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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Assembly Bill puts 'another dent' in PM's image

Amanah, a pressure group that includes several BN personalities, has described the Peaceful Assembly Bill as having damaged the reputation of premier Najib Abdul Razak.

NONE"It is sad to see yet another mistake damaging Najib's image as a tranformational prime minister," said Amanah vice-president Wan Saiful Wan Jan.

Najib should have engaged constructively with the Bar Council and examined its proposed alternative Bill, he said.

Wan Saiful, however, lambasted Pakatan Rakyat for walking out of yesterday’s debate on the Bill after only three of its MPs were allowed to speak.

"They should have stayed and voted. By walking out, they have merely created an unnecessary distraction from the real issue," he said.

The Bill was passed yesterday after less than four hours of debate by six MPs.

azlanBar Council president Lim Chee Wee called on the government and Dewan Negara to stop the hasty passage of the Bill, since it deals with constitutional rights.

Expressing his disappointment that the council'sprotest yesterday morning had gone unheeded, he said: "The Malaysian Bar will not give up hope in its struggle to convince the prime minister to make good his Malaysia Day pledge.

“We urge him not be influenced by other who do not share his aspirations or (those of) the rakyat. We will continue to speak up. We will continue to engage. And we will continue with the struggle.”

Lim also raised the possibility of challenging the constitutionality of the Bill in court.

Warning for government

Political scientist Wong Chin Huat said Najib should expect more protests while the Bill awaits passage in the Dewan Negara, which convenes next Wednesday.

NONEWong pointed to a precedent in 1981 when then Prime Minister Hussein Onn - and later his successor Dr Mahathir Mohamad - had attempted to amend the Societies Act.

Certain provisions were dropped after months of intense lobbying by a coalition of groups.

"Najib needs to ask whether he is stronger than Mahathir was 30 years ago. We Malaysians have to ask whether we are weaker than our parents’ generation 30 years ago.

“I don't think so. We're going to fight on. It is just matter of time before the little streams of anger join forces and become a river that might sweep the government away.”

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