Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Malaysia court rejects politics ban for students

A Malaysian court ruled yesterday that a law banning college students from political activities was unconstitutional, in a move hailed by the ban’s opponents as a landmark decision. 

Students have long campaigned for a repeal of the 1971 Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA), which bars them from joining political parties and trade unions, saying the ban violates human rights and free speech. 

Malaysia’s Court of Appeal ruled that the law contravened constitutionally protected freedom of expression. 

“This is a landmark decision... the net effect is that students are free to participate in political activities now,” lawyer Ashok Kandiah, who represented four former political science students in challenging the ban, said. 

The ruling comes as speculation mounts that Prime Minister Najib Razak will soon call elections in which his long ruling coalition and the political opposition are both expected to court increasingly vocal youth voters...

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