Ambiga says Myanmar freer than Malaysia

(The Malaysian Insider) – Bersih 2.0 chief Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan said today that Malaysians will have less freedom under the government’s proposed new law governing public demonstrations compared to Myanmar, a country which has one of the world’s worse human rights record.

She pointed out that Myanmar recently passed new legislation that allowed street protests, and provided for less stringent conditions than the Najib administration’s proposed Peaceful Assembly Act that was tabled in Parliament this week.

“It is shameful that Burma (Myanmar) can propose a far more democratic law than us.

“It is a terrible insult to Malaysians because we were promised more democracy, but now it is the opposite,” said Ambiga (picture).

Myanmar’s military-dominated Parliament passed a law this week allowing citizens to protest peacefully but which requires demonstrators to “inform the authorities five days in advance.”

Under Malaysia’s Peaceful Assembly Act, demonstrators are required to give 30 days’ notice to the police, while a host of restrictions effectively prevents any street protests.

The Myanmar law states that demonstrators must avoid government buildings, schools, hospitals and embassies. The Malaysian version has similar restrictions but includes a buffer from houses of worship and petrol stations.

Ambiga had earlier this week urged the government to immediately withdraw the proposed law if it was sincere to prove correct Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s reformist stand on making Malaysia the “best democracy”.