Dr Mahathir Mohamad today questioned a letter by the Registrar of Societies (RoS) confirming that he is no longer the PPBM chairman, calling it “a one-sided opinion letter”.
In a letter to the RoS, Mahathir’s lawyer Haniff Khatri Abdulla said the RoS’ letter on May 5 did not seek an explanation from Mahathir as one of the parties in the dispute.
Haniff said the agency’s decision was one-sided and had failed to consider that his client’s resignation was rejected by the party’s senior leaders.
He also urged RoS to investigate the matter and consider the supreme council’s rejection of the resignation.
In challenging the RoS letter, Haniff admitted that Dr Mahathir had resigned as Bersatu chairman, and that the party’s constitution does not state about revoking or rejecting a resignation.
“However, there are also no provisions in the party’s constitution that a resignation through a letter is the complete process,” said Haniff.
He said Muhyiddin never considered himself acting chairman after he was appointed prime minister.
He cited the three times when Muhyiddin continued to refer to Dr Mahathir as the party chairman, including in a letter to sack Marzuki Yahya as party secretary-general and replace him with Hamzah Zainuddin.
He added that Muhyiddin continued to refer to himself as the party president in a memorandum of understanding signed by Perikatan Nasional last week.
Earlier, PPBM’s election committee chairman Syed Hamid Albar had said that except for incumbent Mahathir, there were no contenders for the chairman’s post in the upcoming party election.
Haniff said today that Mahathir remained chairman of the party by virtue of winning the party election uncontested on April 1, which was made known through the party election committee.
He said this put to rest the issue of Mahathir’s resignation as chairman on Feb 24.
Haniff also said Muhyiddin could not assume the role of PPBM chairman as he did not contest the chairmanship.
“These factors should have been taken into account by the RoS before it decided to put out a one-sided opinion,” the letter read.
Haniff said under the Societies Act 1966, which governs societies, including political parties, the registrar could call disputing parties over office bearer positions to give statements, so as to avoid the party being deregistered under Section 16 of the act.
He said Mahathir was “shocked” by the May 5 letter, as he was never called in by PPBM to discuss the apparent dispute over the chairmanship despite the letter being dated some two weeks ago.
Haniff said Mahathir therefore considered the letter invalid, adding that the matter ought to be fairly investigated by the RoS as there were two parties in the dispute over the chairmanship position.
On a related matter, Haniff said the RoS should investigate the sacking of secretary-general Marzuki Yahya without “prior negotiation” with the “rightful chairman”.
Haniff said the appointment of Hamzah Zainuddin as secretary-general, too, should be probed as it required the nod from the chairman.
He said his client had given the RoS seven days to reply to the letter, copies of which had been sent to Muhyiddin, the party deputy president and all the Supreme Council members by hand. – FMT