Police ‘no’ to Bersih rally


KOTA KINABALU: Police have given a ‘no-go’ for the Bersih 4.0 rally in Kota Kinabalu on grounds that the local authority did not issue a permit to allow the event to take place at the Likas Bay public park.

Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman said yesterday that despite having received a notification from the rally organisers on August 19, police failed to process the notice as it was “incomplete” as there was no letter of approval from the Kota Kinabalu City Hall to use the public place.

“Under Section 10 of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012, approval by the venue’s owner is required and is to be attached with the assembly notification to police.

“In short, Bersih 4 Sabah is not an approved assembly as it does not comply with what had been outlined under the Peaceful Assembly Act,” said Jalaluddin at a press conference here yesterday, adding that the rally organisers had been informed of the matter.

Jalaluddin gave a stern warning to the public not to participate in the rally which he described as illegal and detrimental to the State’s peace and order, despite the organisers’ continuous attempt to assure the authorities otherwise.

He said that action could be taken against those who organise or take part in the rally according to the laws stipulated under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012, including Section 9 (5) for rally notification and Section 4 (2) (c), and can be fined up to RM10,000.

The police commissioner also disclosed that a police report against the rally had been lodged and an investigation paper had been opened under Section 124C of the Penal Code for “attempting to organise an activity that is detrimental to parliamentary democracy.”

He said that the Kota Kinabalu police force were now fully prepared to stop the rally from taking place at the Likas Bay public park, as well as at other possible venues that police had identified.

“All elements will be on standby to face any possibilities pertaining to the rally, and a few approaches will be used to stop the rally from happening including road-blocks, ‘peace-keeping’ element as well as traffic enforcement.”

“We advised the public not to take part in the rally because it is against the law, and to avoid any untoward incidents,” he added.

On Saturday, Bersih Sabah chairperson Jannie Lasimbang said that they were in the midst of trying to meet with Mayor Datuk Abidin Madingkir following response from the police.

“Bersih Sabah thank the police for its cooperation and we appeal to the Mayor to allow the public to use Likas Bay public park as one of the last remaining public facilities in Kota Kinabalu,” said Jannie in a statement.

Bersih Sabah announced the Pesta Demokrasi 24Jam Bersih 4 Kota Kinabalu on August 12, which will be an overnight rally starting from 2pm on August 29 to 2pm the following day.

The Bersih 4 rally will be Bersih Sabah’s first attempt to hold an overnight rally, with previous attempts at organising a peaceful assembly such as the Himpunan May Day being hampered by the authorities, including obtaining a court ban to halt organisers from using a number of public spaces to have the rally.