KUALA LUMPUR: Yesterday, Pakatan Harapan (PH) took the Registrar of Societies (RoS) to court. Today, PH component party PPBM filed a suit accusing the RoS of failing to exercise its duty under the law with regards to the party.
The move is an attempt to preempt any move by the RoS to deregister the party.
In the lawsuit filed at the High Court registry, PPBM claimed the RoS did not adhere to provisions in the Societies’ Act in handling complaints related to PPBM. It also claimed the RoS had issued various statements related to allegations that the two-year-old party had violated its constitution.
The RoS, it said, was not only being seen as threatening PPBM but also causing confusion and uneasiness among the public.
PPBM also claimed the RoS’ action in issuing press statements against it for allegedly violating its constitution was done in bad faith.
“They are seen to be conspiring with the current federal government to deny our candidates to contest in the coming 14th general election,” PPBM said.
PPBM secretary-general Shaharudin Md Salleh filed the suit, naming the RoS as the sole defendant.
The party is seeking court declarations that the RoS must follow the provisions in the Societies Act and that the RoS must not deregister PPBM.
PPBM is also seeking an injunction to stop the RoS from issuing press statements pending the disposal of this court case.
Speaking to reporters after filing the suit, PPBM lawyer Haniff Khatri Abdulla said the RoS had issued a statement yesterday on PH filing a case against the government body.
“The director-general said that Pakatan Harapan’s court case will create more obstacles in registering the coalition. If what she said is true, our lawsuit today aims to stop any bad intention to deregister us,” he said. He also said PPBM’s lawsuit today was different from that filed by PH.
Yesterday, PH filed an application for various orders against the RoS in a bid to compel the agency to respond to PH on its registration application.
It was filed by PH chief secretary Saifuddin Abdullah, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution, Amanah deputy secretary-general Abang Ahmad Kerdee Abang Masagus and PPBM secretary-general Shahruddin Salleh.
DAP deputy chairman Gobind Singh had said:“It is our contention that the RoS ought to reply or respond to our filed application but there has been no response until now. We take the view that RoS, as a creature of statute, is duty-bound to consider applications of this nature, just like any application from political parties for their registration.
“So when an application is filed, the applicant has a legitimate expectation that RoS will consider that application and respond. We do not see any reason for the RoS to withhold the registration of PH.
“That is why we are seeking leave from the court for orders that the failure on the part of RoS to respond is unlawful, there are elements of mala fide, and there was no basis to reject our application.”
It was previously reported that at a meeting in November 2017, the RoS informed PH representatives of two problems pertaining to the registration application of PH.
One was that the RoS did not recognise the DAP central executive committee (CEC) and the other was that PPBM had not held its annual general meeting.
Gobind said subsequent to this, the DAP complied with the RoS’ requirements and the registrar had given them a letter saying the DAP CEC was now accepted. PPBM, for its part, had given a report on its AGM to the RoS and this had not been disputed.
“Going by the Societies Act, once any political party has complied with the constitutional requirements, then by operation of law they are legitimate and they exist,” Gobind said.
The formation of PH was announced last year. It comprises PKR, DAP, Amanah and PPBM. The parties are planning to contest the next general election under a common banner.