The Democratic Action Party (DAP) agreed yesterday to re-elect its national leadership, but insisted that claims of irregularities in its 2013 internal polls were false.
It delivered the party's decision in writing to the Registrar of Societies just ahead of a 14-day deadline after the government's July 7 directive to rerun its party polls.
But the party - the largest on the opposition bench - wants to meet the Registrar before finalising plans for a revote, and The Straits Times understands it will file a legal challenge against the order next week. "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," organising secretary Anthony Loke told The Straits Times.
The 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 Registrar had earlier recognised the 2013 leadership. It also came less than a week after the Prime Minister's Office called on the DAP to cease "fake news" against the government and focus on resolving its disputed party polls.
A top leader told The Straits Times the party had to "comply" within 14 days or risk deregistration, but would "file a suit next week to declare the (Registrar's) decision invalid".
The DAP held an election for 20 leaders in 2012 but initial results were revised due to an error in tabulation, leading to allegations of a fix. The Registrar directed the party to reschedule the vote amid claims that 753 of 2,576 delegates were barred from voting.
A 2013 revote resulted in the same 20 winners and the matter was put to rest until the Registrar 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".
The DAP insists this was the case, and wants the Registrar to furnish proof of delegates barred from voting or illegal ballots cast. Mr Loke said the Registrar wanted "to verify the list of delegates, so we have given it to them today. They told us 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."