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Saturday, September 29, 2012

ROS ropes in police to haul up Suaram



After the Registrar of Societies' (ROS) failed attempts to enter Suaram's office, it is now roping in the police to haul up the human rights NGO.

ROS yesterday served Suaram advisor Kua Kia Soong, secretariat member Cynthia Gabriel and co-founder R Sivarasa notice to show up at its headquarters in Putrajaya to facilitate its investigation on Monday.
NONE"ROS officials came in three cars to deliver a notice summoning me for investigations on Monday, Oct 1! Don't they have other work to do?" tweeted Gabriel yesterday.
Speaking toMalaysiakini today, she elaborated, "It is under Section 111 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) and if we don't show up we can be arrested. The police are now involved."
Section 111 allows the police to compel a witness to appear before them and a warrant can be sought if the witness refuses.

According a copy of the notice sighted by Malaysiakini, the trio are required to give a recorded statement for an investigation by one inspector Ab Rahim Mohammad of the ROS.
The investigation is a response to a report lodged by a complainant to ROS against the NGO, apparently made in Muar.
The notice read: "The report is about Suaram causing dissatisfaction (tidak puas hati) to the complainant." 

On Sept 19, Suaram had turned away ROS officers attempting to "inspect" its office, insisting that the regulator does not have jurisdiction over it.

suaram scorpene case fundraising dinner 160612 cynthia gabriel 1Suaram, who operates under Suara Inisiatif Sdn Bhd, had said that it is regulated under the Companies Commission Malaysia (CCM) and not ROS.

"But we are asking our lawyers to write a letter to them for a postponement to a suitable date because some of us cannot make it," said Cynthia (right).

She added that Suaram's lawyers are looking at options on how to deal with ROS' continued attempts to probe it even though the regulatory body has no jurisdiction.
"We believe the ROS is doing this because the CCM could not find any substantial evidence to charge us (in earlier investigations) under the Companies Act.

"They are now using other agencies to intimidate and harass us. This is political persecution and definitely an authoritarian act," she said.

Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob had on Sept 18 declared that CCM aimed to have Suaram charged within two days for "confusing accounts".
ROS has no jurisdiction'
Meanwhile, a prominent lawyer Baljit Singh Sidhu when asked to comment on Suaram's plight concurred that ROS has no jurisdiction over Suaram.

"They are a Sdn Bhd so it is very clear it comes under the CCM.

"But in this case, (the notice is) under the CPC so they must comply and take it from there," he said.

However, Baljit said Suaram could consider seeking a court declaration to stop ROS' continued attempts to investigate if the NGO feels it is being wronged.

"If they feel there is injustice or anything unlawful, they can go to court for a declaration but they're lawyers will need to study the matter closely," he said.

NONELawyer Edmund Bon (left) who is also active in civil society, too, agreed that ROS has no power over Suaram.

"There is no jurisdiction by the ROS. Companies are excluded from the Societies Act," he said.

Bon added that even if the company's activities involve activist work, ROS still does not have authority over it.

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