‘Why the double standard?’

By Joseph Tawie, Free Malaysia Today

KUCHING: Sarawak PKR has accused the police of practising double standard when issuing permits for peaceful assemblies.

Its chairman Baru Bian said: “I know there is only one set of laws, but the police have two ways of implementing them, one for the Barisan Nasional (BN) and the other for the opposition.”

Bian was commenting on an incident last Saturday in Lawas where PKR was having a dinner gathering for which the police refused to grant a permit.

“When I addressed the diners and thanked them for organising the function, I was interrupted by the police. They told me it was a directive from the top to stop me from even addressing and welcoming the diners.

“I was not able to give a speech at all as there was no permit for the gathering. It is sad that the police are reluctant to issue a permit for a peaceful gathering of our members,” he said.

He urged the police to be open-minded because there are already legal requirements and procedures in place for peaceful gatherings.

“After all, they send officers to such gatherings, and if there was any untoward incident, they are there to maintain law and order.

“Secondly, if there are defamatory or seditious statements being uttered by speakers, we have the laws of the country to tackle such issues.

“What I’m saying is the freedom of expression is provided for under the Federal Constitution and therefore we should be given that freedom to express our views, ” added Bian.