Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Press Release - Peaceful Assembly Bill

23rd November, 2011

This Bill goes against the very grain of our Constitution, which provides for a basic right of freedom of assembly . We recognize that there can never be absolute freedom and for those reasons we have the Penal Code for disorderly behavior.

However this Peaceful Assembly Bill restricts our rights even further:

1. The very nature of street protests are that it is spontaneous and as such people need to voice out when their rights have been violated but that right has been taken away.

2. First we had the University & Colleges Act that restricted students in participating in demonstrations and voicing their concerns. Now to further restrict them, children who are themselves the best advocates in voicing what they want for their future, are added to the list of restrictions. This is also a violation under the Children's Rights Convention, an international treaty that Malaysia ratified and promised to adhere to.

Obviously the PM's words are meaningless. We have been promised Reforms in getting rid of the ISA and what do we get, more restrictions!! The Police is the only group whose powers are being increased by this Bill and the Police Act but the peoples power keeps getting diminished. Najib has been insincere in his stand for a better Malaysia and voters at the next General Election will make their stand known.

Meera Samanther
Association of Women Lawyers

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