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Group: Pakatan MPs joined rallies before, should welcome Bersih protest in Parliament tomorrow

Publish date: Mon, 26 Feb 2024, 10:36 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 26 — Projek Sama, an institutional reform group, today urged the Anwar administration to allow electoral watchdog Bersih to protest peacefully in front of Parliament tomorrow, reminding government leaders they too had joined the group’s rallies in the past in pursuit of reform.

“Speaker of Dewan Rakyat, Tan Sri Johari Abdul, who had joined previous Bersih rallies as a member of the then Opposition,” the group said in a statement issued on the eve of the planned protest.

“And the new President of Dewan Negara, Datuk Mutang Tagal, can take this opportunity to show that Malaysia Madani is a politically mature society where petitioning citizens will be welcomed, not assaulted, arrested or harassed,” the group added.

Tomorrow’s protest will be held to demand Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and his Pakatan Harapan coalition deliver the reforms that were promised under its election manifesto.

In a post on Twitter, the electoral watchdog said the gathering would be the start of its push for institutional safeguards, such as term limits for the prime minister.

Kuala Lumpur City Police Chief, Commissioner Datuk Allaudeen Abdul Majid, today warned the public against joining the protest, on the grounds that Bersih has not given any notice to the Police as per Section 9(1) of the Peaceful Assembly Act.

Pojek Sama rejected the argument, citing a Court of Appeal ruling that said a notice is not required to hold a protest. It then said the police should facilitate the gathering instead of blocking it.

“On April 25, 2014, The Court of Appeal ruled in the case of Nik Nazmi (another PH leader who has joined Bersih rallies, now the Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability) v PP that Section 9(1) of the PPA is unconstitutional,” it said.

“This ruling was again affirmed by the Court of Appeal on September 7, 2016 in the case of Maria Chin v PP.”

The group then urged Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail to uphold the rule of law and protect the professional image of the police.

Saifuddin had also participated in several Bersih rallies in the past.

“We urge him to do so by directing the Police to organise training for senior police officers on the PAA, with inputs from legal experts in the National Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) and the Legal Affairs Division (BHEUU) of the Prime Minister’s Department,” the group said.

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