MTUC Sarawak secretary disappointed highly anticipated forum called off

Andrew Lo

KUCHING, March 16: Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) Sarawak secretary Andrew Lo is disappointed with the eleventh-hour cancellation of the forum organised by Rise of Sarawak Efforts (ROSE).

“I am very disappointed that the event cannot proceed. I was informed only at about 4 pm. I am also disappointed that the organiser was notified at the last minute despite the fact that the event was widely published more than 10 days ago.

“The police should have advised the organiser earlier to facilitate a peaceful public discourse for the better future of Sarawak and inconvenience to those who were eager to attend the event.

“I hope ROSE will reschedule the event as soon as possible,” said Lo in a statement in response to the cancellation of the forum.

The proposed `Youth and Employment in Sarawak: Opportunity or Challenge Forum’ was scheduled to start at 7.30 pm at Summer Mall in Kota Samarahan tonight, and the panellists were supposed to be Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) information chief Datuk Idris Buang and Lo.

Lo said he understood that ROSE did not notify the police at least 10 days before the event as required under the Peaceful Assembly Act.

“I am still prepared to participate in the event in the interest of Sarawak youths. However, I understand that YB Idris Buang declined to participate and claimed that a police permit is required.

“I wish to state that there is no requirement for a police permit under the Peaceful Assembly Act. All that is required is that the organiser gives the 10-day notification. There are two conflicting Court of Appeal decisions as to whether the 10-day notification is constitutional,” he said.

Lo added that the police still had the discretion not to interfere after considering the nature of the event and whether or not there were any potential serious public order issues.

“I would have hope that (Datuk) Idris (Buang), being an ex-police officer, would use his good office to persuade the police,” he said.

Earlier this afternoon, Idris issued a press release stating that he would not attend the forum as ROSE did not obtain a police permit.

ROSE chairperson Ann Teo, meanwhile, said she would hold a press conference tonight and had informed the media about the forum’s cancellation. — DayakDaily