KUALA LUMPUR: The Registrar of Societies (RoS) has raised a preliminary objection that the 16 members who claim Umno is illegal for not holding its election cannot bring their complaint to the court.
Government lawyer Shamsul Bolhassan, acting for the RoS, said Section 18 (C) of the Societies Act 1966 barred the court’s intervention as any dispute between members and a political party had to be settled internally.
“There is a contract when members join Umno or any other political party,” he told reporters after presenting his submission before Justice Kamaludin Md Said in chambers.
The court today heard the leave application for judicial review by the 16 who filed the action last Friday.
Lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla, representing the 16, said Section 18 (C) was no longer applicable following two Federal Court rulings delivered by Justice Zainun Ali in April and January this year.
Haniff said the apex court had ruled that no ouster clause in any act of Parliament could stop the court from hearing complaints.
“Section 18 (C) is no longer good law after the two apex court rulings,” he said.
Kamaludin will deliver his ruling tomorrow as to whether leave ought to be granted and to hear the merit of the case.
The court also held that Umno lawyer Mohd Hafarizam Harun’s presence was not needed at this point in time, unless leave was granted.
Umno Seri Merpati Pandan Indah branch leader Salihudin Ahmad Khalid and his 15 fellow Umno members, who have since been sacked, are seeking a judicial review against the party on grounds it breached its constitution by delaying the party elections.
They named as respondents Umno executive secretary Ab Rauf Yusoh and the RoS.
The 16 said the party should hold elections every three years and the leadership could only delay them for an 18-month period. However the party was granted an extension by the RoS until next year.
The applicants allege that a second extension given to Umno is not provided for in the party constitution
They also said the delay had denied them their right to pick their leaders.
Meanwhile, Haniff told reporters that Kamaludin had fixed May 16 to hear an application for leave to initiate contempt proceedings against party secretary-general Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor over his announcement that the 16 had been sacked.
Salihudin, who filed an affidavit in support of the application yesterday , said Tengku Adnan’s media statement on Sunday on the termination of their membership was to frustrate their judicial review application against the party.
Salihudin said Tengku Adnan’s public announcement that they had been sacked also amounted to pre-judging the issue which was now before the court.