Dr M’s Pejuang sues home minister, RoS for failure to decide on party’s registration appeal

Pejuang secretary-general Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah speaks to the media during a press conference at the Perdana Leadership Foundation in Putrajaya January 7, 2021. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Pejuang secretary-general Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah speaks to the media during a press conference at the Perdana Leadership Foundation in Putrajaya January 7, 2021. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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KUALA LUMPUR, Mar 1 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang) today filed a lawsuit against the home minister and the Registrar of Societies Malaysia (RoS), over the latter two’s failure to decide after about two months on the political party’s appeal to be officially registered by the government.

Pejuang secretary-general Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah, who filed the civil lawsuit on behalf of Pejuang’s founders or sponsors, said the court case was filed as a judicial review application at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur.

In announcing the lawsuit, Amiruddin said that the court case is aimed at obtaining various court orders, including to have the home minister decide on Pejuang’s appeal against RoS’ previous rejection of Pejuang’s application to be registered, and for the home minister to order RoS to finalise Pejuang’s registration.

Previously, Pejuang had on August 19, 2020 submitted a full written application to the RoS to be registered as a political party, and had by October 22, 2020 failed to obtain any reply despite checking seven times for updates on the status of the party registration application.

On December 10, 2020, Pejuang via Amiruddin sued RoS and its director-general through a judicial review application at the High Court, to seek for the court to compel the RoS to make a decision on the party’s August application to be officially registered.

But just a day before the High Court was scheduled to hear Pejuang’s application for leave for judicial review to challenge RoS’ months-long delay in deciding on the party registration application, the RoS on January 6, 2021 sent an email to notify Pejuang that it had decided to reject the party’s application for registration.

Following the RoS rejection of Pejuang’s registration application, the party then withdrew its lawsuit that had sought to have RoS decide on the registration application.

Pejuang on January 8, 2021 then submitted a letter to the home minister to appeal against the RoS rejection.

Today, nearly two months since Pejuang’s written appeal to the home minister, the party filed a lawsuit over the delay in response by the home minister over the appeal.

In a court document for the filing of Pejuang’s lawsuit as sighted by Malay Mail, the party asked for leave for judicial review, in order to obtain four court orders.

The four court orders sought by Pejuang include a declaration that omission or failure by the home minister to make any decision on Pejuang’s appeal letter dated January 8, 2021 on the RoS registration rejection was a breach of the home minister’s statutory obligations under Section 18 of the Societies Act 1966.

Another order sought was for a declaration that the breach of statutory obligations by the home minister — in failing to decide on the January 8 appeal — contravenes Amiruddin’s legitimate expectation, is unreasonable, malicious and an attempt to deny Amiruddin’s constitutional right to associate and Pejuang’s constitutional right to contest in the general elections using its own logo.

The third order sought was for a mandamus order to compel the home minister to decide on Pejuang’s appeal under Section 18(b) of the Societies Act 1966 within seven days of the date of the court’s judgment, while the fourth order sought was for a mandamus order to compel the home minister to order the RoS to finalise Pejuang’s registration within seven days of the date of the court’s judgment.

In the same court document, Amiruddin provided brief explanations on the reason why he had filed the lawsuit on behalf of Pejuang against the home minister and the RoS over the delay in the decision on the appeal.

Amiruddin highlighted that the home minister confirmed in a February 2, 2021 press conference that Pejuang has appealed to him over the rejection for registration by RoS.

“However, until today, which is after more than 45 days have passed, there is still no feedback or response or decision given by the home minister towards that appeal, whether it is refused or allowed. This omission or failure is not reasonable and is malicious towards Pejuang,” Amiruddin said, contrasting this with the RoS “quick and easy” approval for the registration of the Makkal Sakti party and the Perikatan Nasional party.

Amiruddin also said the home minister has a statutory obligation under Section 7(1) and Section 18 of the Societies Act to order RoS to finalise Pejuang’s registration.

Amiruddin said Pejuang’s operations and administration has been disrupted and negatively affected as a result of the RoS’ registration rejection and the home minister’s failure to decide on the appeal.

Amiruddin said there were many members of the public who wished to join Pejuang and that their use of the party’s logo online were beyond the control of Pejuang’s founders, noting that Pejuang has also been unable to carry out activities and political programmes under the Pejuang name or to contest in elections using its own logo, while also highlighting that political uncertainties meant the 15th general election could be held at any time.

In the filing of the lawsuit today for Pejuang by law firm Law Practice of Rafique, Amiruddin also affirmed an affidavit to support the party’s judicial review application.

RoS is a unit under the Home Ministry and the home minister is Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin, who is also the Perikatan Nasional and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) secretary-general.

Pejuang was co-founded by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his supporters after they were sacked from the Bersatu party in May due to a dispute with Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and his Perikatan Nasional government.

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