PETALING JAYA: The Registrar of Societies (RoS) should explain how it arrived at a decision to declare that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is no longer Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) chairman.
Describing the conduct of the RoS and timing of the statement as highly questionable, lawyer Harshaan Zamani said the May 5 RoS statement, which declared that Mahathir ceased to be chairman immediately after his resignation on Feb 24, appears to be an afterthought and ought to be reviewed.
“It is clear that RoS did not take into account various important events that have superseded the said letter of resignation by Mahathir which, among others, include Bersatu’s supreme council unanimously rejecting Mahathir’s resignation as chairman of the party on Feb 25,” he told theSun yesterday.
He added Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin never challenged Mahathir’s position as chairman in the party’s coming polls but instead submitted nomination papers for the position of president.
Mahathir then won the chairmanship uncontested on March 16.
“It is evident from the said statement that RoS never considered the above facts, which are highly relevant to the issue in dispute, that is the resignation of Mahathir on Feb 24.
“The RoS ought to have deliberated, among others, the above issues before issuing such a statement as those issues have a direct bearing to the gist of the said statement,” he said.
He said even if RoS did take into account the above issues, it should have further investigated the matter as it appears that there are two or more contradicting versions with regard to the issue of resignation on Feb 24.
“In doing so, RoS should have sought an explanation from all parties concerned especially from Mahathir himself before issuing the said statement.
“The rules of natural justice would demand that Mahathir be given an opportunity to explain his position to the RoS as it must be considered by RoS in light of the controversies and/or differing positions by the members of the party,” he said.
However, he added RoS has failed to do so as confirmed by Mahathir’s lawyer, Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla.
Meanwhile, independent political analyst Prof Jeniri Amir said this was a calculated move by Muhyiddin to weaken Mahathir’s influence within the party.
“Mahathir is seen as a thorn in the flesh, so Muhyiddin wants to try and kill off his political career,” he told theSun yesterday.
He also said as this is a party matter, it should be debated within the RoS and the party on whether they accept Mahathir as Bersatu chairman.
“However, it appears that Muhyiddin has the upper hand,” he added.