MEDIA STATEMENT ON
THE “PEACEFUL ASSEMBLY BILL 2011”
At a time when more Malaysians are pressing for democratic
rights, the new Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011 tabled in the Dewan Rakyat
yesterday proves beyond doubt that Najib is a congenital liar.
Most convincingly, this new Bill bulldozes to the ground
whatever empty promises Najib made on Sept 15 when he announced that he wanted
to give Malaysians more freedom via a progressive package of social and
political reforms including a review of Section 27 of the Police Act and the
abolition of the Internal Security Act (ISA) and the Restricted Residence Act.
MCLM opposes this proposed law which we deem as a repressive
tool to restrict civil freedom because it accords the police even more power to
While the new Bill does away with the need for a permit to
gather in public, alongside is a raft of new restrictions including barring
protesters from taking to the street - a form of assembly in motion, or
procession which is already legally recognised in section 27 of the Police Act
The Bill is a public comedy of contradictions. On one hand,
the Bill requires people to provide 30 days' advance notice for assemblies,
except for those in designated areas as defined by the home minister but on the
other hand, it prohibits “street protest” - a move inconsistent with section
10(e) (viii) of the Bill itself.
Just last year, the government withdrew its reservations to
Articles 1, 13 and 15 of the CRC on 6 June 2010, thus allowing children “the
freedom to have their say, and the right to form associations and assemble
peacefully”. With this new Bill, children under 15 are not allowed to take part
in assemblies, except in cultural or religious events such as funeral corteges
or events approved by the home minister. Those under 21 years of age are not allowed
to organise assemblies.
Why bother with tabling another Bill to amend the Police
Act, which will take away the need to obtain a police permit prior to
organising an assembly and then impose MORE restrictions with this new Bill?
The new Bill goes against the genuine spirit of human rights
as specified in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Federal
Constitution and the promise of the Prime Minister to institute democratic
MCLM is appalled that in a tweet, Najib said: "We (are)
transforming our laws to protect constitutional rights of our citizens to
assemble while protecting public order (and) security of Malaysia."
Instead of protecting our constitutional rights, he is
robbing us of those very rights under a hypocritical mask called transformation
MCLM views with grave concern that all the pre-conditions,
prior approvals not forgetting the restrictive legal provisions and greater
empowerment of the police will severely discourage and dissuade the freedom of
peaceful assembly, which is a basic human right.
MCLM calls upon every right-minded MP to oppose this bill
when it is debated in Parliament tomorrow for the second reading and for civil
society to rise and reclaim their rights by publicly opposing this unconstitutional
Bill which must NOT be passed at all.
If this Bill is passed, it will prove beyond doubt that the
current BN government will NEVER keep whatever shallow and empty promises made
in a feeble whitewashing tactic to gain brownie points.
Annie Ooi Siew Lan and Rosni Malan have pleaded with the king not to dissolve Parliament until electoral reforms have taken place.
Rosni’s husband, Baharuddin Ahmad, died from heart complications during the rally. Ooi, nicknamed “Aunty Bersih” was seen being sprayed with chemical-laced water cannons and tear gas during the rally.
They are asking the king, Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, to use his discretion to not consent to Parliament’s dissolution anytime soon.
Speaking on their behalf, their lawyer M Visvanathan said: “What we’re trying to achieve is to put enough pressure on the powers-that-be, especially the Yang Dipertuan-Agong, to invoke his discretion. He does have the discretion, it should be exercised in this case.”
“It is not a demand…(We ask) that the Agong use his discretion not to dissolve Parliament.”
Overseas Malaysians file suit against Election Commission
A group of Malaysian citizens overseas has filed a lawsuit against the Election Commission (EC) asking the High Court to compel the EC to register them as absent voters. The group of six Malaysians, who all work in the UK, applied to be registered as absent voters in order to be able to vote in the coming general election, but were instead registered by the EC as ordinary voters, who must return to Malaysia to vote in person.
At present, the EC only allows government servants, members of any armed forces and full-time students to register as absent voters, so as to be entitled to vote by post at the next election. The bulk of Malaysian citizens living overseas, who are working in the private sector, and those who are retired or unemployed, are required to return to Malaysia to vote in person.
In addition, although the existing regulations allow all Malaysian students over the age of 21 to register as absent voters, Malaysian students overseas who have attempted to register have had to overcome many obstacles put in their way, with some embassies and consulates refusing to register students who were not sponsored by the government, and others refusing to register students who had previously registered as ordinary voters at home. Although the EC has clarified that all students are eligible to register as absent voters, as recently as this month, the Malaysian consulate in New York was still telling students that only government scholars could register as absent voters.
The Auditor General Report for 2010 has shown that the Tourism Ministry overpaid close to RM 270 million for advertisements.
The reports expressed that the Tourism Ministry had direct awards without any tender being called for it's advertisements. The Auditor General had further noted that if the Ministry had held an open tender the advertisements would have cost RM75.38 million instead of more than RM345 million expended.
The Auditor General had noted that the Tourism Ministry had breached the Treasury regulations as extended in a circular in 2007.
More Irregularities under the Tourism Ministry as Reported HERE and HERE