House of cards

With general elections to be held in less than a year, the Registrar of Societies (ROS) has thrown a wrench into the works for the Democratic Action Party (DAP). The unexpected statement by ROS instructing the party to hold another Central Executive Committee (CEC) election has caused uproar among DAP’s top leadership while leaving average Malaysians confused over the matter. The party is understandably concern as it may affect its ability to contest in the forthcoming polls, although ROS has assured DAP that it will not be de-registered.

The bone of contention is whether or not ROS recognized the results of the September 2013 CEC election. ROS had ruled DAP’s earlier party polls in December 2012 as invalid because party members had lodged complaints over the CEC elections legitimacy. The party was instructed to hold a fresh round of election by ROS after it found irregularities and manipulation of votes by the party in its initial election. In September 2013 DAP held its party polls again and submitted the results to ROS. However, after the re-election there were allegations by some party members that they were prohibited from attending the party congress as delegates. Markedly in a recent media report former DAP Bagan Luar branch head G. Asoghan called on DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang to hold the ROS-ordered re-election and to use the December 2012 delegates list to ensure a fair election.

It is obvious that the DAP’s CEC re-election issue is an internal party problem. ROS is impartial and merely carrying out its duty. When it ordered DAP to hold another re-election after the September 2013 results, it was acting on DAP party members wishes. But instead of doing so, DAP filed a judicial review against the ROS. Over the past years the political rumor mill has been churning out stories from within DAP of Lim Kit Siang and Lim Guan Eng’s stranglehold on the party. The DAP leaders’ steadfast determination to not hold re-elections against calls by party members to do so points to a leadership crisis and trust deficit problems. Yet, it supposedly upholds democratic values but is appears to be acting otherwise. Perhaps DAP should get its house in order first and practice what it preaches. It is easy to dish out criticisms. A word to the wise, people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

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