Malaysian Bar to sue police for blocking protest last month

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The Malaysian Bar wants to sue the police for blocking lawyers walking from Padang Merbok to Parliament during a protest in Kuala Lumpur last month.

Its president Karen Cheah said the Bar is now preparing the documents to file the suit in August.

“We are not backing down, we are definitely commencing a suit against the police for all the transgressions that happened during the event,” she reportedly said.

The protest in question, which occurred on June 17, had been organised by the Malaysian Bar, after online attacks against a judge that found former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak guilty of embezzling funds from a 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) subsidiary.

Some 220 individuals reportedly took part in the protest, largely made up of lawyers.

Police, however, blocked roads leading to Parliament building with a light strike force present, and according to Cheah, did not give sufficient reasons as to why the protest was being stopped.

Cheah was also quoted as saying that the cops had no right to stop the protest in accordance with the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012.

“This is a form of abuse of power and public misfeasance because instead of facilitating the walk and ensuring the safety of the participants, they did the converse to frustrate the rights of citizens.

“The actions of the police have set a bad example for the citizenry, as it conveys the message that citizens are not free to exercise their constitutional rights even when they comply with the law.

“And that a law enforcement agency can and will act with impunity and unlawfully, just because they are in a position of power to do so. The Malaysian Bar cannot countenance this transgression from the police,” she reportedly said.