JULY 8 ― It is alarming to hear allegations that the Registrar of Societies (RoS) is being used as a tool by the home minister to suppress political opponents.
The RoS needs to practise good governance and demonstrate that it upholds the rule of law. Whether or not the allegations hold water, it is of utmost importance for the agency to be perceived to have carried out its statutory duties at all times in a professional, non-partisan, fair and just manner to command public confidence.
Without a “yes or no” decision from the RoS, which is under the purview of Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin of Bersatu, Umno being a key political force in our country, would not be able to conduct its affairs nor decide on its next course of action judiciously.
This adds fuel to the political instability that has engulfed the nation for the past couple of years. The present coalition government is currently led by a Prime Minister from Umno ― what is the message that we are sending out to our citizens and investors if there is a legality concern over the Prime Minister’s own party?
The legality limbo is a sign of political instability, and this does not augur well for Malaysia’s post-Covid-19 national economic recovery agenda.
The RoS must make a decision quickly ― endorse or reject Umno’s amendment to its constitution. And if it is in the negative, then in the spirit of transparency, it must provide a valid and justifiable explanation behind its decision.
The people abhor inordinate delays of administrative decisions and processes in all sectors of government affairs. In this case, a main political force in the country falls victim to such bureaucratic inaction. The RoS must seize the occasion to demonstrate that it is apolitical and carry out its mandate as provided in the Societies Act.
* Gan Ping Sieu is CENBET co-president.