Tuesday, May 02, 2023

Will PM Anwar REPEAL draconian Societies Act? The Act to prevent registrations of Political Parties, to make unlawful societies,...????

Why Societies Act need to be repealed? First, the law is meant to CONTROL - not really meant to provide for Freedom of Association. It sadly is similar to the Societies Ordinance the colonial British government used to prevent Malaysians to come together to fight for independence, etc... Hence, it's primary aim was not to provide for Freedom of Association per se.

It gives the Registrar of Society(ROS) and the Minister of the incumbent government too much power - and this power has been abused to even deny NEW political parties registration. Even when you apply for registration, you are STOPPED from doing anything until registration is given...so it kills the momentum of societies and political parties, and since there is NO TIME limit for the Registrar to decide - people will have to wait and wait...you can ask permission to carry out other activities to the Registrar...but will the permission be granted???

6 (2) Until a local society is registered under this Act, no person shall, without a written permission of the Registrar, organize or take part in any activity of or on behalf of the society, except only to apply to, or correspond with the Registrar.
The Registrar has TOO MUCH POWER - and can decide not to allow registration even when '... likely to be used for unlawful purposes or any purpose prejudicial to or incompatible with peace, welfare, security, public order, good order or morality in Malaysia;...' - that is punishing for things that the society may or may not do in the future. Any society, if it commits a crime, can be charged in Court - so, why is a registration refused simply the ROS thinks that it may commit a crime.

7(2) The Registrar may refuse to register a local society if-(b) he is not satisfied that such local society has complied with the provisions of this Act and of the regulations made thereunder; or...

(3) The Registrar shall refuse to register a local society where-

(a) it appears to him that such local society is unlawful under the provisions of this Act or any other written law or is likely to be used for unlawful purposes or any purpose prejudicial to or incompatible with peace, welfare, security, public order, good order or morality in Malaysia;

(b) the society has been declared by the Minister to be unlawful under section 5;

(c) the Registrar is satisfied that the society does not exist;

(d) the name under which the society is to be registered-

(i) appears to the Registrar to mislead or be calculated to mislead members of the public as to the true character or purpose of the society or so nearly resembles the name of such other society as is likely to deceive the members of the public or members of either society;

(ii) is identical to that of any other existing local society; or

(iii) is, in the opinion of the Registrar, undesirable;...

Likewise, the MINISTER has too much power...

5 (1) It shall be lawful for the Minister in his absolute discretion by order to declare unlawful any society or branch or class or description of any societies which in his opinion, is or is being used for purposes prejudicial to or incompatible with the interest of the security of Malaysia or any part thereof, public order or morality.

TOO MUCH POWER - even the power to EXEMPT any society(including political party) from following the provisions of the Societies Act - even from following the Societies own Constitution and Rules, and this what our PH-led coalition government Minister did with regard to UMNO > The exemption was given, but what exactly was the provision or rules that were violated is still not clear. Sadly, no UMNO member challenged the Minister's exemption decision in court. Have they lost faith in the Malaysian courts.

Section 70 - The Minister may at his discretion in writing exempt any society registered under this Act from all or any of the provisions of this Act.

Let us look at some recent examples of how the Societies Act was used against some political parties...

Even, current Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s effort to form a political party was resisted by the Registrar of Society, and finally they had to take over a already registered political party known as Ikatan Masyarakat Islam Malaysia, and then only the  Parti Keadilan Nasional was launched on 4/4/1999.

Likewise, when what is now Parti Amanah Negara wanted to form a new political party, called Parti Progresif Islam, it was rejected by the Registrar of Societies and/or Minister. They then took over the already existing Malaysian Workers' Party, that was founded in 1978, and changed its name to Parti Amanah Negara, which was launched on 16/9/2015.

MUDA's registration was rejected by the RoS on 6 January 2021. On 12 January, MUDA through its 13 pro-tem committee, including Syed Saddiq has seek a court order to quash the decision of Minister of Home Affairs and RoS to register it. After several court battles, the High Court on 14/12/2021 ordered that the party be registered within 14 days. It was registered on 23/12/2021.


On 15 February 1998 the appellant and twelve others met to form the Parti Sosialis Malaysia ('PSM'). They formed a committee of seven. An application was then made to the Registrar of Societies (ROS) to register themselves as a political society. The ROS declined to grant registration at national level. But he was prepared to grant registration in the State of Selangor. ROS was not prepared to grant registration at the national level because PSM's committee did not comprise of members from at least 7 of the States of Malaysia.[Why should the protem committee have members from different states? After a party is registered, only then will it expand and get members from all the States, or is the Registrar/Minister suggesting carry on your activities in all States, get members from ALL States and then register? I think this is not reasonable - After that, there might be complaints or issues about organizing activities in other States not ONLY in the State you are registered in]

The Minister rejected the appeal on two grounds. First, that advanced by the ROS. Second, because the registration was not in the interest of national security based on information made available by the police to the Minister.

24/4/2007 Federal Court has given Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) leave to appeal against the Court of Appeal’s ruling which frustrated its bid to be registered as a political party. Then, before the Federal Court, heard and delivered its judgment, the Minister/ROS allegedly changed their mind and approved the Registration - WHY Suddenly? Why not at the very beginning?{These facts will need to be verified by the reader...about PSM]

So, is Anwar Ibrahim's PH=led Coalition keeping the Societies Act so that they can prevent or delay the registration of NEW political parties or societies? They should REPEAL this draconian piece of legislation. 

I was most disappointed that PM Anwar Ibrahim supported the Home Minister's decision to EXEMPT UMNO from following certain provision of the Societies Act? 

Will Anwar Ibrahim and this 'UNITY' government repeal the DRACONIAN Societies Act? We will wait and see..

In later post, I would highlight OTHER REASONS why this Societies Act must be speedily repealed...and Malaysia must respect and promote Freedom of Association, 

Anwar defends home minister's blocking of Umno deregistration
Ng Xiang Yi
Published:  Mar 9, 2023 11:08 AM
Updated: 1:14 PM
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim today defended Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail’s decision to grant an exemption to Umno from Societies Act 1966 provisions.

Speaking to reporters in Kuala Lumpur today, Anwar said - as prime minister and finance minister - he has overturned decisions made by civil servants before.

“For instance, in the past, some officers have been instructed to award contracts (without a bid).

“I overturned those decisions because I think it is better for us to use a tender process. It is more accountable,” he said.

In Saifuddin’s case, Anwar said the law required the Registrar of Societies (ROS) to refer to the minister and the law provided certain powers to the minister.

“The minister has explained the matter,” he said.

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim

Putrajaya has come under scrutiny after Saifuddin revealed that he had invoked Section 70 of the Societies Act 1966 to prevent Umno from being deregistered.

Although Saifuddin was scant on details, even when grilled on the matter in the Dewan Rakyat, it was widely speculated that the matter was related to the ROS disallowing Umno from blocking its top two positions from an election process.

Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail

According to Article 9.3 of Umno’s constitution, 32 leadership positions in the party - including the top two - shall be subjected to an election every three years.

However, Umno’s annual delegates assembly - the party’s highest decision-making body - had in January resolved that the top two positions would not be open to contest.

Saifuddin told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday that the proper avenue to challenge his decision was in court. - Malaysiakini, 9/3/2023


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