: DAP delegates will convene today at a Special Congress to re-elect 20 persons into its all-powerful Central Executive Committee (CEC).
This repeat of an earlier 2012 party election follows a gruelling back and forth between the party and the Registrar of Societies (RoS) for almost a year, set in a backdrop of the possibility of the 48-year-old party being de-registered.
Some of 2,500 delegates from almost 1,000 branches are expected to elect 20 members into the CEC at the One World Hotel in Petaling Jaya this morning.
However, party insiders and observers told Astro AWANI that the whole process would probably be rather subdued as most of the current crop of CEC leaders are expected to retain their posts.
After the 20 CEC members are chosen, these 20 will in turn elect an additional 10 appointed CEC members, as well as the party’s office bearers.
These other positions are also expected mostly the same faces.
“I don’t expect much changes as this is just an exercise to avoid being de-registered,” said a party insider. However, the source said that he expects number of votes of certain leaders to change.
“There may be some changes in the voting pattern. For example, there are now more leaders in Johor so we may see someone from the state kicked out,” he said.
Yesterday, the party's Returning Officer for this 2013 CEC re-elections Ong Kian Ming said that the list of candidates was the same as last year’s National Congress in Penang in December 2012.
“In last year’s CEC Elections, the following individuals withdrew themselves as candidates: Choong Siew Onn, Er Teck Hwa, Jaya Balan A/L Valliappan, Teo Kok Seong dan Yong Wui Wui (Violet)," he said in a statement.
Ong said that the party has also received notice from the following 12 individuals that they have withdrew as candidates in the upcoming DAP Special Congress CEC Re-elections: Ganabatirau A/L Veraman, Jagdeep Singh Deo, Kamache A/P Doray Rajoo, Khoo Poay Tiong, Manogaran A/L Marimuthu, Ng Chin Tsai, Ng Wei Aik, Sanisvara Nethaji Rayer A/L Rajaji, Siow Kim Leong, Soh Boon Hong, Tan Lee Koon dan Roseli bin Abdul Gani.
These makes altogether 17 withdrawals. There are also two resignations: namely Sabah’s Hiew King Cheu on Friday, and former Seremban MP John Fernandez, who resigned from the party in April 2013.”
Meanwhile, the party insider said that there is no big significance of the latest withdrawals, as they are being done to streamline the re-elections.
“I think there are some who pull out because they know they can’t win. There are those who have become elected reps or have state positions and are following advice from central to step aside,” said the source.
On the two Malay CEC members, including the more controversial Zairil Khir Johari and Senator Dr Ariffin SM Omar, the source said that delegates will “make sure they go in”.
“I think most of us would want things to be in line with our multi-ethnic image. Well, otherwise we’ll be giving Utusan more bullets, right?”
Currently, nine CEC members are non-Chinese.
For almost a year now, questions over the DAP’s legal status remained after Lim disclosed on January 4 that an internal audit showed errors in the tabulation of votes from the December 15, 2012 party elections.
The counting error was apparently caused by a "technical glitch", which resulted in the announcement that Zairil Khir Johari was actually voted into the CEC when the original results did not.
Following complaints by some members, the ROS began investigations that at one point led to fears that the party would be unable to use its logo in GE13. However, DAP was able to field its candidates under their rocket logo when ROS confirmed the validiity of DAP's appointment letters.
On July 30, the ROS had directed DAP to hold fresh polls based on allegations of electoral discrepancies. RoS said it found DAP’s explanation on the “tabulation error” of its CEC elections unsatisfactory.
After arguing that ROS did not have the jurisdiction to give such an order, DAP later decided to hold a re-election, ‘under protest’, to avoid being de-registered.
On Aug 17, DAP chairman Karpal SIngh said the re-election shall be held in November as the party constitution required a 10–week period from the date it decided to hold it, which was Aug 14. However, on Aug 22, Lim announced in a special congress that the party would hold the re-election on Sept 29.
On Sept 10, Ladang Paroi DAP branch chief David Dass applied for an injunction to stop the special congress scheduled for Sept 29 on grounds that it was illegal to call for a special congress to hold CEC polls.
Dass had argued that the party’s constitution stated a national congress where a minimum 10-week notice is required. For a Special Congress, a mere seven-day notice to delegates is sufficient.
DAP had filed a counter suit to strike out the application.
However, on Friday, the Kuala Lumpur High Court dismissed Dass’s application for an injuction, and ruled in favour of DAP.
“The court has no jurisdiction in accordance to section 18 (c) of Societies Act 1966. It is up to Registrar of Societies (ROS) to decide whether DAP has complied its directive,” said the High Court judge Rosnaini Saub on Friday.
This decision has made way for the polls today.