KUALA LUMPUR: The Kuala Lumpur High Court on Thursday (Jun 18) struck out Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s bid for an interim injunction to be recognised as the chairman of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), until his lawsuit challenging the termination of his party membership is heard.
Local media reported that the ad interim order sought by five other plaintiffs to remain status quo in the party was also thrown out by the court.
The five were deputy president Mukhriz Mahathir, youth chief Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman, supreme council members Maszlee Malik and Amiruddin Hamzah, as well as secretary-general Marzuki Yahya.
“We sought an ad interim order that the status quo of the parties from today onwards be preserved so that there’s no damage done till the matter can be heard on July 9,” Dr Mahathir’s lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri was quoted as saying by the Malaysian Insight.
“After hearing arguments, however, the court decided that the ad interim order is not to be done.”
On Jun 9, Dr Mahathir and the five senior figures in Bersatu had filed a lawsuit against Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin to dispute their loss of membership and removal from party posts.
Dr Mahathir and the four Members of Parliament were informed that their membership was nullified after they had decided against sitting with the new Perikatan Nasional (PN) government headed by Mr Muhyiddin during the May 18 parliament sitting.
The PN government was formed after Mr Muhyiddin pulled Bersatu out of Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition in February. Dr Mahathir, who said he did not agree with such a move, resigned as party chairman and prime minister.
Mr Marzuki, meanwhile, was relieved of his post as secretary-general by Mr Muhyiddin.
READ: PM Muhyiddin did not breach quarantine to seek cancer treatment in Singapore, says Malaysia PMO
Mr Rosli Dahlan, the lawyer representing Mr Muhyiddin and other defendants, said on Thursday that the injunction application was dismissed by the judge after ruling that the application was not justified.
“The court after looking at all the authorities on a summary fashion decided that the balance of convenience and the balance of principles of law does not justify that (ad interim injunction), ” he was quoted as saying by the Star.
Separately, Mr Muhyiddin and other defendants have applied to strike out the suit by Dr Mahathir and five others.
Mr Rosli said Mr Muhyiddin was seeking to dismiss the suit on technical grounds, such as violating a party rule that no dispute can be brought to court by party members.
“By filing this action, they have triggered Clause 10.2.6, which says that any member that files an application immediately loses his membership.
“Beyond that, they have declared their exit from the party. In Tun’s case, he tendered his resignation. And on May 18, he sat with the opposition. There’s a longstanding convention that if you cross the floor that is a declaration that you have abandoned the party,” he said, according to the Malaysian Insight.
The suit is “frivolous, vexatious, scandalous and an abuse of the court process,” Mr Rosli added.
UNCERTAINTY LOOMS OVER MAHATHIR-LED BERSATU FACTION
With questions hanging over Dr Mahathir’s party membership, uncertainty also looms as to where his Bersatu faction stands in the country’s political scene.
Last week, he attended a meeting with top guns from PH and Parti Warisan Sabah. The group, dubbed “PH Plus”, was supposed to announce their candidates of choice for the prime minister and deputy prime minister posts on Tuesday, but could not reach an agreement among the parties.
Democratic Action Party’s organising secretary Anthony Loke reportedly said that Dr Mahathir had offered to be prime minister for six months before handing over the position to Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Anwar Ibrahim.
However, PKR is cautious of having Mr Anwar being taken for a ride again, Mr Anwar’s political aide Farhash Wafa Salvador Rizal Mubarak was quoted as saying by the Star.
The handover issue was a matter of contention within PH when Dr Mahathir declined to commit to a timeline to pass the premiership to Mr Anwar, despite an earlier agreement.