[The Star] Allow all peaceful rallies to continue unhindered
Friday, March 06, 2020

IT has been an unsettling two weeks for the Malaysian political landscape, resulting in the appointment of a new Prime Minister and a change of federal government. Several states also saw new governments coming into power.

Despite the political turmoil, we must congratulate the rakyat for being mature and preserving peace in the country. While there were contrasting opinions and heated debates, Malaysia was spared violent protests and riots.

Some Malaysians did take to the streets to peacefully protest against the new government, and they very much have the right to do so. The rakyat’s right to freedom of expression in a peaceful assembly is enshrined in our federal Constitution, as long as the organisers and the participants abide by the provisions in the Peaceful Assembly Act.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador himself has said that he respects the principles of democracy, including the rights to peaceful assembly and to voice out one’s opinions.

As such, it is incumbent on the police to accommodate and facilitate public gatherings such as those held last weekend and refrain from excessive policing.

If no laws were contravened, the rakyat should be allowed to continue expressing their views – no matter how contrasting they – as this is essential for the development of a healthy democracy.


Vice-president, Centre for A Better Tomorrow (Cenbet)


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