MEDIA STATEMENT (11 OCTOBER 2017): PAA Should Be Used to Promote the Right to Assemble; Not Curtail Democratic Expression

[Read this statement in Malay]

BERSIH 2.0 is disappointed with the response of Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun, who has declined to allow the Anti Kleptokrasi rally to be held at Taman Padang, Petaling Jaya. The reasons given by the IGP are flimsy and shows that he failed to understand that, while the 10 days’ notice period is given to inform the police under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012, the police does not have the authority to decide the venue nor have the final say as to whether it will proceed or not. Their role is to facilitate and protect the right to peaceful assembly and not to criminalise it.

Today, BERSIH 2.0 won at Federal Court when the bid by the Attorney-General to strike out the Court of Appeal decision that struck off the PAA charges against our chairperson Maria Chin was dismissed. This ought to send a positive signal to the authority on the right to peaceful assembly.

The Right to Peaceful Assembly is an important part of a wider democratic process in Malaysia. The IGP and the Government of Malaysia should listen to, and address the legitimate demands of the people and work together to address critical issues and improve living standards of everyday Malaysians. Informed government policies can only be achieved at the expense of engagement and participation with the Rakyat.

BERSIH 2.0 urges the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) to allow the Anti Kleptokrasi rally on Saturday to go ahead and assist in facilitating the gathering. Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun is in prime position to mark a shift in the Royal Malaysian Police’s approach toward public gatherings and rallies, compared to his iron-fisted predecessor’s approach of outlawing rallies in the past.

The IGP proved the police force was ready for a change in recognising the right to assemble all Malaysians have under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012, as seen in last month’s ‘Wanita Bantah Politik Toksik’ gathering. In the same vein, Saturday’s rally to be held at Taman Padang, Petaling Jaya should be no different.

We call upon all citizens to attend the Anti-Kleptokrasi Rally on Saturday, 14 October 2017 and stand tall against suppression of citizens’ rights and freedom to assemble.

Issued by:
Bersih 2.0 Steering Committee