Deal with the issue, not the party in DAP’s legality case

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Oriental Daily

Oriental Daily

The row over DAP’s legality has risen again in recent days. The Registrar of Societies (RoS) last Friday said DAP’s leadership is not legal and instructed DAP to hold a fresh election of its central executive committee. Home Minister Ahmad Zahid also said if DAP refused to hold a fresh election, it may not be able to contest in the next election. Since the row broke out when the 14th general election is nearing and since the RoS is under the jurisdiction of the Home Ministry, it is difficult to avoid allegation of bad motivation in RoS’ action.

The DAP central executive committee elected on December 15, 2012 was not recognized because of mistake in the counting of votes. Subsequently, the party complied with an instruction by RoS and held a re-election on September 29, 2013. However, the RoS again refused in the same year to recognize the results of the re-election, lying the “time-bomb” as DAP is now being threatened with de-registration unless it holds another re-election.

As all political parties are now in preparation for the next general election, it would be exhausting to DAP if it was to hold another re-election. The other hidden worry is even if a fresh election was held, would RoS resort to the same tactic in refusing to recognize the results with DAP’s time and efforts all gone to waste?

As a government agency, the RoS should resolve DAP’s legality issue swiftly and should not have delayed from 2013 until today. Furthermore, it should not have done all this just before the general election. It shows that RoS is not only inefficiency but it has also raised a row over its independence and becoming a tool of political parties.

One of the taboos that a Government agency should avoid is giving the impression that it is blurring the line between Government and political party and giving rise to confusion that its role is to serve the ruling party. As such, RoS should safeguard its stand above political rivalry among different parties. It should come out with a practical solution on the legality of DAP leadership and should not be flip-flopping.

On the long-term, the current dispute should result in an acceptable formula and preventive mechanism to resolve similar issues involving other political parties.

Many major issues have been linked to politics. The Barisan government has alleged that the investigation taken by US Department of Justice against 1MDB is politically motivated. The opposition led by Tun Mahathir and Muhyiddin have also alleged that investigation into Bank Negara’s foreign exchange losses in the 90’s is also politically motivated.

And the current controversy over the legality of DAP’s leadership has also been criticized by DAP and commentators as political motivated.

Among the many alleged politically-motivated investigations, some are politically-camouflaged aiming at diverting attention on corruption or just attacking rival parties. Some are to win public sympathy in order to gain more support.

As there is so much confusion on the real motivation, what a public agency can do is to deal with the issue and not party in order to build up public confidence. If this is done, all perceived political motives would perish.