Police have no legal authority to declare a peaceful assembly as illegal nor stop such gathering, a lawyer said, citing the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 (PAA).

Latheefa Koya, who is part of the PKR central leadership council, said PAA does not give the police the power to make such a declaration.

"The whole concept of obtaining the permission of the authorities to hold a gathering, which existed under the repealed Section 27 of Police Act 1967, has been done away with under the PAA," she said in a statement yesterday

Latheefa, who has represented clients for alleged breach of PAA, said there was no such thing as an illegal assembly under the Act.
She was responding to a statement by Kuala Lumpur police chief Datuk Tajuddin Md Isa that the Bersih 4 rally this weekend was "prohibited and illegal".

"His statement is without any legal basis, arbitrary and in breach of the provisions of the PAA," she said.

Latheefa (pic, right) said police were duty bound to uphold the law, not disregard it.

She said it was absurd for Tajuddin to claim that the organisers' alleged failure to get consent from owners of the rally venue had rendered the gathering illegal.

"No such consequence is stated in the PAA," she said, adding that failure to obtain the consent was not even an offence.

Bersih has announced that they will only be gathering in the "vicinity" of Dataran Merdeka.

"The police and Home Ministry must stop lying to the public that Bersih 4 is illegal and instead take steps to facilitate this great gathering of the rakyat," she added

Home Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Alwi Ibrahim had urged the public not to join the gathering as the organiser, Bersih 2.0, was an illegal entity.

However, New Sin Yew, who is a member of the coalition's steering committee, said the High Court had quashed a decision by the Home Minister declaring Bersih 2.0 an illegal organisation in 2012. - August 26, 2015.


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