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16 theSun | FRIDAY NOVEMBER 21 2008

speak up!
thesun says

Enough talk, action please Public assemblies: To


THE truth is that investments
were made; the bitter truth is
that some of these were made
without proper studies. The
results have been disastrous
– millions of ringgit have gone
all and sundry that everything
is not so dismal as painted by
the auditors.
It is no secret that many had
put their hands in the many
cookie jars that existed in the
handing over the audit report
to an Oppostion MP alone
does not make the company
transparent. It must set out
the course and methodologies
that will be used to bring the
allow or not to allow?
comment by Mohsin Abdullah
down the drain due to poor company and its subsidiaries, culprits to book. The failed ven- appeared, I followed it up by
management, financial ir- the result of which reflects the tures in overseas restaurants, getting reactions and among
regularities and corruption. But current state of affairs. Instead show promotions and limou- IT’S not new. We’ve been the people I spoke to were
Pempena Sdn Bhd, a company of calling in the experts who sine services are testimony to talking about it for years. But Elizabeth Wong and Ashaari
owned by Malaysian Tourism are armed with the law, in this wrong-doings. It’s time to forget World the Nov 9 fracas in Petaling Sungib. Both are now Yang
Promotion is in dire straits. case, the police, the new Pem- the rhetoric and get into action. Jaya has triggered off a new Berhormat. Wong is now a
An audit by PriceWaterhouse- pena chief seems to be saying Why is Pempena so reluctant shares at round of “war of words ”. Selangor executive councillor
Coopers has painted a gloomy that she would only address to make a police report? Will five-and- Which brings us, once again, and Ashaari is assemblyman
picture of what lies ahead. issues after she assumed of- it reveal bigger names or will half-year to the all important question. for Hulu Klang.
Instead of implementing the fice. Is it implied that we should part of the current mob be “Should public assemblies Wong was then with
recommendations, those at close both eyes to the rape, linked to the massive losses? lows be allowed without police human rights body Suaram
the helm of the company are pillage and plunder carried out Only Pempena’s executive pg 20 permits?” while Ashaari was active in an
directing their time and effort previously? If that is the case, chairman can answer these As it is police permits are Islamic NGO. Both welcomed
and our money to engage in a where is the transparency that questions and she should do hard to come by. More often the proposal although they
public relations exercise to tell Pempena is talking about? By so immediately. than not, organisers of public were not happy with certain
rallies are denied permits. conditions. The designated
They cry foul, citing Article area for assemblies was one.
10 of the Federal Constitution Anyway, Suhakam was
which guarantees the right to supposed to complete the
assemble. So they go ahead proposal the following year for
even without permits. Based on submission to the government.
Article 10, they have a point. The fact that we’re still talking
Hence they “have every right” about public assemblies, it’s
to be angry with the police obvious nothing had happened.
for breaking up assemblies. However, the
Like what
happened on
Nov 9.
But the
police are
saying the
people who
turned up that
Sunday night
were part of an
illegal assembly
and had broken
the law. That
has always
been their
stand on public
assemblies.
The men in
blue are going
by the Police
Act which
stipulates any
grouping of three
people can be deemed
illegal assembly. For it to current Suhakam “lineup”
be “legal” a police permit is have also talked about the
needed. Based on the act the need for a review of the public
police too are right. Meaning assembly issue. I can’t agree
the police and assembly more. Already the rules on
organisers are both right. So public assemblies are giving
who is wrong? the government a “bad name”.
The time has come for the And what is perceived as the
issue to be settled once and police’s “soft approach” against
for all. Even the government- pro government groups as
sponsored human rights compared to others at public
commission Suhakam wants assemblies is not helping the
an end to all this. Eight years government cause.
ago it had recommended that Malaysians are now
public assemblies be allowed “braver” in expressing their
without police permits. grouses openly. And it’s not
In December 2000, I only about big issues like
reported on the proposal for ISA etc. Now we even see
the theSun (see flashback). peaceful “demonstrations” by
Then Suhakam chairman Tun residents against contractors
Musa Hitam (back in 2000 and housing developers for
he was Tan Sri ) was of the not providing ample parking
opinion that “the people have lots, access roads and irregular
the right to hold assemblies garbage collection.
as enshrined in the Federal Incidentally, an anti-ISA
Constitution”. gathering held in Ipoh also
So Suhakam had wanted to on Nov 9 went on peacefully
see peaceful public assemblies without police “intervention”.
“legalised”. The organisers So too was another vigil at
need only inform the police of Petaling Jaya’s Jalan Timur
the gathering without having padang on Nov 16. This
to wait for a permit. However, perhaps could be due to
there were several conditions different interpretations of the
attached to the proposal. The law on public assemblies. All
main ones being assemblies the more reason the matter
must be held in designated should be addressed fast.
areas, within a specific time The time has come to put an
and organisers must place end to the issue once and for
a “bond” as guarantee. The all. The sooner the better.
“bond” as suggested by
Suhakam was a sum which
would be forfeited if public Mohsin Abdullah is editor-in-
property was damaged during chief news and current Affairs
assemblies. ntv7 & 8TV. Comments: letters@
On the day the story thesundaily.com.