PM/IGP – heed Nazrin/Musa, respect Constitution and allow peaceful demonstrations

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, all Cabinet Ministers and the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan should give serious heed to the advice by the Raja Muda of Perak, Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah that “the desire to maintain public order should not be an excuse for never allowing peaceful assemblies” as the holding of peaceful demonstrations to voice their grievances is a constitutionally-enshrined right of Malaysian citizens.

In an interview with New Sunday Times series “VOICES 08”, Raja Nazrin said:

“Freedom of expression through peaceful demonstrations is a right people can reasonably expect to enjoy in a democratic society. This right is enshrined in our Constitution.

“So people are acting within their constitutional rights in wanting to voice their grievances by holding peaceful demonstrations.

“The right to live in peace and harmony in a safe environment is also a right people can reasonably expect to enjoy in any well-run society. The government is responsible for public order.

“The right to demonstrate must always be balanced by the need to maintain public order.”

All Malaysians can accept Raja Nazrin’s formulation of the relationship between public order and the people’s constitutional right to peaceful demonstration as part of the fundamental liberties of Malaysians to freedom of expression. They also agree with Raja Nazrin that striking the balance between public freedom and public order is never an easy thing to do and that it is a judgment the authorities have to make on the available information.

The current controversy over peaceful demonstrations lies in the failure of the authorities concerned to observe the important qualification highlighted by Raja Nazrin when he stressed that “the desire to maintain public order should not be used as an excuse for never allowing peaceful assemblies” – as there is now a blanket ban by the police on all peaceful demonstrations in the country for people to express their grievances!

Let 2007, the year celebrating the 50th Merdeka anniversary of independence and freedom for Malaysians, end with a “win-win” scenario with the Prime Minister, Cabinet and the Inspector-General of Police drawing up guidelines for Malaysians to exercise their constitutionally-sanctioned right to hold peaceful demonstrations to voice their grievances while maintaining public order.

Malaysia, which claims to want to join the ranks of the first-world developed nations, has a lot to learn from advanced countries in order to shake off our “third-world mentality” and replace it with a “first-world mindset”.

In London, Paris, Berlin or Washington, peaceful demonstrations are a common occurrence involving thousands, tens of thousands and sometimes hundreds of thousands of people, where the police help to maintain law and order, facilitate crowd control and smoothen traffic flow – unlike in Malaysia where the police will create a gridlock paralyzing traffic and locking down the federal capital if there is a whiff of a peaceful demonstration, however small!

It is time that the government and police listen to sane and rational voices like those of Raja Nazrin and former Deputy Prime Minister, Tun Musa Hitam, who in a New Sunday Times interview a fortnight ago made a powerful case for peaceful assemblies in Malaysia.

Asked whether Malaysia is ready for peaceful assemblies, Musa who was formerly Home Minister and was the first Suhakam Chairman, replied without hesitation: “Yes! Come on, we have been independent for 50 years.”

Musa was clearly in full agreement with Raja Nazrin as the elder ASEAN statesman said:

“The right to peaceful assembly is enshrined in our democratic institution. That right also gives the right to the government to refuse.

“The thing at issue is not that the rights are not there. The rights exist. It is the application of the right and the administration of the right that I am taking issue with.”

This is why it is shocking to see the Education Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, leading a nation-wide campaign to drum up support against peaceful demonstrations and even seeking to poison the minds of teachers and students by subverting the fundamental liberties enshrined in the constitution – especially the right to peaceful demonstration for Malaysians to express their grievances.

  1. #1 by sj on Sunday, 23 December 2007 - 11:58 am

    The problem now is, not whether these 2 dude will listen to Raja Nazrin or not. Is when they dont listen, the situation goes from bad to worse, and who knows what twisted plans are being hatched by these bad people.

  2. #2 by greenacre on Sunday, 23 December 2007 - 12:33 pm

    I am beginning to wonder what this Raja Nazrin is talking about. What is a demonstration in the first place? and why would people go out of their everyday life to go out and demonstrate? It is a gathering to show either approval or protest (webster).

    Even when a child protests at home, he throws tantrums and toys around. A peaceful demonstration it could never be. Unless someone here can state that utopia exists on earth. However a little steam letting is good for the general populace via demonstration, protest or streetwalk.

  3. #3 by cheng on soo on Sunday, 23 December 2007 - 12:44 pm

    Just curious, IF any peaceful demonstration in support of BN will be allowed??
    If what they (U know who) claimed “ini bukan budaya kita” is correct and should stick by it, then independence (if any) will be surely later than 1957, may be it would have been “Malayan Union” as originally planned by Brit.

  4. #4 by shaolin on Sunday, 23 December 2007 - 2:52 pm

    Just cannot believe the 2 dude have such low IQ as
    they cannot comprehend what is stated in the Ordinance
    of the Constitution..??!!

    If they ever suffer from Alzheimer Disease, then they
    better step down as PM and DPM of the country!!

    It is truly a disgrace to Malaysia…!!! Not suitable to hold
    that post and very poor job performance!!

    You do not need Raja Nazreen to tell you what to do
    next, do you…??

  5. #5 by Bigjoe on Sunday, 23 December 2007 - 3:58 pm

    I always wonder how Raja Nazrin feel about his words being twisted in the press which had the headline that appear not to support peaceful demonstration.

    He got some class to keep plugging this despite the spin on they do. But me think, he will not get to become Agung anytime soon. I can see the panic on the PM, Najib, Hissamuddin and KJ if he gets to become Agung and Anwar gets to run in an election.

  6. #6 by ReformMalaysia on Sunday, 23 December 2007 - 4:16 pm



    Article 10. Freedom of speech, assembly and association.

    (1) Subject to Clauses (2), (3) and (4)—

    (a) every citizen has the right to freedom of speech and expression;

    (b) all citizens have the right to assemble peaceably and without arms;

    (c) all citizens have the right to form associations.

    (2) Parliament may by law impose—

    (a) on the rights conferred by paragraph (a) of Clause (1), such restrictions as it deems necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of the Federation or any part thereof, friendly relations with other countries, public order or morality and restrictions designed to protect the privileges of Parliament or of any Legislative Assembly or to provide against contempt of court, defamation, or incitement to any offence;

    (b) on the right conferred by paragraph (b) of Clause (1), such restrictions as it deems necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of the Federation or any part thereof or public order;


    It seems that the Barisan Nasional government ‘permitted’ themselves to breach the federal constitution

  7. #7 by takkan_hilang_india_didunia on Sunday, 23 December 2007 - 11:27 pm

    Now let’s wait Hishamuddin or Pak Lah to say something with reference statement by Raja Nazrin. His statement is very timely as even Dr.Mahathir did not say anything about the rally. I wonder what is Raja Azlan’s take on his son’s statement.
    Finally our monarch is functioning by speaking out against injustice.
    God bless Malaysia.

  8. #8 by patriotic1994 on Sunday, 23 December 2007 - 11:57 pm

    Hello, few days ago I saw in NST that Raja Muda said differently?

    Or NST spin it?

    This is the excerpt from the archive above,

    == begin excerpt ==

    Raja Nazrin urged Malaysians to always think and act rationally within the country’s legal framework thrust upon the Malaysian culture.
    He said the country had achieved many successes and victories through the culture of peaceful negotiations, discussions and co-operation.

    “A culture of resorting to actions that is alien to us must be rejected and should not be allowed to take root in our homeland.

    “My advice is opt for the correct and right path in our efforts to achieve our noble intentions.”

    Raja Nazrin said resorting to violence and defying the law must be avoided as they could undermine the nation’s peace and stability.

    == end excerpt ==

    See the highlighted above. That’s what NST conclude (spin).

  9. #9 by EARNEST on Monday, 24 December 2007 - 3:11 am

    When someone in support of his argument in this blog mentioned what Raja Nazrin said earlier at

    I had replied that Raja Nazrin was entitled to his opinion as much as I am entitled to my own opinion.

    I have been of the opinion that the police should not arbitrarily deny peaceful assemblies, which is against the spirit of the Federal Constitution Article 10 despite clauses on restrictions. This brings into question the legitimacy of any law which violates our constitutional rights, especially section 27 of the Police Act.

    The Power-that-be can make it illegal to hold assemblies without police permit, but they can be wrong in doing so. It takes courageous people to right the wrong. Does it take the eruption of violent protests or bloodbaths due to bottled up frustrations to prove that they are wrong?

    Even pressure cookers are designed with regulators and safety valves.

    Just like during the 17th century Inquisition, the powers-that-be made it illegal to question the belief that the earth was the center of the Universe, even punishing Galileo severely for defying the law. But, they were proven wrong.

    As per New Sunday Times, the latest advice by the Raja Muda of Perak, Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah that “the desire to maintain public order should not be an excuse for never allowing peaceful assemblies as the holding of peaceful demonstrations to voice their grievances is a constitutionally-enshrined right of Malaysian citizens” is sensible.

    The forner Lord President Tun Salleh Abas has said that the police can regulate but not prevent peaceful assemblies.

    The former President of the Bar Council Mr. Yeoh Yang Poh has written an article on our rights to defy bad laws such as Section 27 which violate our constitutional rights.

    The Prime Minister must remember that forcibly preventing peaceful assemblies organized to express grave grievances by arbitrarily denying police permits and using threats of arrest is analogous to risking an explosion of pressure cookers without regulators and safety valves.

    I believe the above vindicated my judgment.

  10. #10 by Jimm on Monday, 24 December 2007 - 10:01 am

    There are far too much damages been done throughout the years of prefecting policies to enrich those powerful and land owners.
    We have sold our futures for something lesser than life itself.
    Now, there are no turning back as no one want to be blamed for the result.
    The game will continue to get to the worst part and then everything will just stop and die in time.
    After all the things finally settled back, new living generations will walk again this path and set for a new voyage.

  11. #11 by sani on Monday, 24 December 2007 - 1:48 pm


    Merry Christmas + Happy New Year to all.

    I had always thought that the present Perak Royal House had been kind to support what is right.

    Like Tun Mahathir + Harris Ibrahim said, we are law abidding citizens, we must obey the law. I like to add,We are democrats, we must debate the law. We are human beings, we must make choices that are wise.

    Look at our law on legal assembly. Any gathering of more than 5 persons in public without a police permit is unlawful. That mean everyone of us is breaking the law one time or the other.

    2 football teams on a field is un lawful without a police permit. 6 friends walking to a shopping mall could be arrested. Any mamak store with more than 5 customers can be shutdown. Well you can go on, days without end to see how un lawful, we Malaysians can be, according to our law.

    This particular law alone is stupid to say the least. It become dangerous when it lead to the ISA.

    ISA is even more crazy. You are assume to be guilty of something but no one has to tell you anything about your crime. Meaning that, they can put you away for 60 days, 2 years, 4 years, 6 years + finally when they like to let you out, again they have to say nothing.

    Just imagine, the above 2 laws are actually against our constitution! So as Tun + Harris Ibrahim said, the freedom to elect is still lawful, make both these laws election issues.

    By the way, if you visit your family + friends this festive season, make sure you only travel in groups of not more than 4, or else you will be breaking the law.

  12. #12 by cancan on Monday, 24 December 2007 - 7:22 pm

    Many of our rights are already enshrined in the constitution.

    It is the Umnoputras that are manipulating it to suit their taste.

    One of the most disturbing part is on religion.
    See how they divide the people by twisting and turning the rule of law
    to to their political benefits.

    The most important lesson to learn from this is,the more they divide us,the more we should stand united as true Malaysians to displace them.

    These Umnoputras are truly evil in nature.

  13. #13 by ktteokt on Wednesday, 26 December 2007 - 11:06 am

    Don’t only talk about democracy, practise it and show the world that MALAYSIA is truly democratic.

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