Free Ambiga, Arul, Anthony Loke and all others detained

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Latest:

  • Ambiga, Arul, Anthony Loke and Dr Hatta have been released by the magistrate
  • 23 youths were slapped with three-day remands
  • Six under-age youths were remanded one day
  • Hisham Rais has just been nabbed (under s143 unlawful assembly) by seven men
  • Rafizi was asked to report to the police station
  • Police are said to be looking for Fariz Musa

Rafizi is the latest to be asked to report at police headquarters. Yes, Rafizi again. And now Hisham Rais has been detained.

So it looks as if they have detained leaders, from civil society, PSM, DAP, PKR and the progressive faction of Pas. These groups had mobilised their supporters to attend the Workers’ Day rally.

These leaders were merely among a crowd of 20000 exercising their universal right to freedom of peaceful assembly at the Workers Day rally yesterday.

I heard Ambiga speaking yesterday at Pasar Seni. She only spoke for a few minutes in her usual clear and persuasive style, urging the crowd not only to reject the GST but to say no to all repressive laws.

So it is ironic that she was arrested for investigation under those laws, apparently s143 of the Penal Code for unlawful assembly.

This was a Workers Day rally. In fact, the entire march from Pasar Seni to KLCC, where speakers addressed the rally participants surrounded by the glitzy icons of capitalism – gleaming steel and glass towers, electronic billboards, upmarket malls – was peaceful, the atmosphere cheerful, the camaraderie infectious.

Someone, allegedly from a so-called ‘anarchist group’, many of them masked or wearing sunglasses so no one knew who they really were, let off some orange smoke near Pasar Seni. People looked a bit curious but one seemed unduly alarmed by their antics, not even the dozen or so uniformed police personnel around.

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I did tell others around me that this would be played up in the media to make it look as if there was some sort of huru-hara.

Along the route, I did not spot any traffic police and it was left to rally participants to deftly guide traffic.

Near the Petronas Twin Towers, the owners of the premises had cordoned off the green area to prevent the crowd from spilling into the area. Security guards patrolled the area to keep out the public.

Someone asked one of the guards if these greens weren’t a public area.

A plainclothes man appeared and told the activist, “You all are gathering here now but the police are filming in the area and after this, there will be arrests.”

When the first arrests were made last night, I couldn’t help thinking about what this man had said.

Have those in the corridors of power not heard what Suhakam said about freedom of assembly – Suhakam, whose members are appointed on the recommendation of the government?

Bear in mind that in many civilised nations all around the world, workers held rallies and marches in the quest to uphold workers’ rights and seek better living conditions.

What is happening in Malaysia now is a far cry from Najib’s vow in 2011 to make Malaysia the world’s best democracy.

Meanwhile, the authorities should tell us the outcome of their investigations into the group of protesters that forced a church in Taman Jaya to remove the cross on their building.

Later, as I stepped into KLCC to hop into an LRT train, I noticed an entirely different crowd – shoppers thronging the mall, many of them oblivious to what was going on outside. Oh, Malaysia!

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16 COMMENTS

  1. Just like in Hong Kong, the opposition who are educated lawyers, doctors etc are exploiting the young who are minor for their political expediency. Is this the way forward. No wonder we have young people who do not have ethic and rule of the law anymore. They are following in the footstep of these politician such as defacto disorderly breaking the gate and barging into a public university, black 505 when they lost the election etc or an MB using uncouth words calling the authorities barua. Is this the democratic right we should be following !!! Definitely NO

    Minister mum on arrest of minors at GST protest
    http://www.malaysiakini.com/

    Syed Ali: Azmin’s ‘barua’ comment incredibly rude
    http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2015/05/05/syed-ali-azmins-barua-comment-incredibly-rude/

  2. Ambiga accepts that the police personnel on the ground who detained her were just doing their job but hit out at their superiors in Bukit Aman as being “faceless cowards”.

    Relating her ordeal of being detained overnight following her participation in the Workers Day rally, the former president of the Malaysian Bar said police on the ground treated her reasonably well and kept saying they were following orders.

  3. On April 16, 1963, or 13 days short of 52 years ago, Dr Martin Luther King wrote the now famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” In that missive, he spelt out the great divide between a just and unjust law, stating that as human beings, we have “not only a legal, but a moral responsibility to obey just laws.”

    The converse, he also said, is true. We have a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.

    This was nothing very new if we have acquainted ourselves with the theories and contending arguments of John Locke and Thomas Hobbes.

    Four months later, Dr King led the March on Washington, delivering the epic “I Have a Dream” speech, calling for equal rights for all human beings of every shape, colour, sex, age, size, and belief.

    As Malaysians, it is for us to decide as a nation where we want to go. Do we proceed on a democratic footing or do we still want to cling to our feudalistic past. Yang does not seem to provide us with an answer with his posting.

  4. Yang is encouraging us all to be “law-abiding”. Even with laws actually designed to hamper and restrict non-violent, popular protest.
    My question: do these laws apply to Perkasa and all the Far Right, race supremacist-cum-fascist groups too? They don’t appear to, not in our 1Malaysia.

    • Yang Menurut Perintah e.g. Yes Sir no matter what to show Setia just like Strawberry Cheek tweeter to Jibbie.

  5. Parti Sosialis Malaysia secretary-general S. Arutchelvan should come to contest in Penang next GE. He can help to resolve heritage Penang’s gentrification matter that MIC’s blueprint launched lasy GE not able to do anything ?

    • MIC must be doing well in Prai as TV3 last nite reported that many Indians left PKR to join BN. Perhaps they are impressed by Sabri Ismail’s ‘promises’?

    • Many Indians at Permatang Pauh are wearing 1Malaysia T-shirts in support of BN. Their votes could be bought with a T-shirt?

      • Anil needs to reach out to Indian community otherwise most of them are easily emotionally swayed by janji janji manis be end.

  6. From the 1960s Labour Party leaders, cadres and activists have been arrested and detained, Malayans and later Malaysians carried on with their lives, oblivious to the great sacrifices that some of these detainees were making for the love of their country.

    These arrests were done almost by clockwork. Arrests and detentions followed general elections, one after the other. No one bothered, the concern not even collective but confined only to those involved and those who knew the detainees. Then, after stomaching so much of this pattern of election, arrest, election, arrest, et. al., the Labour Party folded in the first two years of the 1970s.

    The very public survivor was none other than Dr David Tan Chee Khoon … and he went on to prove the love for the country that impelled most of his Labour Party members.

    Fifty years on, the people now know for sure that something is wrong. And suddenly, the collective concern of the people finds expressions in marches and demonstrations. And how does the powers-that-be react? The same response: arrest, arrest and arrest.

    Arrest and detention is not the only response. It is time to be creative in seeking solutions. It is time for a constructive engagement between all the stakeholders in this country. Unless this is done, I am afraid that the continued arrests and detentions will breach the threshold of tolerance.

    The latest arrest of my friend and former Bar Council president Ambiga Sreenevasan is certainly pushing the envelop I am talking about. God bless my country and all its peoples.

  7. Najib’s vow in 2011? I wonder just how many of the “Janji diTepati” PM’s vows and promises have been honoured, and how many have been broken.

    In my mind, the case sticks out by far is his “Repeal Sedition Act” promise. Uttered three times over three years, no less. Then, months after the last repetition, he broke that promise. And to rub it in, he prefaced it with “The BN government, and Umno, is one that fulfils its promises”.

    So Najib’s 2011 vow on best democracy…

  8. Democracy is not for you to run foul of the law by running the street and disrupting the democratic rights of others.

      • The Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 allows citizens to organise and participate in assemblies peaceably and without arms, subject to restrictions deemed necessary and in the interest of public order and security.

        Organisers must notify the officer in charge of the police district (OCPD) within 10 days before the gathering date.[15] The OCPD will respond to the notification within five days, outlining the restrictions and conditions imposed.[15]

        An organiser may appeal to the Minister of Home Affairs if he/she feels aggrieved by the restrictions and conditions and the minister will respond within two days.[15] Any person convicted of failing to comply with the restrictions and conditions can be fined up to RM10,000.

        The PAA also bans any assembly in the form of STREET PROTEST

        Any person below the age of 21 cannot be an organiser. Any person below the age of 15 cannot participate in an assembly.

        The proposed Act also bars any gathering within 50 m of “prohibited places” such as hospitals, petrol stations, airports, railway stations, places of worship and schools.

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