PKR Youth has expressed its dismay over the Court of Appeal's decision that the enforcement of a 10-day notice to the police prior to holding a peaceful assembly is lawful.
PKR Youth chief Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad said the decision, which had convicted Johor PKR executive secretary R Yuneswaran, was in contrast from the decision made by the same court earlier last year in his own case.
Nik Nazmi's case saw the Court of Appeal deeming it unconstitutional to criminalise spontaneous public assemblies not in compliance with the 10-day notice required under Section 9(5) of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012.
"This dramatic shift signals an era where fundamental liberties which are enshrined in the constitution are further clouded by restrictive interpretation of the courts," he said in a statement today.
He expressed hope that the Federal Court would be more "courageous and just" in its interpretation of the Act should the matter be brought there for decision.
"In this era of free and globalised world, archaic interpretation concerning fundamental liberties are no longer relevant – and as a matter of fact, runs counter intuitive to the development of Malaysia as a free and democratic country," he stressed.
Court upheld decision to fine Yuneswaran
In an unanimous decision on Thursday, the court said Section 9(5) of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 (PAA) that criminalises the failure to give the notice to be “constitutional, valid, and enforceable”.
The court also upheld the Johor Bahru Sessions Court decision to fine Yuneswaran RM6,000 for failing to give the notice to the police prior to holding the Blackout 505 rally in Johor, or three months’ imprisonment in default.
On April 25 last year, the Court of Appeal had made a landmark decision that declared Section 9(5) as null and void and unconstitutional.
A three-member panel led by the recently retired judge Mohamad Ariff Md Yusuf had then, in a unanimous decision, struck out the charge against Nik Nazmi, who was charged in relation to the Black 505 rally after the 2013 general election.
By declaring Section 9(5) unconstitutional, the requirement to notify the police under Section 9(1) still stands but is rendered unenforceable because there is no penalty for its breach.
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