SHAH ALAM, Feb 19 (Bernama) — The High Court on Friday ruled that the ban on the use of yellow clothing bearing “Bersih 4” and pamphlets related to the rally on Aug 29 last year is legal.
Judge Datuk Mohd Yazid Mustafa said: “I find that the (Home) Minister’s decision in making the order (prohibiting the use of the clothing and pamphlets) does not suffer from any illegality, irrationality or procedural impropriety.”
Dismissing the application for a judicial review filed by Bersih 4 chief Maria Chin Abdullah and two others on Sept 18 last year against the minister and ministry for the order, he added:
“I found that order was within the confine of the minister’s power. Under Section 7 of the Act (Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984), the minister may exercise at his discretion to make such order if he is satisfied that any publication or pamphlet is in any manner prejudicial to, or likely to prejudice, public order.
“Therefore, the subjective test, applied by the minister in such a situation, is appropriate.”
The order was issued under Section 7(1) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 on Aug 27, 2015.
It mentioned the prohibition of printing, importation, production, reproduction, publishing, sale, issue, circulation, distribution or possession of, among other things, any yellow clothing bearing the words “Bersih 4” and any other printed materials and pamphlets related to the rally.
Mohd Yazid noted that the applicants, Chin, Masjaliza Hamzah and Fadiah Nadwa Fikri, did not challenge or dispute the minister’s statement in his affidavit reply that the assembly was illegal.
He said the minister had a heavy responsibility to preseve peace in this multi-racial and multi-religious country, notwithstanding that the Federal Constitution confers rights of assembly and freedom of expression.
He added that the national interest needed to be jealously guarded, and the preservation of public order, security and peace was in the hands of the Executive.
The applicants were represented by lawyer New Sin Yew while Federal Counsel M. Kogilam Bigai appeared for the respondents.