My advice to Hindraf and other groups on civil protests

by Vijay Kumar Murugavell

Gandhi during the Salt March, March 1930.

HINDRAF plans a “Candle light vigil” at Dataran Merdeka-5/9/09, 6.45pm
I urge Hindraf to try obtaining a police permit, we know they (the authorities) are not likely to issue one.

In the past PDRM keeps harping that no police permit was applied for , so even if they don’t issue one , let the records show one was applied for but denied,public rally permits must be made nine days before the date of the event and that the decision be made in three days, so the earliest possible date the gathering can be held assuming application is made by tomorrow 02/09/09, is 11th September 2009, please don’t shoot yourselves in the foot by insisting on 5th September 2009, PDRM will just cite non compliance the mentioned timeline and deny the permit.

If they deny permit as expected,

My suggestion is do a CANDLELIGHT RELAY, please allow me to explain further:-

First lets take a look at section 5 of the Police Act 1967

(5) Any assembly, meeting or procession-
(a) which takes place without a license issued under subsection (2); or
(b) in which three or more persons taking part neglect or refuse to obey any order given under the provisions of subsection (1) or subsection (3),

This means a gathering of 3 persons or more is illegal, so I am suggesting a gathering of 2 persons at a time to circumvent this law (See suggestion below- Item # 1)

The charges laid against peaceful assembly are in violation of the freedom of assembly enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,it also goes against freedom of speech under article 10(1) of the Federal Constitution.. It seems that the police act 1967 has multipurpose (ab)uses like the ISA. A gathering of 3 or more persons is deemed illegal, if this act was followed to the letter it would crush the economy which we do not want,So I offer a few hypothetical ideas on civil disobedience until this act is repealed or reformed :-

1) CANDLELIGHT RELAY
To circumvent the the Police act 1967, schedule for only 2 persons to hold the candles (with placard or t-shirt messages), just before it burns out, lay it on the ground and walk away. another 2 with fresh candles light theirs from the earlier candle, participants can vary the message and theme, if scheduled and organized properly the flames will burn perpetually for days on end like an Olympic torch. Ask individuals and corporates to sponsor these candle bearers as they do in walkathons and marathons, all proceeds of course go to charity.

2) CIVIL “OBEDIENCE”-
No typo there I meant the word “Obedience”.
9 days before going out for a picnic, a trip to the mall, bowling or any activity that may involve 3 persons or more, dutifully apply for a permit, flood the police with hundreds of thousands of applications and heckle them if they don’t reply within 3 days.

If they get irritated reply with pragmatism and a smile that you are merely complying with the letter of the law.

3) BOYCOTT
Don’t attend any public functions organized by BN government, not even out of curiosity, lest they say that the good turnout is because the people still support them, assign limited blog reporters to take pictures of what a pathetic “no show” it was and report on the wasted food and resources. Mainstream media boycott should extend beyond not buying personally, I usually berate friends and colleagues who read Star, NST , Utusan etc or watch TV3 or Bernama news, I know one person who even hides his NST copy to escape a lecture from me.Start with your circle of influence , where possible boycott the products of those who provide advertizing revenue to these dailies.
The message is, if you do not allow me to gather peacefully, why should I attend your gatherings and read the drivel you publish justifying your actions.

4) DISCONTINUE MEMBERSHIP-
Political parties love bragging rights as to their membership numbers, for example Samy Velu brags that MIC has 600,000 members, bur we all know that in the last general elections MIC could not even garner 200,000 of the popular vote, similarly UMNO could not even get the support of all UMNO members in the Permatang Pauh by-election.So all who voted Pakatan but still have active memberships with any BN component party to send in their resignation letters and give a copy to the nearest Pakatan assemblyman as proof lest BN denies mass resignations. Cite the Police Act 1967 and the ISA as the reason for resignation.

Above ideas are by no means exhaustive, I am sure many more can be conceived if one is to think outside the box

More battles are won by CUNNING , than bravery and brute force put together.

Comments
2 Responses to “My advice to Hindraf and other groups on civil protests”
  1. jungleboy says:

    My advice to hindraf is to have many groups of not more than 50 people in each group for the candle light vigil. The home minister will protect you from any police harassment.

  2. Lynn says:

    Vijay,
    Excellent, practical suggestions which Malaysians fed up with the excesses of the corrupt and racist BN (read UMNO) can accomplish quite easily! Especially suggestions #4 and #5.

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