Home minister: Bersih still illegal

(Yahoo News) – The Bersih 2.0 movement is still illegal and subject to legal action, said Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.

He said that although the Agong had granted an audience to Bersih 2.0’s leaders yesterday, the government’s position has not changed.

“They are banned. They are still banned. Nobody can put themselves over the law… just because Tuanku met them doesn’t mean they are no longer illegal,” he told a press conference in Putrajaya today.

Hishammuddin, exercising his powers as home minister, had declared Bersih 2.0 illegal on July 1.

He dodged a barrage of questions related to Bersih 2.0’s legality and whether or not it has a guarantee of being granted access to a stadium for its rally – he repeatedly said the rally organisers must deal with the police.

However, Hishammuddin shot down Bersih 2.0 chief S Ambiga’s claim that the coalition is not required to apply for a permit, stressing that Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Ismail Omar has clearly set this as a pre-condition.

‘The IGP was very clear (in his statement yesterday). We are all governed by the laws of the land, (and) the IGP’s statement yesterday also stated Section 27 (of the Police Act), which states you have to apply for a permit.”

Asked several times whether or not the government can guarantee that the planned indoor rally on Saturday will be allowed to take place, Hishammuddin was again evasive, only saying this depends on the organisers’ application for a permit.

“Let them apply. Then the process is for the police to consider. The quicker they apply, the quicker they can process as far as the police are concerned … the permission to have (the) gathering will depends on their application,” he said.

Hishammuddin said the rally will get the green light if the organisers apply for a permit and meet all the conditions set, although he was sparse on the details.

“We will have to wait for their application first. That (conditions) will be discussed when they do make the application, between them and the police.”