“Time for cops to familiarise themselves with Peaceful Assembly Act,” says ex-MP

A FORMER PKR lawmaker has told the Home Ministry and Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Razarudin Husain to educate the police that permits are no longer needed for rallies.

According to former Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah, under the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) which was enacted 12 years ago, organisers are only required to notify the officer in charge of the relevant police district about an intended assembly.

“The police have no authority under the PAA to refuse the assembly. It must be stressed that the need for a ‘police permit’ is no longer applicable under the PAA,” the former Bersih chairman said in a statement yesterday (March 3).

“It is time the police familiarise themselves with the Act.”

She was responding to news that police had refused four times to accept a notice for the Women’s March Malaysia (WMMY) 2024 to be held in Kuala Lumpur this weekend.

WMMY organises marches annually to commemorate International Women’s Day, which falls on March 8, and to advocate gender rights. This year’s march is set for this Saturday, March 9, near the Sogo shopping complex.

The organisers said they will attempt to submit another notice to the police today at the Dang Wangi district police headquarters (IPD).

Maria, who had led two iconic Bersih rallies in the past, said the police’s refusal to accept the notice is unacceptable.

Since the PAA was introduced, police have continued to maintain that police “permits” need to be issued before allowing protests.

Freedom to assemble is enshrined under Article 10 of the Federal Constitution.

“The Home Ministry and the IGP must correct the police and ensure that citizens are able to exercise their rights and freedoms,” she stressed.

“Further, I strongly recommend that police be trained again in dealing with assemblies as well as have a much more complete understanding of what human rights means in a democratic society.” – March 4, 2024


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