KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 19 — The federal government today lost its final bid to sue electoral reform group Bersih 2.0 for property damages during the latter’s third mega rally in 2012.
A Federal Court panel today reportedly dismissed Putrajaya’’s application for leave to appeal a previous ruling by the Court of Appeal in Bersih 2.0’s favour, news portal Malaysiakini reported.
The panel was chaired by Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Richard Malanjum and also composed of judges Tan Sri Hasan Lah and Datuk Seri Abu Samah Nordin.
“We won the Bersih 3 case, for the third time. Judge threw out the application, no more appeals. Done and dusted,” the group said on its official Twitter account.
Last August 23, the Court of Appeal unanimously ruled that the federal government was not entitled in law to sue Bersih 2.0 for the 2012 property damages, dismissing the government’s appeal on its main claim for over RM110,000 in compensation.
On January 30, 2015, the Kuala Lumpur High Court similarly ruled in Bersih 2.0’s favour and said the group was not liable for property damage during its sit-in protest on April 28, 2012, dismissing the government’s claim for RM110,543.27 in property damages.
Among other things, High Court judge Datuk John Louis O’Hara had noted that the police’s own actions and omissions contributed and resulted in the damage, also saying then that the damages occurred after the rally was called off and that it was not proven satisfactorily that legitimate rally participants had caused the damage.
On May 23, 2012, the government sued Bersih 2.0 under Section 6 (2)(g) of the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) 2012, claiming compensation for alleged damages to property — including 15 police vehicles — during the rally.
The government had sought for special damages amounting to RM110,543.27 from the then Bersih 2.0’s co-chairs Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan and Datuk A. Samad Said and 13 other committee members.