Wednesday, 23 November 2011

On the issue of Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011: A response to Lim Kit Siang

Dear Lim Kit Siang,

1. In your blog, you falsely accused the Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011 as being undemocratic. I would like to ask how the Bill can be undemocratic when it is tabled in a Parliament for everyone to see and debate.

2. You also said the Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011 is more repressive compared with Section 27 of the Police Act. How so? In section 27 of Police Act, if three or more person were to gather, they can be arrested. But in the Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011, there is no minimum or maximum number of people. How can that be repressive? That is progress!

3. You also raise your objection against the ban on street protest. As stated in the Bill, street protest is defined as "begins with a meeting at a specified place and consists of walking in a mass march or rally for the purpose of objecting to or advancing a particular cause or causes".

Does this mean one cannot do demonstration on the street? You still can assemble in Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman as long as you do not make a mass march to another destination. Invite Anwar Ibrahim and Mahfuz Omar to have a demo called Occupy Stadium Shah Alam. You can put up tents inside the stadium or near the car park beside the Giant Supermarket (but make sure you don’t sleep in the same tent as

4. You falsely argued the Peaceful Assembly Bill is violating the constitutional rights of Malaysian because of (3). I believe your cognitive capacity is declining because nowhere in the constitution does it say Malaysians are allowed to do street protest.

i) Article 10(1)(a) - every citizen has the right to freedom of speech and expression.
ii) Article 10(1)(b) - all citizens have the right to assemble peaceably and without arms;

In the Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011, you are FREE to assemble whether on Jalan Chan Sow Lin or in front of Anwar Ibrahim million-dollar house. Nobody is denying the  right to peacefully assemble. :-)

5. I am sure your supporters from "The Church of Komtar Cyber-Troopers" will argue that it is up to us how we assemble and it is unconstitutional for the Parliament to put restriction. My answer is simple, go back to the constitution and read what it says.

iii) Article 10 (2)(a) - Parliament may by law impose 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

On reading Article 10, "The Church of Komtar Cyber-Trooper" may argue that they do not give a damn about their own constitution. They will say, "I want you to look at what the UN says!!!!”

United Nation  Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
Article 20(1): Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

Sounds very much like what is in our constitution. :-) In the UDHR, there are 30 articles. Please show where does it mention peaceful Assembly as a street protest?

6. You argued that it is unlawful to restrict assembly in or within fifty metres from the limit of the prohibited place. Let us see what our constitution says and what the Bill says, shall we?

Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011 - Part I (6)(a)
"The protected areas and protected places declared under the Protected Areas and Protected Places Act 1959"

Protected Areas and Protected Places Act 1959

Protected Areas : Act 298 (4)(1) - If  as  respects  any  area  it  appears  to  the  Minister  to  be necessary  or  expedient  that  special measures  should  be  taken  to control the movements and conduct of persons therein he may by order declare  the  area  to be  a protected  area  for  the purposes of this Act.

Protected Areas : Act 298 (5)(1) - If as respects any premises it appears to the Minister to be necessary or expedient that special precautions should be taken to prevent the entry therein of unauthorized persons he may by order declare  the  premises  to  be  a  protected  place  for  the  purposes  of this Act;

7. Your last argument against the Bill is the 30-day notice period. You are being mischievous because you just highlighted a clause without reading the whole context. Please let me explain:

Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011 Part IV(9)(1) : Notification of Assembly

An organizer shall, within thirty days before the date of an assembly, notify the Officer in Charge of the Police District in which the assembly is to be held.

Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011 Part IV(14)(1) : Response to notification

The Officer in Charge of the Police District shall respond to the notification under subsection 9(1) within twelve days of the receipt of the notification

The Bersih 2.0 rally took Pakatan six months for planning purposes (right after the embarrassing PKR party election, remember?) starting from December 2010. If Pakatan want to have another Bersih rally, they can apply immediately and they will get a response within 12 days, not 30 days.

8. I have proven to you, Lim Kit Siang the Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011 is not against our nation constitution. It upholds the right that every Malaysian can assemble and voice out their grievances in a peaceful manner. However I doubt neither you nor your supporters will bother to read it due to declining cognitive capability and limited attention span. Therefore I have made a short summary below:

The Facts:

1. Is Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011 undemocratic ? - No. It is tabled in Parliament in front of everyone. It will be debated and our elected representatives will vote for or against it. That's democracy in action.

2. Is Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011 repressive ? - No. It is better than the previous Police Act because now you can gather around with 4 Komtar cyber-troopers without getting arrested.

3. Is Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011 unconstitutional ? - No. It is constitutional as stated in Article 10(1)(a) and Article 10(1)(b)

4.  Is Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011 against UN UDHR ? - No.  Article 20(1) of UDHR has the same meaning as Article 10(1)(a).

 5.  Is it unlawful because of restriction to protected areas/places ? No. The bill does not contradict the constitution because Act 298 (4)(1) and Act 298 (5)(1) clearly give the Minister the power to designate certain places as protected areas/places.

6. In Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011, is it true that you will get approval after 30 days ? No. As stated  in Part IV(14)(1) : Response to notification, the officer in charge will have to reply within 12 days after receiving the notification. Therefore you will get approval LESS than 30 days!

Article 10 of Malaysian constitution
Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011 (English) -

Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011 (Malay) -

Act 298 -

"O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah , witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do." - Al-Maidah (8)

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

On the issue of Seksualiti Merdeka : A response to Marina Mahathir

Salam to Sis Marina,

1. What majority of Malaysian are against is for us to tolerate and condone an immoral activity in a public sphere/forum. It has nothing to do with individual liberty or individual discrimination as I will point below.

2. Yes, Islam teaches us to be fair and just. However what is Haram is Haram and what is Halal is Halal. I agree that just because an individual is a homosexual we have no right to call them kafir, just as we have no right to call a person who cheats, steal and kill as kafir. This is because only God have the right to determine whether an individual has gone astray from the right path or not. I believe this was the key message from both Dr Tariq Ramadhan and the late Dr Fathi Osman.

3. You pointed out that there are homosexuals who are religious. I do not deny this just as I do not deny that there are gamblers, fraudster, drug abuser, alcoholics who also believes in God, fast in Ramadhan and pray 5 times a day.  Do we also need to question why don’t we give room for people indulging in these vices in Islam?  Also, it is wrong for you to equate the fight for women’s right to the homosexual movement. You are making it more difficult for us women to bring real changes by making this association. This maybe the natural strategy taken by LBGT activist in the West but it is wrong for us to follow it because it only makes things worse.

4. Please correct me if I am wrong, in our country, if an individual commit a murder, irrespective of his/her sexual preferences, that individual will be given the death penalty. In our country, you can buy houses, get loans, get employed at Governmental agencies irrespective of your sexual preferences. Honestly, have you ever heard of someone who was asked about their sexual preferences when he/she goes to a job interview in this country?

5. In our country, every individual has the right to do whatever he/she wants to inside his/her own property as long as it does not jeopardise or encroached the property of others i.e. the community. So if a Muslim wants to consume alcohol, eat roasted pork, gamble, and indulge in homosexuality and other vices in his/her own property, then it is their right and let God judge them (point 2). This is the basic concept of liberty and nobody is encroaching on this right i.e. PDRM do not come to your house to check if you engage in homosexual activities like they do in Iran, do they?

6. So what do we do now? Nobody can deny that there are homosexuals, bisexuals and lesbians in our community and denying their existence is futile. In my opinion (feel free to disagree with it), the best solution is for us to give the right kind of support.

7. Homosexuality is a behavioural disease (I know what proponents of LBGT will say so please spear me the details/attacks - I've heard them all before). Just like alcoholism and drug abuse, the individual must first admit to him/herself that he/she has a problem. You can change a child’s behaviour but not an adult. So what can the community do?

The right kind of support group - We have support group for alcoholics and drug abuser, why not for homosexuals? It may be highly controversial in the US or UK but Malaysia is a sovereign and independent country.

Take for example the support group for alcoholics, have you ever heard any of these groups say :

- Drink all you want, it is your right. Do not change but be proud that you are an alcoholic.


- You alcoholics are evildoers! You will be burn in hell and the alcohol you drink will be the gasoline that will burn you.

FYI, they don't say either. Same goes to support group for drug abuser. In the support group, they will help one another to get rid of their vices because changing behaviour is hard but it is possible!

8. Yes, there are individuals who go into rehab every 3-4 months without any success but you will never find anyone of a sane mind that will say "Just be who you are (drug abuser) and be proud of it!". I believe this is the right cure for our country in dealing with behavioural disease like homosexuality. I believe if this was the intention of the organiser of Seksualiti Merdeka, majority of Malaysian will support it.

9. To each its own. What works in country X may not work in country D. We have to come out with our own solution for our problem.

Salam from,
Fatimah Zuhri