PPBM gets go-ahead to challenge RoS order

Judge says if PPBM remains provisionally dissolved, it may cause irreparable damage to the party’s attempt to provide an alternative choice for voters.

KUALA LUMPUR: PPBM was second time lucky today when it obtained leave from the High Court to challenge an order by the Registrar of Societies (RoS) which had temporarily dissolved the party.

“I find that the applicant has shown an arguable case which merits the matter to proceed to the substantive stage,” said justice Azizah Nawawi.

Azizah also said there could be a breach of natural justice if the home minister heard the appeal by the applicant, PPBM secretary-general Shahruddin Md Salleh.

“At this stage, and pending the filing of the RoS affidavit for the purpose of the substantive application, one cannot envisage a person sitting in judgment to be fair and unbiased if he (the minister) has asked the RoS not to just initiate an investigation but to step up the probe and had knowledge of the findings of the RoS investigations,” she said.

The RoS comes under the purview of the home minister.

Azizah also allowed PPBM’s application for a stay order prohibiting the RoS from further deciding on the matter until the disposal of the judicial review.

“In the present case, the applicant is representing a political party which aspires to contest in the coming general election.

“If the stay is not granted, and PPBM remains provisionally dissolved, it may cause irreparable damage to the political party in its attempt to provide an alternative choice for the voters,” Azizah said in her 12-page judgment.

In an immediate response, PPBM president Muhyiddin Yassin said the decision was a small victory after the court rejected the government’s application to dismiss the leave application.

“This means the court can proceed to hear the merit of PPBM’s complaint against the RoS for its action,” he said in a brief statement.

Muhyiddin also said the ruling now allowed PPBM to function as a legal entity to bring about change in the general election.

Last week, PPBM’s lawyer Rosli Dahlan argued that the RoS had misused the law when placing the party under a 30-day dissolution and risk of being deregistered.

He also disputed the registrar’s claim that the party had not submitted documents required of it on time.

The temporary dissolution ruled out PPBM’s official presence in the May 9 election. The party’s candidates will now contest on the PKR ticket, with the PKR logo adopted as the common symbol for all the parties in the Pakatan Harapan alliance.

Senior federal counsel Shamsul Bolhassan, for the RoS, had argued that PPBM should have appealed to the home minister.

PPBM’s current application is the second made by the party in the case. On April 11, the High Court dismissed the party’s application to overturn the RoS’ order.

PPBM then filed a fresh application on April 13.

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