Home News Press Statements Press release - Broken promise: Prime Minister has not lived up to Malaysia Day 2011 pledge
|Press release - Broken promise: Prime Minister has not lived up to Malaysia Day 2011 pledge|
|Thursday, 24 November 2011 04:30pm|
The Peaceful Assembly Bill (“Bill”) was tabled in Parliament for its first reading on 22 November 2011, which we believe was the same day that Members of Parliament first received copies of the Bill. It must be noted that advance notice was not given, save for speculation in the media that the Bill would be tabled on 24 November 2011. In addition, the second reading of the Bill began in Parliament today, merely two days after the first reading.
There appears to be unseemly haste in introducing this far-reaching and crucial legislation, without sufficient time for Members of Parliament themselves to review the Bill fully, and without adequate public consultation.
The Bill, in replacing the present legislative provision in section 27 of the Police Act 1967, introduced several controversial and objectionable provisions. For instance:
These restrictive provisions in the Bill effectively render meaningless our constitutional guarantee, by constraining assembly to very limited circumstances. This stands in stark contrast to the words of the Prime Minister in his speech on the eve of Malaysia Day 2011. That speech was widely applauded by the Malaysian Bar, and by Malaysians in general, in their honest belief that there would be real and genuine reforms. The Prime Minister had stated:
The Malaysian Bar recommends that the Bill be referred to a Parliamentary Select Committee, which would engage in a public consultation process consistent with the Prime Minister’s promise of “a Malaysia that practices [sic] a functional and inclusive democracy”.
Further, the Malaysian Bar is now wary as to the form and substance of the two proposed pieces of legislation that will replace the Internal Security Act 1960, given this disappointing experience. We urge the Prime Minister to hold steadfast – with courage and determination – to his laudable Malaysia Day pledges, and fulfil the rakyat’s expectations.
Lim Chee Wee
24 November 2011
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