The Court of Appeal today maintained that civil rights movement Sarawak Association of People’s Aspiration (SAPA) is not an illegal society, after it dismissed an appeal by the Home Ministry.
“The CoA judges are of the view that there is no need to disturb the decision of the High Court in declaring that SAPA is a legal society,” SAPA counsel Dominique Ng Kim Ho told reporters after the appellate court made its ruling.
He said the appeals court, presided by Datuk Zawawi Salleh, had ruled that the High Court had not erred in saying that the Home Ministry was wrong in law to ban SAPA.
The other two appeals court judges were Datuk Abdul Rahman Sebli and Datuk Abdul Karim Jalil.
The Home Ministry, director of Registrar of Societies and the federal government were represented by Senior Federal Counsel Maiserah Juhari.
Former SAPA chair Lina Soo said the case was not over yet although the Court of Appeal dismissed the Home Ministry’s appeal.
“The ministry has one month to lodge an appeal to the Federal Court,” she said, adding: “But for now, we are legitimate and our fight for Sarawak is constitutionally legit.”
On November 14, 2014, SAPA was declared unlawful under Section 5(1) of the Societies Act 1966 by the Home Ministry for allegedly carrying out activities prejudicial to the interests of the security of Malaysia and public order.
SAPA took the matter to court for a judicial review of the ministry’s order, naming the Home Minister, director of Registrar of Societies and the federal government as respondents.
On October 30 last year, High Court judge Datuk Rhodzariah Bujang overturned the Home Ministry’s decision to ban SAPA.