Since my last posting, several landmark events have taken place. First, the three people seen in the video taken by an Opposition supporter instigating the breach of police barricade at the Dataran Merdeka have been charged under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012; and under the same Act, the Government has filed a civil suit against the organisers and members of the steering committee of BERSIH 3.0 (Ambiga Sreenivasan and 9 others) for their failure to ensure that their responsibilities as the organisers of the rally to ensure that the Assembly remained peaceful, as stipulated in the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012. This also opens up the possibility of the injured policemen taking civil action against the organisers jointly and severally for the same reason. According to the Guidelines on Peaceful Assembly issued by the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, Para 116 states the following:
In the implementation of legislation on freedom of assembly, consideration should also be given to the rights, health and safety of police officers.
Maybe, it would also be worth to explore Section 34 and 149 of the Penal Code, to show there was a common intention by the organisers of BERSIH 3.0, and the perpetrators charged as above, to endanger public order based on the precedences set by BERSIH 1.0 and 2.0, where they always end in violence. In BERSIH 2.0 we saw the video of yet another Opposition MP who made a countdown to charge at the police line. Therefore, the organisers of BERSIH 3.0 should have denounced the act and kept the political parties out of the assembly. Consider this, would it not be mala fide to even incite, promise and invite 500,000 people to attend a rally in one place that cannot hold more than 100,000? How did the organisers, as responsible people, expect the police to ensure the safety of the participants of the rally, to weed out bad hats and trouble-makers who may have ill intent, let alone to ensure public order and the right to freedom of passage by road users who are not participants, their right to public order, morality, security and public health?
What has also taken place, in reference to the first case above, the defence counsel for Anwar Ibrahim includes the very man who led the prosecution team against him in the Sodomy II trial, and lost. This is in particular of interest to me as Mohd Yusof Zainal Abidin was privy to the evidences and information made available to the Attorney-General’s office. That case is now in its appeal stage and is far from over, making the move by Yusof to join Anwar’s defence team, in my opinion, nothing short of being malum in se. Already, there is talk among the rakyat about how the Government had lost its case against Anwar in Sodomy II. We will have to see if Yusof has or will cross the line between being a defence counsel and criminal conspirator. The Government (Attorney-General’s Office) should have an ethical standards barring former staff who have had access to sensitive law enforcement and intelligence information to move into private practice dealing with clients who can benefit directly from the information. As in the case of one Michael Abell who switched sides in 1995 from the US Justice Department to defending Cali drug barons, a lack of ethical standard set by the US Justice Department (and in this case, the Malaysian Attorney-General’s Office) squanders public trust when it allows this to happen.
Interestingly, the Bar Council has kept mum on this issue. An injustice towards the Government seems to be okay from a body that is supposed to uphold the law without fear or favour. How can one not say that the Bar Council is partisan? Every action it does seems to favour only one side of the political fence.
I urge those among the 13,000 members of the Malaysian Bar who did not attend the recent Extraordinary General Meeting who are against the resolution passed en bloc and fear for the neutrality of the Bar, to take action now as rakyat like I, have now doubt it being a professional body.
And I would also like to urge Malaysians capable of thinking…to think.