Peaceful Assembly flip-flop

— Othman Wahab
The Malaysian Insider
Nov 26, 2011

NOV 26 — Saifuddin Abdullah, the deputy minister, I am sure is a nice enough man and by his public statements, seems to have a level head.

But he is clearly mistaken if he thinks we are going to swallow his ridiculous defence of the Najib government inept attempt to pull wool over our eyes with its Peaceful Assembly Act.

Even more disappointing is his defence of the prime minister, saying that the man’s thoughts were not manifested in the Act which was tabled with much fanfare by no one else than the PM himself.

He absolves the PM by saying that the PM cannot be expected to know the small details of legislation and then suggests that PM’s intentions was not followed by whoever drafted the legislation.

This is another example of everything being everyone’s fault except Najib’s. This is becoming a common trait in Malaysian politics. If there is credit to be given, it is the PM. If there is a mistake, it is not the PM.

The problem with Saifuddin’s explanation is that the failure of the Peaceful Assembly Act had nothing to do with minor details.

It had to do with the intent of the government. And plainly, the intent was to do the minimum and hope that the people will be satisfied. The intent was also to ensure that any liberalising would not endanger the hegemony of the government of the day.

When this subterfuge did not work, the Cabinet had little option but to announce it was making some amendments. Tweaking the notice period from 30 days to 10 days does not do anything because still outlawed is street protests ala Bersih 2.0.

But this is the style of the Najib government: they only respond to calls for change when they are challenged by the people or when they are cornered.

With elections around the corner, they can’t afford the Bar Council and other groups taking to the street.

Saifuddin, I also believe that you are letting off Najib too easily. After all, wasn’t he who said that this Act was “revolutionary”. Surely he would have gone through the legislation before trumpeting it as revolutionary and knocking the Opposition for pointing out its weaknesses.

Or was that an impostor in Parliament?

  1. #1 by bruno on Sunday, 27 November 2011 - 2:27 am

    This is a pot calling the kettle black.

  2. #2 by monsterball on Sunday, 27 November 2011 - 2:33 am

    Next to the blunder Najib did.
    This Bill will bury him alive.
    His stooge like Saifuddin Abdullah can spin as much as he likes.
    Why not talk less at let the 13th GE begins?
    Why all these mumbo jumbos?

  3. #3 by boh-liao on Sunday, 27 November 2011 - 4:21 am

    NR n UmnoB KNOW dat it’s OK 1, no harm done 1, cos most Malays (feeling INSECURE if they don’t vote 4 UmnoB) n many nonMalays WILL CONTINUE 2 support UmnoB/BN what, despite incompetency, cronyism, nepotism, scandals, COWgate, arrogance, self-serving, corruption, ostentatious displays of ill-gotten wealth

    Watch out 4 next week’s UmnoB’s displays of power ahead of d soon-2-b-held GE
    Utusan M n all msm will go 2 town abt UmnoB’s invaluable service 2 M’sia

  4. #4 by k1980 on Sunday, 27 November 2011 - 4:44 am

    First Saifool Bookhalee, now Saifuddin Abdullah… looks like the sodding of the rakyat will never end

  5. #5 by k1980 on Sunday, 27 November 2011 - 4:46 am

    Najib said that this Peaceful Assembly Act was “revolutionary”.

    No, the coup d’etat of the Perak State Assembly by umno is even more “revolutionary”

  6. #6 by k1980 on Sunday, 27 November 2011 - 7:15 am

    The Bill outlaws all street protests, forces the organisers to give one month’s notice to the police, regulates, restricts and imposes conditions on an assembly and prohibits anyone under the age of 15 from taking part.

    Furthermore, protesters can be slapped with a RM20,000 fine while organisers who fail to give sufficient notice can be fined RM10,000. This is sheer madness.

    But it also clearly reflects the political game-plan of Najib’s government.

    It outlines their fear of losing power in the next general election. It caricatures a desperate government which would clamp down on civil liberties to hold on to power.

  7. #7 by Comrade on Sunday, 27 November 2011 - 7:49 am

    When a bad regime does not listen
    Peaceful assembly and protest
    Will democratically be the last option
    To voice out concerns in the public interest

    Peaceful street protest is our constitutional right
    It should not be abused or taken away
    Umno/BN’s self-reform is nowhere in sight
    They must be kicked out come the polling day

  8. #8 by waterfrontcoolie on Sunday, 27 November 2011 - 7:54 am

    After the end of Marcos in the Phillipine, a veteran American reporter listed 25 big land-owner families over there, who should never be permitted to run for political officeas they all have the same agenda under different slogans. likewise after the last 30 plus years of wantonness and misrule, a list should be made for the local scenario. Of course the public can easily make up the list!

  9. #9 by Bigjoe on Sunday, 27 November 2011 - 8:01 am

    If Najib is not removed before this illegal assembly bill is passed we are heading towards the biggest Bersih yet and if PAS and PKR gets it right, we have our own Arab Spring. That is a given.

    The degeneration of UMNO/BN genetics is now apparent. The real question really how could it be that things in UMNO/BN could have become so bad? It started basically with the lie of May 13, then myth of Ketuanan and Malay ‘right’, then NEP extension and then broken judiciary and constitution.

    However, a lexicon beyond returned was crossed really when Mahathir said one innocous line – when foreign countries says Malaysian govt is corrupted, Mahathir’s reply was ‘corruption is everywhere even in developed countries’. Mahathir failed to point out that maybe the Malays can’t afford it (corruption) like others or another way, THEY NEED IT BETTER THAN MOST and yet they are worst off than most.

    If the Malays need help economically, then it stands to reason that they NEED a better cleaner govt more than others, not one that is worst and more corrupted.

    This bill more screams out the unsalvageable situation of UMNO/BN – its not enough to be marginal better than before, UMNO/BN have to BETTER – better than the PAP in Singapore, better than the LDP in Tokyo and better than the British in Hong Kong, If by now, they can’t compete, then its the hope of the Malays for catching up lies better with THEMSELVES than with any political party..

  10. #10 by monsterball on Sunday, 27 November 2011 - 8:19 am

    Once their surveys show they will loose more votes concerning the Bill…they will be so call..
    “moderates” and give way to Malaysians demands.
    So far…the 30 days is now reduced to 10 days noticed needed.
    Yes..”1 Malaysia” is moderate. A “Malaysian Malaysia” is extreme…so said Dr.Chandra.
    Muhyiddin presented to him….a sealed box…size of a shoe box….photo at Star paper today.
    Perhaps box filled with money?

  11. #11 by monsterball on Sunday, 27 November 2011 - 8:29 am

    Dr. Chandra ….a one time….respected freedom fighter have become UMNO b mouthpiece for the past 10 year or more.
    This man has no principles in life.

  12. #12 by yhsiew on Sunday, 27 November 2011 - 8:49 am

    ///Barisan Nasional’s (BN) Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah defended today the Najib Cabinet’s decision to amend the controversial Peaceful Assembly Bill, saying it showed the government is working towards real democratic reform.///

    Saifuddin Abdullah should stop insulting the rakyat’s intelligence. Had the government committed to real reform, it would have given the rakyat more freedom of assembly in the first place and amendments to the Bill are not necessary at all.

    I want to ask Saifuddin Abdullah one question: Did the Myanmar government flip-flop in its Protest Bill?

  13. #13 by sotong on Sunday, 27 November 2011 - 9:01 am

    Our great institutions had been crippled to eliminate threats….people are “educated” and made ignorant.

  14. #14 by monsterball on Sunday, 27 November 2011 - 9:08 am

    You keep hearing the twisters say UMNO b is not a racists party…yet they keep on protecting one race and apply ….so call..moderation to other races…which makes a Malaysia Malaysia….an extreme concept…not practical to Malaysia.
    You keep listening to their logic…you can go crazy.
    What they really want… to divide and rule…no unity at all.
    Just treat them as liars and flip floppers..and you will stay normal.

  15. #15 by Cinapek on Sunday, 27 November 2011 - 9:39 am

    “..He absolves the PM by saying that the PM cannot be expected to know the small details of legislation..” said Saifuddin,

    There could be an element of truth in this. Or it is a combination of typical sheer laziness and too busy gallivanting all over the globe in his luxury plane and spending insufficient time thinking through critical issues leaving these matters to those bigots with their “ketuanan” mentality?

    I have a sneaky suspicion Najib did not even think clearly what he was saying when he claimed the Bill was “revolutionary”. He just love the sound of these big buzz words and especially when he is mouthing them himself for his “shiok sendiri” feeling.

    Clearly those who drafted this Bill had evil intentions. Najib is equally culpable and cannot deny responsibility as the ultimate responsibility is his. This is taking responsibility and accountability. But I suppose this concept is too alien to UMNO.

  16. #16 by dagen on Sunday, 27 November 2011 - 10:23 am

    The hard fact in reality is this: Everything is your fault jib. Dont shift the blame to someone else. Worse to some unnamed person. You may delegate your duties to your ministers who then delegate parts of that duties to their subordinates it does not matter much for in terms of responsibility, the finger would back track and it will eventually point at you, jib. That is how responsibility works. Not the way samy said about the elevated highway cracking problems. He blamed it on some unknown and poorly skilled (wot?) foreign workers.

    Jib, you are finished. Finito! Understand. The guys you idiots sent on a time travel into the future told me that your strongest supporter cintanegara was begging for rambutan in the year 2040. Know what that means? Umno finito. Gone. Sank to the bottom of the ocean.

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