- 30 days' advance notice for assemblies, except for those in designated areas as defined by the home minister;
- after notification, the assemblies can proceed, unless there are objections from the police;
- no street protests are allowed;
- no protests in or anywhere in a 50-metre buffer zone around prohibited areas defined in a list, which includes hospitals, schools and places of worship;
- Section 8 allows a police officer 'to take such measures he/she deems necessary' to ensure compliance;
- Section 9(5) allows the police to fine organisers up to RM10,000 if no advance notice of a planned assembly is given to the police;
- Section 20(1)(c) allows police to arrest anyone who brings, allows to come or recruits children for an assembly;
- Section 21(3) allows the police to fine those arrested up to RM20,000;
- those under 21 years of age are not allowed to organise assemblies; and
- children under 15 are not allowed to take part in assemblies, except in cultural or religious events such as funeral corteges or events approved by the home minister.
1. “Under the new law, a person can be fined up to RM20,000 as compared to RM10,000 under the Police Act,”
2. 30-day notice that organisers must give the police before holding an assembly!
3.Section 15(2)(h) allows the district police chief to decide on:
- Date, time and duration of assembly;
- The venue;
- Manner of the assembly;
- Conduct of participants;
- Clean-up costs arising from the assembly;
- Any inherent environmental factor, cultural or religious sensitivity and historical significance of the place of assembly;
- Concerns and objections of persons who have interests; or
- Any other matter that he deems necessary or expedient in relation to the assembly.
Anyone violating the restrictions and conditions will be liable to a maximum fine of RM10,000.
Whatever the analysis, we the rakyat simply cannot take the Bill sitting down. If we do not act now, it would send a signal to the government which would clearly translate to mean it can bulldoze into our democratic space and civil liberties.
I therefore concur with law expert Abdul Aziz Bari that this Bill must be challenged in court, for it violates the federal constitution. This would send a strong message to the government that we will not allow the ruling elite to trample on our rights.
CHARLES SANTIAGO is the DAP member of parliament for Klang.