Najib should announce full acceptance and no appeal against landmark Court of Appeal judgment striking down Section 15(5)(a) of UUCA as unconstitutional

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, should announce full acceptance and no appeal against the landmark Court of Appeal judgment yesterday striking down Section 15(5)(a) of Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA) as unconstitutional in violating the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech.

This will be an early test of Najib’s political will, bona fides and commitment to initiate a sea change of democratization and political transformation which he had promised after the most adverse national and international reactions to the high-handed government crackdown of the July 9 Bersih 2.0 peaceful demonstration for free, fair and clean elections system – with the establishment of the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Electoral System, and the pledges of repeal of the draconian Internal Security Act as well as repeal or reform of the arsenal of repressive laws in the country including the Universities and University Colleges Act, the Police Act, the Printing Presses and Publications Act, the Sedition Act, etc.

Najib should know that all his promises of “democratization and political transformation” have evoked more cynicism, skepticism and disbelief than hope, expectation and belief – and this is because the Najib government has not demonstrated any change of mindset and mentality that the whole apparatus of government has been attuned and oriented to the new challenges of democratization and political transformation.

It is most refreshing and inspiring that the Court of Appeal, through Justice Hishamuddin Yunus and Justice Linton Albert, have spoken out courageously, loud and clear for human rights and the supremacy of the Constitution at this particular juncture.

The landmark Court of Appeal decision is most timely in upholding the centrality of human rights in our nation building and Constitutional framework of guarantees, at a time when democracy and human rights have again been assailed as a dirty and dangerous conspiracy by none other than the former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir and the former Inspector-General Tan Sri Rahim Noor representing the voices of reaction in the country.

The majority decision Court of Appeal decision yesterday is no less than a repudiation of the political heresies preached by Mahathir and Rahim Noor when they warned of “a human rights wave” which would be like “a new religion” and threaten and erode the basis on which the nation was founded.

The question now is whether Najib and his Cabinet are prepared to step forward to support the Court of Appeal majority decision and demonstrate a new spirit and mindset of democratization and political transformation by overruling the decision that the University Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) appeal against the Court of Appeal judgment – as announced by UKM counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah in court yesterday?

What signal and message will Najib and his Cabinet send out on whether to respect and uphold the majority decision of the Court of Appeal striking down as unconstitutional and undemocratic the UUCA ban on university students from expressing support or opposing any political party?

Do Najib and his Cabinet agree with the majority Court of Appeal judges that “Universities should be the breeding ground of reformers and thinkers and not institutions to produce students trained as robots” (Justice Hishammdudin) and that the UUCA is “an utter absurdity” when university and college students faced “the grim prospect of expulsion” because of their presence at a by-election?

  1. #1 by Bigjoe on Tuesday, 1 November 2011 - 2:38 pm

    Forget it. Today is Nov 1, its too late to call an election before February because of the coming rainy season. If he calls an election now, between the troubles he has and the coming bad weather, it will be a disaster.

    Not only is it too late to call an election this year, its too late for his career. It is ending within the next year or so. No way there will be a good enough time for him to call an election within the current terms. He better hope he will survive December UMNO General Assembly. If Mahathir and/or Muhiyiddin decides to act, he may be out by December..

  2. #2 by dagen on Tuesday, 1 November 2011 - 3:47 pm

    The majority decision is wrong. The CA should have ruled against the students for their action quite clearly is anti-agung, anti-sultan, anti-islam jenis umno, anti-melayu, unpatriotic, ungrateful, communism, terrorism, etc etc.

    Anyway, WTF. Bravo! But expect umno to appeal and expect FC to overturn the CA’s majority decision.

  3. #3 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Tuesday, 1 November 2011 - 4:49 pm

    YA Hishammuddin Yunus & Albert Linton… thanks for treading where Malaysians fear to tread.

    Thanks for the legal conscience.

    Thanks for the streams of integrity and the defiant voice of justice.

  4. #4 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Tuesday, 1 November 2011 - 4:58 pm

    Oh, btw, YA Low Hop Bing…if the Star newspaper report is correct…. I thought the excerpts of your judgment read almost like a ‘plagiarised’ commentary by an MCA apparatchik-lah. Aiya.

  5. #5 by Godfather on Tuesday, 1 November 2011 - 5:06 pm

    Low Hop Bing is so symptomatic of the traditional kiasi Chinese – must close the front door at the hint of any commotion. It will be the Malays who will change this country, not the Chinese.

  6. #6 by Godfather on Tuesday, 1 November 2011 - 5:10 pm

    Najib surely must appeal – if he doesn’t, it may simply signal the beginning of the Malaysian spring.

  7. #7 by Jeffrey on Tuesday, 1 November 2011 - 5:17 pm

    To ask PM Najib to guarantee no appeal to Federal Court – if he were to agree to that – is corner him to concede that he interferes with internal workings and decisions of academia like Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) whose decision it is (technically) whether to appeal or not. He must not be seen interfering Universities’ decision. (Nurul Izzah recently said “no to Political Influence in Universities”. Do we need to do this (paint him to a corner) when the Court of Appeal (CA) had probably decided the way they did out of cue that PM is either committed or wants to be seen/perceived committed to democratisation in line with his repeal of ISA/EO? If it were argued that CA was not influenced by such a cue – that it acted on its own without influence of any cue- then this will contradict opposition’s long held position that our courts tend to defer the Executive’s wishes. If it were conceded that CA took the cue, then Najib had done his part to give the right cue…. Which way you want it and want hiom to do ? As matters stand there are already reactionary forces opposed to his democratisation policies and out to unseat him and he’s skating the edge. Taking the democratisation cue the Higher Education Minister as well as IIUM have already have softened the stand on Aziz Bakri’s suspension. How do we reconcile telling him to direct the University to do this (lift IIUM suspension in Aziz Bakri’s case or not to do (appeal in UKM’s case) that and yet at the same time hold the govt to the position not to influence the Universities???

  8. #8 by monsterball on Tuesday, 1 November 2011 - 6:32 pm

    UMNO b buggers are afraid of Malaysian U students be like Indonesian U students…who are the young well educated Malaysians that cannot be fooled by any politician.
    Most are of voting age and yet are told to stay away from Malaysia affairs that will eventually involved their futures.
    It was Mahathir who is afraid of U students….most.
    Forget about Najib.
    He has not the will power nor with the majority support from his party to do anything for the country and people.
    His role is to win votes and confidence.
    You expect Najib to support anything good when his hands are tight and his ratings getting worst?
    He is making full use of his remaining appointed role as PM…by his party….now on a pilgrimage to Mecca with tax payers money….for the very few opportunities …before he is voted out in 13th GE.

  9. #9 by monsterball on Tuesday, 1 November 2011 - 6:47 pm

    Always remember….it was Mahathir that started to control the U students and no way will any UMNO b government dare to change it.
    Do so….all the unqualified half past sixes ministers and racists lecturers will collapse and bring down the party and their government with the smart U students marching at the street….demanding changes like Indonesian U students..with no fear…for they are the smartest Malaysians that cannot be fooled at all.

  10. #10 by boh-liao on Wednesday, 2 November 2011 - 9:54 am

    SALUTE 2 d 2 judges who acted WITHOUT fear or favour, separation of d judicial n executive, unlike d other 1 who talked like he is UmnoB/BN n institutionalized by UmnoB/BN

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