Thursday 19 May 2011

Registrar of Societies (RoS) threatens to deregister PKR

PKR leaders lashed out at the Registrar of Societies (RoS) today for threatening to declare the party illegal, on grounds that they insisted are "stupid" and for inaccurate reasons.

NONEParty secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution said RoS issued PKR with a notice of deregistration on May 9, giving it one month to respond to an infringement it said the party committed - failing which PKR would be deemed an illegal organisation.

RoS stated in the letter that PKR had gone against Article 32.2.1 of its constitution in sacking one Rajagopal Andaikkalam on April 1 and April 27, 2009, without conducting a probe or holding a hearing before a disciplinary board.

"We did some homework, and with the help of our legal adviser we found that the RoS wants to deregister us based on Article 32.2.1 of the party constitution.

"But this article does not exist in our constitution, which was approved by the RoS itself," Saifuddin told a press conference.
In the letter, signed by registrar Abdul Rahman Othman, the RoS contended that PKR had unlawfully sacked Rajagopal without giving him the right of reply.

Abdul Rahman stated in the letter that he was exercising his powers under Section 13 sub-section (2) of the Societies Act 1966 to issue the notice of deregistration, which will take effect unless the party puts up a satisfactory defence in writing before June 9.

Saifuddin pointed out that the RoS' argument is littered with factual errors, not least being the name of the individual who was allegedly sacked unlawfully by the party.

“We checked our records, and we did not find a Rajagopal Andaikkalam. What we have is a Jayagopal Andiakkalam.

“The dates the RoS mentioned are also completely off, as we have no record of sackings on April 1 or April 27 that year. Our records show April 26.”

'Nothing illegal was done'

Saifuddin acknowledged that Jayagopal was sacked on April 26, 2009 without informing him beforehand, but stressed that the party had strong grounds for its decision.

He said about a month before Jayagopal was sacked, the then party secretary-general Salehuddin Hashim issued a circular dated March 1, 2009 that stated clearly that any member who contests any election without party consent will be sacked without having to inform the individual.

bukit selambau nomination 290309 a jayagopal“Jayagopal (left) was a member of our Alor Setar division, and if you check the Election Commission website, you can see for yourself that he contested the Bukit Selambau by-election as an independent, getting 35 votes.

“Following that, the central leadership council decided to sack Jayagopal - not Rajagopal - since he contested against the party. No party in the world would forgive a member who would contest against their own,” he said, adding that he has already sent a letter in reply to the notice today.

PKR central leadership member R Sivarasa stressed that the party acted clearly within its rights in sacking Jayagopal, saying the latter had openly opposed a party directive.

He noted however that the RoS' action has political undertones, particularly since the registrar had invoked his powers under the Societies Act despite having not verified several key facts.

'An Umno hack job'

“The precedent condition (under the Societies Act) that must be fulfilled is that the registrar must first be satisfied with the facts before issuing a notice.

“This is the first such case in Malaysian history where a case involving one out of 500,000 members can be used as grounds to deregister a party... it is clear in this case that the registrar had acted in bad faith, and this has the fingerprints of Umno and BN,” he said.

NONEPKR vice-president Tian Chua (right in picture) echoed Sivarasa's sentiments, demanding that Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein answer for the RoS' actions.

He said it is no coincidence that the RoS had issued the notice, pointing out that there had been a string of incidents over the past few months designed to allegedly tear the party apart - from party adviser Anwar Ibrahim's on-going sodomy trial to the recent SMS threat against his daughter and party vice-president Nurul Izzah and the loss of Suara Keadilan's publishing permit.

“I don't see this as an isolated incident, or that the officer was ill-advised. This is a plan that came from the top. This may be an indication that in one or two months, Parliament will be dissolved.

“I don't see them (BN) trying to get back the mandate in a clean way, but instead using dirty tactics to oppress the opposition.

“The home minister must answer for this, whether or not the government has plans to marginalise opposition parties,” he said.
Meanwhile, PAS warned the Registrar of Societies not to take advantage of technicalities to de-register fellow Pakatan Rakyat opposition party PKR.

“When it comes to technicalities, they have to be specific about it. But all parties have technical problems.

“Don't practice double standards. Don't take advantage of technicalities to de-register PKR, especially when we may face an imminent general election,” said its vice-president Salahuddin Ayob when asked about the matter during a press conference in the party headquarters in Kuala Lumpur today. 

Earlier, during a live chat with Yahoo Malaysia, PKR de facto leader Anwar said the move to de-register PKR was the work of Umno leaders who were hard-pressed and continue to oppress the people.

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