A lawyer points out that the Bersih 3.0 protesters did not violate a court order when they tore down the barricades at Dataran Merdeka.
KUALA LUMPUR: In the aftermath of the Bersih 3.0 rally on Saturday, the authorities claimed that the protesters breached a court order when they tore down the barricades at Dataran Merdeka.
However, a laywer argued otherwise.
Speaking at a forum here last night, Bar Council’s constitutional law committee chairman Syahredzan Johan said the court order only covered the grounds of the historic square.
“The court order was not breached when protesters broke through the barricades. It only covered the grounds of Dataran Merdeka,” he added.
Syahredzan said the police went overboard by cordoning off the entire Jalan Raja in front of Dataran Merdeka and several other roads.
The same applied for Kuala Lumpur Mayor Ahmad Fuad Ismail ‘s restriction on Bersih to use the historic site under Article 65 of the Local Government Act. Belittling Federal Constitution
The lawyer said by adhering to the bylaws (Article 65 of the Local Government Act and Section 90 of the Criminal Procedure Code), the authorities belittled the Federal Constitution which had provisions guaranteeing freedom of assembly.
Article 65 of the Local Government Act states that Dataran Merdeka could only be used with the written consent of the mayor.
“The mayor used Section 65 of to temporarily close off Dataran Merdeka.
“The police used Section 90 of the Criminal Procedure Code to obtain a court order and in doing so made the Federal Constitution subservient to a bylaw,” he said.
Meanwhile, Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) executive director Masjaliza Hamzah stressed the role that society had to play in ensuring freedom of information and media freedom.
“Media freedom and freedom of information need to be fought for by the people as well as journalists,” she said.
Masjaliza also stated how media representatives for the first time were made to feel like protesters during the Bersih 3.0 rally, given that there were at least 12 cases of media personnel being roughed up by the authorities.
The other speakers at the forum entitled “Behind the Barricades: A Critical Analysis of Bersih 3.0″ were Suaram’s E Nalini, Occupy Dataran Movement representative Boon Kia Meng and former editor Jason Tan.
The forum was jointly organised by CIJ and the Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Halls’s civil rights committee.