AGC, Umno object to 3 individuals’ bid to challenge Umno’s no-contest decision

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The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) and Umno today objected to the application for leave for judicial review being sought by three individuals to challenge the decision by Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail in approving Umno’s additional motion to exempt its top two posts from being contested at the party elections.

They are Kampung Bukit C2 Lembah Pantai Umno branch members Satarriah Abdul Karim and Zaidi Abdul Majid and Lembah Pantai MIC branch member P Vellasamy, who filed the application on May 15 naming Saifuddin, the Registrar of Societies (RoS) and Umno as respondents.

Senior federal counsel Ahmad Hanir Hambaly, representing the AGC, said they objected to the application on the grounds that the decision challenged by the three applicants cannot be reviewed through judicial review because the minister’s decision was related to the decision of a political party.

“The three applicants also do not have locus standi to file the legal action,” he said when presenting his submissions before High Court judge Amarjeet Singh today.

Meanwhile, Umno’s counsel Mohd Hafarizam Harun submitted that the applicants (Satarriah and Zaidi) had no locus standi in seeking leave for judicial review against Umno as they had been automatically terminated from being members of the party.

“Suffice to say that, they are not members of Umno. They are no longer having any genuine interest in any decision or action made by neither Umno nor the minister of home affairs due to their automatic termination as Umno members,” Mohd Hafarizam said.

According to the counsel, Vellasamy, who was MIC member, also had no locus standi in seeking leave for judicial review as he was clearly not adversely affected by the additional motion of UMNO and the decision of the home minister on March 7.

Lawyer Thalia Rohaina Abdul Latiff, representing the three applicants, said that the application has merit to be heard and decided by the court because it involves an administrative decision made by the RoS.

Judge Amarjeet fixed Aug 30 for the decision.

In the application, all the applicants said that on Jan 13, an additional Umno motion was proposed at the 2022 Umno general assembly, which took place from Jan 11 to 14, 2023, for the party’s presidency and deputy presidency to be uncontested at the party polls.

They said on March 2, the RoS director-general issued a letter to the Umno secretary-general, saying that the no-contest resolution was irregular and contrary to Article 9.3 of the party constitution; therefore, the resolution was deemed invalid.

According to them, RoS directed Umno to take corrective action to comply with Article 9.3 of the party constitution.

However, on March 7, they said Saifuddin issued a statement saying that the ministry had decided to grant an exemption to Umno under Section 70 of the Societies Act from complying with Section 13(1)(c)(iv) of the same act.

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