Anwar applies to strike out Bersih 3.0 charges
KUALA LUMPUR, May 28 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today applied to strike out the charges against him over Bersih 3.0, claiming they were issued based on an “invalid” court order barring the use of Dataran Merdeka for the sit-in last month.
In his application, filed to the court today by Anwar’s lawyer Karpal Singh, it was alleged that the order had been granted “without jurisdiction” by magistrate Zaki Ashraf Zubir two days before the April 28 rally.
“The order issued... upon which the charge against the applicant is based is invalid and made without jurisdiction as the public, of which the applicant is a member, had not been cited as a party to the proceedings culminating in the obtaining of the said order,” the application reads.
It added that the order had neither been gazetted nor made available at places where Anwar and the general public could be made aware of it.
“To the best of the applicant’s knowledge and belief, the said order... has not been gazetted nor a copy of it posted at such places capable of conveying information therein to the public at large, including the applicant, pursuant to the provisions of Section 90 (2) of the Criminal Procedure Code,” the application said.
It alo claimed that the charge against Anwar under section 4(2)(c) of the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) 2011 “does not disclose any offence known to the law” and was “unconstitutional”.
Anwar and his deputy in PKR, Azmin Ali, had last week claimed trial to participating in an illegal rally. Rembau PKR Youth chief Badrul Hisham Shaharin, who also faces similar charges, had also claimed trial.
Section 4(2)(c) of the PAA, which relates to the right to organise a participate in an assembly, states that “a person commits an offence if he organises or participates in a street protest.”
Anwar, Azmin and Badrul were also charged under the Penal Code with abetting to incite three individuals, named as R. Tangam, G. Rajesh Kumar and Farhan Ibrahim @ Alias, to open the police barricade enclosing Dataran Merdeka during the April 28 Bersih 3.0 rally for electoral reforms.
Anwar and Azmin have denied exchanging signals to break a police barrier in front of Dataran Merdeka during the rally, with the former insisting these were to ask the Selangor PKR chief to negotiate with police.
The Permatang Pauh MP said the rolling motion he made with his hands directed at Azmin meant to “nego, nego” (negotiate).
Azmin said he then jerked his thumb over his shoulder and nodded to the former deputy prime minister to say “I had already negotiated with police.”
A few members of the crowd of 15,000, who were sandwiched between the square and Kuala Lumpur City Hall, begin chanting “masuk, masuk (enter, enter)” and an Indian man is seen pushing the metal gate aside, allowing the crowd to burst through.
Police had obtained a court order barring members of the public from entering the historic square. Bersih leaders had also told supporters not to defy the order and instead hold their sit-in rally for free and fair elections at the point they were stopped by police.
But after some demonstrators breached the barrier, police fired tear gas and water cannons at them, leading to spiralling chaos as police chased Bersih supporters down several streets and some rally-goers retaliated and attacked riot police.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had said when tabling the Peaceful Assembly Act in Parliament last year that it would be “revolutionary” and allow Malaysians to participate in public gatherings “in accordance with international norms.”