PKR lawmaker N. Surendran accused the police today of acting in blatant disregard of the law by cracking down on rally organisers and participants whom he claimed have been holding peaceful public demonstrations in support of jailed Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Published: February 24, 2015 10:42 AM
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 — PKR lawmaker N. Surendran accused the police today of acting in blatant disregard of the law by cracking down on rally organisers and participants whom he claimed have been holding peaceful public demonstrations in support of jailed Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
The Padang Serai MP hit out at national crime prevention director Datuk Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani who yesterday described those who took part in the pro-Anwar rallies as “nothing better to do”, after several PKR politicians and activists were arrested .
“There can be no dispute that all the Anwar solidarity gatheringshave been entirely peaceful,” he said in a statement.
Surendran, who is also a lawyer, pointed out that under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 (PAA), permits are not required for holding a public assembly, adding that the police can only intervene if the rallies disrupt public order.
He further accused the police of ignoring this constitutional right to assemble peacefully by misusing Section 143 of the Penal Code, which is meant to punish gatherings held with a criminal intent.
“The rakyat is thus effectively deprived of the right to peacefully gather,” he said, calling the disregard “appalling” and a “contempt for the rakyat’s constitutional rights”.
The police have so far arrested activists Adam Adli Abdul Halim and Fariz Musa as well as PKR Youth chief Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad for participating in the pro-Anwar rally held last Saturday and had subsequently released them.
National police chief Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar had also issued a warning against holding rallies protesting Anwar’s jailing, which the human rights lawyer said was unlawful, whereas those who had gathered peacefully had acted lawfully.
“It is time the police top brass are re-educated to understand and respect the constitutional and fundamental rights of the rakyat.
“It is time the BN government gave due regard and respect to rights spelled out in the Federal Constitution, the supreme law of the land,” Surendran said.