- Bersih Sabah organisers are keeping their fingers crossed as they negotiate with the City police chief on the proposed democracy fest
Commending Kuching police chief Assistant Commissioner Roslan Bek Ahmad for allowing the similar rally in Sarawak, Bersih Sabah chairperson Jannie Lasimbang believes they too should be allowed to hold the peaceful assembly.
Bersih 4.0 Kuching may hold its rally in Song Kheng Khai Field, the same field that saw more than 10,000 people gathered for the Sarawak for Sarawakians Freedom and Independence walk on July 22, as a celebration to commemorate Sarawak’s independence from colonial rule.
“The Section 10 of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 (PAA), which stipulates the need to get agreement from owner, has been used in Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia to declare Bersih 4 unlawful, but not in Kuching.
“Such activity (rally) is very popular and have no problem from the police or the Kota Kinabalu City Hall such as during the recent “Walk for Jesus”,” she said.
Under section 9(5) of the PAA, there was also a requirement to notify the police of an intended assembly, and the police may regulate the assembly by stipulating restrictions and conditions for the purposes of security or public order.
There was no requirement of licensing by the police for an assembly, under the PAA, thus, the police have no power under the PAA to prohibit a rally.
Bersih Sabah viewed the decision of the police to “disallow” Bersih 4 in Tanjung Lipat was therefore contrary to the PAA, and legally flawed.
In regards to section 124C of the Penal Code, Bersih Sabah could not see how the five demands for clean elections; clean government; right to dissent; strengthening parliamentary democracy and saving the economy can be seen as an “act detrimental to parliamentary democracy” as alleged by the Sabah Police Commissioner.
“In any case, no one has ever been charged under section 124C of the Penal Code, which came into effect in 2012 even though a number of people have been investigated under the section. So, at this point, there is no clarity as to what constitutes as an ‘act detrimental to parliamentary democracy’.”
She said over the last couple of days, they received overwhelming support and over 1,000 Bersih 4 t-shirts from Kuala Lumpur was sold out within three days, adding other groups have also printed their own t-shirts and merchandise, which includes a scarf with Bersih 4 #B4KK printed on it.
“While, we are confident that the assembly will be a peaceful one, Bersih Sabah has set up its marshalls team, an urgent arrest team and a medical team.
“Anyone arrested during B4KK (Bersih 4 Kota Kinabalu) may contact the urgent arrest team by sending an SMS to the telephone numbers given and state the name, IC number and telephone contact of the person arrested and the police station to which that person has been taken.
“The urgent arrest team will try to contact the arrested person and to arrange legal assistance as quickly as possible,” she said, adding Suhakam Sabah has also agreed to monitor B4KK to ensure that no violation of human rights occur, and advised the police to act in a professional manner.