NEWS

Lawyer: Even racists have the right to rally

9 Sep 2015, 12:25 pm

Updated 5 years ago

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Human rights lawyer Syahredzan Johan said even racists have the right to assemble, in reference to the planned Himpunan Maruah Melayu in Kuala Lumpur on September 16.

Syahredzan said the right to assemble without weapons is enshrined in the federal constitution and it stands, so long as it does not turn violent.

"The right does not discriminate on what is being championed by those who gather, so long as it is peaceful and without weapons.

"A gathering to defend the honour of Malays, even though racist, should be allowed. This is their right," Syahredzan ( photo ) said in a Facebook posting today.

However, he said the right to assemble can be revoked if there is concrete evidence that it is not intended to be peaceful.

"As a precautionary measure, the police have the power to seek a court order to prevent the public from gathering at an area.

"But it must be stressed that it (any precautionary measure) must be based on solid evidence that the gathering will not be peaceful," he said.

He noted that the rally's promotional material were racial in nature and could cause racial tension and appear to promote violence.

Ultimately, Syahredzan said there was a need to balance between the right to the freedom of assembly and to ensure such gathering do not turn violent.

"One way is to allow the gathering but under the tight control of the police and the Federal Reserve Unit.

"If it becomes violent, then appropriate action should be taken," he said.

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