IGP: Five-day notice needed for assemblies

KLANG: The Inspector-General of Police has advised all parties to adhere to the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) or face action.

Tan Sri Razarudin Husain said although there was no need for permit applications to hold assemblies, organisers must give the police at least five days’ notice.

“When the Peaceful Assembly Act initially came into effect, the notice period was 10 days, but now it has been shortened to only five days.

“Organisers must also be aware that under Section 9(1) of the Act, the notice must be given to the OCPD in charge where a gathering is planned.

“A form with 14 questions is also provided under the Act and all these questions must be answered,” he told reporters after handing over keys to nine families to the newly renovated police quarters at Bandar Sultan Suleiman here yesterday.

On Sunday, activist and former Bersih chairman Maria Chin Abdullah issued a statement expressing concern that police refused to accept the notice by organisers of the Women’s March.

“Under our Federal Constitution, Article 10 guarantees our speech, assembly and association.

“The Peaceful Assembly Act implements and facilitates this right,” she said, adding the need for a “police permit” was no longer applicable under the Act.

She said it was time that the police familiarise themselves with the Act.

“Refusal to accept the notice from the Women’s March is unacceptable, and the police have overstepped their line of authority,” she said.

Meanwhile, Razarudin said they would take action against those who did not adhere to the PAA.

“Article 10 of the Federal Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, assembly and association, but Article 10(2) also stipulates that the Parliament may, by law, impose restrictions as a way to strike a balance between human rights and public interest.

“Organisers must also understand that there may be a need to organise road closures and deploy personnel to ensure these gatherings go smoothly,” he said.

Razarudin added there may be confusion on the matter, where instead of using the term notice, some OCPDs were calling it a permit.

When asked, Razarudin said he would check on why the notice for the Women’s March was refused by police four times.

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