Malaysia opposition set for protest rally over poll results
Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia`s opposition appeared headed for a clash with the authorities with their leader Anwar Ibrahim deciding to go ahead with a planned rally on Wednesday to protest against poll results, even as the police declared the gathering as illegal.
Opposition leader Ibrahim called the protest after what he said were "stolen" polls, won by PM Najib Razak`s ruling coalition.
The opposition coalition appealed to Malaysians to wear black and attend the rally to express their objection to alleged electoral fraud in Sunday`s general election.
Najib`s Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition won 133 of the 222 parliamentary seats in the election.
Anwar has accused the Election Commission of "being complicit in the worst electoral fraud in our nation`s history."
Selangor state police chief Hisan Tun Hamzah said although the organisers had obtained permission from the Kelana Jaya stadium for use of the facilities, they had only informed the police today.
He said this was not in accordance with the country`s Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) 2012.
"Under the PAA, the organisers must inform the police of a gathering ten days in advance. This would enable the police to gain feedback from the residents in the area and coordinate manpower to maintain security as well as ensure smooth traffic," he told The Star.
"The best option is to postpone the rally for another 10 days but the organisers refused," he said.
However, Hisan said police would avoid any confrontation with the organisers or participants in the spirit of peaceful assembly.
"We will gather evidence and review whether action can be taken against the organisers or participants," he said.
Meanwhile, opposition party director of strategy Rafizi Ramli said the party has complied with provisions of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 as it has informed the police about the proposed rally.
"This is in line with normal practice as the rally will be held in private premises. The management and owner of the stadium have agreed to this."
"It also complies with the Peaceful Assembly Act - a permit is not needed for a rally, only the need to inform the police."
However, the ruling coalition has rejected the opposition`s claims of election fraud as "unsubstantiated".
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