by Zan Azlee
The Malaysian Insider
Nov 25, 2011
NOV 25 — I disagree with the Peaceful Assembly Bill which is being tabled in Parliament at the moment and I know that many sane Malaysians also disagree with it.
There’s been (and will be) tons of people writing and voicing their thoughts on the matter and here’s my list of top 10 reasons why I disagree with it:
1. The right for people to assemble is the right to freedom of speech and expression. If you limit and restrict that right, then you are denying democracy.
2. Myanmar just passed a law to allow public protests. I repeat — Myanmar just passed a law to allow public protests.
3. Prime Minister Najib Razak says this new law will be “revolutionary.” Sure! It’s as revolutionary as Iran’s Revolutionary Guards!
4. MITI Deputy Minister Mukhriz Mahathir says that street protests portray the country as having bad governance. Great! Bar the protests instead of addressing the bad governance!
5. Aside from the rules that are obviously stated in the Bill, everything else falls under the “discretion” of the police or the home minister. How conveniently ambiguous.
6. The peaceful assembly law is unconstitutional since protests are a form of expression.
7. The Bill disallows anyone under 21 years of age from participating in assemblies. I didn’t know young people had less human rights.
8. The Peaceful Assembly Bill is actually even more restrictive than the current law, which goes against what was promised by the prime minister in September during his Malaysia Day speech.
9. One of the reasons of protests and demonstrations is to create disruption (but peaceful disruption!) in order to bring attention to issues. Disallowing this disruption goes against the principle of protests and demonstrations.
10. As a member of the Malaysian rakyat, I was not asked my opinion about the Bill. Were you?
We, as Malaysians, need to make sure our voice is heard when it comes to this matter because if we don’t, then our voice will be stifled forever by this Bill.