Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General, MP for Tanjung and Assemblyman for Kampong Kolam, Lim Kit Siang, at the public forum protesting against the Official Secrets Act Amendment Bill organized by Negri Sembilaam DAP State Committee, held at Tasek Inn, Seremban, on Thursday, Dec. 4, 1986 at 8 p.m.
Call on the Police to respect democracy and fundamental rights of Malaysians and either issue a permit for Sunday’s People’s Assembly for Democracy or refrain from harassing and obstructing the peaceful manifestation of the people’s democratic opinions
The Police came out with a statement today that it had not issued a police permit for Sunday’s People’s Assembly for Democracy at Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, starting at 2.30 p.m. to express the people’s opposition to the Official Secrets Act Amendment Bill and their deep-seated concern at the serious erosion of their democratic rights.
The Police warned that stern action would be taken against those participating in the People’s Assembly for Democracy on Sunday, and threatening to institute action under section 27 of the Police Act on illegal assembly where the sentence is $500 fine or six months’ jail or both.
I call on the Police to respect the democracy and fundamental rights of Malaysians, and either issue a permit for Sunday’s People’s Assembly for Democracy, or refrain from harassing and obstructing the peaceful manifestation of the people’s democratic opinions and wishes.
The police claim that it would not issue a police permit for Sunday’s permit on grounds of public order and safety is completely unacceptable, for there is no doubt whatsoever that Sunday’s People’s Assembly organised by the Freedom of Information Group would be peaceful, orderly and a proud occasion for the democratic system of Malaysia!
In any event, why should the police be one-sided and highly discriminatory, where only public rallies by the Prime Minister and the Barisan leaders are allowed, while gatherings by the people are disallowed? In the case of the People’s Assembly in the Defence of Democracy on Sunday, the event will be held indoors in the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, and not outdoors like the public rallies of the Prime Minister and Barisan Nasional leaders.
The most pernicious and dangerous aspect of the Official Secrets Act Amendment Bill is the undemocratic and authoritarian spirit behind such draconian provisions, a spirit which does not tolerate democratic and peaceful expression of people’s views. This is being manifested by the police warning of stern warning against the People’s Assembly on Sunday. No decent or reasonable Malaysian can believe that Sunday’s People’s Assembly can threaten any public order or safety.
I call on all Malaysians concerned about the OSA Amendment Bill, expected to be passed tomorrow, and the crisis of democracy in Malaysia, to gather at the Chinese Assembly Hall in Kuala Lumpur from all corners of Malaysia, to express their deep concern about their lost or eroded freedoms and rights. The DAP leadership took the unprecedented decision yesterday to change the venue of the 1986 DAP National Delegates Conference, scheduled for Ipoh, to Federal Hotel in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, to enable party leaders, delegates and members to attend the People’s Assembly the same day.
We took this decision because the time has come for Malaysians to show to the government and the world their deep-seated commitment to the rights and freedom in a democratic system, where unreasonable and undemocratic obstruction and harassment by the authorities would not swerve them from their determination to register their protest against the fatal blow to democracy in the form of OSA Amendment Bill. The DAP National Delegates Conference will definitely be held at Federal Hotel, Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, to be followed by the People’s Assembly in the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall.