Senate approves 2019 Peaceful Assembly (Amendment) Bill

by BERNAMA/ pic by BERNAMA

THE Peaceful Assembly (Amendment) Bill 2019 — which among others, sought to make street protests no longer an offence — was passed by the Dewan Negara yesterday.

It was approved by Senate deputy president Datuk Seri Abd Halim Abd Samad after 18 senators participated in the debate session.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Mohd Azis Jamman (picture), when tabling the bill for the second reading, said the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 should be amended to give more space for freedom of speech and peaceful assembly in line with Article 10 of the Federal Constitution.

“In addition, this amendment also demonstrates the Pakatan Rakyat (PH) government’s commitment to balance the need for human rights and the government’s delivery system,” he said.

The proposed amendment which was approved by the Dewan Rakyat on July 4, also sought to shorten the notification period to hold an assembly from 10 days to five days before the date of the rally.

When winding up the debate, Mohd Azis said the amendment is also in line with PH’s commitment in fulfilling pledges made in its 14th General Election manifesto which, among others, was to abolish and amend laws considered harsh and severe.

He also said the government has no plans to empower members of the People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela) to control peaceful assemblies.

“In the event of any commotion, Rela would have no power like the police to take action such as dispersing rallies or carrying out arrests,” he added.