Peaceful assembly should be accepted as a ‘new norm’ among Malaysians: Saifuddin

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Source: The Sun Daily

PETALING JAYA: Peaceful assembly should be accepted as a ‘new norm’ among Malaysians, said Global Movement of Moderation (GMM) CEO Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.

He said that peaceful assembly is part of the democracy practice, and dissent against the government is also part of the practice.

“It is about time the public know that dissent against the government is not equal to treason,” he added.

The former Umno deputy minister said that many were of the notion that if people speak up, have different opinion, or oppose an opinion, they are going against the country.

“Even before Peaceful Assembly Act was gazetted, people should understand that peaceful assembly were allowed,” he said, adding that there were guidelines drawn by the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam).

Saifuddin added that any organisation with a clear objective, can organise peaceful assembly or rally.

“I think today, most important, Malaysians accept dissent in various forms, as a new norm. And then, we do not have to go over and over again on excuses that (rallies) are not our culture, business is disturbed, or detrimental to the country,” he said during the Right to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly: Lessons from Bersih 4 roundtable discussion here today.

The event was organised by Persatuan Promosi Hak Asasi Manusia (Proham) and Global Movement of Moderation – which aims to highlight issues pertaining to the 34hour gathering held near Dataran Merdeka on the weekend before National Day.

Also present for the roundtable discussion include former Bersih 2.0 chairperson Datuk S. Ambiga, Suhakam commissioner James Nayagam and Bar Council Human Rights Committee co-chairperson Andrew Khoo.

 

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