PRESS STATEMENT : 16 FEBRUARY 2001
ISSUING OF POLICE PERMIT UNDER SECTION 27 - A STATE TOOL TO VIOLATE FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY
SUARAM views with disgust the recent on-slaughter on peaceful assembly at Kampung Lahar, Jitra on the 14th. Of February 2001. What was even more disgusting was the use of massive police force to disperse the peaceful assembly. The only reason why police broke down the peaceful assembly was because the permit for the event was not given. The police should act professionally and not behave in a " total denial and domination " spirit to break peaceful assemblies. This recent event proved that police have now gone further to attack ceramahs.
SUARAM views seriously this incident and also other occasions where police have used section 27 conveniently to not only deny peaceful assembly but also break these assemblies using excessive force. Section 27 requires organisers of an assembly to apply for a permit from the police. It has been a well known fact that issuance of permits under Section 27 can be easily manipulated depending on who applies for the permit and for whose interest.
SUARAM has stood strongly that peaceful assemblies do not need permits. This right is guaranteed under Article 10 of the federal Constitution. Police can only break an assembly if they find the assembly to be not peaceful. Police on numerous occasion previously have played the fortune teller role by stating and claiming assemblies especially organised by opposition as unpeaceful and it will create chaos. In the contrary, there is also lots of evidence to prove that all assemblies without excessive police presence and interference have been peaceful and well conducted.
In recent times many groups including SUHAKAM has expressed that police permits be done away with. SUARAM renew our call that police permit is not needed for peaceful assemblies. The people have the right to assembly peacefully under the Constitution as well as The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Any attempt by any person to break peaceful assemblies is a gross violation of human rights and should not be condoned.
SUARAM calls upon SUHAKAM to start investigation on the recent violations at peaceful assembly at Mahathir's constituency at Jitra. We also call upon the police not to hide behind Section 27 of the police Act. The police should at all times be united with the people and play the role of protector of peace rather then peace breakers.
Statement Released by :
S.Arutchelvan SUARAM Coordinator
Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) add: 383, 1ST FLOOR, JALAN 5/59, PETALING GARDENS 46000 PETALING JAYA, SELANGOR, MALAYSIA tel: 60-3-77843525 fax: 77843526 email: firstname.lastname@example.org website:http://www.suaram.org