KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 4 – It is time for the Malaysian government to set up a Speakers’ Corner or Sudut Pidato, says Member of Parliament for Kepong, Lim Lip Eng.
The DAP party member said establishing a speakers corner close to the Parliament building will be in line with efforts to enable the rights to the instruments of democracy in the country.
This will ensure that there is less gap between the people and their elected MPs, as such continuity between them will be important, he said in a statement today.
“We cannot deny that before this, our country had been facing problems such as restrictions to the freedom of expression and the right to gather peacefully. In this new era of Malaysia, the people should no longer face such issues and it will be only fair to give them the freedom to express and gather.
“With the existence of such a corner, people will also no longer fear when they want to protest (on an issue) or hold a gathering without permit in a public place, which may create disturbance for the public or fear being wrongly indicted by the authorities.”
Lim said the freedom of expression was an important part of basic human rights and assured under the Federal Constitution, which clearly states that the freedom to voice out, gather and form associations were basic rights of the citizens.
In the international front, speakers’ corners have played an important role in ensuring people’s participation in governance with their provision of criticism and to work with governments. Countries like New Zealand, United Kingdom and neighbouring Singapore have recognized such corners for the use of its people.
The citizens are the real drivers of a strong and stable democracy and their rights will be further assured if the government remains sincere and transparent about giving the public the opportunity to voice out, Lim added.