16 ex-Umno members appeal against dismissal to challenge party's legality

KUALA LUMPUR: Sixteen ex-Umno members have filed an appeal against the High Court's ruling to dismiss their judicial review application to challenge the legality of the party.

The appellants' lawyer Irzan Iswat Mohd Nor, said he submitted the appeal to the Court of Appeal on April 27.

"The hearing date for the appeal has yet to be fixed by the court," he told reporters after meeting High Court judge Datuk Nordin Hassan in chambers today.

The appellants 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 are former members of Umno from six states, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Johor, Penang and Selangor.

Meanwhile, Irzan Iswat said the court had initially fixed today for hearing of the 16's ex-parte application to obtain a committal order against Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor but the case was postponed following the transition of government after the 14th general election.

"Because of the change in government after GE14, we will seek further instructions from our clients on whether or not to proceed with the committal application which had been set for case management on June 7," he said.

The 16 individuals filed the committal order claiming Tengku Adnan in a media statement carried by Mstar news portal on April 21 attempted to frustrate their application for leave for judicial review by stating that their membership had been terminated.

In the application, they alleged that the content of the media statement was in contempt of court as the court at that time had not made its ruling, that the hearing had not even commenced.

Last April 27, the high court dismissed the application of the 16 ex-Umno members to obtain leave for judicial review. They wanted to challenge the legality of the party which allegedly failed to hold its elections at branch, divisional and supreme council level for almost five years.

Justice Datuk Wira Kamaludin Md Said made the ruling after allowing preliminary objections by the Attorney General's Chambers which was representing the respondents, Registry of Societies, and Datuk Ab Rauf Yusoh in his capacity as an Umno public official.

The judge held that the court did not have jurisdiction to hear matters involving political parties' internal squabbles.

He said based on Section 18C of the Societies Act 1966, decisions made by political parties or on how they conducted their affairs were final and could not be challenged, appealed, reviewed, cancelled or questioned by any court. — Bernama