April 18 inquiry into party's polls fiasco, just two days before nominations, will not be sufficient for it to arrive at a decision, says Karpal Singh
GEORGE TOWN: With balloting for general election just 21 days away, any action by the Registrar of Societies (RoS) on the DAP over the party polls fiasco would be seen done in bad faith, said Karpal Singh.
The DAP national chairman called on the caretaker Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s administration not to exert any undue influence on RoS to take strong action on the DAP.
He said RoS can take action on DAP only after thorough investigations were carried out based on proper evidence.
Thus, he insisted it was virtually impossible for RoS to make a decision before the nomination day on April 20 or even before the May 5 polling day for the general election.
He insisted that the DAP must be allowed to use its own rocket symbol to contest in the general election.
“No doubt the RoS has the power to de-register any organisation, including the DAP. But, under the current circumstances, any RoS action on DAP would be deemed done in bad faith.
“We hope the executives especially Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak would not exert undue influence on RoS.
“Let RoS be free and independent to make decisions,” Karpal, a parliamentarian for seven terms, told newsmen here today.
RoS will hold an inquiry on April 18, two days before the nomination day, on DAP central executive committee (CEC) polls fiasco held last Dec 15 in Penang.
Two DAP officials who handled the internal polls – Pooi Weng Keong and Ong Kian Ming have been called up for the inquiry.
They have been told to bring along all necessary documents to facilitate the investigation, to be carried out under Section 66 of Societies Act 1966.
Among the documents requested were notice of annual party congress issued by secretary general Lim Guan Eng, minutes of the congress meeting, list of delegates and candidates, Pooi’s letter appointment as party election director, the original CEC election results before being revised and notice and minutes of CEC meeting held on Jan 3 this year.
Pooi and Ong can be charged and fined not above RM1,000 each if found guilty, for any non-compliance to the RoS notice of inquiry, which was issued on April 9 by a RoS officer Mohd Nawawi Mat.
In disclosing this, Karpal assured the party’s fullest cooperation to RoS by supplying all the supporting documents to assist investigations.
He said the DAP had nothing to hide given the CEC polls was conducted in compliance with law.
Dismissing foul play, fraud or misrepresentation as reasons for the fiasco, Karpal insisted that it was only a technical glitch that marred the election results.
He said RoS should not rush to take action on the DAP, such as de-registering the party, before the nomination day because it was too short time to complete a full investigation.
He believed that RoS would not be able to action on DAP even before general election polling day as it could not have completed its probe.
Hence, he expressed confidence that the DAP would be allowed to use its rocket symbol for the election.
He admitted that many critics were baying for DAP’s blood on this issue, including former party vice chairman Tunku Abdul Aziz Ibrahim.
The CEC is DAP’s party highest decision-making body. It consists of 20 elected and 10 appointed members.
In the Dec 15 party polls, DAP has claimed a miscalculation caused by a technical glitch was discovered in the results.
In the revised results, Zairil Khir Johari, who initially finished in 39th position with only 305 votes, leapt to 20th elected position with 803 votes.
Vincent Wu Him Ven, who was initially elected to CEC in joint fifth position with 1,202 votes, was relegated to 26th position with only 669 votes.
But he has been re-appointed into the CEC as a co-opted member. Pooi resigned his position after the results were revised.
Zairil, a fast emerging parachute Malay politician in the DAP, is Lim’s political secretary and state-sponsored research body, Penang Institute, chief executive officer.
The DAP election fiasco prompted many DAP members to hold nationwide demonstrations, calling for fresh polls and lodged complaints with RoS to pave way for investigation.
Previously Karpal described the technical glitch a bona fide error, an honest mistake.
“But of course it was a embarrassment to us,” he said then.