Abdullah should review the Registrar of Societies’ most improper decision to approve the registration of KLCAH without strict compliance with the law and honour his pledge to lead a government “beyond suspicion”
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Sunday): The Prime Minister and Home Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should review the Registrar of Societies’ most improper decision to approve the registration of the Kuala Lumpur Chinese Assembly Hall (KLCAH) without strict compliance with the law and honour his pledge to lead a government which is “clean, incorruptible, modest and beyond suspicion”.
This is because the Registrar’s extraordinary approval of KLCAH has raised many legitimate questions about whether it is a gross abuse and unlawful exercise of power, and whether it served any ulterior agenda because of the opaque, undemocratic and suspicious circumstances of its approval.
There is firstly, no reason for the Registrar of Societies not to know that the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (SCAH) constitutionally adopts both Federal Territory and Selangor Chinese-based associations as members, and secondly, if the applicants for the KLCAH headed by Liew Poon Siak had withheld this material information, then it would be a case of gross deception of the Registrar of Societies
Before approving the registration of KLCAH, the Registrar of Societies should have taken fully into account Section 7 (3)(d) of the Societies Act 1966 which provides that “The Registrar shall refuse to register a local society where the name under which the society is to be registered (i) appears to …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”.
In view of the existence of the SCAH for the past 80 years as the umbrella organization for the Chinese-based associations for both Federal Territory and Selangor, the minimal the Registrar should have done before deciding on the KLCAH application would have been firstly, to consult the SCAH and secondly, to ensure that the application was proper, bona fide and above-board in being representative of a cross-section of the associations in Kuala Lumpur and not the attempt by an individual or a group of individuals with an ulterior agenda of their own.
Any approval of KLCAH should be proper, bona fide and transparent bearing in mind the existence of the SCAH, and not a reward for any individual for his past actions, whether in organising for Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad when he was Prime Minister the rare Emperor’s “Red Robe” Chinese tea ceremony in August 2001 (which costs RM3,500 per kg with a cup costing RM35), or the other two events for Mahathir at Stadium Bukit Jalil - the Winter Solstice “Tang Yuan” Festival in December 2001 and the “Thank You, Prime Minister” mass gathering in October last year.
Abdullah has called on Barisan Nasional leaders and the Malaysian people to tell him the truth. He should allow the SCAH and the Kuala Lumpur Chinese associations the opportunity to tell him the truth about the gross impropriety of the registration of the KLCAH in the most opaque , undemocratic and suspicious circumstances, without any prior public knowledge and input, in a matter of three weeks on the eve of retirement of Mahathir after 22 years as Prime Minister.
As the extraordinary and most improper approval of the ROS for the KLCAH has raised legitimate and widespread “suspicions” about its motive, purpose and agenda, the KLCAH controversy has become another early test for Abdullah in his first pledge as Prime Minister to lead a government which is “clean, incorruptible, modest and beyond suspicion”.
Abdullah should summon the Registrar of Societies to give him a full report on the circumstances for the secretive and suspicious approval of KLCAH which had placed his pledge of a government which is “clean, incorruptible, modest and beyond suspicion” under immediate test – so that he could give a public assurance that all the legitimate objections and reservations by SCAH and the Chinese community not only in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor but throughout the country would be fully addressed.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman