MCCBCHST: Peaceful assembly is a constitutional right

By MCCBCHST

Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) notes that Bersih Organisers, Perkasa and UMNO Youth are intending to hold peaceful Assemblies on 9 July 2011.

MCCBCHST is of the view that since our Federal Constitution, the Supreme Law of our land provides under Article 10(1)(b) that “all citizens have the right to assemble peaceably and without arms”, the proposed assemblies by the said groups should be allowed.

Further, one of the pillars of our Rukun Negara is “Keluhuran Perlembagaan”. i.e. Supremacy of the Constitution. Even the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) has stated that the People have the constitutional right to assemble peaceably and the Government should allow it.

Any pre-emptive banning of proposed peaceful assemblies would mean that one has no right to peaceful assembly, making the fundamental guarantee illusory. The police have the duty and the capacity to control such assemblies and can designate routes and separate the different groups as has been done during the recent by-elections.

The fact that such assemblies may cause traffic jams and inconvenience the people is not a legitimate reason. People generally are prepared to put up with some inconveniences in furtherance of their fundamental rights. Many national and religious functions and processions are held on regular basis and Malaysians have accepted these inconveniences as part and parcel of the heritage of our Malaysian Society.

MCCBCHST therefore appeal to the police to act professionally in the matter and allow people to exercise their fundamental right to peaceful assembly.

The police can call the groups concerned and make arrangements on the route each may take. On the day itself police should be there to separate the groups and to control the traffic and crowd with humanity and professionalism.

The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) call upon all concerned citizens of Malaysia to earnestly pray that all parties concerned will conduct themselves with decorum and respect as we approach the day of the proposed peaceful assembly.

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