Rejection of Parti Sosialis Malaysia ominous signal of a possible crackdown on fundamental liberties if Barisan Nasional returned with two-thirds majority in next election

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Friday): The rejection by the Home Minister and  the Registrar of Societies of the application for the registration by Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)  led by well-known NGO activist, Dr. Mohd Nasir Hashim is a further blot on Malaysiaís record of human rights and democracy.

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 governmentís 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 governmentís 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 Ministerís 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 governmentís 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.


*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic Action Party Secretary-General & Member of Parliament for Tanjong