Date: 15 March 2023
In reference to the press statement issued by the Dang Wangi District Chief Police ACP Noor Dellhan bin Yahaya on 12 March 2023, the Kuala Lumpur Bar emphasises that Article 10 (1) (b) of the Federal Constitution (“FC”), subject to the limited restrictions under Article 10 (2) (b), guarantees all citizens a constitutional right to assemble peaceably and without arms.
The object of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 (“PAA”), amongst others, is to ensure the right of citizens from any and all groups to organise and participate in peaceful assemblies in order to spotlight their position on current and/or pertinent issues requiring the Government’s attention. This was clearly what was intended for the Women’s March Malaysia 2023 held on 12 March 2023.
Insofar as the requirement to give Notice under Section 9 (1) PAA is concerned, the organisers complied with that provision by issuing the requisite notice to the police on 6 March 2023.
Insofar as the March itself is concerned, lawyers who were monitoring the March observed that it took place peacefully and without incident.
In spite of this, the police were heavy-handed in issuing several participants with notices under Section 111 of the Criminal Procedure Code (which were delivered at midnight) to summon them to IPD Dang Wangi.
Such conduct by the police is unwarranted and does a great disservice to civil rights and liberties in Malaysia. It is not just an affront to the rights of citizens under the PAA, the freedom of speech and freedom of expression as guaranteed under Article 10 (1) of the FC but also the rights of all the minority groups who peaceably took part in the event.
The Kuala Lumpur Bar stands in solidarity with women, children and other minority groups as well as their right to highlight issues which require addressing so as to ensure that their basic rights are upheld and acknowledged. This is in line with the principles set out in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (“CEDAW”) of which Malaysia is a signatory country.
The Kuala Lumpur Bar also wishes to emphasise the importance of citizens being aware of their legal rights. To this end, the Bar Council Legal Aid Centre (Kuala Lumpur) welcomes anyone requiring any legal assistance in relation to the Women’s March Malaysia 2023. The contact details of the Legal Aid Centre are as follows: –
Bar Council Legal Aid Centre (Kuala Lumpur)
Unit 3.03, Level 3, Leboh Pasar Besar
Wisma Badan Peguam Malaysia
50050 Kuala Lumpur.
+603-2691 1121 / +603-2692 1122
Alvin Oh Seong Yew
Kuala Lumpur Bar Committee
14 March 2023