KUALA LUMPUR — December 7, 2015: The High Court has struck out former Langkawi Wanita Umno member Anina Saadudin’s suit over her expulsion from the party, ruling that it had no jurisdiction to hear her dispute with it.
Judicial Commissioner S. Nantha Balan said it is clear that Section 18C of the Societies Act does not permit a court to adjudicate on the dispute
pertaining to her party membership.
He described the section as very clearly delineated and excludes the courts to hear and determine matters involving disputes and affairs of a political
“Since the coming into force of Section 18C, all attempts by disgruntled party members to take their grievances to court have failed,” he said.
In allowing the applications by Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor and executive secretary Datuk Ab. Rauf Yusoh to strike out Anina’s suit, Nantha Balan said in theory a political party could decide willy-nilly to sack or suspend whoever they wished and for whatever reason.
“That is not to say or imply that the plaintiff here has ceased to be a member of Umno for flippant reasons. On the contrary, she ceased to be a
member because she allegedly violated Clause 20.7 of the Umno constitution in taking a matter to court,” he said.
Anina’s membership was terminated after she had filed a suit against party president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Rauf, among others, to reclaim
a portion of the RM2.6 billion donation that was deposited by the party president into his personal account.
Nantha Balan explained that the rights and wrongs of the position taken by Umno to treat the plaintiff as a ceased or expelled member after she
filed the suit was not within the purview of the court.
“I am not for a moment suggesting that the plaintiff’s complaints before this court vis-a-vis her cessation of membership in Umno are unmeritorious. The law of Section 18C simply does not allow for her complaints to be adjudicated by the court.”
He further said that pursuant to Clause 20.11.2 of the party’s constitution, Anina could make an appeal after three years for her membership to be
Nantha Balan considered the three-year wait to be too long and it might be meaningless to apply as the landscape might well have changed by then, but unfortunately these are the contractual terms upon which Anina agreed to become an Umno member.
“And so she has no choice but to abide by those rules,” said Nantha Balan, who ordered Anina to pay costs of RM5,000 to both defendants.
He also said Anina’s membership termination or cessation was not the result of any decision by the disciplinary machinery but came automatically upon the filing of the suit against Najib and Rauf.
According to Nantha Balan, the two letters to remove the plaintiff from Umno were mere formalities to notify her of her status as a ceased member of Umno.
On last October 5, Anina, 40, filed the suit against Tengku Adnan and Rauf, among others, seeking an order that the termination letters issued by Tengku Adnan were invalid and had no effect on her membership. The duo then filed the application to strike out the suit on the grounds, among others, that Section 18C clearly states that the court has no jurisdiction to hear a case relating to the affairs of a political party.
Outside the court, lawyer Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun who represented Tengku Adnan and Rauf, told reporters that he would adopt today’s judgment in another suit over the donation. — Bernama