Stand up for your right to assemble: Join the protest at KLCC on Sat 2pm

Written by Melissa Lee, Malaysia Chronicle

A new movement has sprung up to oppose Prime Minister Najib Razak's repressive Peaceful Assembly Bill. The movement called Freedom of Assembly Campaign kicked off with its first protest outside Parliament on Thursday.

Calling on all Malaysians to stand up for their rights, the FAC will hold a second protest at KLCC around 2pm on Saturday. It will also hold a candlelight vigil at the Dataran Merdeka on the same day at 8pm, while a public forum is being organized for November 29 at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall.

Malaysian diaspora in Perth, Tasmania, London and Hong Kong are also organizing sister campaigns.

“You dont have to bring any placard or banner. Let's show the police how we can demonstrate anytime anywhere with the simplest preparation - we will just wear yellow," FAC coordinator Wong Chin Huat told reporters on Thursday.

A good turnout is expected at the KLCC, where concerned citizens will walk together through the KLCC park. “If you want to make your message clearer, bring a Malaysian flag. The flag represents our freedom.”

Reneged on his words

The FAC, also known by its Malay acronym of KKB or Kempen Kebebasan Berhimpun, is made up of civil society groups and NGOs, many of which were also members of the Bersih 2.0 rally for free and fair elections.

In September, in a bid to remake his image after he was condemned far and wide for ordering a severe police crackdown on the July 9 Bersih rally, Prime Minister Najib Razazk had announced he would repeal the Internal Security Act and 3 other Emergency laws plus give further freedom to the people to assemble peacefully to express their views on whatever issue perturbed them.

However, less than 2 months have passed and his harshest critics seem to have been proven right. Najib has reneged on his fine words. Last week, he locked up 13 people under the ISA for purportedly being very 'dangerous men'. He then submitted a Peaceful Assembly Bil for first reading at Parliament.

The new Bill turned out to contain a slew of much harsher terms and conditions, practically killing off any peaceful assembly by the people with its prohibitive clauses and handing over excessive powers to the police.

“We just need the police to maintain order and direct traffic. Demonstrators should inform the police for mere purpose of coordination, not for permission," said Chin Huat.

“We will stand and walk in the park, breathing free air. Yes, freedom is really about being where you want to be. It's so simple. Be ourselves and we will already be demonstrating."

Malaysia Chronicle

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