Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011 (Amended) Passed

Today the above bill was passed by Barisan MPs only (all Opposition MPs walked out) in the face of protests by the Bar Council. Report HERE.

In hindsight we all will look back to today as one when we lost our freedom to gather publicly to display our disapproval to the various aspects of our livelihood. Yes, we can gather but conditionally and restrictively, and we will be at the mercy and mood of the police and Home Minister to make discretionary decisions. I doubt this is the end of the tale. Rather it is the start of another round of civil unrest when civil rights groups and concerned citizens brave the risks of arrests and physical harms to demonstrate to the government that it is unwise to mess with the rights to assemble publicly. The soft impact on the ordinary citizens is yet unknown but may quietly translate into electoral protests which the government has little control over. In all probability, before the new general election is to be held, BERSIH 3.0 may be activated. For sure this new law is ammunition for the Opposition to bring down the government. It was a grave mistake to rush through this bill when there is so much apprehension and resistance.

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