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Liew loses court bid for president post

KOTA KINABALU - Datuk VK Liew lost the battle to wrest the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) President's post through the courts, Tuesday, but says his political career is not yet over.

"It only means that my journey in court has come to an end but does not mean that my political journey has ended. It will continue in various capacities," said Liew, when met outside the Federal Court after the proceedings, Tuesday.

Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin who sat with Justices Tan Sri Suriyadi Halim Omar, Tan Sri Ahmad Haji Maarop, Tan Sri Haji Mohamed Apandi Ali and Datuk Ramly Haji Ali dismissed Liew's application for leave to challenge the RoS endorsement of rival Datuk Teo Chee Kang as party president with costs after considering arguments from all parties.

Liew had applied for leave to appeal against the Court of Appeal decision to dismiss his application for leave for judicial review to revoke the RoS decision on the position of the President of the LDP.

In their unanimous decision, the apex court justices held that the letter dated Jan. 7, 2014 from the RoS was not a decision and hence not amenable to judicial review.

Liew's leave application for judicial review was dismissed by the High Court on Feb 17 this year and the Court of Appeal had on May 23 this year dismissed his appeal against the High Court decision.

Liew had on Jan. 28 this year filed the application naming the RoS, LDP president Datuk Teo Chee Kang and Senator Datuk Chin Su Phin, who is now the deputy president of LDP, as first, second and third respondents, respectively.

The apex court on Tuesday awarded costs of RM5,000 to each of the respondents. Earlier, counsel Roland Cheng who represented Liew together with Dato' Sri Rakhbir Singh raised six questions in the application.

Cheng, among others submitted that the letter dated Jan. 7, 2014 was not an administrative act because it has elements of decision advice and acknowledgement of dispute and must be read together and not in isolation.

He also said that the 'decision' in the Rules of Court 2012 was not same 'decision' in the Societies Act 1966 and so cannot equate the two.

Senior Federal Counsel (SFC) Shamsul Bolhassan, who represented the RoS together with SFC Rahazlan Affandi Abdul Rahim said the letter was nothing more than an opinion or statement or conclusion as a result of the investigation by the RoS.

He also said that the alleged first respondent's decision was made after the Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) and elections and that it would not have affected the decisions of the political party made at the EGM nor the rights of the applicant.

Instead, it was the decision of EGM and elections which had affected the legal rights of the applicant and not that of the first respondent, submitted Shamsul.

Liew in his application at the High Court sought a declaration that the RoS had acted ultra vires the Societies Act to say that the purported Extraordinary General Meeting held on Oct 19 and 20, 2013 and subsequent party election were legal.

He also sought that the action by the RoS to issue the letter of Jan 7, 2014 to him is unlawful and null and void and also an injunction to stop the second and third respondents from carrying out duty under the name of LDP.

Counsel Datuk Roderick Fernandez appeared for Teo and Chin.

Thanking his counsel for being with him from the beginning from the High Court to Federal Court, Liew said: "The court somehow has recognised them and also Teo (Datuk Teo Chee Kang) as the President of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) appointed by RoS." Liew said he respected the decision of the Federal Court.

"The decision of the court today is that the Registrar of Societies (RoS) has the power to decide who should be the president of a political party. I think that is bad for the political development of this country and it is to me a very sad day for political parties.

"As to where my political direction will take me, I will have meetings with all my supporters. we will have our gathering soon and we will determine where we will go because like it or not, we are all voters as well in our respective constituencies and I believe we will play an important role when the time comes," he said.

Liew thanked his supporters who according to him came from different places such as from Sandakan and here and have been very supportive and loyal to him.

Meanwhile, Teo, when contacted, said it is time for LDP to move on as all legal avenues in the party's leadership tussle have been exhausted.

"We have patiently allowed legal proceedings to take their course. Now that all legal avenues have been exhausted the party will move on," said Teo, when asked to comment on the decision by the Federal Court to dismiss with costs Liew's leave application to appeal to the apex court.

However, Teo who is also State Minister of Special Tasks said the whole LDP leadership saga was not about individuals.

"It is not about VK Liew or Teo Chee Kang, it is about the party as an institution," he said.

From: SaSa General FEED


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