Excessive Court docket misconstrued provision in Societies Act, says lawyer

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High Court misconstrued provision in Societies Act, says lawyer

16 former Umno members claim that the decision of the RoS to grant Umno an extension of the deadline for holding his election in 2018 was unconstitutional.

PUTRAJAYA: The High Court misinterpreted a provision in the Societies Act of 1966, which resulted in 16 former Umno members not being allowed to review the Registrar of Societies (RoS), the federal court heard today.

Attorney Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla said his clients filed for judicial review in 2018 to challenge the RoS’s decision to allow Umno another extension to hold their party elections.

He said the 16 also challenged RoS after refusing to give them an explanation when asking for clarification on the extension.

“The High Court, and later the Court of Appeal, misinterpreted Section 18C that the provision only applies to RoS and not to Umno,” he said in a virtual hearing today in his statement.

Previously, a five-person bank chaired by the Chief Justice of Malaya Azahar Mohamed had asked lawyers whether the provision was relevant to the two vacation questions raised in this appeal.

The other members of the panel were Abdul Rahman Sebli, Hasnah Mohammed Hashim, Mary Lim Thiam Suan and Rhodzariah Bujang.

Pursuant to Section 18C of the Associations Act, a decision by a political party or person authorized by it or by its constitution or rules or regulations is final and final and cannot be appealed in court.

Haniff said Umno did not go through with his election because RoS gave an extension that violated clause 10.16 of the party’s constitution.

Federal Prosecutor Shamsul Bolhassan, who represented the RoS, said the appellant had actually challenged Umno’s decision.

“It is camouflaged to bypass Section 18C and challenge the extension to conduct the party polls. The 16 are also challenging their release for going to court, ”he said.

Lawyer Mohd Hafarizam Harun, who represented Umno’s Executive Secretary Ab Rauf Yusoh, said the appeal should be dismissed as academic.

“The party held its election in June 2018 to elect its officers to lead the party,” he said, adding that the 16 had no legal position since membership ended.

The appeal hearing was adjourned to a date to be determined and Azahar directed the parties to comment on the determination.

The High Court and Court of Appeal dismissed the judicial review as they were bound by a 2013 Apex court ruling.

Then Salihudin Ahmad Khalid, branch manager of Umno Seri Merpati Pandan Indah, and 15 colleagues applied for a judicial review of the RoS and Umno because the party had broken its constitution by delaying its election.

Your membership was terminated on April 21, 2018 due to a court hearing.

The group tried to question Umno’s legality, saying the party should hold elections every three years and that the leadership could only delay the elections for a period of 18 months.

They said the party elections should be held by February 28, 2018.

However, on February 27, 2018, then General Secretary Tengku Adnan Mansor informed the media that the elections would take place no later than April 19, 2018, in violation of Clause 10.16 of the party constitution.

They said the decision by the RoS to allow a further extension six days after Tengku Adnan’s declaration under Section 13A (4) of the Association Act was fraught with illegality, irrationality and procedural flaws.

They said this denied them the right to association while the RoS refused to give them an explanation when they wrote to clarify the extension.