Government's, like our Malaysian UMNO-led BN government tried to weaken movements, including student movements, workers movements/unions, professional movements by trying to artificially separate them from party politics - hence the provisions in law that disallows persons holding office in political parties from holding positions in trade unions, Bar Council, etc. For students, it is even worse -as Malaysian students are expected not to be involved in political parties...and/or even sympathize with political parties.
Not that these 'restrictions' are imposed by law - not by members of the movement themselves...And after a certain number of years, many just begin to accept that artificial division and start treating it as the norm...or the 'correct' position. In the Malaysian Bar, this was a topic of discussion amongst members of the Bar when the issue of Sivarasah came up
Sivarasa, who is also PRM vice-president, is challenging a provision in the Legal Profession Act which prohibits Bar Council members from taking leadership posts in political parties.
Without the stay of execution, he will not be able to vote on the Bar Council's new leadership in its annual general meeting next Saturday ....Sivarasa filed his application on Aug 8 in 2001 to prevent his disqualification as a member of the Bar Council, naming the Malaysian Bar and the government as respondents.- Malaysiakini, 13/3/2002, Sivarasa denied stay from disqualification as Bar Council member
Recently, this issue has come up in the trade union movement. Some say that incumbent Syed Shahir may have lost because many believe that it is best for the trade union movement that the leadership are actively involved in political parties.
The 61-year-old British-fathered (MTUC) is still bogged down on the question of whether it is right for its leaders to be active in political parties (especially ).
Or whether it should continue to remain "free, independent, democratic and responsible" as its British father John Alfred Brazier had preached way back in the late 1940s.
A few candidates vying for various positions in today's MTUC elections have so far stated only their personal preferences and have not moved any motion to bar MTUC from political involvement...- Malaysiakini, 29/12/2010, No government will bother about MTUC
It is interesting that former president, Syed Shahir, was quoted in an article that looked into the history of MTUC and the trade union movement... What was interesting was that this chap was brought in by the British to de-politise the trade union movement...
It was in the aftermath of the declaration of the Emergency that the move to de-politicise the trade union movement began.
“The British brought in a chap called John Alfred Brazier to introduce a ‘new unionism’ in this country.
“It was then the stigma of ‘you can’t bring politics into the trade union’