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Friday, September 11, 2009

ROS decision to dissolve Balkis to be challenged - The Star

By M. MAGESWARI
mages@thestar.com.my

KUALA LUMPUR: The Selangor government and nine others succeeded in getting a court order to challenge the legality of the Registrar of Societies’ (ROS) decision to dissolve and de-register Balkis (the Wives of Selangor Elected Representatives Association) on Feb 11.

High Court (Appellate and Special Powers) judge Judicial Commissioner Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof ruled that the applicants have sufficient locus standi to challenge the ROS decision.

Mohamad Ariff held that the applicants were not “mere busybodies” as they have also contributed money to Balkis.

He held that that he had to grant leave to hear the merits of the applications as the matter involved public interest.

He set Sept 16 to decide over a stay of ROS’ decision to dissolve Balkis. His ruling was delivered in chambers.

Lawyer Derek Fernandez, who acted for the 10 applicants, told the reporters after the ruling Friday, that this showed that the leave applications for judicial review were not frivolous or vexatious.

His co-counsel S. Selvarajah had submitted on Aug 10 that his clients had contributed RM6.818mil in funds to Balkis, adding that these were public funds.

Apart from the monetary contribution, PKNS had contributed two pieces of land in Shah Alam worth millions of ringgit to Balkis, he said.

Selvarajah argued that these funds were entrusted to Balkis and that the applicants felt that there was a breach of trust when Balkis was wrongly dissolved on Feb 11 in contravention of its constitution.

The applicants sought leave for an order to quash the ROS decision in dissolving Balkis, a declaration that the decision was null and void, and to reinstate its registration, among other things.

Those who had sought for a judicial review in a civil action filed on May 4 were the Selangor government, Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim’s wife Puan Sri Salbiah Tunut, Permodalan Negeri Selangor Bhd and Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Bhd.

In another action filed two days later, state development agency Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Selangor (PKNS), Worldwide Holdings Bhd (a wholly-owned subsidiary of PKNS Holdings Sdn Bhd), Selangor Industrial Corporation Sdn Bhd (a wholly-owned subsidiary of PKNS), property developer Selaman Sdn Bhd, infrastructure works company PKNS Infra Bhd and PKNS Engineering and Construction Bhd (a wholly-owned subsidiary of PKNS) also sought a judicial review over the matter.

In chambers Friday, Fernandez said he submitted that the High Court should allow for a stay of the dissolution of Balkis until it made a final decision on the matter.

“It is because if ROS’ decision is wrong in law and if it did not stay the effect, the money will be spent ... money which rightfully belongs to Balkis.

“Furthermore, Balkis cannot operate and carry out its charity works if the decision is not stayed,” he added.

When asked if the ROS would appeal, Federal Counsel Maisarah Juhari, who argued on Aug 20 that the applicants were mere busybodies, declined to comment.

The matter was highlighted on March 27 when the press covered the proceedings of the Select Committee On Competency, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat), which was formed to probe allegations of misappropriation of funds in Balkis.

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