Home Ministry deems Comango illegal


PETALING JAYA: The Home Ministry deems the so-called Coalition of Malaysian NGOs (Comango) an illegal entity as it is not registered with the Registrar of Societies (ROS).

“There are 54 organisations in Comango but only 15 are registered with the ROS,” said Ministry secretary-general Datuk Mohamad Khalid Shariff.

“Organisations that wish to organise legitimate activities in the country must be registered with the ROS under Section 7 of the Societies Act 1966.

“Any organisation which fails to adhere to the regulations can be penalised under Section 41(1)(b) of the Societies Act 1966,” he said.

The Section states that a society or its branch that is not registered under Section 7 of the Act is deemed unlawful.

Mohamad Khalid said Comango’s objectives include fighting for a sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), adding that this infringed on Islamic beliefs.

SOGI represents the rights of the LGBTIO (lesbian, bisexual, gays, transgender, inter-sexed and queer persons) group, he said in a statement yesterday.

Last November, Tanjung Karang MP Datuk Seri Noh Omar submitted an emergency motion in the Dewan Rakyat to condemn Comango on demands made in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) universal periodic review (UPR).

He said Comango had, among others, called for rights for the LGBTIO community and freedom of religion for all Malaysians.

Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker Datuk Ronald Kiandee rejected the motion, explaining that the Government had made clear it would not compromise on demands against the Federal Constitution or the country’s Syariah laws.

Reacting to the Home Ministry’s ruling, Sisters In Islam programme manager Suri Kempe said Comango, being a coalition, need not be registered.

She refered to a High Court judgment on July 24, 2012 that the unregistered Bersih coalition is legal.

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“We participated in a legitimate UN process (for the UPR), according to guidelines set by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“It’s a process that is recognised by Malaysia,” she said.

On the accusation that the coalition fought for rights that infringed Islam, Suri said Comango advocated for the rights of everyone – women, children, elderly persons, disabled persons – to be free from violence.

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