Wednesday, 25 July 2012

BERSIH Not Unlawful After All

The Kuala Lumpur High Court has quashed the home minister's declaration on July 1 last year that the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) is an "unlawful" organisation.

However, the court did not grant the two prayers sought by Bersih for the coalition to be registered.

Justice Rohana Yusof in her decision this morning said Bersih has successfully proven its case in challenging the declaration.

She also ruled that Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein’s declaration was "tainted with irrationality".

"Hence, we are allowing the applicant's application (for judicial review of the government's declaration), with no order as to costs," she said.

In her 30-page judgment, the judge narrated the history of the application that challenged Hishammuddin's decision to declare the coalition of NGOs to be an unlawful organisation.

Despite the declaration, she noted, the authorities had continued to meet with Bersih officials.

“There was negotiation between the applicant and the respondent (government) as to the location of the July 9 rally,” she said.

“There was an audience with (the Agong for) the first applicant (Bersih co-chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan) and there was no censure of Bersih (in conducting) its activities (the July 9, 2011 rally) as scheduled.”

The court had further taken judicial notice that Hishammuddin had made a public statement to allow the Bersih 3.0 rally to proceed on April 28 this year.

“Even if it can be said that Bersih was endangering security before the order was made, it cannot be the case that - after one week - such reason was no longer valid or applicable.

“In short, Bersih cannot be a society used for purposes detrimental to security on July 1, 2011 - and then, no longer so a week later. Even if that is so, then the declaration should have been lifted accordingly.”

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