Minister acted within his jurisdiction in 'yellow shirt' ban order, court told

02 Feb 2016 / 16:07 H.

SHAH ALAM: The High Court today fixed Feb 19 for decision on the government's ban on yellow Bersih 4 t-shirts and printed materials ahead of the 34-hour rally last August.
Lawyer Edmund Bon, representing the electoral reform group Bersih 2.0 steering committee, said that the Home Ministry placed the ban because it was likely prejudicial to public order, security and national interest.
"(But) there is no evidence that the t-shirt can lead to prejudice of public order or national security.
"It is logically unreasonable," he told Judge Datuk Mohd Yazid Ali Mustafa today.
Bon said the ministry's reasoning that the rally did not get permission to be held is a different subject matter and should not be the reason to ban any yellow clothing with the words 'Bersih 4' printed on it.
"In any case, the rally complied by the Peaceful Assembly Act and all you need to do was to inform the police about it.
"There is no need to get permission," he said.
Bon said the minister had referred to matters in the rally, which took place on Aug 29, 2015, to release the ban order but the ban order came out on Aug 27, 2015.
"There must be more evidence that it had affected public order or was prejudice to the public order.
"(There is) no police report (made), and we have shown evidence that it was a peaceful rally," Bon said, adding that there were people who had been arrested and called for questioning for wearing or possessing the t-shirt.
Senior Federal Counsel Suzana Atan, representing the government, said that the minister had acted within his jurisdiction in giving the ban order.
She said it was a valid order and that the minister has absolute discretion in it.
"It does not necessarily have to refer to actual public disorder, but anything according to the minister's satisfaction that potential public disorder will likely occur," Suzana said.
Bon argued that the federal counsel was arguing on the legality of the order but the point that was raised was whether it was a reasonable order and the basis of the order.
Judge Datuk Mohd Yazid Ali Mustafa then repeated the question raised by the applicant to the federal counsel.
"It is whether printing and wearing (materials that contain the word Bersih 4) can disrupt public order? That's the question asked," he said.
Suzana reiterated that the minister was satisfied that it had the potential to do so.
Mohd Yazid then fixed Feb 19 for decision and asked the lawyers to make the necessary submission.

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