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PPBM Remains Legal!

On 5 April, Parliament was adjourned (it was dissolved two days later). The same day, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) — one of four political parties in the federal opposition Pakatan Harapan — was provisionally ordered to be dissolved by the Registrar of Societies (RoS) over the party’s alleged failure to submit required documents. With the provisional dissolution, the RoS insisted that PPBM could not use its name or logo nor conduct any activities, but that it would have to file an appeal within 30 days.

PPBM, on its part, insisted it had provided all documents and that the RoS had acted in bad faith. PPBM also insisted on continuing as a legal political party and filed a judicial review (JR) application to challenge the RoS’s decision and actions.

Yesterday (23 April), the Kuala Lumpur High Court granted leave to PPBM to initiate JR proceedings to quash the provisional dissolution order issued by the RoS under Section 14(5) of the Societies Act 1966. The court also stayed and suspended all of the RoS’s orders and actions.

High Court judge Datuk Azizah Haji Nawawi agreed with counsel Rosli Dahlan that there were serious and arguable issues on the legality of the RoS's actions against PPBM. The judge also held that the allegations of bias against the Minister of Home Affairs rendered there to be an exceptional circumstance warranting a stay so that PPBM can continue to function as a legitimate political party and contest in the country’s upcoming 14th elections, dubbed “GE14”.

Rosli had argued that the Minister of Home Affairs had made several media statements that were tantamount to instructing the RoS to step up action against PPBM, which is identified as former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s party. These allegations of bias were so serious as to warrant the court to prevent the RoS from acting further pending the disposal of the JR.

Rosli, who heads the Corporate & Commercial Disputes Practice at Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill, was assisted by associates Fozi Addhwa and Lau Zhong Yan, as well as pupil-in-chambers, Ahmad Fadhli Umar.

Sources:

Channel News Asia, Free Malaysia Today, The Malay Mail Online, New Straits Times, The Star Online, theSun daily and The Straits Times

For the reports in BM, see

Berita Harian, Malaysiakini and Utusan Online

The High Court’s grounds of judgment may be viewed here.

24 April 2018

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