PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal ruled today that the Voluntary Patrol Unit (PPS), declared illegal by the home minister, had been lawfully set up by the Penang government.
In quashing the home minister’s decision on Nov 4, 2014, to declare the PPS an illegal body, a three-man bench led by Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat also said the PPS was not a society within the meaning of the Societies Act.
“We allow the appeal and set aside the order of the High Court,” said Tengku Maimun who delivered the unanimous ruling.
Justices Mary Lim and Kamardin Hashim were the other two members on the bench.
Lawyers Tommy Thomas and Ambiga Sreenevasan represented the Penang government while Shamsul Bolhasan appeared for the home minister and the federal government.
The bench also ordered the home minister and the government to return all vests, seals, insignia arms, documents or other objects, irrespective of whether the logo or words belonged to PPS.
On Nov 22 last year, High Court Judge Hadhariah Syed Ismail, in dismissing a judicial review application by the state government, said the minister had the right to declare PPS as illegal.
She also ruled there was no need for the home minister to give any reasons for declaring the PPS illegal.
“While the PPS had good intentions in wanting to supplement tasks that are carried out by the police, its existence is against the law,” Hadhariah had said.
The Penang government filed the application in November 2015 for an order to quash the minister’s declaration, and sought a declaration from the court that PPS had been established legally under the Local Government Act and did not come under the Societies Act.
The state also sought a restraining order to prevent the federal government and the police from conducting raids on PPS premises or detaining PPS members.
The PPS was formed by the opposition-led Penang government in 2011 to fight crime and help with voluntary work.
A controversy arose over its work when a 51-year-old man alleged that PPS members had attacked him. The federal government decided to clamp down on the PPS. It culminated in the arrest of 200 PPS members during last year’s Merdeka parade in Penang.