DAP rejects RoS directive for fresh party polls

from far left: Party national treasurer Fong Kui Lun, deputy chairman Tan Kok Wai, chairman Karpal Singh, secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and advisor Lim Kit Siang.
from far left: Party national treasurer Fong Kui Lun, deputy chairman Tan Kok Wai, chairman Karpal Singh, secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and advisor Lim Kit Siang.

KUALA LUMPUR, July 31 — The DAP will not accept the Registrar of Societies' (RoS) directive that fresh polls be held until a concrete explanation is given, party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said today.

Lim, who is also Penang chief minister, added that the registrar has no power to make such an instruction and has demanded the societies regulator state clearly which law empowered it to issue such an order.

"We find this extraordinary that the RoS can just order fresh elections on the mere reason that they are not satisfied, without giving any grounds when we have given all our explanation in full and fully co-operated with the RoS.

"And yet with just one line -they said they are not satisfied- they say we have to hold fresh elections," Lim (picture) told reporters after holding an emergency central working committee meeting at the party's headquarters here.

DAP's legal bureau secretary Gobind Singh Deo, who was also at the same news conference, said the party was considering all options and did not rule out taking legal action against the RoS should the latter refuse to meet DAP's demand.

According to Gobind, under Section 16(1) of the Societies Act 1966, RoS may have the power to reject any information provided by the DAP pertaining to its investigation into the party's CEC elections in December last year.

The provision, however, does not allow the registrar to direct any parties to hold fresh elections, the Puchong MP said.

"If you look carefully at Section 16(1) it does not in any way state that it can give the directive," the lawyer and lawmaker said.

In its letter dated July 30, the RoS said it found the DAP's explanation on the "tabulation error" of its CEC elections as unsatisfactory. The letter was submitted to the party yesterday evening, just one day after Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announced the decision.

The brief contents of the letter, however, heightened suspicions of bias within the party, which was already bristling at the government's reaction following Ahmad Zahid's early remarks on the matter.

“Such a brief letter by RoS stating the directive but not the reasons why as well as providing evidence that supports the RoS decision is most unprofessional, flagrant misuse of their exercise of power resulting in a great injustice to the DAP,” Lim said in a statement issued earlier today.

Yesterday, Sin Chew Daily reported Zahid as saying that the RoS was dissatisfied with the DAP’s explanation for the counting mistake and the party would be directed to hold its internal polls again.

According to the Chinese-language paper, Ahmad Zahid, who is also an Umno vice-president, said he would not interfere in RoS matters.

This led the DAP to suggest that the RoS was being used to manipulate the opposition party's internal affairs at the behest of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN), an allegation Lim repeated tonight.

"Malaysians can only conclude that RoS has already made a subjective political decision in favour of BN to pre-judge the whole issue to 'fix up' the DAP, without due regard for facts and rules," Lim said.

On January 4 this year, Lim revealed that an internal audit showed errors in the tabulation of votes from the December 15, 2012 party elections which, he said, were caused by a technical glitch when the results were transferred to a computer using the Microsoft Excel programme.

The amendments resulted in Lim’s political secretary, Zairil Khir Johari, moving up from 39th position to 20th ― the last elected position in the party’s CEC.

Following complaints by some members, the RoS began investigations that at one point led to fears that the party would be unable to use its logo in the Election 2013.

But DAP candidates then went on to contest in the national polls using its logo, after the RoS confirmed the validity of the party CEC’s appointment letters to candidates.

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