by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Petaling, Lim Kit Siang, on Saturday, 23rd May 1981:
DAP deplores the indecent haste of the Government in implementing the Societies Amendments
The DAP deplores the indecent haste with which the Barisan Nasional Government has implemented the amendments to the Societies Act and the Constitution.
The Government should have heeded the appeals of Malaysian societies and organisations to defer the implementation of the draconian amendments to the Societies Act, which represent a serious of the fundamental Constitutional rights to free speech, assembly and association.
Clearly, the haste with whit the amendments to the Societies Act were implemented was motivated by the intention to bar UMNO strongman Harun Idris from contesting in the UMNO elections next month unless he secured an exemption from the Registrar of Societies and the Minister of Home Affairs.
With the implementation of the amendments of the Societies Act, a new regime of terror in Malaysian life has started, where the civic, social and public-interest organisations will come under the stringent control of the Registrar of Societies, whose decisions could not be reviewed or challenged in a Court of Law, however arbitrary or biased he may be.
It is deplorable that the Barisan component parties, in particular MCA, Gerakan, SUPP, Ber jaya, dare not speak up to their UMNO Big Brother to make them listen to the people’s wishes that the amendments to the Societies Act should be deferred.
The DAP calls on all Malaysians and organisations who oppose the amendments to the Societies Act as a serious violation of Malaysian democratic freedoms and basic rights to continue to agitate for the repeal of the amendments to the Societies Act.
If the Barisan Nasional claims itself to be a democratic government, then it should respond to the widespread demand for the repeal of the Societies Act amendments, or be exposed as an authoritarian wolf using democracy’s sheep clothing.