The Registrar of Societies (ROS) has issued notices ordering several senior members of the human rights NGO Suaram, including one who passed away two years ago, to have their statements recorded on Friday.
The notices, dated yesterday, pursuant to Section 111 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), were sent to the office of Suara Inisiatif Sdn Bhd's lawyer, and named Suaram founder, the late Fan Yew Teng, as well as co-founder Dr Mohd Nasir Hashim and executive director Nalini Elumalai ( right ).
Fan passed away in 2010.
“It is embarrassing to note that one of the named individuals, Fan Yew Teng, had deceased in 2010 but ROS still issued the notice out of ignorance,” Nalini said in a statement.
She said according to the notices, the three of them are to present themselves before ROS investigating officer Ab Rahim Mohammad on Oct 12, to record their statements under Section 112 of the CPC.
Nalini added its lawyer had also been ordered to produce Suaram’s documents to the same investigating officer.
By requesting privileged documents and information belonging to Suaram from its lawyer, she stated the ROS has violated solicitors-client privilege and confidentiality as bound under the Legal Profession Act 1976.
'Cease all forms of bad practices'
Stating that Suaram’s cooperation to the ROS was premised on protecting and upholding the rule of law despite the “ ultra vire s acts of ROS”, Nalini also said Suaram is concerned that ROS may have breached its professional duties “by acting on political instructions to harass Suaram”.
“On this note, Suaram strongly urge the ROS, as law enforcers, to immediately cease all forms of bad practices and act in accordance to the law”.
Suaram also feels the notices may be the result of the legal research task force set up by ROS last month.
“Suaram sees a mind-blowing attempt by the task force to stretch the jurisdiction of ROS beyond its legal scope to probe into a company registered under the Companies Act 1965.
“On Oct 4, lawyers representing Suaram co-founder and Subang MP R Sivarasa ( left ) and secretariat member Cynthia Gabriel at the ROS had respectfully stated that Suaram’s cooperation to the ROS was in good faith and had advised that the ROS has no jurisdiction to act against a registered company.
“It is clear that Suaram, as a registered company, owes no duty and obligation to the ROS. Despite this, the ROS still saw it fit to continuously harass Suaram as demonstrated in the latest notices,” she said.
On Oct 3, both Sivarasa and Cynthia were quizzed by the ROS over allegations Suaram was receiving foreign funds, with Sivarasa being questioned for about 95 minutes while Cynthia for 140.
Cynthia ( right ) also underwent a three-hour interrogation by the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) last month, to which she said the probe was politically-motivated, and that the commission was on a “ fishing-expedition ” to try and pin fault upon the NGO as well as to try to build a case against them.
Suaram, the main Malaysian complainant in the Scorpene submarine scandal currently being investigated by the French courts, has been the subject of intense investigations by various government authorities after allegations surfaced that the NGO has been receiving foreign funding.