This evening, a crowd of about 100 gathered at the Speakers Square, Esplanade for the Launching of Local Democracy Month 2011 and official opening ceremony by YB Chow Kon Yeow.
YB Chow Kon Yeow giving his opening speech
The Local Democracy month was organized with the objective of encouraging people to be constructively active in the discussion, planning and implementation of policies and services in Penang and local communities.
With the launching of this initiative, it is hoped that it will make Penangites more aware of the mechanism of local government as well as increasing awareness of the roles and functions of the various arms and agencies of the state and Municipal government.
The organizers also hope that this will be an open channel for as many citizens, especially those marginalized groups, to be involved and to share their ideas and experiences about how to effect positive change for our shared future.
Many events have been planned for the period including an anti-racism workshop, citizen education workshop, street busking,a photography competition and a Youth Parliament.
The event organised by Penang State Government, Suaram (Penang branch), Sembang-Sembang Forum, Campus Ministry Office, Amnesty International Malaysia, KOMAS, People's Green Coalition and SERI-Penang Institute ended by 6.30p.m. and was followed by a "Penangites peaceful assembly against the Peaceful Assembly bill" organized by SUARAM.
When the "Penangites peaceful assembly against the Peaceful Assembly bill" began, the response from the crowd was a clear indication of how much Penangites opposed this Bill even though there has been an announcement about some amendments which would be tabled prior to the debate on the Bill which will start Tuesday. Two speakers spoke during the peaceful protest - Datuk Dr. Toh Kin Woon and YB Jason Ong, PKR's Kebun Bunga assemblyman.
Datuk Dr. Toh Kin Woon speaking during the protest
YB Jason Ong speaking at the peaceful protest
Both speakers spoke passionately about why the Bill should not be passed and the importance of our right to assemble. YB Jason Ong expressed concern that the new Bill would in reality, infringe on our constitutional rights to freedom of assembly
The crowd roaring for the proposed Bill to be dropped.
The other provisions in the bill which are objectionable include:
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