PUTRAJAYA — Feb. 21, 2019: Sixteen former Umno members were today granted leave to appeal to the Federal Court against the decisions of the lower courts to dismiss their bid for leave to initiate a judicial review to challenge the legality of the party.
This follows a unanimous decision by a three-man panel led by Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Datuk Seri David Wong Dak Wah.
Under the law, litigants wishing to appeal a Court of Appeal’s decision in a civil case must obtain leave from the Federal Court.
Justice Wong granted the application on two legal questions.
One is whether Section 18C of the Societies Act, which ousts any court’s jurisdiction to entertain any suit, application, question or proceeding on any matter relating to the affairs of a party, is ultra vires Article 121 of the federal Constitution.
The other is whether the Federal Court’s decision in Pendaftar Pertubuhan vs Datuk Justine Jinggut is still a good law in view of the recent decisions of the Federal Court in Semenyih Jaya Sdn. Bhd. vs Pentadbir Tanah Daerah Hulu Langat and another between M. Indira Gandhi and Pengarah Jabatan Agama Islam Perak and others.
In both cases, then Federal Court judge Tan Sri Zainun Ali held that judicial powers rest with the judiciary and that ouster clauses in legislation that removed the jurisdiction of the courts to review certain matters within the legislation was unconstitutional.
In their application, the 16 sought a certiorari order to quash the decision of the Registrar of Societies (RoS), as announced through a media statement on March 5, 2018, to grant Umno an extension for its party elections till April 19, 2019, which exceeded the maximum period.
The 16 are Salihudin Ahmad Khalid, Noorhalimi Yahya, Mariam Mohd. Ishak, Mohd. Hafami Hanif, Saharudin Tukiman, Azaid Jani, Normalawati Hassan, Radiana Abd. Manaf, Mohd. Rafeek Rahim, Nurul Hanna Mohd. Suhot, Kamarul Abd. Wahid, Mohd. Hikamal Md. Hassim, Muzamzamir Abd. Wahab, Norizam Jamaludin, Rohani Ahmad and Muhamad Hafizi Hashim.
They also sought a mandamus to compel the RoS to provisionally dissolve Umno and suspend all its activities pending disposal of the review and wanted a declaration that Umno was illegal effective April 20 last year.
On April 27, 2018, the High Court dismissed the leave application for judicial review filed by the group after allowing the preliminary objection raised by the RoS.
They lost their appeal before the Court of Appeal last November 5.
Then High Court judge Datuk Kamaludin Mohd. Said (now Court of Appeal judge) dismissed the application on the grounds that Section 18C of the Societies Act stipulates that a party member cannot bring a dispute regarding the party to court. — Bernama