We will continue to assemble peacefully – Mohamad Sabu

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

(HARAKAH) – PAS vice president Mohamad Sabu has vowed to continue holding peaceful assemblies at a time when the ruling regime has stepped up its abuse of power to declare these as “illegal”.

Mohamad said Article 10 of the Constitution which had been affirmed by Court decisions on several occasions as well as rulings made by the National Human Rights Commission (Suhakam), clearly stated that a peaceful assembly did not require police permit.
“We will continue to assemble until all peaceful assemblies become permissible,” he said during a peaceful assembly at the Suhakam compound here recently. The gathering was attended by some 300 people.
No one was arrested despite the heavy police presence. The organizer of the assembly however was seen negotiating for about an hour with a group of policemen half way through the event.
Mohamad vowed to have a “Malaysia that respects the Constitution and the rights to democracy”.
“We are opposed to any form of violence perpetrated by just about anyone,” he said.
He also slammed the arrest on Dec 11, of activists campaigning for free and fair elections at Parliament grounds. He described the incident as “violating the sanctity of a law making house”.
He accused the ruling party of “playing politics” in the incident involving the arrests and the subsequent drop of attempted murder charges of Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) supporters participating in a peaceful assembly on Nov 25.
Peaceful assemblies to go on despite threat of ISA
Others present at the assembly were PAS treasurer Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice president Sivarasa Rasiah, Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) pro tem chairman Nasir Hashim, DAP central working committee member Ronnie Liu, Malaysians for Free and Fair Elections (Mafrel) chairman Abd Malek Hussin and Bar Council representative Amer Hamzah Arshad.
The assembly was held among others to call for Suhakam to take “pro-active” measures to repeal Section 27 of the Police Act 1967 and for the human rights body to “investigate” and “interpret” the use of a recent Court injunction which denied the right to assemble near Parliament on Dec 11.
A memorandum handed over to Suhakam commissioner Datuk N. Sivasubramaniam and Dr Denison Jayasuria also called for the Commission to refer to the Attorney General of any quarter that poses threats to whoever wanted to assemble peacefully including the police.
Sivarasa said the assembly was a “clear message” that despite threats of arrests using the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA), the people would continue to exercise their rights to assemble.
“These are our rights as guaranteed under the Constitution,” he said adding that mainstream media portrayal that peaceful assemblies were not “our culture” as “one big lie”. He said history has shown how Malaysians has used peaceful assemblies in the run up to obtaining independence from the colonial power.