Hakam welcomes removal of street protests as crimes, says more can be done

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 04 Jul 2019

PETALING JAYA: Authorities should safeguard against delays and abuse of process that may cause prolonged arbitrary detention, says the National Human Rights Society (Hakam).

In welcoming the government's proposal to allow street protests to be removed as a criminal offence under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 (PAA), Hakam called for several other provisions within the Act to also be repealed or amended.

One of the recommendations was to implement safeguards against delays and abuse of process that may cause prolonged and arbitrary detention of persons and their property.

"Written offers to compound offences should be in a standard

form, and release of arrested persons who have paid the compound must be immediate. The release of any goods or documents seized in connection with the same arrest must be unconditional.

"These safeguards should be reflected in an additional Schedule or Regulations pursuant to the PAA," Hakam said in a statement Thursday (July 4).

Furthermore, Hakam said the deplorable practice of chain remand must be avoided, with a view to "eradicate the practise entirely and immediately".

"Hakam urges the authorities to ensure that the fundamental liberties and rights of the arrested person and his property, as protected under the Federal Constitution, including his right to legal representation, must always be respected," it said.

On Tuesday (July 2), Hakam secretary-general Lim Wei Jiet (pic) said the government's efforts to remove street protest as a criminal offence in the PAA was welcomed as street protests is an "inherent and inalienable part of the freedom to assembly under Article 10 of the Federal Constitution".

He added that street protest has been an effective tool for people to express their concerns.

However, Lim noted that there were still many other provision in the PAA which the government should consider to repeal or amend as it curtailed fundamental freedoms and impose unreasonable restrictions.

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