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S’gor MB calls for review of laws on public rallies

SHAH ALAM, 25 May 2009: The Selangor Government today asked the federal government and the police to review the laws pertaining to the holding of public rallies in the country.

Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim said a review should be undertaken so as to specify the criteria and conditions needed to get permits to hold public rallies.

“We only want flexibility pertaining to laws which allow the people to hold public rallies. We want the police to realise that in time to come, there will be more people coming to present their case in a collective manner.

“For instance, we now have 20 to 30 people coming to the State Secretariat building asking me to intervene with regard to their land problems. If the rule of crowd is to be followed, even that meeting will be against the requirement of the law (relating to public rallies),” Khalid told reporters after attending the monthly assembly of Selangor government departments at the State Secretariat building near here.

Khalid said this when responding to the police detention and remand of 16 people, including Teratai state assemblyperson Jenice Lee, for holding a candlelight vigil in Pandan Indah on 21 May. They were released yesterday.

The vigil was said to be a protest against the political impasse in Perak and was held outside the assemblyperson’s service centre.

According to Ampang Jaya CID chief DSP Goh Lee Fook, no police permit had been issued for the gathering.

Khalid said the arrest should not have taken place as Lee and the others had staged a peaceful gathering merely to express their dissatisfaction and there was no indication that the gathering would have led to public disorder.

“The police should have been flexible in this matter. For me, if the candlelight vigil was done peacefully, then the police should have released the detainees [earlier],” he said, adding that the government should formulate laws on public rallies which reflect international standards. — Bernama

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