Johor DAP’s Sheikh Umar says freedom of assembly a constitutional right

·2-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

JOHOR BARU, July 19 — Malaysians have a right to gather peacefully and express their opinion towards the government, Johor DAP vice-chief Sheikh Umar Bagharib Ali maintained today.

He said Malaysians were entitled to make known their dissatisfaction with the government’s alleged lack of urgency in addressing inflation in the country.

“Peaceful assembly is a democratic right of the people that is guaranteed by the constitution and an act based in the law.

“Peaceful assembly is a democratic and patriotic right that should be protected and not pressured by any party through intimidation,” said Sheikh Umar in a statement after he was questioned by federal police investigators in Bukit Aman, Kuala Lumpur this morning.

Earlier, he said Bukit Aman investigators took 90 minutes to record his statement for their investigation into his Facebook post asking if it was time for the public to take to the streets on June 22.

Sheikh Umar, a former state assemblyman, said he was being investigated for inciting public mischief under the Penal Code and misusing network facilities under the Communications and Multimedia Act.

“At the same time, my smartphone was also confiscated by investigators,” he said.

Sheikh Umar, who is also a member of DAP’s central executive committee, said the Malaysian economy is in a very challenging position at the moment and leaders needed to stand together with the people in solidarity with then hardships faced.

“Leaders cannot continue to discuss their own political survival alone. I urge drastic measures to be taken by the Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob administration,” he said.

On June 22, Sheikh Umar urged the public to consider gathering in the streets of Kuala Lumpur for their voices to be heard by the government in response to the rising cost of living.

He pointed out that the public assembling in large numbers in the state capital would send a signal of their frustrations to the government.

On June 24, Johor’s Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar criticised Sheikh Umar for proposing street demonstrations to pressure the government to resolve the country’s cost of living crisis.

The Sultan said that street demonstrations were an irresponsible reaction to the problem and there were more constructive methods to resolve the issue.

Last month, the government announced the removal of the ceiling price for chicken and chicken eggs, as well as subsidies for cooking oil in bottles of 2kg, 3kg and 5kg, from July 1.

This followed an announcement by Ismail Sabri that the subsidy for cooking oil in plastic packets will still be maintained by the government, and only that for bottled cooking oil will be removed.

He also announced a new round of cash aid as part of additional Bantuan Keluarga Malaysia (BKM) funds to combat rising prices, with the Phase 2 payment involving an allocation of RM1.11 billion and each BKM recipient will get up to RM400 depending on their respective BKM qualification category.

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