Sunday, February 20, 2011

‘Register us or face suit’

Human Rights Party has given the government two weeks to recognise it as a political party or face a court action.

IPOH: The Human Rights Party (HRP) Malaysia has served a legal notice on Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and Home Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein to demand that HRP be registered as a political party within two weeks.

If they do not meet the deadline, HRP will file a suit against the government.

HRP lawyers have served the notice on Friday. HRP is following in the footsteps of Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) by taking the Barisan Nasional (BN) government to court for not approving the party’s registration.

HRP will seek an order of mandamus at the Kuala Lumpur High Court to compel the authorities to, among others, register HRP as a political party like Kita and Malaysian Makkal Sakthi Party(MMSP).

A copy of the party’s legal notice of demand was made available to FMT.

PSM took BN to court for not registering the party for 10 years and subsequently won recognition from Registrar of Societies (ROS) on Aug 19, 2008.

Now HRP, which is the political voice of the NGO Hindraf movement, claims that ROS has denied this Indian-based multi-racial political party the right to register for the past 12 years.

Tracing the history of the party, HRP pro tem secretary-general P Uthayakumar said the party was known as PRIM (Parti Reformasi Insan Malaysia) when he joined it in 2000 after leaving Parti Keadilan National (PKN), which is now renamed Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) .

On June 18, 2009, Uthayakumar re-submitted HRP’s formal application for registration under the name of Human Rights Party after he failed to register PRIM. He was then also PRIM secretary-general.

Biased attitude

On Nov 25, 2010, the party submitted the full set of registeration forms to the ROS. But further follow-ups proved fruitless.

According to Uthayakumar, the BN government’s continued refusal to recognise HRP as a political party directly contravened both Article 8 of the Federal Constitution (equality before the law) and Article 10 (freedom of association).

He questioned the biased attitude of the government in denying HRP the right to be legally registered whereas it allowed quick registration for other newly-formed parties.

For example, he said Kita was registered within one month while MMSP was approved within two weeks of its application in July 2009.

Uthayakumar also accused the government of allowing MMSP to steal and hijack Hindraf’s powerful “Makkal Sakthi” battle cry.

HRP will face an uphill battle to get itself registered given that the political climate has changed drastically.

However, the do-or-die party believes that no one is above the law and hence is prepared to go to court to get justice done.

The party intends to contest in 15 parliamentary and 38 state seats in the 13th general election.

Even if the registration is not approved in time, HRP is ready to swing into action by using independent election logos.