the 16th of May (to allow the 10 days to lapse...) 

Section 9  Notification of assembly [PEACEFUL ASSEMBLY ACT 2012]
(1) An organizer shall, ten days before the date of an assembly, notify the Officer in charge of the police District in which the assembly is to be held.
2) Because the law says we have to get consent of the owner of the land[or occupier] - and that means the State government if it is State Land, the Local Council if is Local Council land...The right of peaceful assembly in public land/areas just got eroded.... and guess what? You will almost always never get the consent of the land owners... We have already seen this happen with regard the BERSIH... 
11  Consent of owner or occupier of place of assembly
The organizer of an assembly, other than a religious assembly or a funeral procession or an assembly held at a designated place of assembly, shall obtain the consent of the owner or occupier of the place of assembly for it to be used for the purpose of the assembly.
Many owners/occupiers would not mind people exercising their right to peaceful assembly - they just do not want to get involved. Now, they are required to personally be involved, i.e. to give their consent for their place to be used for the purpose of  the assembly. 

Many business persons or others just prefer to be innocent by-standers... 

Remember also that most land/property, business license are meant for a specified purpose agriculture, housing, commercial, to run this or that business - so who really can give consent that their place be used for the purpose of assembly. - very smart of the Barisan Nasional to insert this NEW requirement - that never was there in the old laws governing freedom of assembly.

PEACEFUL ASSEMBLY ACT 2012 just further eroded away the right to peaceful assembly and protest...There is a provision that says that this 10 day notification requirement does not apply if peaceful assembly is held at "Designated Places of Assembly"

Section 9(2) Subsection (1) shall not apply to-(a) an assembly which is to be held at a designated place of assembly


So, I say that the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 is a bad law, and must immediately be repealed.

All that should be required is maybe a notification(as soon as possible) to the police. Why this notification? So that the police can maybe be present to ensure that this right to peaceful assembly is exercised. Police may help direct traffic. Police may prevent others who try to disrupt the protest. Police ensure that rights are exercised....full stop.


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