The DAP strongman’s party and allies PKR and PAS have found it difficult to campaign as a coalition in by-elections, especially in the current Bagan Pinang vote, due to election rules that only allow contesting parties to put up logos and posters.
"The Pakatan Rakyat will seek registration as a coalition under the Societies Act with the stand of the Registrar of Societies that the law requiring at least seven political parties to register as a society does not apply," the Ipoh Timur MP said in a statement this morning.
He said the electoral pact will seek registration as a coalition under the Societies Act 1966 with the stand taken by the Registrar of Societies Datuk Md Alias Kalil that the law requiring at least seven political parties to register as a society does not apply.
Section 2 of the Societies Act 1966 defines “society” as including “any club, company, partnership, or association of seven or more persons whatever its nature or object, whether temporary or permanent, but does not include —
(a) any company registered under the provisions of any written law relating to companies for the time being in force in Malaysia;
(b) any company or association constituted under any written law;(c) any trade
(d) any company, association or partnership formed for the sole purpose of carrying on any lawful business that has for its object the acquisition of gain by the company, association or partnership, or by the individual members thereof”.
"This has been interpreted as requiring any coalition of political parties to have at least seven constituent political parties to be registered under the Societies Act.
"However, as the Registrar of Societies has now taken the position that a coalition of political parties does not fall under this provision, Pakatan Rakyat will seek registration as a coalition under the Societies Act to work for national reforms and political changes if Malaysia is to restore her national unity, sense of purpose and international competitiveness," the veteran leader said.
The three parties had come together as the Barisan Alternatif in 1999 but that unregistered coalition fell apart two years later over PAS's insistence for an Islamic state. DAP and PAS were also in separate alliances in the 1990 polls — Gagasan Rakyat and Angkatan Perpaduan Ummah — which shared a joint partner in the now disbanded Semangat 46.
The Pakatan Rakyat scored historic wins in Election 2008, denying the ruling Barisan Nasional its customary two-thirds parliamentary majority by snatching 82 seats in the 222-seat Parliament and four more state governments under the leadership of opposition icon Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
It has since lost Perak when three lawmakers quit to be independent.
Its supreme council is due to meet in December to formalise the pact with a common charter and logo. Despite a desire for unity, the allies are still sorting out thorny issues among the three parties over administration and ideological philosophies.