PETALING JAYA: Tony Pua has come up with a chronology of events and “Frequently Asked Questions” to address the issue of the recent instruction (in a media statement) by the Registrar of Societies (RoS) for DAP to hold a fresh election for its central executive committee (CEC).
The question of DAP’s CEC being recognised was thought to have been settled in September 2014, with the RoS informing DAP that its letter on the CEC was merely advice and not legally binding on the party.
“RoS had recognised that the DAP’s CEC, elected on Sept 29, 2013, may carry out all its powers, functions and duties in accordance with DAP’s constitution,” DAP national legal bureau chairman Gobind Singh said in a statement last week, referring to the events of Sept 23, 2014.
But everything turned topsy-turvy for the party last Friday, following the media statement from the RoS.
According to RoS, their instructions are due to the complaints made by DAP members who were dissatisfied with the party’s re-election, conducted on Sept 29, 2013.
RoS director-general Mohammad Razin Abdullah said in light of these complaints, “RoS believes the appointment of the CEC members as well as the main position holders through that re-election, is illegal.”
To refresh everyone’s memory and address some of the questions that are being asked, here is the chronology of events followed by FAQs with answers provided by Pua, who is DAP national publicity secretary.
Dec 15, 2012 – DAP holds an Ordinary Congress with party polls to elect 20 CEC members.
April 17, 2013 – RoS sends a letter to DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, stating that it did not recognise DAP’s CEC. Then RoS director-general Abdul Rahman Othman said the non-recognition was due to the alleged dispute surrounding the party polls, and warned that DAP faced the risk of being de-registered.
April 19, 2013 – RoS issues another letter stating that the party would be allowed to use its rocket symbol in GE13, which was due to be held on May 5, 2013.
July 30, 2013 – The RoS directs the DAP to hold the re-election of the CEC members.
No reason is given by the RoS for its request despite the party having answered all queries concerning the previous year’s party polls.
Sept 29, 2013 – DAP holds a Special Congress to re-elect its CEC. An independent auditor is engaged to monitor the entire election exercise.
The same 2,576 qualified delegates list for 2012 was used in the 2013 re-election.
The elected members of the 2013 re-election were exactly the same as the 2012 election.
Nov 11, 2013 – RoS writes to the DAP stating that the newly-elected CEC is “suspended” until the RoS is duly satisfied.
Jan 22, 2014 – DAP files for judicial review against the RoS letter.
Sept 23, 2014 – The RoS settled the judicial review by agreeing that it has no powers to “suspend” the DAP. With the settlement, the DAP withdraws its application.
July 7, 2017 – The RoS issues a media statement to instruct the DAP hold another re-election for its CEC.
The RoS states that “the DAP re-election (in 2013) should have been based on the Dec 15, 2012 list of 2,576 qualified delegates”.
Frequently Asked Questions
The following are the FAQs with the answers as provided by Pua, who is also the Petaling Jaya Utara MP.
1. Has the DAP received official notification from the ROS?
Pua: No. As at July 10, 2017, we have yet to receive official notification from the RoS.
2. Why did the DAP not use the 2012 qualified delegates list for the 2013 re-election?
Pua: That’s the thing. We did use the 2012 qualified delegates list for the 2013 re-election as per the directive by the RoS. This was vetted by the independent auditors.
3. If the DAP did use the 2012 qualified delegates list for the 2013 re-election, why is the RoS asking the DAP to hold another election with the 2012 list?
Pua: That’s where we are clueless. Only the RoS has the answer to this question, and that’s why we want to meet them once we receive their official notification.
4. Did the DAP cooperate with the RoS for the 2013 re-election?
Pua: The DAP cooperated fully with the RoS by providing every document – letters, qualified delegates and branches lists, etc, to the ROS on a timely basis. The last request for documents by the RoS was in November 2014.
5. Did the RoS ever explain to the DAP why they are not satisfied with the 2013 re-election?
Pua: Never. We were never told what we did, or might have done wrong in our compliance with the 2013 re-election directive. Even when the question is repeatedly raised in Parliament, the answer from the home minister was always “the RoS is still investigating”.
6. Why didn’t the DAP take legal action against the RoS?
Pua: We did take legal action against the RoS by filing a judicial review application in January 2014 when the RoS exceeded their legal powers by trying to “suspend” the 2013 re-elected CEC.
The RoS in a settlement agreement dated Sept 23, 2014 conceded that its refusal to recognise the DAP CEC was not legally enforceable.
7. Why did the DAP hold a “Special Congress” instead of a “Ordinary Congress” for its re-election in 2013?
Pua: The DAP party constitution stipulates that an “Ordinary Congress” requires a notice period for nominations for candidates in the CEC election.
Since there is no need for a nomination exercise as the candidates for the election are to remain unchanged from the 2012 election, the DAP party constitution allows for a “Special Congress” to be called with a 7-day notice.
8. Is it true that 753 (or any number of) qualified delegates were denied their right to vote?
Pua: No. No delegate was denied their right to vote in the CEC election in 2012 or the re-election in 2013.
1,842 out of the 2,576 or 71.5% of qualified delegates turned up to vote for the 2012 election. The quorum for party elections is 25%.
We have provided all proof of postage for both the 2012 election and the 2013 re-election in 2013 to the RoS.
9. Has the DAP agreed to comply with the directive by RoS?
Pua: The DAP has not agreed nor disagreed to hold another re-election.
The CEC on July 8, 2017 decided that we need to first wait for the official notification from the RoS, which may differ in detail from their media statement.
We will then seek an urgent meeting with the RoS to obtain clarification(s) of their directive. The CEC will then meet again after such clarification(s) are obtained to decide on the next step.
10. If the DAP holds another re-election, will the newly-elected CEC be recognised by the ROS?
Pua: The DAP had expected to resolve its RoS controversies by complying with the re-election directive from the RoS in 2013, despite fiercely disputing the basis of the RoS directive then.
We had hoped that by complying to the letter, the problems can be resolved and the party can move on.
Unfortunately, nearly four years after our re-election, the RoS has again issued a directive for another re-election to be carried out.
Hence, there is clearly no assurance of “recognition” by the ROS even if we were to comply with another re-election based on the 2012 qualified delegates list.