Bersih 2.0 still illegal, says Hisham

Tarani Palani | May 15, 2012
The electoral watchdog is still outlawed despite organising its third rally on April 28, says Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.
KUALA LUMPUR: Bersih 2.0 is still an illegal outfit although it has been organising events such as the rally on April 28, says Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.
He said this in his affidavit which was submitted today as part of Bersih 2.0′s on-going effort to seek a judicial review against the ministry’s decision to ban it on July 1.
The order to declare Bersih 2.0 an unlawful society days before the second rally on July 9 last year, was made under Section 5 of the Societies Act 1966.
Bersih, which filed for a judicial review of the decision last July 8, submitted a leave application on April 25 to cross-examine Hishammuddin and the Inspector-General of Police, Ismail Omar.
The case was heard today by High Court judge Rohana Yusoff who rejected Bersih’s application to cross-examine Hishammuddin based on two points.
“Hishammuddin said in his affidavit that Bersih was still an unlawful organisation. His comments in the media pertained to the issue of peaceful assembly and not Bersih as an organisation,” Bersih’s lawyer, K Shanmuga, said after the court rejected the application in chambers.
“She said this [the reason in the affidavit] was enough and that he need not be cross-examined.”
Rohana also rejected Bersih’s application as it was made after a delay.
Said Shamuga: “We received leave for a judicial review in December but only filed for this application in April so we were four months late.
“We have said that we needed time to look into the police reports but she [Rohana] said that the maximum period to make a submission was 14 days after leave was granted for a judicial review.”
With this decision, Ismail also need not be cross-examined.
On April 25, the judge ordered Hishmammuddin to submit his affidavit by May 10 to clarify his position.
Bersih made the application to clear the confusion over statements made regarding the Bersih 3.0 rally on April 28.
In the run-up to the rally, Hishammuddin had repeatedly said that the rally could continue as it was not a “security threat”.
Rohana had reportedly said that she could not help but notice that Bersih 2.0 was still organising events [despite the ban], and that it was necessary to determine whether these events could proceed.
Rohana also rejected Bersih’s application to view the 1,706 police reports filed against the coalition in the build-up to the July 9 rally.
Shanmuga also said that the hearing for the judicial review proper will begin on June 26.

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