The legal team for Dr Mahathir Mohamad-led Pejuang told the Kuala Lumpur High Court that home minister Hamzah Zainudin “purposely delayed” his decision on the party’s registration so that it would not be able to contest an election.
Lawyers Rafique Rashid Ali and Mior Nor Haidir Suhaimi argued that it is not an uphill task for the minister to decide on Pejuang’s appeal on the registration.
They said that after the Registrar of Societies (RoS) rejected Pejuang’s application to register the party on Jan 6, Pejuang had immediately lodged its appeal to Hamzah, as required under Section 18 of Societies Act.
“After 116 days, there was still no reply from him. Such a matter (Pejuang’s appeal) can be easily decided within seven days.
“The reason given by the minister, through his affidavit, was that he was too busy with his official duties, and this cannot be accepted,” Rafique said in online proceedings before judge Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid today.
He pointed out that in the past, political party registration was done in a quick manner.
“This includes the registration of the Perikatan Nasional coalition, in which the minister is the secretary-general.”
Rafique said Hamzah’s refusal to make a decision on Pejuang’s registration would deny the party its right to contest in an election using its own logo.
Pejuang filed a legal challenge in April to question Hamzah’s inaction over its application to be registered as a political party. It claimed that the minister violated his statutory obligations under Section 18 of the Societies Act.
Meanwhile, senior federal counsel Ahmad Hanir Hambaly @ Arwi and Mohammad Sallehuddin Md Ali, appearing for Hamzah and RoS, told the court there was no omission of duty on behalf of the minister in deciding on Pejuang’s registration.
“He is still in the process of considering and will make a decision,” Hanir said.
He added under the Societies Act, there is no specific timeframe for the minister to make his decision over party registration.
“It is wrong for Pejuang (as applicant) to presume that the minister can make a decision within a week,” Hanir said, adding that the home minister has to attend to other matters such as citizenship, extension of detention, reviewing applications for arms licences, as well as overseeing enforcement agencies.
Kamal fixed June 23 for the decision. – FMT