KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 15 — Police said today they have given the nod for this Saturday’s rally in support of PAS president’s private member’s Bill to allow Shariah courts to impose harsher penalties.
Dang Wangi district police chief ACP Mohd Shukri Kaman confirmed the approval, adding that the police would ensure security by deploying adequate numbers of police personnel.
“The Dang Wangi district police chief has given the approval for the organisers of the RUU355 Rally to hold a peaceful assembly at Padang Merbok, Kuala Lumpur on 18/02/2017 from 3pm to 12 midnight,” he said in a statement today.
As for Dataran Merdeka, which the rally organisers had initially announced as the rally venue, and parts of Jalan Parliament, Mohd Shukri confirmed that it would be closed off on the same day from 8am until midnight.
“The police hope that the rally organisers and participants will obey the rules stated under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 and the orders that are issued by the police,” he added.
This Saturday’s rally is organised by a coalition of non-governmental groups led by PAS, and is the culmination of the Islamist party’s persistent campaign to muster support for its proposed amendment to the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, also known as Act 355.
PAS has revised its expected turnout from 300,000 to 200,000 for the rally at Padang Merbok, and said both venue owner Kuala Lumpur City Hall and the police have approved its request to use the venue.
PAS today said it will deploy 3,000 of its own security marshals for the rally and confirmed that the minister in charge of Islamic affairs, Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, will be attending the event.
The rally will be held from 2pm to 11pm and, according to PAS, feature include Barisan Nasional-friendly and non-Muslim speakers.
A counter-rally by a movement known as BEBAS will be held from 3pm to 5pm at Taman Tasik Jaya in Petaling Jaya on the same day. The counter-rally’s venue was shifted from Padang Merbok after PAS announced that it would be shifting to that field.
PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s Bill aims to raise the ceiling on Shariah punishments from three years’ imprisonment, six strokes of the cane and an RM5,000 fine to 30 years’ imprisonment, 100 strokes, and a RM100,000 fine.