MP SPEAKS | The 13th Parliament was dissolved at midnight and what Malaysians have this morning is a caretaker government, which means a government which should not make any policy decision or spend a single ringgit over and above from what is required in normal government administrative requirements.
All government resources including government aircraft, helicopters and vehicles should be grounded and not misused for electioneering by anyone, whether the prime minister or any cabinet minister, until a new government is elected in the nation’s 14th general election.
In normal democracies which accept the rules of a normal democratic process, the equivalent of the Election Commission would monitor the activities of a caretaker government to ensure that they are limited to official and routine government administration.
But not in Malaysia where the Election Commission has forfeited the confidence of Malaysians by producing the most monstrous and pernicious gerrymandering of electoral constituencies in the nation’s history.
I call on the civil society to establish an immediate mechanism to conduct a daily monitoring of the caretaker government, to ensure that the caretaker government sticks to the straight and narrow path of official and routine government administration.
And that no abuse of power or government resources for partisan electioneering is allowed or committed during this interregnum until the election of a new government.
In this context, the 30-day provisional dissolution order issued by the Registrar of Societies (ROS) to Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) on the eve of the dissolution of Parliament is extraordinarily improper and most mala fide and reeks of abuses of power and process.
It is even a grave violation of the spirit and concept of a caretaker government, for how can an independent and responsible Registrar of Societies issue a provisional dissolution order to a political party on the eve of the dissolution of Parliament?
ROS doubly fishy
In effect it would disable it from contesting in the 14th general election, giving the caretaker government the odious task to ensure that Bersatu can no longer hold activities and use its name and logo, which includes taking part in the 14th general election as a political party fielding candidates using the Bersatu logo.
Malaysians regardless of race, religion, region or political party fully share the outrage of former prime minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who vowed to defy the ROS’ provisional dissolution order (above) and dared the caretaker prime minister Najib Abdul Razak to arrest him for breaking the ROS’ directive.
Former long-time cabinet minister, Rais Yatim has joined another former long-time cabinet minister, Rafidah Aziz in expressing their outrage at the “despicable”, “unconscionable” and “irresponsible” action by the Registrar of Societies in issuing the provisional dissolution order to Bersatu on the eve of dissolution of the13th Parliament.
Rais Yatim said it was “fishy” that the Registrar of Societies’ announcement of Bersatu’s provisional dissolution was made through a press conference instead of dealing with the party directly.
I say it is doubly fishy and clearly mala fide that the provisional dissolution order was made on the eve of the dissolution of Parliament and the holding of the 14th general election.
The timing and circumstances of the Registrar of Societies’ provisional dissolution order demonstrate that the Registrar of Societies was not acting as a free agent but was acting to help Najib, Umno and BN in the great electoral battle of the GE14.
Are the 3.6 million Umno members to sit idle and allow the Umno/BN government to so abuse its powers as to issue a 30-day provisional dissolution order to Bersatu on the eve of the 14th general election?
Even if Najib is mortally afraid of Mahathir, Najib should not cross the line as he has done with the 30-day provisional dissolution order to Bersatu!
The Registrar of Societies should admit her error and cancel the 30-day provisional dissolution order on Monday, and only issue such a 30-day provisional dissolution order after a new government is formed after GE14 if the Registrar of Societies is still minded to do so.
In other words, there would be no ban or bar on Bersatu or its officials from holding activities and using the Bersatu name and logo during the interregnum of the caretaker government including fielding candidates and fully taking part as a political party in GE14.
Will the Registrar of Societies cancel the 30-day provisional dissolution order issued to PPBM on the first working day of the caretaker government on Monday?
LIM KIT SIANG is DAP parliamentary leader and Gelang Patah MP.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.