Negara-Ku an ‘illegal’ society, Home Ministry says

Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid . – AFP pic
Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid . – AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, July 26 — Putrajaya declared newly-formed coalition Negara-Ku an illegal organisation today, and warned that any activity carried by the citizens movement could warrant punishment under the law.

In a statement on the Home Ministry’s Facebook page, minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the group, launched earlier this month by lawyer Datuk Ambiga Sreenavasan and national laureate Datuk A. Samad Said, has not applied to register the society.

“Therefore, Negara-Ku is not a registered association,” he said.

Ahmad Zahid added, however, that should Negara-Ku apply with the Registrar of Societies (RoS), its application should not be successful as its chosen name is deemed “inappropriate”.

“The use of ‘Negara-Ku’ is inappropriate because it belongs to Malaysia,” he said.

Explaining, the minister pointed out that “Negara-Ku” refers to “Negaraku”, which has long been endorsed as the national anthem under Section 2 of the National Anthem Act 1965.

The use of “Negara-Ku” as the group’s name could therefore “confuse” public, Ahmad Zahid added.

“As such, in accordance with Section 7(3)(d)(1) and (iii) of the Societies Act 1966, it should not be registered,” he said.

Ahmad Zahid said, however, that in order for any society to legally carry out activities, it must be registered with the RoS as this is required under Section 7 of the Societies Act 1966.

He said as Negara-Ku has yet to be registered, should it proceed to act as a group, it would be violating the law.

“And any society that does not fulfil Section 7 of the said Act would be violating the law under Section 41(1)(b) and can face action as an unregistered society,” he said.
Section 41(1)(b) stipulates that a society that has not been registered under the law is deemed as “unlawful”.

Negara-Ku was launched on July 10 by Ambiga Samad Said, two renowned civil society leaders who were both previously co-chairmen of the electoral reform watchdog Bersih 2.0.

The two touted the group as a “people’s movement to reclaim the country” already endorsed by over 60 civil society groups and NGOs.

But Malay-Muslim groups immediately attacked the group, claiming it, among others, challenges the rights of Malaysian Muslims and Malays.

According to Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma), the coalition is just a new front for humanist, liberal and religious pluralist movements in the country.

Malay rights group Perkasa, in taunting the group later, requested that it be included in Negara-Ku as well, claiming it has “the right to be heard” as a legitimate organisation.

Its president Datuk Ibrahim Ali also joked that he would even change his name to “Samyhim” in order to fulfill an supposed requirement to join the coalition.

He even offered to “date” Ambiga in order to exchange views on national unity, later bestowing the name “Aminah” to Ambiga.

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