Thursday 30 August 2012

'Permission needed for Merdeka countdown?'

Organisers of the Janji Demokrasi gathering rejected the claim that they will be violating the Peaceful Assembly Act by gathering at Dataran Merdeka tonight.

Malaysians, said the 47 NGOs behind the move to remind the government of its promises to clean up the electoral roll, have the right to assemble to celebrate the nation’s independence day.

In a statement today, the organisers said they welcomed Minister of Information, Communications and Culture Rais Yatim’s invitation yesterday to join the official celebrations at Dataran Merdeka.

rais yatim wisma berita rtm 060612“However, we fail to understand why inspector-general of police (IGP) Ismail Omar and the OCPD (of Dang Wangi) persistenly state that the Gabungan Janji violates the Peaceful Assembly Act.

“We believe that every Malaysian has the right to assemble and to join the countdown to Merdeka without seeking permission,” said the organisers Gabungan Janji.

“We will not disrupt the countdown and celebration of Merdeka but will join all Malaysians in their celebration of Merdeka,” they said.

Gabungan Janji also encouraged all participants to show up at the event tonight dressed in yellow, the trademark of the Bersih movement for electoral reform.

The group added that the gathering time has been rescheduled to 11 tonight at the Dataran.

Ismail said yesterday that the organisers needed to “inform or give notice to the Dang Wangi OCPD of their intention” if they wanted to proceed with their planned gathering, citing the Peaceful Assembly Act.

However, Rais contradicted this position taken by the IGP, saying, “We ask them to come in a crowd. If they want to wear yellow clothes, go ahead.”

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