Please click here to download the draft Peaceful Assembly Bill prepared by Bar Council Malaysia.
The proposed Peaceful Assembly Act 2011 (“the proposed Act’) as drafted by the Bar Council takes significantly different approaches from the Bill drafted by the government.
Among the differences in the policies and principles include the following.
The government’s Bill approaches the right of peaceful assembly from a very limited and restrictive stand point that does not accord with international norms, the current rapid developments around the world on such fundamental rights, as well as the aspirations of the Malaysian people.
On the other hand, the Bar Council’s draft Bill approaches the matter with an understanding of the urgent need to change the mindset of how such matter has been dealt with by the authorities in the past half a century, and the democratic necessity to fulfill the Rakyat’s growing expectations of greater fundamental liberties in line with international practices and developments.
The Bar Council’s draft Bill is intended to promote and facilitiate the freedom of the right of peaceful assembly, whereas the government’s Bill, while providing small improvements in certain limited aspects, continues to constrict the space for freedom of peaceful assembly that the Malaysian people ought to have. Worse still, in some aspects, such as the total prohibition of street protest, the government’s Bill contains conditions or restrictions which are not currently expressly provided for.
The Bar Council’s draft Bill complies with international conventions and norms, whereas the government’s Bill does not. For instance, the government’s Bill prohibits assemblies in motion (processions or street protests) which no other progressive jurisdiction does. The governement’s Bill vests excessive powers and control with the police whilst imposing onerous duties and responsibilities on organisers and participants of public assemblies.
The Bar Council’s draft Bill takes into account the internationally accepted principle that the exercise of the right of peaceful assembly is part of “public order”, whereas the government’s Bill appears to view such exercise of fundamental right as antagonistic to public order.
The government’s Bill continues to retain the unacceptable practice of allowing the police to be its own judge and jury on matters relating to freedom of assembly. On the other hand, the Bar Council’s draft Bill has removed this unacceptable practice, by the creation of an independent Peaceful Assembly Board.
For the full explanatory statement, please refer to pages 16–18 of the Bar Council's draft Peaceful Assembly Bill.