It is not only a denial of the fundamental right of Malaysians to the freedom of association as enshrined in Article 10© of the Malaysian Constitution, it makes a mockery of the Barisan Nasional government’s professed respect for democracy and human rights when it introduced a bill for the establishment of a Malaysian Human Rights Commission at the last meeting of Parliament.
Is the Malaysian Human Rights Commission prepared to take the government’s rejection for the formation of PSM as one of the first complaints of violations of human rights in the country?
The application for the registration of PSM was first submitted to the Registrar of Societies on 30th April 1998. It was rejected nine months later on 27th January 1999. This was followed by an appeal to the Home Minister, Datuk Abdullah Badawi, and on 23rd September 1999, PSM received a letter from the office of the Chief Secretary of the Home Ministry conveying the Minister’s rejection of the appeal. No reasons had been given in both instances of rejection by the Registrar of Societies and the Home Minister.
The rejection of Parti Sosialis Malaysia is most ominous for it signals the total lack of commitment of the Barisan Nasional government to the fundamental democratic principles and human rights.
If a government which has no respect for the freedom of association of Malaysians, as illustrated in the rejection of application for the establishment of PSM; freedom of assembly as illustrated by the high-handed police crackdown against Malaysians gathered for peaceful assemblies; freedom of speech, as illustrated in mass media censorship and control; how can the people trust the government with respecting the fundamental liberty of the person and that there would not be another major arrests under the Internal Security Act - Operasi Lalang II?
The country had just been told by the MCA President and Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik, that the Cabinet supports the "universal principles" contained in the 17-Point Malaysian Chinese Organisations Election Appeal.
The Appeal calls for action to "protect and guarantee freedom of association" and the government’s rejection of the application for registration of PSM is another blatant example of how the Appeal is supported at the level of "universal principles" but opposed at the level of actual implementation.
I see the rejection of application for the registration of Parti Sosialis Malaysia as an ominous signal of a possible crackdown on fundamental liberties if Barisan Nasional is returned with two-thirds majority in the next general election.