DAP’s non-existent ‘threat’

(The Star) – THERE is no doubt that the letter from the Registrar of Societies (ROS) has sparked some emotion that the DAP had deliberately sought to get public sympathy for the party.

What DAP leaders usually do is only tell half-truths.

Now, let us provide you the complete facts and the entire truth:

First, the ROS had never threatened to deregister the party. It was DAP’s own doing when it announced a “spread sheet error” in tabulating the Dec 15 party election results that prompted it to change the order of the votes and announce a slightly different line-up from that reported at the party convention. DAP had appointed Zairil Khir Johari to the CEC, three weeks after the convention.

Second, the DAP had opportunities to immediately call for an extraordinary general meeting to seek ratification of the results by the delegates or call for a new vote.

However, they decided not to do that but maintain the amended results as correct and acceptable.

Third, the complaint was made by their party members and not by any political opponent or anyone related to their opponents.

Under ROS regulations, only party members can file a complaint and it is the duty for ROS to investigate after complaints have been filed.

Fourth, the ROS only acted based on their standard operating procedure by asking DAP to submit its report on the matter. However, DAP didn’t provide a detailed report over how the “Spread sheet error” occurred as well as answer another complaint relating to 700 members not being given proper notice of the party convention.

Fifth, ROS had set April 18 for an inquiry in Penang and asked those involved to give their statements to their officer during the inquiry.

However, DAP asked for a postponement as the date was near the election date.

Following the request, the ROS agreed to it by giving a 30-day extension. The latest date for the DAP to reply is May 17.

The Registrar has given the DAP 30 days to answer his queries about the election results and the matter of 700 or so members not being given proper notice of the party convention.

Six, the ROS’ letter was just stating the obvious – that while investigations are being carried out, ROS could not recognise the new CEC.

That means the DAP is still in business as the ROS had not declared the elections null and void or the central committee (CEC) null and void. Any decision about the legality of the elections would only come after the party had replied.

Not only that, in the letter the ROS said nothing about a powerless CEC, nor did it even imply that the CEC could no longer function.

The Registrar’s letter was just a reminder that the party must provide explanations to the satisfaction of the Registrar, failing which the ROS was empowered to deregister the party.

Such reminders are common and not out of the ordinary.

It is a reminder to treat the matter seriously, if not, there would be consequences under the law. Many societies have similarly received such reminders in the past.

Seven, even if the status of the new CEC is not recognised by the ROS pending the required reply from DAP, the party still can carry out its functions as the previous committee can assume their duties until the decision on the new committee is made. This principle is similar to the caretaker function in any association and government.

Eight, there is no issue about DAP not being able to use its rocket symbol as the party is still a valid political party and its symbol is still registered with Election Commission.

There is no issue about whether party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng can issue candidacy letters to the EC as he also served as secretary-general under the previous CEC.

However, all these facts have been conveniently spun by DAP to give perception that the ROS had intentionally wanted to deregister the party (when in fact the ROS had not come to that stage).

Worse still, in order to condition the mind of the people at large, they deliberately used words such as “despicable”, “BN sabotage”, “worse than repressive Singapore”, “how can we trust their word” (referring to the Election Commission) as well as questioning the timing of the letter.

They also put up a drama by projecting them as being victims by showing anger “emotion” by Lim Guan Eng’s, Lim Kit Siang’s crying and now they have no choice but to use PAS or PKR symbols when in fact there is no issue about using the rocket symbol.

What the DAP actually want is to force the ROS to recognise their new office bearers from day one even when the results are in doubt. They had deliberately not given details on how they could come to the conclusion that the technical glitch came about as they only submitted a report on minutes of the meeting and the list of the new office bearers with the amended results. The DAP’s decision to use the PAS or PKR banners is a political decision by its top leadership for the May 5 general election.

In fact, the decision to use the PAS symbol could also be viewed as a tactical reason as this could condition non-Muslim voters to view PAS favourably as well as dispel lingering notions among Muslims of the DAP as anti-Islamic unbelievers.