Malaysian police say Bersih 4 rally is illegal

The crowd at the Bersih 3 rally in Kuala Lumpur on April 28, 2012. PHOTO: ST FILE

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Bersih 4 rally planned for this weekend has been declared illegal as the organisers have "failed to issue a complete notice to the police".

City police chief Comm Datuk Tajuddin Md Isa said that under Section 9 of the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) 2012, the organisers were supposed to give a complete notice, which included a detailed plan of the routes and venues that would be used so that the police could facilitate the rally.

Comm Tajuddin said the police respected the Court of Appeal decision in the case of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) lawmaker Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad where the court ruled there was no need to give the police 10 days' notice of a gathering.

"However, under the PAA, the police must be given a complete notice so we too can plan for security and traffic control.

"In this context, we have given them ample time, but they failed to comply."

On Aug 14, police asked the organisers to detail their planned route and itinerary during the rally, which was to be submitted by Aug 16. Bersih had been agreeable to the terms.

However, the organisers failed to submit the notice after the Kuala Lumpur City Hall rejected their applications to use Dataran Merdeka and Padang Merbok as venues for the rally, he added.

Malaysian Bar president Steven Thiru said the Bar Council's Legal Aid Centre would deploy an "urgent arrest team" to provide legal assistance in the event of arrests.

During the Bersih 3 rally on April 28 three years ago, 512 people were arrested, with seven demonstrators and two police personnel charged in court. There were 24 injured, including 12 policemen.

In May 2012, the federal government sued the Bersih 2.0 steering committee for damages amounting to RM122,000 (S$40,322) that were allegedly incurred during the rally. However, the government lost its claim.

Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), meanwhile, said it would send representatives to the rally but would not direct its members and supporters to attend, according to Bernama.

Its secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan said in a statement that it was just a day before the National Day celebrations.

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