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Mahathir's party told by authorities to suspend activities

Party must submit more documents to satisfy registrar's requirements, or it may face permanent deregistration

Kuala Lumpur

THE year-old political party of former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad has been told by the Registrar of Societies (ROS) to suspend its activities, and not use its logo for the next 30 days.

Malaysian news media reported that the ROS said on Thursday that Dr Mahathir's Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) must submit more documents to satisfy the registrar's requirements, or it may face permanent deregistration.

The news came about as the four opposition parties grouped under the Pakatan Harapan (PH) pact, including PPBM, said they plan to contest the coming polls using the logo of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).

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Thursday was the last sitting for Malaysia's Parliament, with Prime Minister Najib Razak widely speculated to request the Malaysian King on Friday to dissolve the House, in readiness for the general election.

The ROS director-general Surayati Ibrahim told a news conference that PPBM has failed to fulfil the registrar's notice requesting for documents and details regarding its annual general meeting that was held in December last year, The Star newspaper reported.

The ROS served PPBM with the temporary disbandment notice under Section 14 of the Societies Act 1966 at 12.30pm on Thursday (April 5).

PPBM has 30 days to fulfil the ROS request for more documents, failing which, the party will be permanently disbanded.

The party, formed by Dr Mahathir, can lodge an appeal within the 30-day period.

The disbandment came as PH filed a judicial review on Feb 21 in its bid to obtain a court order to compel the ROS to respond to its letter to become a registered coalition.

PH is planning to contest as a registered alliance with a new, single logo.

Malaysia's Home Ministry had earlier said that there were ongoing investigations into PPBM due to complaints received over its annual general meeting, and that this was holding up the registration of PH as a formal coalition, The Star said.

Without the ROS approval of its registration, PH will not be able to use its official logo to contest in the polls.

The four members of PH are PPBM, PKR, the Democratic Action Party and Parti Amanah Negara.

The New Straits Times reported that Dr Mahathir will likely contest under PKR's ticket in the upcoming national polls if his party's annual general meeting remains unrecognised by the ROS.

It quoted Universiti Utara Malaysia's political analyst Professor Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani who said it was unlikely that Dr Mahathir would run as a DAP candidate due to the socialist party's existing non-Malay grassroots support.

"Most likely PPBM will not contest in the election, because the ROS has yet recognise the party (assembly and charter) although it is already registered . . . Hence, PPBM candidates will have to contest independently or by the tickets of its allies. It is highly probable that they will contest under PKR instead. Furthermore, there is a recent agreement by Parti Amanah Negara, PKR and PPBM to contest under one logo, and that logo is PKR's," said Dr Azizuddin.

On whether Dr Mahathir would experience friction with PKR grassroots who were staunchly against the former prime minister, Dr Azizuddin said party de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim would be the key to pacify protests.

Dr Azizuddin agreed that the election would not be a smooth-sailing journey for Dr Mahathir due to possible dissent from within PKR.

"Well, the party listens to Anwar. They (PKR and Dr Mahathir) will surely try their best to resolve any friction."

On Tuesday, Bernama reported that the police have been urged to investigate PPBM for allegedly submitting falsified documents relating to the party's annual general meeting nationwide.