Court bins Penang government’s bid to declare volunteer unit legal

A total 158 PPS members, including three elected representatives, were arrested on August 31 last year after the annual Merdeka parade. — Picture by K.E. Ooi
A total 158 PPS members, including three elected representatives, were arrested on August 31 last year after the annual Merdeka parade. — Picture by K.E. Ooi

GEORGE TOWN, Oct 8 — The Penang High Court today rejected the state government’s attempt to review a Home Ministry ban on the state Volunteer Patrol Unit (PPS) and declare the organisation a legally-formed entity under federal law.

The decision to bin the state’s leave application was made by Judicial Commissioner Collin Lawrence Sequerah in chambers this morning.

Counsel Quah Su Enn, who appeared on behalf of the state's counsels Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan and Gobind Singh Deo, said the full written grounds for the rejection will only be released by the court next week.

"The decision was only read out with brief grounds and we can't reveal the grounds for the rejection until the full written grounds are released," Quah told reporters after the decision.

On January 27 this year, the Penang government filed for a judicial review application to challenge the home minister’s decision to outlaw the PPS for alleged criminal links in November last year.

In its application, the state sought, among others, a certiorari order for the court to nullify a November 3, 2014 declaration by Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi that PPS was illegal; a declaration that the PPS was established legally and correctly under Section 101(v) of the Local Government Act 1976; and a declaration that PPS is not an organisation under the Societies Act 1965.

Additionally, the state also sought a restraining order to stop the respondents, their agents and officers from entering and searching the PPS premises or to arrest any PPS members, as well as a mandamus order to compel the respondents, their agents and officers to return all PPS paraphernalia that includes their vests and various equipments with the PPS logo.

Finally, they also sought an order under the Court Procedure 2012 to suspend the minister's order that outlawed PPS until the court delivers a decision on the judicial review.

They also demanded special and general damages, costs and other relief deemed fit by the court.

In its application, the state named the home minister, the Inspector-General of Police and the federal government as respondents.

A total 158 PPS members, including three elected representatives, were arrested on August 31 last year after the annual Merdeka parade.

The Home Ministry officially declared the unit unlawful in November last year and ordered that no group can now use the name, symbol or logo of the PPS.

The Penang state government has ordered the unit to cease all activities from September 1.

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