KUALA LUMPUR – PAS should be allowed to hold a rally at Dataran Merdeka as it is their right to use a public space, Bersih 2.0 chair Maria Chin Abdullah said today.
The polls reform activist defended the Islamist party’s right to freedom of assembly and said it was up to PAS to negotiate the venue for its February 18 rally in support of PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s private member’s Bill on expanding the punitive powers of Shariah courts.
“Yes, of course they should be given the space. We have also maintained that it is a public space, and because it is part of peaceful assembly.
“We also want the space, so how can we refuse other people? They should be given the space,” Maria told Malay Mail Online when contacted.
On January 7, the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) warned organisers of the PAS rally against holding the event at the historic Dataran Merdeka.
Mayor Datuk Seri Mhd Amin Abd Aziz, however, said PAS would be able to go ahead with the rally by changing the venue to Stadium Titiwangsa, also in Kuala Lumpur.
The rally will be in support of Act 355, or the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, which Hadi’s Bill seeks to amend.
In November last year, Hadi read his motion for the amended version of his private member’s Bill to amend the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, also known as Act 355, but he deferred it to the next time Parliament convenes this year.
– Malay Mail