by M. Kula Segaran, Deputy Secretary-General DAP Malaysia, and Perak DAP Secretary,
on 14th September 2000
The refusal to give police permit for peaceful assembly goes against principles of Human Rights and the Federal Constitution
The Perak DAP decided to have a public gathering "Ceramah" at Taman Rishah, Ipoh and 15 September 2000 was the date agreed by the local branches around this area. The Perak DAP Executive Secretary Sdr. Coong, then accordingly applied for a police permit as required by the law.
We had a number of meetings with the local people of Taman Rishah and also with the DAP members who all wanted us to take this opportunity to explain to the local people about the now cancelled Petronas Petrol Station in Taman Rishah.
In early August the local residents committee protested to the Datuk Bandar and the Menteri Besar on the illegal construction of this Petrol Station. The Petrol Kiosk was been built at less then a meter from the residential houses and its outer -wall also took up one third of the residential road. Further the Petrol Station is neighboring a Kindergarten and a Temple. By reason of people's power the relevant authorities have now cancelled this project.
Sdr. Chong had made a number of phone calls to the Ipoh Police who had told him that the police permit would be issued in due course. In reliance of same we had printed thousands of handbills to inform the public about this "Ceramah". Many man-hours were spent in distributing these handbills.
Today the Ipoh Officer In charge of the Police District (OCPD's) office by a letter dated 14th September2000 informed us that they are rejecting our application on the grounds of security and in the letter it is stated as follows
"Dukacita dimaklumkan bahawa permohanan tidak dapat diluluskan atas sebab- sebab keselematan".
We are rather surprised by the decision of the OCPD's office as the Federal Constitution Article 10 provides that all citizen have the right to freedom of speech, expression and the right to assemble peacefully without arms.
The DAP respects the law and as required applied for a police permit. But by disallowing us to have a ceramah the Police action definitely infringes our human rights and also the police are not giving effect to article 10 as above stated.
Last Friday the Chief Police Officer (CPO) of Perak DCP Syed Abdul Rahman issued a statement that 11 groups in the state were been monitored for inciting hatred and violence against the Government. The CPO has a public duty to state openly who are the 11 organization the Police have identified and is DAP one of them? Also the CPO statement has put fear on law-abiding citizens to freely express one's views as provided for by the constitution.
The CPO should also give reasons why the DAP application for a police permit has been rejected.
The DAP state Committee will be meeting tonight to discuss this issue and we will explore as to whether we need to challenge the decision in court and also whether to lodge a formal protest with the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM).