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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Police reminded of existing law to prevent clashing rallies

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and the police have been reminded that there are existing legal provisions that can be applied to prevent Bersih 5 and the red-shirts from demonstrating simultaneously.
Section 18 of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 stipulates that the officer in charge of a police district will give an alternative for a counter assembly to be organised at another time, date or place, if the officer finds that the counter assembly will cause conflict.
Human rights lawyer Eric Paulsen said the authorities should not "pretend" that the law does not exist.
"Red-shirts should be ordered to organise (their rally) at another time, date or place," he tweeted last night.
Similarly, former Bar Council president Ambiga Sreenevasan said Najib should be well aware of this provision, since the law was introduced by his administration.
"Since the prime minister is so worried about Saturday, he should direct the police to take action under Section 18 of the Peaceful Assembly Act - the law that he brought in," she wrote in a tweet.
Ambiga was responding to Najib who voiced concern over what appears to be an imminent clash on Saturday.
"If one side wants to protest and the side that wants to protect the government is compelled to come out... but I don’t want any physical clash," said Najib.
Red-shirts are 'hungry'
Bersih plans to hold its rally near Dataran Merdeka on Nov 19, while Sungai Besar Umno division chief Jamal Md Yunos, who leads the red-shirts, has vowed to gather wherever Bersih would be gathering on that same day.
Jamal who heads the anti-Bersih movement, claimed 300,000 people have pledged to rally against Bersih on Nov 19 and had repeatedly threatened violence during the rallies.
"For me, our struggle will continue even if we are bathed in blood," Jamal said at a press conference on Oct 27.
Yesterday, Jamal said he could not guarantee what actions his hungry supporters would take during the Bersih 5 rally.
Meanwhile, Bersih earlier reminded the police the electoral reform group had given the authorities proper notice.
Former Bersih chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan on Nov 9 said they had informed and met with the police to furnish details of their planned rally.
Hindraf livid with 'orange reds'
In a related development, Persatuan Hindraf Malaysia chairperson P Waythamoorthy has decried efforts by a pro-BN splinter group using the Hindu rights movement's battle cry to oppose the Bersih rally.
“The people should not be deceived by Malaysia Makkal Sakthi Party ‘endorsing’ the red-shirts,” Free Malaysia Today reported him saying in a statement.
“It’s (Makkal Sakthi Party) turning up in orange, ‘behind’ the red-shirts, and using our battle cry to oppose Bersih 5.”
Waythamoorthy said Hindraf supports Bersih 5, and is livid at Makkal Sakthi Party for using their trademark 'makkal sakti' (people power) slogan and their traditional orange uniforms, in their support of the anti-Bersih red-shirts.
“We support their (Bersih's) objectives. Indians will never support the racist red-shirts. Hindraf is about ‘urimai’ (‘rights’ in Tamil),” FMT reported him saying.

Waythamoorthy, who spent a stint as a deputy minister in Prime Minister Najib Razak's administration after signing a controversial memorandum of understanding at the cusp of the 13th general election, was concerned that Makkal Sakthi Party is misleading the public by adopting Hindraf's signatures.
Makkal Sakthi Party, which comprises former Hindraf activists led by RS Thanenthiran, is aligned to the BN coalition.
“Makkal Sakthi Party should hold Najib to his ‘nambikkei’ (trust) promises instead of echoing the red-shirts.”- Mkini

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