Friday, August 21, 2015

Suhakam: No such thing as 'illegal assembly' now

In light of the upcoming Bersih rally, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) today emphasised that peaceful public assemblies cannot be banned.

This follows the repeal of Section 27 of the Police Act 1967, following which the concept of illegal assembly no longer exists, it said.

“As such, an assembly is to be considered peaceful if its organisers have clarified that its intentions are peaceful and have duly conveyed them to the authorities,” said Suhakam chairperson Hasmy Agam in a statement.

Suhakam’s reminder comes after Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed said police were right to ban the Bersih 4 rally scheduled for Aug 29 and 30.

“Consequently, the authorities not only have an obligation to protect peaceful assemblies, but should also take measures to facilitate them, and to comply with the many international human rights standards on freedom of assembly as this right is protected constitutionally in Article 10 of our Federal Constitution.”

Hasmy (photo) stressed that the police must not prevent, hinder, or restrict a peaceful assembly, except to the extent allowed by the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 (PAA).