Thursday, November 13, 2008

Civil Dissent Debate

This is a letter which I received from one of my voters, who has kindly permitted me to publish it here. I do not wholly agree with the views expressed by him, but the point here is the space for discussion, which is what a mature democracy is all about.

At the same time, I would not go to the extent that we should go to the streets for every little protest. There needs to be a discretionary balance. In my opinion, the Bersih rally last year galvanised the nation, so should we not have had it?

We can certainly agree on certain issues, while agreeing to disagree on others.

Dear YBs,

We want you to be free to attend Parliament, State Assembly meetings. We don't want you to be behind bars or be found guilty of breaking the law.

Should this happen, we, the constituents will have no voice in the Dewan Rakyat or Dewan negeri. we will only be the losers.

I myself hate such laws, as much as you do. But the law is the law, and it's very clear about getting a permit for any public gathering for such purposes.

Agreed you may have tried many times to get permits from a biased Police force, and failed. Still it is no excuse to break the law. This is what the present authority wants you to do - break the law, then they try you, find you guilty, fine you or imprison you and deprive you of your seat in Parliament of the State assembly. The Police will act-with or without provocation. What will happen if your group has been infiltrated ? The saboteur will only need to throw a small stone, and all hell will break loose ! You'll be accused of trying to overthrow the Government by force, and IMMEDIATELY arrested under the ISA ! That's what the Police and especially Syed Hamid Albar wants. We don't want that to happen, do we ? The Police are not clean. They came with guns and knives, ready to throw these weapons among you and then accuse you of being heavily ARMED with dangerous weapons !

I am just as frustrated as you are. You were lucky, they decided to,let you out to allow you to ask your first question in Parliament. You may not be so lucky the next time. Then I'll be even more frustrated !

Until the day we have a new government, we cannot change the law. When there is a NEW government in place, with a 2/3 majority, then, and only then, we can make changes.

File reports against the Police, bring up the issue in Parliament, alert internation bodies , play up the issue in the press, internet, blogs, but please do not fall into their trap, call ILLEGAL ASSEMBLY !

The Negara ku, our NATIONAL anthem and our flag is the pride of our nation, The Negara Ku is meant to be sung at legal occasions with respect-not at an illegal demonstration. Get your permit - and you can sing it with patriotism and pride ! - without fear !

In the meantime, those who are opposed to the ISA,SEDITION ACT, POLICE ACT 27, ect ect, will have to be patient. We, the people of Malaysia, waited 51 years to see the BN lose it's 2/3 majority, and 5 states. We'll wait for the NEXT election to see further changes.

So please be careful next time, for they can even act if you hold it INDOOR !

"27A. (1) Where any activity takes place on or in any land or premises which do not constitute a public place and—
(a) the activity is directed to, or is intended to be witnessed or heard or participated in by, persons outside the land or premises, or is capable from all the circumstances of being understood as being so directed or intended; or

(b) the activity attracts the presence of twenty persons or more outside the land or premises; or

(c) the activity is likely to be prejudicial to the interest of the security of Malaysia or any part thereof or to excite a disturbance of the peace, any police officer may order the persons involved in the activity to stop the activity and may order all persons found on or in or outside the land or premises to disperse.
(2) Any person who disobeys any order given under subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence.

(3) Where three or more persons neglect or refuse to obey any order given under subsection (1), the activity concerned shall be deemed to be an unlawful activity, and all persons taking part or concerned in the activity, or in organizing or directing the activity, shall be guilty of an offence."

I don't mean to educate you, for you should know better.

Stanley Teoh
PJ Utara
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