Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 Case Study

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1.1 Research Topic
The research topic chosen for this paper is the right to assemble in Malaysia under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 as compared to section 27 of the Police Act 1967.
1.2 Problem Statement
The right to assemble is among the most integral right a human being could possess. Such right is recognized by article 20(1) of United Declaration of Human Right where it is provided that everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. In Malaysia, the right to assemble is enshrined under Part II of the Federal Constitution, rendering it a citizen’s fundamental liberty that ought to be upheld at all time without any compromises. The freedom to assemble peacefully and without arms is a constitutionally guaranteed
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Under section 27 of the Police Act, a police permit is required before an assembly can be held. The police’s discretion was deemed to be a hindrance to the people’s right to assemble and it was later repealed. Subsequently, Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 (PAA) comes into place to substitute the provision of the Police Act. Nevertheless, the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 was viewed as a more restrictive law to curb the people’s freedom to assembly by many parties. For instance, according to section 15 of the PAA, the Officer in Charge of the Police District (OCPD) may impose restrictions and conditions on an assembly for the purpose of security of public order including any matters that the OCPD deems necessary or expedient. Even though the imposition of the restrictions and conditions under s.15 may be appealed but it will still be subjected to the Minister’s discretion. Hence, some restrictions that are imposed were deemed to be ‘redundant’ or ‘unreasonable’, resulting in the arrest of many parties.
In the case of Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad v Public Prosecutor , the Court of Appeal unanimously ruled that it is unconstitutional to criminalized spontaneous public assemblies that are in breach of the 10-day notice as required under the PAA. This case signifies the first time in the nation’s history that the freedom to assemble peacefully and without arm was given full effect. Therefore, any future rally that are held peaceably will
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The writer emphasized on the importance of striking a balance between legitimate political expression and the need to preserve peace. The writer examined the respective acts that restrict the freedom of assembly in Malaysia to determine whether freedom of assembly is a right or a privilege granted to the citizens. This article also examined the ways to safeguard the freedom of assembly in Malaysia.
In the article, The Right of Assembly, the origin of the right of assembly and the common law on assemblies where the act of assembly played an important role in the English constitutional history were stated. The article mainly focuses on the views and opinion of Dr. Dicey. Also, the article also laid down the circumstances in which the right of assembly will be curtailed, making a point that the freedom of assembly is not

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