KUALA LUMPUR: Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, together with five other senior figures in Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), have filed a lawsuit to challenge the termination of their membership from the party.
In the lawsuit which was filed on Tuesday (Jun 9), Dr Mahathir, in his stated capacity as Bersatu’s chairman, and the other plaintiffs wanted the court to declare that Mr Muhyiddin Yassin is not the acting chairman of the party.
They said that their membership termination by Bersatu's executive secretary Muhammad Suhaimi Yahya was invalid, as the latter has no powers to remove them from the party.
They also said that Mr Muhammad Suhaimi, who was appointed by Mr Muhyiddin as executive secretary, is not recognised under the party’s constitution.
Dr Mahathir and the other plaintiffs said their action of not sitting together with the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government in the parliament should not be interpreted as them “announcing their departure from the party” or “joining another political party”.
“Articles 10.2.2 or 10.2.3 of the PPBM constitution cannot be used against us for the purpose of ‘terminating’ our memberships, because both provisions state that members who resign from the party or join another political party will have their memberships ceased,” the plaintiffs said, adding that they did not leave the party.
The plaintiffs also claimed that Mr Muhyiddin had wrongly used his powers in announcing that he was the party acting chairman on Feb 28.
On May 11, Mr Muhammad Suhaimi indicated that the dismissals were decided after the lawmakers had sat with the opposition bloc during the parliamentary sitting on May 18, and not with the PN coalition led by Mr Muhyiddin.
READ: Mahathir won’t go quietly after being sacked, even as Muhyiddin consolidates power in Bersatu, say analysts
READ: Party memberships of Mahathir and other MPs were 'ceased' as they acted against Bersatu's constitution, says Muhyiddin
Dr Mahathir and the four other federal lawmakers who were removed from the party - Mr Mukhriz Mahathir, Mr Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman, Dr Maszlee Malik and Mr Amiruddin Hamzah - rejected their dismissals and maintained that they acted within laws and regulations set by Bersatu. All are listed as plaintiffs in Tuesday’s lawsuit.
Dr Mahathir has stressed that where he sat in parliament was not a valid reason for dismissal. He has also maintained that he was still the chairman of Bersatu.
Subsequently, Mr Marzuki Yahya, Bersatu’s secretary-general aligned to Dr Mahathir, issued a letter to terminate Mr Muhammad Suhaimi as executive secretary.
It should be noted that Mr Marzuki, who was also listed as a plaintiff in the lawsuit, had earlier been relieved of his post by Mr Muhyiddin.
Mr Marzuki has also been removed of his duties as head of the party’s Penang chapter by Mr Muhyiddin.
READ: Bersatu politician resigns as Malaysia's deputy works minister
MAHATHIR MEETS OPPOSITION LEADERS
On Tuesday afternoon, Dr Mahathir attended a meeting with Pakatan Harapan leaders, including the top guns of Parti Keadilan Rakyat, Democratic Action Party and Parti Amanah Negara.
Also present was Mr Shafie Apdal, president of Parti Warisan Sabah.
In a joint statement, they said the meeting witnessed a “thorough discussion” on each party’s stance, and “very positive progress” was achieved.
“The process to finalise all decisions will be made within a week,” it read.