KUALA LUMPUR: The Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) will not be deployed during the May 1 anti-GST rally, with police hinting they would take a more passive role in monitoring the crowd.
Dang Wangi OCPD ACP Zainuddin Ahmad said the authorities were willing to facilitate the movement of protesters around the city centre to prevent traffic woes and unwanted incidents.
Though acknowledging Friday’s landmark Court of Appeal’s decision that the failure to give a 10-day notice for gathering under the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) 2012 would not constitute a crime, Zainuddin maintained that the rally was still an illegal one as no permission had been sought from the owner of the premises.
“The organisers have submitted a notice for the rally, but under Section 9(1) of the PAA, they still need to obtain permission from the owners of the venue they wish to stage their gathering in before it can be allowed to go on.
Zainuddin later added that although the 10-day notice period had passed, police were willing to compromise so that the rally could go on without any untoward incidents.
He said police had so far received 31 police reports against the rally.
Taking the absence of the FRU as a positive sign, Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) secretary-general S. Arutchelvan, who is one of the rally organisers, said no permission was needed to gather in a public venue.
On ACP Zainuddin’s suggestion that they use Padang Merbok or Stadium Merdeka to hold the rally instead, Arutchelvan said: “We will probably hold the rally at a location around Dataran Merdeka as it is significant to our cause.”
Arutchelvan said he would discuss the development with the co-organisers and get back to the police with a decision tomorrow.
The organisers, a collection of 92 non-governmental organisations, said they were willing to work with the police in making sure the rally to protest against the Government’s implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in April 2015 had as minimal impact as possible on the rest of the city.
“We will have about 1,000 marshals around to ensure rally-goers do not disrupt the traffic. We would like to ensure that all directives by the police will be adhered to on that day,” Arutchelvan said.
The earlier plan of the protest was for it to begin at four rally points – KLCC, Sogo, Jalan Sultan and Masjid Negara, at 2pm.
Speeches will be held at around 1pm in KLCC before protesters march towards Dataran Merdeka.
Parliament passed the GST Bill on April 7, paving the way for GST to be enforced at a rate of 6% from April 1, 2015.