If UMNO Baru can be registered the very minute of its application in February 1988, why can’t ADIL be registered within a month?

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): I fully endorse the call by the ABIM President, Ahmad Azam Abdul Rahman, that the Registrar of Societies expedite the approval of registration of  Social Justice Movement or ADIL, which was submitted on December 19.

There is no justification whatsoever why the registration of ADIL  should take four months to enable  the Registrar of Soceites to process the application.

Can the Registrar of Societies explain why she  has to take such an inordinately long time to process the application for registration of a society, when in February 1988, the Registrar of Societies broke all records in registering UMNO Baru the very minute its application was submitted?

On 4th February 1988, Justice Hashim Harun in the the Kuala Lumpur High Court declared UMNO an illegal party under the Societies Act in a suit by the UMNO-11 challenging the legality of the UMNO presidential elections of 24th April 1987 where the  incumbent and Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad defeated his challenger, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah by a mere 43 votes - 761 votes against 718 votes.

Justice Harun Hashim accepted the UMNO-11’s argument that illegal UMNO branches had taken part in the process leading to the April 1987  UMNO elections, but he would not accept their plea to nullify only the election and ruled that the presence of the illegal UMNO branches made UMNO an illegal party under the Societies Act.  Consequently he ordered the deregistration of UMNO itself.

It is now history that Tengku Razaleigh’s Team B, with the support of Bapa Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman, tried to resurrect UMNO by registering an ‘UMNO Malaysia’ but Mahathir thwarted and outmanoeuvred them.  The Tunku’s ‘UMNO Malaysia’ application was rejected by the Registrar of Societies as being premature for being lodged at a time when the Registrar herself had not technically deregistered UMNO!  At the precise moment of UMNO’s deregistration, best known only to the Registrar who served directly under Mahathir as the Home Minister, Mahathir’s application to register UMNO Baru was accepted.  Thereafter, no other  ‘UMNO’ could legally emerge.

When the Registrar of Societies in February 1988 rejected the application for ‘UMNO Malaysia’ and later approved the registration of ‘UMNO Baru’ the very instant its application was filed after the deregistration of UMNO, was the Registrar acting in full independence, impartiality and integrity as a public servant or did she allow her office, powers and responsibilities  to be manipulated and abused  to serve the political agenda of the Prime Minister?

In any event, the pertinent question today is: If UMNO Baru can be registered the very minute of its application in February 1988, why can’t ADIL be registered within a month?

As the Home Minister who is responsible for the Registrar of Societies, Mahathir should ensure that ADIL is registered within a month, especially as Mahathir had gone on public record as saying that no obstacles would be put in the way of its registration.


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