KUALA LUMPUR, 14 Feb 2009: The Indian Progressive Front (IPF), which claims to have some 300,000 Malaysian Indian members, plunged into a crisis after the Registrar of Societies declared as void the election of Puan Sri Jayashree Pandithan as party president on 14 Dec 2008.
Among others, Registrar Datuk Md Alias Kalil, in a letter to the party dated 30 Jan 2009, declared that the appointment of Jayashree was not in accordance with the Societies Act 1966.
He also declared void the suspension of deputy president V Senggutuan and vice-president M Mathyalagan and the show cause notice issued to 12 IPF supreme council members by Jayashree last year in December. Contents of the Registrar’s letter was released to the media by Senggutuan here today.
“The ROS in the letter also declared that the IPF general assembly held on 14 Dec was unconstitutional. The letter also states that all those suspended be reinstated to their original position failing which action would be instituted under Section 13 of the Societies Act.
“With the clarification, Puan Sri Jayashree is no more the party president. I have been reinstated as deputy president and thus I would take over as acting president of the party. Prime Minister and Barisan Nasional (BN) president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has been informed of this,” said Senggutuan.
Although IPF is not a BN component party, it supported the ruling coalition. The letter also said failure to abide by the rulings would result in action being instituted against the party under Section 13 of the Act. The section would allow the Registrar to cancel or suspend IPF, a splinter party of the MIC, as a registered society.
“Basically it means that if the orders of the Registrar are not followed, then the IPF can be deregistered. I would be calling for a meeting of the old supreme council and decide on the next course of action of the party,” he added.
At the 14 Dec 2008 IPF general assembly Jayashree was returned unopposed as party chief; while K Murugiah was elected deputy president; and M Sambanthan, S Visvanathan and K Naducheralathan, the three vice-presidents. It also named K Velayuthan as party secretary-general and M Thirumugam, treasurer.
The IPF leadership tussle began in May 2008, soon after the death of its founder Tan Sri M G Pandithan, who was MIC vice-president before he quit the largest Indian-based political party in the country, to form IPF nearly 20 years ago. Pandithan passed away on 30 April after losing the battle to cancer.
On 10 Nov 2008, the IPF supreme council, headed by Jayashree, issued a three-month suspension order against Senggutuan, Mathyalagan and Youth chief R Ravi Shankar.
Senggutuan was alleged to have violated party regulations while Mathyalagan was said to have issued contradicting press statements detrimental to the party leadership. Ravi has been asked to relinquish his post as he was declared bankrupt.
Mathyalagan, who filed a law suit against Jayashree’s appointment as IPF president, failed in his bid to stop her from continuing after the court ruled on 26 Dec 2008, that section 18C of the Societies Act stated very clearly that the court could not entertain or determine any suit, application or proceeding on any ground in relation to party decisions.
The suspended leaders had also lodged a complaint to the ROS against the actions against them by Jayashree and the new supreme council and Md Alias’ letter was in reply to the complaint.
Yesterday, Jayashree filed a suit against the ROS in an attempt to squash its latest ruling. — Bernama