Lawyers march against Assembly Bill

November 29, 2011

More than 1000 lawyers took to the streets to oppose the Peaceful Assembly Bill.

KUALA LUMPUR: More than 400 members of the Bar Council marched to the Dewan Rakyat today to protest the proposed the Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011.

Led by their president Lim Chee Wee, they asked MPs not to pass the controversial Bill, claiming that it would curtail the right to peaceful assembly.

Lim said that Malaysia was founded on public demonstrations, citing founding father Onn Jaafar’s leading of the Malayan Union against the British.

He also pleaded to the MPs not to rid Malaysians the right to assemble peacefully “with the stroke of a pen”.”Our country was founded on a procession… it is deep in the history of Malaysia,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby here.

Lim said this after marching with the Bar Council members from the Lake Gardens to the gates of the Parliament at about 12.15pm.

They were stopped from proceeding further by the police. However, a group of 10 lawyers, including Lim, were allowed in.

The 10 later presented an open letter to the MPs and the Bar’s drafted alternative to the Bill to Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Liew Vui Keong.

Counter protest

Earlier, while addressing the protest participants at Lake Gardens, Lim said: “The version that we were consulted on and the one that are debated are completely different.”

“The bill is contrary to international norms and antagonistic to public order,” he said.

He also said he met Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai, Deputy Education Minister Wee Ka Siong as well as the BN Backbenchers’ Club president earlier today at 9am.

Former Bar Council president Yeo Yang Poh also spoke to the crowd. He said he drafted Bar Council’s alternative assembly bill within three days.

“We cannot be treated like cattle. Do you want our children to be treated as cattle?” he asked.

Protest participants gathered at the entrance of the Lake Gardens at 11.30am and started marching towards the Parliament by 12.30pm.

There was also a counter-protest at Parliament, made up of about 50 Pekida and Pertubuhan Putra Malaysia members.

There were about 60-70 police personnel observing the protests.

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