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Sunday, July 9, 2017

'Timing of ROS fuels public suspicion of political intervention'

The Registrar of Societies (ROS) has been urged to come up with a standard operating procedure (SOP) to avoid being labelled as a government tool.
The NGO Centre for a Better Tomorrow (Cenbet) said the registrar's latest directive calling for DAP to hold re-elections for its central executive committee (CEC) had on fueled such suspicion.
"The public is understandably puzzled why the ROS took more than three years before asking the party to hold re-election," Cenbet board of governer's member Sim Lim Seng Chai said in a statement today.
"The timing could not have been worse as the prime minister's press aide (Tengku Sariffuddin Tengku Ahmad) had just days earlier revisited the old issue of the party's disputed 2012 and 2013 internal polls and questioned the legitimacy of its central leadership," he added.
He said the ROS' meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi further lend credence to claims that there were "political meddling," in its decisions.
The ROS on Friday ordered the DAP to hold fresh CEC elections, claiming its 2013 re-election was not in accordance with the law.
DAP leaders have harboured suspicions of such a move when Tengku Sariffuddin raised questions on the party's status on Jun 27.
Zahid at a press conference today said DAP runs the risk of not being able to field candidates in the next general elections if it doesn't abide by the ROS' instructions.
DAP vice-chairperson M Kula Segaran said that party members could still contest the next general election even if the party's logo could not be used.
He said they could contest under a different party's logo, Pakatan Harapan's logo if it registered, or as independents.
DAP legal bureau chief Gobind Singh Deo meanwhile said the instruction has no legal effect until the ROS officially communicates it to the the party.
He said the party is also seeking a meeting with the registrar to discuss the matter.
"We ask for a meeting with ROS because to us, this really involves a matter of principle and precedent.
"We do not think that one should just follow directives where there is a reason to believe that the directive is flawed be it factually or otherwise.
"And we cannot allow this to become a dangerous precedent as it would put societies in limbo and at the mercy of the ROS in future," Gobind said in a statement.
The DAP had in 2013 voluntarily held a CEC re-election after an excel spreadsheet error affected the results of the initial election held on Dec 15, 2012.

The result of the re-election was communicated to the ROS on Nov 8, 2013, pursuant to the provision of our constitution and the Societies Act 1966.
The ROS, however, did not recognise the 2013 outcome either and DAP took the ROS to court.
The lawsuit was dropped after an ROS lawyer told the court that ": " ...the ROS recognises that the DAP CEC elected on Sept 29, 2013 may carry out all its powers, functions and duties in the administration of the daily affairs of the DAP in accordance with the constitution of the DAP".- Mkini

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