Assembly Bill's clarification doesn't hold water

Modified 29 Nov 2011, 1:28 am

YOURSAY 'Assemblies in designated areas are for BN and its cohorts, assemblies in non-designated areas are for the rest of us.'

PM clarifies 'confusion' over peaceful assembly act

your say TKC: It is imperative that the designated areas be debated vigorously in Parliament before the passage of the bill. The designated areas should be defined clearly and unambiguously, and it should only grow - not shrink - over the course of time.

If the designated areas are not clearly defined - or worse, if it is left to the discretion of the Home Ministry - it is almost guaranteed that the police will shrink or ‘un-designate' the designated areas whenever any party that is deemed to an ‘enemy' to the government of the day decides to hold a peaceful assembly to protest against an injustice.

Changeagent: While PM Najib Razak has been extremely vague in defining the designated assembly areas, he has also been very clear-cut in listing the 12 categories of ‘prohibited places' where gatherings are banned within a 50-metre radius.

These include (1) dams, reservoirs, water catchment areas, (2) water treatment plants, (3) electricity generating stations, (4) petrol stations, (5) hospitals, (6) fire stations, (7) airports, (8) train stations, (9) land public transport terminals, (10) ports, canals, docks, wharves, piers, bridges, marinas, (11) all places of worship, (12) kindergartens and schools (Tommy Thomas, ' Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011: unconstitutional and undemocratic ').

This effectively reduces planet Mars and the moon as two of the more plausible options where Malaysians can go to hold peaceful assemblies without any fear of harassment.

Lone_star: Stop the ‘double talk'. Where in the proposed bill in which the two categories of assemblies are mentioned? Assemblies in motion are the right of the rakyat. Just withdraw the bill.

Beth Yahp: This means you can have a cowhead protest, no problem, but forget about anything Bersih.

Hmmmmmm: Assemblies in designated areas are for BN and cohorts, non-designated areas are for the rest.

Lim Chong Leong: Sorry Mr PM, your explanation falls short of any common sense.

My reasoning is I do not need to report to anyone or obtain their consent to meet with anyone anywhere in public to voice my opinion on any subject, provided I am not violent or threatening.

If I am violent or if I threaten anyone, there are existing laws against such actions. The point is I am free. Any law curbing this freedom or granting the government the power to curb this freedom turns this country into a police state.

If you as PM do not understand this fundamental piece of constitutional law, then you are unfit to be PM. Please resign.

Open Minded: When a Bill or Act comes with a lot of political and legal jargon, it does give a lot of room for suspicion and dubious intentions. It may even seen as tightening the reigns of controls and the public's right to peaceful assemblies.

Make it clear cut with no hidden motive and the public will accept it in good faith. Look at 1Malaysia - it came with a big bang and slowly the signs of just another ambitious and political sly move came to the surface, and now it is fizzling out and meeting an imminent demise.

PM, sad to say, you have yet to show any sincerity in any of your moves to bring about a better communal and religious relationship that is paramount to the survival of this country.

Malaysian Born: The bill is indicative of very poor drafting skills and a clear inability to understand the extent of the change of sentiment on the ground.

Forget about Arab Spring, just take Bersih - the authorities must realise that it was the sentiment of the people that made it happen and once invoked it is not a movement you can restrict like walking kindergarten students across the street.

The people are taking greater ownership of the direction of the country and intend to hold their elected representatives to a higher level of scrutiny. Their voice must be heard.

There is no confusion here, the government is worried that they won't survive a popular movement.

Free & Fair Election: Why should there be designated and non-designated places to gather?

Malaysia is my country and I can go wherever I please, say what I like and voice my approval or disagreement anywhere or anytime I like.

Why should the government try to tell me where I can and cannot go, tell me what I can and cannot do?

There are laws to curb wrongdoing but don't you Umno goons try to make laws to curb our freedom and tell us otherwise.

Dhammika: Najib, you don't have to designate a place for peaceful gathering. The rakyat are not kids. They have their constitutional right to assemble any place they choose. Why must they be restricted?

Rubystar_4037: Dear PM, you can clarify and talk until all cows of Shahrizat Abdul Jalil come home and we, the rakyat, will not buy it.

You have been backpedalling and going back on your words once too often. There is nothing sincere from you.

And please rein in your DPM, he is worse.

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