The police have a tendency to be biased in handling protests but the Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011 does not prohibit this, warns Lim Guan Eng (Bagan – DAP) in the Dewan Rakyat today.
“Records shows that the police side BN and are against Pakatan Rakyat, (and) this does not inspire public confidence,” he said, during the debate on the Bill shortly before it was passed.
Lim (left) said the police have allowed several “aggressive” rallies by BN or pro-BN groups while pro-Pakatan Rakyat or anti-BN assemblies were treated “aggressively” by the police.
He cites the police actions against the Bersih 2.0 rally, despite the fact that was peaceful, as an example of police aggression.
“Compare this with the ‘aggressive’ rally by Umno at Komtar and in the middle of the Penang bridge on July 1, which was attended by Senator Mohd Ezam Mohd Noor,” he said.
Lim, who is also the Penang chief minister, said demonstrations take place almost every week in his state and the rights of the pro-BN group to gather peacefully should be respected.
Police escorting mat rempit?
However, he said the police must take swift action against those who act aggressively or issues threats such as sending a coffin to his office.
“Which country allows the mat rempit to demonstrate to the point where they will be escorted by the police to demonstrate by calling me a racist for not providing a racing track?
“If BN controlled states, should the mat rempit try to demonstrate (in a similar manner) they would be arrested by the police immediately,” he said.
Lim also pointed out that the Bill seeks to empower the police to decide on the date, time, duration, venue, conduct or any other matters deemed necessary on any assembly.
Thus, the Bill provides the police were more powers to regulate assemblies than current laws, said Lim.
“In reality, the Bill is an attempt to increase the number of constrains and restrictions on the rights of the people to assembly peacefully,” he said. – Mkini