Now, the thousands of people who bought the yellow Bersih T-shirts can wear it without any fear of getting caught.
The ban against the Bersih yellow T-shirt and other paraphernalia was lifted today as Court of Appeal judges declared that the home minister had made an “unreasonable ban” as it “imposes an unreasonable condition”.
Despite the ridiculousness, yellow Bersih 4 T-shirts was banned last year on August 28, almost exactly one year ago – prior to the two-day Bersih 4 rally which took place on August 29 to August 30 last year.
Bersih 2.0 however took it upon themselves to ensure that such ridiculousness ended and took the ban to the Court of Appeal.
The ban then was ordered against the printing, importation, production, reproduction, publishing, sale, issue, circulation, distribution or possession of yellow Bersih 4 T-shirts and the related printing materials.
Human rights lawyer New Sin Yew, who represented the steering committee of Bersih2.0 says that the order was unreasonable and irrationally made, and should not have even been made in the first place.
“When the minister (Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi) makes a decision to curtail fundamental liberties, he needs to base it on facts and not conjectures.
“If it was not based on facts, it is liable to be quashed for being unreasonable and irrational.
“He didn’t give any reasons and when he was asked to state his reasons he referred them to what happened during the rally when the T-shirt ban order took effect even before the rally took place. That is simply unacceptable,” says New.
New says that reasons that were given included protestors stepping on photos of leaders but maintains that there are no connections to whether the T-shirt is a threat to national security.
“On top of that, even the law enforcers said the rally was peaceful and orderly, so to ban clothing and materials simply has no connection to whatever the purpose may be.
“Was the ban ordered politically? It is not our concern because the underlining factor is that if the ban should take place it needs to be based legally,” he adds.
The lifting of the ban has set a precedence where the country is beginning to accept peaceful assemblies and the court recognises it, compared to five or 10 years ago, says New.
“It is another step forward where the society will now be allowed to assemble to express their opinions on issues,” says New.
The lawyer adds that the order was ridiculous to point where it was worded so wide where almost everything was covered.
“It’s endless, and during one of the court proceedings, a minion doll that was wearing a jumper with the word Bersih 4 on was exhibited, and under the verdict of the order it is prohibited and is considered as a threat to national security.
“That goes to show how ridiculous the order is. If the court ordered a stay on the ban, it is quite embarrassing in the eyes of the international community.
“We will be known as the country that banned T-shirts. I don’t know of any other country that banned T-shirts,” New adds.
Soo Wern Jun