Ahad, September 09, 2012


Protests good for govt, says UN expert

A UN Special Rapporteur, Maina Kiai, says that the Malaysian government must realise that public assemblies are good for all parties.

KUALA LUMPUR September 8, 2012: Public assemblies are beneficial to the government as they would allow the administration to know how the people feel, said United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association, Maina Kiai.

Speaking at a forum here today, Kiai, from Kenya, said that attempts to clamp down on people’s right to express may pose “risk of having uncivilised forms of dialogues” instead.

“Civilised dialogue is when you say something, I listen to you; we have an exchange, which leads to a positive that serves the greater good. Uncivilised [dialogue] is the opposite,”

he later explained after the forum about the right to assemble.

Kiai said that protests, regardless of whether they favoured the government stand or not, should not only be tolerated but encouraged.

“Counter-protests are well accepted. Like if you felt something against what Bersih is doing, then by all means, please go ahead and protest. We want to encourage that,” he said.

However, he cautioned that counter-protests should not be held on the same day as it could potentially lead to problems such as clashes.

He said that a worrying trend currently occurring was that the state would tend to make certain individuals (organisers) responsible for the things that might have gone wrong in a rally.

“The state exists to protect all people, regardless of whether it is the people it doesn’t like. You can’t transfer that responsibility to others,” he said, adding that he would be more than happy to personally provide technical training to the local police on ways to facilitate assemblies.

Kiai, who repeatedly stressed that assemblies should be facilitated rather than controlled, cited examples in other countries where the police actually led a street protest, and in some instances, even deployed outriders in a front of a protesting group.

“The challenge for the state is to treat controversial gatherings the same way it would treat gatherings such as for breast cancer or [something less sensitive],” he said.

Kiai also said that civil servants and employees of corporations should be encouraged to go out and protest.

A fundamental right

“The same way where a civil servant can vote, a civil servant can also protest. It is a fundamental right. They can, and they should. They shouldn’t be punished for it. Corporations should also be encouraged [to ask their employees to participate], and not be victimised for it,” he said.

Jointly organised by Bar Council and Suaram, the forum was entitled “Right to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association: International Standards and Good Practices”.

Also at the forum as panellists were criminal lawyer Baljit Singh Sidhu, Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) secretary-general and veteran activist S Arutchelvan, and Suhakam commissioner Muhammad Sha’ani Abdullah. Bar Council human rights committee co-chair Andrew Khoo moderated.

Baljit criticised the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012, which he said was bulldozed through by the government in Parliament. “It looks beautiful from afar, but it is far from beautiful,” he said after dissecting the sections that “didn’t make sense”.

“Assemblies are needed, because just like a pressure cooker, we need holes or channels for us to let out,” he said.

He said that the government currently treated “human rights” as a term akin to a “problem, disease, or issue”.

“I feel that everybody, from the ministers to members of parliament to lawyers should go through a course on human rights and what it means,” he said.

Teoh El Sen

20 ulasan:

  1. the Sabah Women & Children Hospital’s Radiotherapy & Nuclear Medical Centre costing more than RM264 million, should have been completed early this year.

  2. Apa yang buruk itu patut diperbaiki dan yang baik untuk patut diteruskan,.

  3. Ini menampakkan apa yang patut diperbaiki. Tapi kalau perhimpunan yang didalangi oleh pembangkang rasanya itu bukan satu perkara yang baik.

  4. ada perhimpunan yang baik dan ada juga perhimpunan yang tidak baik.. bagi situasi negara ini, pembangkang sekadar mengambil kesempatan dengan mengadakan perhimpunan untuk kepentingan parti politik mereka, bukan untuk rakyat..

    1. buat perhimpunan pun jgnlah sampai mengganggu ketenteraman awam.

  5. bila sampai tahap menghasut rakyat untuk bertempur dengan pihak polis, adakah ianya dikatakan baik untuk negara?? bila perhimpunan itu sengaja di lancarkan di negara2 luar, adakah ianya baik untuk negara?

  6. The government is committed to preserving a society that is civil, values democracy and respects law and order, said Science, Technology & Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili.

  7. The Kota Marudu MP said that democracy did not mean the society could disregard the law and let lawlessness rule.

  8. He said the government regretted the untoward incidences of violence and unruliness during the Bersih 3.0 gathering in the national capital, especially when the organisers had called the planned gathering a peaceful one.

  9. He reiterated the Prime Minister’s view that certain quarters had used the gathering to further their own agenda of toppling the democratically-elected government by inciting violence and forcing the illegal occupation of Dataran Merdeka.

  10. The government cannot compromise on peace and rule of law otherwise the government is just as guilty as those who decided to turn the gathering into an untoward incident by defying a court order.

  11. Everybody wants fair elections, the government wants it. So the government initiated the setting up of a parliamentary select committee (PSC) on electoral reform to undertake measures for reformation.


  12. Dr Maximus said PSC members had worked hard for six months to deliberate and gather public views before coming up with 22 recommendations to be undertaken by the relevant parties including the Election Commission.

  13. The PSC, he pointed out, also comprised three Opposition representatives – from DAP, PKR and Pas – who worked hand-in-hand with other Barisan Nasional PSC members to thrash out their concerns and thoughts and come up with the measures.

  14. So it smacks of political agenda when they decided to act like they did not agree with the PSC’s final report and demanded to table their own minority report.

  15. But what is not want is people instigating the public to commit offences towards achieving their own political agenda under the guise of a good cause.

  16. Furthermore, PKR, DAP and Pas proceeded to join the rally which is undermining the PSC’s effort and directly this means rejecting their own views and proposals.

  17. Dr Maximus hoped Malaysians as well as Sabahans would think with rationality and cool heads instead of being influenced by the action of those who blatantly breached the court order, break down the barricades at Dataran Merdeka and created a ruckus.

  18. He also urged the police to take stern action against those who breached the law and committed contempt of court including the organisers.

  19. This incident has put a lot of questions about the intentions of the rally. Those responsible should not absolve themselves of responsibility and blame the police who were only doing their job.