Sunday, August 20, 2006
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
The Malaysiakini reported as follows:-
No injustice has been occasioned in the government’s refusal to register Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) as a national political party, the Court of Appeal ruled in an unanimous decision today in dismissing an appeal from the pro-tem party.
Justice Gopal Sri Ram said that, “it is crystal clear that the reason advanced on grounds of national security was not the predominant reason for the minister’s decision”. This was one of two main points of contention, the other involving registration criteria which the court upheld.
“It (national security) stands as a separate and distinct ground for refusing registration at the national level. It is not entangled and mixed up with other reasons. It did not therefore materially affect the decision based on grounds of departmental policy,” he told a courtroom packed with PSM supporters.
“Accordingly, this is a case in which the minister’s decision to deny PSM registration at the national level may be upheld, and I would do so.” He dismissed the appeal with costs.
Party supporters were visibly upset on hearing the unanimous decision of the three-member bench, which also comprised Justices Mohd Ghazali Mohd Yusoff and Hashim Yusoff.
Elaborating on the government’s argument that “national security” was at risk if registration were granted to the socialist party, Gopal said there was “not a scintilla of evidence” to show that issues of national security were involved.
“All we have is the mere ipse dixit (unsupported assertion) of the minister based on information given by the police to him, nothing else. On the authorities this is insufficient, the appellant’s complaint is therefore justified,” he said.
The appellant, PSM pro-tem chairperson Dr Nasir Hashim, had sought to set aside the home minister’s written order rejecting the application for registration and to direct for a registration within seven days.
In his 34-page judgement today, Gopal said he was satisfied with the departmental policy stated by the Registrar of Societies (ROS) in relation to the requirement for the registration of a national political party.
The ROS requires a national-level political party to have representatives in at least seven states, failing which the party will only be registered at the state level. The appellant had contested this, saying the requirement is baseless and exceeds constitutional provisions regulating freedom of association.
Gopal, however, ruled that it was not unreasonable exercise of the statutory power conferred upon the ROS under Section 7 of the Societies Act.
“Since Malaysia has 13 states, the ROS probably had in mind that a political party seeking registration at the national level must seek to represent 50 percent plus one state in the federation,” said the judge.
“There is nothing unreasonable about this. Some policy is necessary to guide conferred by Section 7 (of the Societies Act), otherwise it may become an unprincipled discretion.”
The judge stressed that no injustice had been occasioned in the refusal to grant PSM registration. “The ROS granted PSM registration in the state of Selangor. As advised by counsel on both sides, this does not prevent PSM from contesting in national elections, neither is PSM prevented from seeking registration at the national level if it is able to meet the ROS’ requirement.
“So, even if the ROS and the minister were wrong in refusing PSM national level registration - and I hasten to add that they were not - no injustice has been occasioned. This underpins the nature of judicial review.
“It is not enough that a decision of a public decision maker is not in accordance with law. The error must be one that has caused an applicant for judicial review some harm or injustice in a broad and general sense.”
The appellant was represented by Tommy Thomas, Ragunath Kesavan (photo) and Teng Chang Kim while the government was represented by senior federal counsel Mary Lim, who was recently promoted as the industrial court president.
Watching briefs are being held for the Bar Council by Amer Hamzah Arshad, M Vengkatraman for the Malaysian Human Rights Society and Edward Saw for local human rights watchdog Suaram.
‘We’re not disheartened’
Outside the courtroom, Nasir vowed to fight on. With him were some 80 PSM members and supporters, some of whom had arrived from Perak and Seremban this morning.
“We will appeal, we are not disheartened. We feel sad but this is not the end. We know we will face all these problems but we will never stop fighting or be affected by this, we will go on to do what is right,” Nasir said.
He said he would re-submit seven names to the ROS, to meet the criteria of representation in the states. PSM has claimed that it complied with this requirement earlier but that the ROS did not clarify such representation should be based on addresses based on place of birth or work.
Pro-tem secretary-general S Arutchelvan said the verdict was a minor victory as it cleared a major hurdle for the party - over the national security threat - ahead of its next appeal to the federal court.
But he registered disappointment with the decision, saying: “Article 10 (freedom of association) is a fundamental right. By not allowing PSM to be registered, what is the state implying? Do they want us to go underground? It doesn’t make sense at all.”
Ragunath, meanwhile, described the reason for dismissing the appeal as based on a “feeble reason”, since it did not go into the merits of the application.
Since the formal application in April 1998 which was rejected in September 1999, PSM and its supporters have persisted on a long-haul struggle to be registered and recognised. The home minister then was Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who is now the prime minister.
In a judgment on Jan 13, 2003, the Kuala Lumpur High Court agreed with the government’s policy of non-compliance and national security to reject PSM’s application for judicial review.
The case is the first time a political party has sought judicial review of the government’s rejection of an application to register itself.
Monday, August 14, 2006
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
RM12 mil ‘missing’ from PISB recordsKuek Ser Kuang KengAug 9, 06 11:31am
Did the Selangor government divert RM12.11 million in revenue from Perangsang International Sdn Bhd (PISB) to other channels after the subsidiary company was sold? Teng Chang Khim, the DAP assemblyperson for Sungai Pinang, has claimed to have obtained new information showing that the sum was due to PISB from completed projects. However, the revenue was not recorded in relevant documents, he told malaysiakini.This, he said, has raised suspicion that moves were made to relieve PISB of financial liability and to divert its revenue before it was sold to a ‘shell company’. It was then renamed and liquidated in 2004, apparently in order to free the state government of creditors and losses.
Teng said he has submitted the information to the Securities Commission (SC). It is already investigating issues linked to delayed construction of the Malaysian External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) building, for which PISB was the original contractor.Explaining, Teng said PISB could have claimed a retention sum and performance bond amounting to
RM12,110,937.98 this year from two unrelated projects.The first was the Sungai Selangor Water Supply Scheme Phase 3, for which the performance bond and retention sum amounted to RM3,330,468.99. It was completed in June 2004.The second project was a distribution piping system in Bukit Badong Phase 1 and 2, for which the retention sum was RM5,450,000.00. This was completed last year. (A performance bond and retention sum are deposits paid by a contractor when it is awarded a government project.Both deposits are only refunded when the project is completed without defects.)‘Allegation proved’PISB - a subsidiary company of the Selangor government’s investment arm Kumpulan Hartanah Selangor Bhd (KHSB) - was awarded a contract in 1994 to construct the Matrade building by 1997.By the time the building was completed last month by other contractors, the cost had shot up to RM287.5 million, with RM64.8 million being spent on repairs and another RM95 million owed in late delivery charges.In the meantime, PISB was sold to RM2 ‘shell company’ Tajuk Modal Sdn Bhd, which was later renamed and wound up before it could be forced to pay off its debts. This not only freed the company from paying a penalty of RM159.8 million imposed by the federal government, but also a debt of
RM22 million to creditors.Teng claimed that the sum was not recorded either in the KHSB financial report 2004 or the acquisition agreement between KHSB and Tajuk Modal.In fact, the acquisition agreement states that all projects handled by PISB had been completed and that there would be ‘no further revenue’ to be claimed by PISB.“This information proves my allegation that this was a plan premeditated since 2003 by the state government,” alleged Teng, He had earlier questioned if the sale, renaming and winding-up process was intended to ‘cheat’ the federal government of compensation.The Anti-Corruption Agency and Companies Commission of Malaysia are other agencies involved in investigations, following Teng’s reports lodged in June.Work Minister S Samy Vellu has pledged to get to the bottom of the matter and take action against the PISB directors.
Friday, August 04, 2006
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
It may be a surprise to many but the cruel fact is that there is no civil court in Petaling Jaya! All civil matters within the jurisdiction of subordinate courts, namely the Sessions Court which has the jurisdiction to adjudicate matters involve disputed sum below RM250,00.00 and the Magistrate's Court which has the jurisdiction to try matters below the sum of RM25,000.00, will have to be filed in Shah Alam courts. I have yet to come across any city in the world that does not have a civil court within its local jurisdiction.
The present court house for criminal matters is in a pathetic condition. The Sessions Court and Magistrate's Court (1) and Court (2) are housed in the main court house with court (1) in a container-like structure and court (2) at the first floor of an old buiding within the same compound. Magistrate's Court (3) is in the Federal House building about 500 meters away and the Municipal Court is being housed under the MPPJ multi-level car park next to the hawker centre also about 500 meter from the main court house.