Malaysia's DAP agrees to executive committee re-vote under protest

DAP national organising secretary Anthony Loke and DAP vice-chairman Teresa Kok hand over a letter to an RoS representative at Chancery Place in Putrajaya.
DAP national organising secretary Anthony Loke and DAP vice-chairman Teresa Kok hand over a letter to an RoS representative at Chancery Place in Putrajaya. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR - The Democratic Action Party (DAP) agreed on Friday (July 21) to comply with a government order to re-elect its national leadership, but insisted that allegations of irregularities in its 2013 internal polls were without basis.

Its then organising secretary Teresa Kok and current incumbent Anthony Loke delivered the decision to the Registrar of Societies (RoS) just ahead of a 14-day deadline to respond after the July 7 directive.

"We are prepared to have the re-election under protest. We have rebutted the allegations, which are without basis and still reserve the right to take legal action," Mr Loke told The Straits Times.

The RoS directive is widely seen as a government move to derail the party's momentum ahead of a general election due in a year, especially as the RoS had earlier said it recognised the 2013 leadership. It also came less than a week after the Prime Minister's Office called on DAP to cease "fake news" attacks against the government and to focus on resolving its disputed party polls.

DAP held an election for its 20 central executive committee (CEC) members in 2012 but initial results are revised due to an error in tabulation, leading to allegations of a fix. The RoS directed the party to redo the vote amid claims 753 of 2,576 delegates were barred from voting and replaced with "phantom voters".

A 2013 re-vote resulted in the same 20 leaders winning the CEC seats and the matter was put to rest until the RoS made a public statement two weeks ago, stating the re-election "should have been based on the list of delegates eligible to attend and vote at the Dec 15, 2012 election involving 2,576 delegates from 865 branches".

DAP insists this was the case and wants the RoS to furnish proof that any delegate was barred from voting, or that anyone other than the 2,576 delegates cast a ballot.

Mr Loke explained that even though DAP agreed to hold a new vote, it would still need to meet the RoS to iron out other issues.

"They said they want to verify the list of delegates, so we have given it to them today. They said to appoint an independent body to run the election, which we have proposed today. We can't just decide to hold it next month. They have to give their confirmation. So that is why we want a meeting," the Seremban MP added.

shannont@sph.com.sg