(Updated)

High Court grants MUDA fresh judicial review permission to challenge party registration appeal rejection

High Court grants MUDA fresh judicial review permission to challenge party registration appeal rejection
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KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 21): The High Court here today granted permission to the Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (MUDA) to pursue a fresh judicial review against the government’s decision to reject MUDA’s appeal to be registered as a political party.

High Court Judge Datuk Noorin Badaruddin granted MUDA the permission today after federal counsel Mohammad Sallehuddin Md Ali, who was representing Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin and the Registrar of Societies (RoS), said Hamzah and the RoS had no objection to MUDA's application for a fresh judicial review.

“I am allowing the order as sought as there is no objection,” Noorin said during the virtual hearing.

The court subsequently fixed Oct 5, 2021 for case management.

MUDA was represented by its lawyer Lim Wei Jiet.

Muar Member of Parliament (MP) Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman is the founder of MUDA.

During today’s court hearing, Lim said MUDA is seeking an early date for the court to hear the merits of the challenge against the decision to reject MUDA’s appeal to be registered as a political party.

“Possibly, we want an early hearing date by next month (October) or latest by November,” he said.

Noorin, meanwhile, said today that although the court hearing dates are full, she felt that MUDA’s wish to have a hearing by November 2021 can be arranged and that the matter will be discussed with High Court deputy registrar Firdaus Sidqi Sharil Azli during case management on Oct 5, 2021.

“I think that [MUDA’s wish to have a hearing by November 2021] could be accommodated possibly in November despite the court [hearing] dates being full until the end of the year,” Noorin added.

The RoS, a department under the Home Ministry’s purview, in January 2021 rejected MUDA’s initial application in September 2020 to be registered as a political party.

On Feb 4, 2021, the party appealed to the RoS and Hamzah to reconsider the RoS’ decision to reject MUDA’s initial application.  

On April 26, 2021, Syed Saddiq and 12 others filed MUDA’s first judicial review application to challenge the RoS’ January 2021 decision to reject MUDA’s initial application to be registered as a political party.

The High Court on May 25, 2021 granted MUDA permission to initiate the judicial review.

News reports on Aug 12, 2021 indicated that Hamzah had rejected the Feb 4, 2021 appeal by MUDA for the political party to be registered, hence MUDA decided on Aug 12, 2021 to withdraw the first judicial review application and file a fresh judicial review application to challenge Hamzah’s decision to reject MUDA’s appeal to be registered as a political party.

In the judicial review application filed on Aug 24, MUDA is seeking, among other things:

  • a certiorari order to quash the home minister's decision dated Aug 12 to dismiss the appeal by the applicants as the pro tem committee of MUDA, as well as the RoS' decision to reject its registration;
  • a declaration that MUDA's proposed constitution that was given to the RoS and the minister on March 16 followed provisions under the Societies Act 1966;
  • a declaration that the applicants' application to have MUDA registered as a political party is in order and follows provisions set in the Societies Act 1966;
  • a mandamus order to compel the minister and the RoS to register MUDA as a political organisation within 14 days from the court order; and
  • an order for exemplary and aggravated damages to be assessed by the court.
Chong Jin Hun & Lam Jian Wyn