High Court rejects injunction application against Bersih 5

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Gurdial argued that no private citizens or groups have the power to prevent the public from exercising their constitutional right to assemble. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

Gurdial argued that no private citizens or groups have the power to prevent the public from exercising their constitutional right to assemble. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 17 — The High Court today rejected an application for an injunction to stop Bersih 5 and a counter-rally from taking place in the capital city this Saturday.

Justice Nanthan Balan said the application, filed by three city Malay trader groups, failed, among others, to provide a credible explanation as to why the suit was only filed at the eleventh hour when Bersih 2.0 had already made it known that the Bersih 5 rally was to be held within the Dataran Merdeka vicinity since September this year.

Justice Nanthan also noted that the plaintiffs had failed to provide any evidence to support its claims that previous Bersih rallies had led to damages to their shops or assets.

“The delay is inordinate and the plaintiff failed to provide any credible explanation as to why they have filed for the injunction at the eleventh hour.

“The plaintiff said they have lodged a police report (against the defendants) yet there is no evidence of a police report. The plaintiff said they suffered from damages every time the defendants held rallies, yet there is no evidence of monetary issues,” Justic Nanthan said his ruling.

The three groups, the Modern Malay Bazaar Trader Association, the Trading Premise Renters Association and the Traders and Stall Owners Associations, filed for the interim injunction only yesterday on grounds that the two rallies would affect their business. Read more

High Court: Duty of police to prevent clash between Bersih 5, Red Shirts

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Land mass data can be used to justify the size of constituencies that have undergone resizing by the Election Commission, says Bersih 2.0. Pic taken from FMT News.

Justice Nanthan Balan pointed out that the police must redirect any counter-rallies if they knew that clashes were imminent. — Picture by Opalyn Mok

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 17 — The High Court today pointed out that the police are legally-bound to ensure the Red Shirts movement holds its counter-rally at a different location to prevent clashes with Bersih 2.0 supporters this Saturday.

Justice Nanthan Balan in reading out his ruling rejecting an application for an injunction to prevent Bersih 5 and a counter-rally from taking place in the capital city said Section 18 of the Peaceful Assembly Act stated that the police must redirect any counter-rallies if they knew that clashes were imminent.

“Section 18 of the PAA acts as a safety valve to diffuse any potential conflict therefore it is the duty of the police to prevent a clash or conflict should there is a possibility that it would eventuate,” he told the High Court here.

Justice Nanthan said the application, filed by three city Malay trader groups, failed, among others, to provide a credible explanation as to why the suit was only filed at the eleventh hour when Bersih 2.0 had already made it known that the Bersih 5 rally was to be held within the Dataran Merdeka vicinity since September this year.

He also agreed with the argument presented by Bersih 2.0’s lead counsel Gurdial Singh that no private citizen or groups should use the court to prevent any organisations from exercising their constitutional right to assemble. Read more

Ambiga wants police to stop Bersih, Red Shirts from holding simultaneous demos

Source: NST Online

Ambiga Sreenevasan - MMO file pic.

Ambiga Sreenevasan – MMO file pic.

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk S. Ambiga has urged the police to prevent the Red Shirts and Bersih 5.0 rally participants from holding simultaneous demonstrations this Saturday.

Ambiga, who is Malaysian Human Rights Society (Hakam) president and former Bersih 2.0 co-chairman, said the authorities can use Section 18 of the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) 2012 for this purpose.

This, she said, can be done by separating the Red Shirts counter rally and providing it with an alternative date and venue.

The legislation, said Ambiga, states that if it is evident that the organisation of a counter rally can cause conflict between participants of the assemblies, the authorities “shall give an alternative for the counter assembly to be organised at another time, date, or place.”

Ambiga urged the police to exercise their power to act according to the said legislation. “Failure to do so will give them problems (in case of untoward incidences),” she told a media conference today. Read more

STATEMENT: Student Activism Should Be Encouraged. Freedom of Expression.

STATEMENT DATED 17 Nov 2016pdf

STUDENT ACTIVISM SHOULD BE ENCOURAGED. FREEDOM OF EXPRESSIONdownload-1

1.     It has been reported that following a directive from the Ministry of Higher Education at least two private universities (Monash University Malaysia and Curtin University Sarawak) have issued warning notices to their students that disciplinary action will be taken for participation in any “illegal” assembly.  The notices were sent 4 days before the Bersih5 protest.

2.     These threats of disciplinary action put undue pressure on students who wish to participate at Bersih5. The issuance of the notices by the universities may be perceived an abuse of powers by the university authorities to stifle freedom of expression and to curtail student activism and participation in what is clearly a legitimate democratic process.  Read more

We won our independence on the streets, says Bersih Chairman

Source: The Sundaily

Bersih 2.0’s chairman Maria Chin Abdullah— Picture by Saw Siow Feng, taken from Malay Mail Online.

Bersih 2.0’s chairman Maria Chin Abdullah— Picture by Saw Siow Feng, taken from Malay Mail Online.

PETALING JAYA: Hours after Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak said street demonstrations are not part of the Malaysian culture, Maria Chin Abdullah (pix) reminded everyone that it was through that means that the country gained independence.

The Bersih 2.0 chairman even suggested to the Prime Minister that Umno would not have survived today if it had not gone out to the streets to demonstrate.

“Street demonstrations have always been our culture. If you even remember how we won our independence, we were on the streets.

“Right from the beginning of our history. It is part of our right to dissent,” she told a press conference, here, today.

“We wanted to show them (British) at that time that we wanted change, and now to show to the government that people are serious about it,” she added.

Maria said she was also confident that the turnout for the Bersih 5 rally tomorrow would be huge, despite the threats hurled by Datuk Seri Jamal Yunos and his Red Shirts. Read more

How Malaysia can reverse trend of increasing religious intolerance ― Maszlee Malik

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Maszlee Malik is Visiting Fellow at the ISEAS ― Yusof Ishak Institute. This is adapted from a longer piece in ISEAS Perspective.

Maszlee Malik is Visiting Fellow at the ISEAS ― Yusof Ishak Institute. This is adapted from a longer piece in ISEAS Perspective.

NOVEMBER 17 ― A series of incidents in recent years has been undermining the religious harmony that Malaysia has thus far enjoyed. This began with the infamous “cow-head protest” in Shah Alam in August 2009 against a proposed Hindu temple that displayed unveiled disrespect and hatred towards Hindu citizens; and continued with three churches being torched in the Klang Valley in early January 2010.

This was followed by apparent retaliatory arson attacks against two suraus (prayer rooms) in Muar in late January 2010. Then came the mind-numbing act of incitement in April 2015 by 50 residents in Taman Medan over the display of a cross on a newly minted church, followed by the unfortunate Low Yat fracas, which led to the Red Shirts demonstration that further stoked racial tensions.

The mood was further affected by the conundrum over the use of “Allah”, the proposal to make Islamic and Asian civilisation studies compulsory at private universities, and a parliamentary Bill being presented that sought to allow the conversion of minors to Islam based on only one parent’s approval. The government eventually withdrew this controversial Bill, which would have allowed this unilateral conversion throughout Malaysia.

Public statements and actions by national Muslim leaders and state religious authorities have further exacerbated racial and religious discord. Read more