Friday, July 1

Walking against Peaceful Assembly Bill

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KUCHING: Members of the Bar have been called upon to march to object the Peaceful Assembly Bill (Bill) on Nov 29, from the entrance of the Royal Lake Club to Parliament House, to deliver the Bar’s proposed amendments to the Bill to Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong.

In a letter addressed to all its members, the president of Malaysian Bar Council Lim Chee Wee said the ‘Bill’ was far more restrictive which they as lawyers should stand against.

“It is not a piece of legislation which we want future generations to inherit, without us walking, and spending every ounce of our energy to oppose. If the piece of legislation makes it to the statute books, future generations would inherit a nation that is far from modern and progressive.”

The open letter to members posted on Malaysian Bar Council website said that the ‘Bill’ was not in line with international norms because of, amongst others, prohibition of street protests, prohibition of organisation of assembles by persons below of 21 years old, prohibition of participation in peaceful assemblies, unduly onerous responsibilities and restrictions on organisers and assembles and excessive fines for non-compliance of the ‘Bill’.

The bar council felt that the ‘Bill’ fell short to what Malaysians were promised in the Prime Minister’s Malaysia Day message in 2011.

“We must urge the Prime Minister to amend the ‘Bill’ by way of public consultation to ensure that Malaysia will have a legislation in the public interest, which truly upholds, protects and promotes our constitutional right to freedom of assembly,” the open letter added.