The Registrar of Societies (ROS) said on Friday that the DAP must call for fresh party polls because its central executive committee (CEC) is not legally constituted.

The party has yet to receive an official letter from ROS to this effect.

According to the ROS, the DAP’s CEC is not legal because during the special congress in 2013, its members were elected not based on the 2012 delegates list.

I am not sure why the ROS had to wait four years to make this announcement. Investigations into the “wrong doings” of the DAP by the ROS does not require knowledge about rocket science.

Strangely enough, in a court hearing some time back, even the ROS itself said that its advice to the DAP was not legal but merely advisory. The matter was left at that with an understanding that the DAP had cleared its issues with ROS.

But then all of sudden, the matter of the “illegality” of the DAP’s CEC has cropped up with danger that the party might even be deregistered if it does not hold fresh polls soon.

In my view, the intervention of the ROS looks to be merely an extension of the ongoing political assault by Umno and its affiliates against the DAP and its allies in the Pakatan Harapan. Since the general election is around the corner there is fear that Umno/BN might not even make it to Putrajaya.

Undermining Harapan

Given this fear, there is a systematic campaign that has been launched to demonise the DAP and its allies in the Harapan. Because of DAP’s strengths in Harapan, DAP has been specifically targeted by those in power.

There is a feeling that if the DAP can be destablised before the next general election, it would be easier for Umno and its allies to dent the performance of the other Harapan members.

The question is how to cripple the DAP, the strongest non-Malay majority opposition front in the country; the party that has rendered other non-Malay political parties within the BN totally ineffective.

Outright arrest and detention of the principal leaders of the DAP is out of the question politically. Perhaps this would explain why the ROS has been relied upon to adopt systematic actions against the DAP, starting from 2012.

In another sense, it also reflects conflicts within the top leadership of Umno on how to deal with the DAP specifically, or the opposition in general.

While the “hawks” within Umno would want the DAP to be deregistered, however, there are “doves” among them who would prefer an administrative or legal approach.

Alternatively, the ROS directive is not so much a problem for the DAP alone, but also one of how Umno resolves its internal contradictions in facing the crucial next general election.


P RAMASAMY is Deputy Chief Minister II of Penang and the state assemblyperson for Perai.