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No man is above the law

28/03/2015

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Concerned over the ongoing police crackdown against activists and politicians, Gerakan Youth has questioned how the inspector-general of police (IGP) define sedition and rallies.

It is also a case of misplaced priorities as there are many pressing issues that the police needed to deal with urgently, its deputy chief Andy Yong said.

Does the IGP really know the law before an arrest (is made)? Or he prefers to define ‘seditious tendency’ in the Act according to his wishes?” quizzed Yong, who is a lawyer.

Issues such as security of the country and illegal activities are pressing matters that the police should focus on, rather than curb public assembly or honing in on sedition.

In the arrests connected to protests, he said the police deemed these protests illegal because the 10 days’ notice was not given.

“Don’t they know there are several cases decided by the court that Section 9(5) of the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) which requires the organiser to give 10 days’ notice to the police is ultra vires (the constitution),” he asked further.

Yong referred to the Court of Appeal landmark case of Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad vs Public Prosecutor, which stipulates the requisite to give prior notice before an assembly is unlawful.

‘As long as it’s peaceful’

The PAA, Yong said, gives a right for every citizen to assemble, whether notice was given or not.

“To criminalise for not giving notice and penalising the organiser has no nexus to ‘public order’ or ‘interest of the security of the Federation’ unless the assembly was not peaceful.

He reminded the police that as long as the assembly is peaceful, criminalising it is not integral to the purpose of the legislation.

Yong was referring to the spate of arrests of activists and opposition leaders following a rally held in Kuala Lumpur earlier this month, and also the arrests of individuals who posted comments on political or religious matters on twitter.

The lawyer added judicial precedents prove the recent arrests have no strong basis, especially when there were no reports of violence and the gatherings are peaceful.

“Until there actually is a report of violence escalating during the rally, there is no need for the police to enforce the PAA,” he said.

Yong added that Malaysia should emulate countries like Hong Kong or Britain, where the police are there to ensure public order and security, and demonstrators do not resort to violence.

“Hence, ultimately I urge the police to concentrate more on reducing crime instead of being perceived as being used as a political tool,” the Gerakan leader voiced out.

Yong’s statement today echoes the concern made by newly elected Malaysian Bar president, Steven Thiru who reminded the police that they should respect constitutional rights.

Gerakan: Does IGP define rallies, sedition as he wish? – http://m.malaysiakini.com/news/293508

针对最近警方镇压对付活动份子和政治家,民青团署理团长杨锦成质问总警长如何定义煽动和集会。他指出,警方不分事情的重要性,尽管他们还有很多紧迫的课题需要紧急处理。

 

“总警长在还未做出逮捕前,是否真正了解该法令?抑或他更喜欢按照自身的意愿定义‘煽动倾向’?警方应该关注国家安全和非法活动的问题,而不是遏制公众集会或过于关注煽动法令。”杨锦成说。

 

杨锦成指出,警方认为这些抗议活动是非法的,因为主办单位并没有给予10天的提前通知。他表示,难道警方不知道在过往法院判决的几宗案件中,和平集会法的第9(5)条文中的主办单位给予警方10天通知是越权(宪法)的。

 

杨锦成以上诉庭的公正党青年团团长聂纳兹米与检察官案件作为依据,其中规定在集会前给予事先通知是违法的。

 

杨锦成强调,和平集会法赋予所有国民集会的权力,无论有否给予事前通知。他认为,除非该集会不和平,否则因没有事先通知而遭定罪和惩罚主办单位是不正确的,因为这根本与公众秩序或宪法的安全利益毫无关系。他提醒,只要该集会是和平的,那在司法上是不应被定罪的。

 

杨锦成针对月初多名活动份子和反对党领袖在吉隆坡举行的集会遭逮捕,以及在推特发表政治和宗教评论被逮捕的用户发表以上言论。

 

“过往的司法判例证明最近的逮捕行动并没有有力的依据,尤其当中并没有任何暴力事件的投报,因此该集会是和平的。除非在集会有相关的暴力事件升级投报,否则警方不需要强制执行和平集会法。”杨锦成说。

杨锦成指出,马来西亚应效仿香港或英国,警方确保公众秩序和安全,同时示威者也不会诉诸暴力。因此,他呼吁警方专注降低罪案率,而不是被视为政治工具。

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