The Daily Express front page lead, "Cloud still hangs over Star ops" (Sat 19 Jan, 2013), is a misleading take by complainants based on a litany of half-truths. The State Reform Party (Star), to the best of my knowledge, is a Kuching-based national party and hence can field candidates throughout the country. The emphasis is on fielding candidates. The only authority on Star fielding candidates is its president, not ROS or the EC.
Joe Fernandez, Bandar Seri Begawan
The EC has already made it's stand clear in the local media: Star can field candidates in Sabah come the 13th General Election under its symbol and flag. Star is a registered name, symbol and flag with the EC. All that a candidate needs to stand under Star is a letter from the party president to lodge with the EC.
Whether Star is registered or otherwise in Sabah with the ROS Sabah is irrelevant and immaterial.
In fact, the question of registering Star with ROS Sabah does not arise since a party cannot be registered twice. Branches can be registered in Sabah with the ROS, not the party again.
Likewise, it's irrelevant and immaterial whether Star has any branches in Sabah, registered or otherwise. There's no law which states that Star should have registered branches in Sabah before it can field candidates in the state. The ROS does not decide who stands in an election conducted by the EC.
There's no law which states that Star should have registered branches in Sabah before it can carry out political activities in the state. Branches are meant for party elections and not to carry out political activities or field candidates in a General Election.
Anyone can carry out political activities in Malaysia without a political party or even an unregistered NGO or ad hoc body.
The ROS Sabah should not plan to make a song-and-dance act about Star in Sabah. (It did not sort out CASH, the Sabah consumer body, and instead took the easy way out and deregistered it and/or declared it unlawful).
Instead, ROS Sabah and Sarawak should focus on disallowing the parti parti Malaya from setting up branches in Sabah and Sarawak. It should be guided by the safeguards, by way of constitutional documents, for Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysia.
The ROS Putrajaya should not allow parti parti Malaya to register as national parties in defiance of the safeguards provided to Sabah and Sarawak at the time of Malaysia. Peninsular Malaysia, under these safeguards, should have one seat less two-thirds in Parliament, at the very maximum.
The parti parti Malaya can achieve their maximum quota in Parliament without crossing the South China Sea.
Indeed, they collectively hold 165 seats from Peninsular Malaysia alone in Parliament. This is more than their maximum quota. To add insult to injury, the parti parti Malaya have seats in Sabah and Sarawak and this further weakens the politics and voice of the Borneo people in Parliament. To add further insult to injury, the parti parti Malaya are planning to steal even more seats in Sabah and Sarawak, not only in Parliament but the respective state assemblies, come the 13th General Election.
The EC and the ROS are parties to weakening the politics and voice of the Borneo people in Parliament.
The Attorney General and the Sabah and Sarawak Attorney-Generals can make their stand clear on this burning issue and not play the role of the proverbial three monkeys: see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil or bury their collective heads in the sand like the ostrich.
Neither should they behave like the three blind men who described different parts of an elephant -- the tail, the ear, the trunk -- when asked to describe the animal.
The parti parti Sabah and Sarawak, like Star, would have to cross the South China Sea as national parties to achieve the same maximum -- one seat less two-thirds -- in Parliament for the Borneo Nations in Malaysia.
The Election Commission should not allow parti parti Malaya to field candidates in Sabah and Sarawak. The ROS, the Attorney General and the Attorney Generals of Sabah and Sarawak should facilitate the EC's work on this.