KEADILAN Youth is dismayed over the Court of Appeal’s recent decision in Public Prosecutor v R Yuneswaran.

The decision, which was delivered on Thursday had convicted KEADILAN Johor Executive Secretary R Yuneswaran of breaching the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) where he failed to give a 10-day notice ahead of a rally held in 2013 – popularly known as Black 505 rally. He was fined RM 6,000.

This is in contrast from the decision made by the same court earlier last year – in the case of Nik Nazmi v Public Prosecutor whereby the Court of Appeal had deemed 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.

Should this matter be elevated to the Federal Court, we can only hope that the Federal Court be more courageous and just in its interpretation of the Act. In this era of free and globalized 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.

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