PETALING JAYA: The Government has no plans to abolish any provisions under the Police Act 1967 which give police the power to regulate assemblies, meetings and processions.
The Government, in its feedback to Suhakam's Annual Report 2010, said these provisions were part of preventive laws introduced to ensure the right to assembly was not misused as provided for under Article 10(2)(b) of the Federal Constitution.
The national human rights institution had recommended that subsections (2), (2A)-(2D), (4), (4A), (5), (5A)-(5C), (7) and (8) of Section 27 and 27a of the Act be abolished.
“However, the Home Ministry is working together with the Attorney-General's Chambers to draft amendments for certain provisions under Section 27 of the Police Act so it would be in line with the provisions under the Federal Constitution,” said the report.
Regarding freedom of speech and information, Suhakam recommended the formation of a free and self-regulatory media council to resolve issues and monitor adherence to the industry's code of ethics.
The Government replied that it was important to ensure that the information and ideas conveyed did not cause tension and threaten national harmony.
“The concept of freedom of speech is not an absolute right or freedom. Conversely, it is dependent on several conditions under the Federal Constitution through Article (10)(2)(a) and other related laws,” said the report.
The Government said it would set up a media consultative council to better harmonise relations between the media and the Government, adding that it would act like a forum to exchange ideas and find a “win-win” approach.
“The Government is of the view that good journalistic practices are necessary in a country with many races, religions, culture and social backgrounds like Malaysia,” it said.
It added that laws such as the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 and Official Secrets Act 1972 were formed to ensure that these two rights were not misused.
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