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)

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