PETALING JAYA - Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) chairman Mahathir Mohamad has vowed that the party will not stop any of the political party's activities, defying a 30-day ban on campaigning imposed against the party by the Registrar of Societies (RoS).
The former prime minister said that a letter issued by the Registrar informing the party of the ban had "many wrong legal terms", reported the New Straits Times.
"Besides, they sent the letter to our previous office in Damansara when they clearly know that we have moved here. The terms used in the notice are confusing, we are not sure if we are suspended or delisted, so we assume that we can still function as a party," he added.
"We will continue to campaign... we have the right to use our name and logo till the day RoS deregisters us," he told reporters at PPBM headquarters.
The action by the Registrar was triggered when PPBM failed to meet a deadline to supply some information and documents by March 29, registry director-general Surayati Ibrahim said on Thursday (April 5) at a briefing in Putrajaya.
The party can either appeal the ban or submit the documents. If it does not, it will be deregistered, Ms Surayati said. She did not specify what information the registry was seeking, reported Bloomberg.
Dr Mahathir plans to submit an appeal to Home Affairs Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi while maintaining business as usual, the former premier said late on Thursday at a briefing.
If the appeal is rejected, the party will challenge the decision in the courts, he added.
"We're disputing the legitimacy of the notice sent to us by RoS," Dr Mahathir said. "As far as we're concerned, we're still a functioning party."
PPBM President Muhyiddin Yassin said in a video posted to the party's Facebook page that it submitted required documents by the deadline and had been told its paperwork was in order.
"I ask everyone to stay calm while the leaders study this issue for our next action," he said in the video. "I would like to assure everyone that this situation won't in the slightest weaken our determination to uphold the truth."
At a briefing several weeks ago, Dr Mahathir said candidates would contest the election under the name of another party in the opposition Pakatan Harapan coalition if needed.
Even so, the registry's move could be a setback to Dr Mahathir's campaign against Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Dr Mahathir, who was Malaysia's longest-serving leader and once headed the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, fell out with Mr Najib several years ago and has since become his most strident public critic.
Pakatan Harapan has been counting on Dr Mahathir to win over the rural Malay heartland, long regarded as Barisan Nasional's vote bank and the key to breaking its 60-year rule.
The dissolution will hurt the opposition's prospects in rural areas, said Mr Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani, an analyst with BowerGroupAsia risk consultancy.
"I don't think it will dent Mahathir's campaign trail as his brand is bigger than PPBM itself," he said. "It will, however, affect PPBM's candidates who will be relying on Mahathir's name and his association with PPBM. The provisional dissolution would only rally the converted and will unlikely sway the fence-sitters."