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Bersihkan Malaysia Perth are gravely concerned with the latest
move by the Government of Malaysia to introduce further
legislation by way of the Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011 (PAB2011)
that seems to further curtail the already limited civil liberties of the citizens of Malaysia. The
right to assemble peaceably and without arms is already enshrined in Article 10 of the
Constitution with Parliament's power to restrict the exercise of that right being confined to
instances of safeguarding the security of the nation, international relations, public order or
morality, privileges of Parliament or to prevent contempt of court or the incitement of an
offence.

The restriction which the PAB2011 proposes to impose on the right to publicly assemble
appears to be more draconian than the existing legal requirement of seeking a police
permit. Under the proposed bill you may not need a permit but the police have to be given a
lengthy notice period and are then empowered to arbitrarily impose conditions on every
aspect of the intended assembly including where, when and what can or cannot be said. Ìn
effect it seems that the police are empowered to control every aspect of the assembly so as
to render the purpose of any assembly ineffectual. Judging by the biasness displayed thus
far by Polis DiRaja Malaysia (PDRM) in how they treat public demonstrations by groups
from different political persuasions there is a real cause for concern that this proposed Bill
will give the police a free hand to legitimately discriminate against groups protesting against
any issue which the current ruling party considers contrary to their interest.

One of the most outrageous proposals the Bill contains though is the outright banning of
street protest. Not only does this appear to be outside the scope of power of Parliament to
restrict the right to assemble, it also appears to be a step back from the current position
where at least the right exist, subject to the police permitting it. The definition of what
constitutes an assembly has also been extended to include indoor gatherings. Ìs this aimed
at curtailing the activities of civil groups conducted behind closed doors?

Bersihkan Malaysia Perth takes the view that not only is the constitutionality of the
proposed PAB2011 questionable but it also runs contrary to the promises made by Prime
Minister Najib to introduce reforms to make Malaysia the "best democracy in the world¨. Ìf
these are the reforms the Prime Minister has in mind, one has to wonder whether the Prime
Minister has the slightest notion of what democracy means. On our part Bersihkan Malaysia
Perth pledges to raise awareness of the proposed legislation amongst the political and civil
liberties community in Perth to bring pressure to bear on the Government of Malaysia
through its local representative, the Office of the Consulate General of Malaysia to withdraw
this proposed legislation and to KÌLL THÌS BÌLL.

Bersihkan Malaysia Perth www.facebook.com/groups/bersihkan.malaysia/
ov 28, 2011