Naughty, dishonest ROS

By P Gunasegaram | 4:26PM Apr 19, 2013

QUESTION TIME It looks like other Malaysian bodies besides those responsible for curbing corruption are being “naughty and dishonest”, the latest being the Registrar of Societies (ROS) which has draconian powers to oversee societies, including political parties.

Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud famously (notoriously?) labelled the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) investigation of himself for graft as “victimisation”, and reserved his cooperation because he believed that they have been “naughty and dishonest”.

“They (MACC) don’t deserve my cooperation because they have been naughty… and they have not been honest,” he said recently.

Change some names, and the DAP is now a victim of “naughty and dishonest” investigation by the ROS. This is likely closer to the truth than the MACC allegations by Taib who continues unscathed despite everything. What’s more, delve deeper into the latest issue and you will wade deep into a conspiracy theory to rival any book by Jeffrey Archer.

The DAP – yes, to its discredit then – had a “technical glitch” during its December elections for the central executive committee (CEC) which resulted in a minor revision to its election results. The studious ROS began investigations, but only decided not to recognise DAP’s CEC several months later, yesterday – just two days before nomination day. How convenient.

According to DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, the letter was faxed to the DAP headquarters at 5.45pm yesterday in very questionable circumstances.

In a report by Malaysiakini, Lim (above) told reporters that ROS director-general Abdul Rahman Othman had personally met him in his office in Penang on April 5, where the latter agreed to postpone the ‘routine’ investigations in view of the looming elections to May 9, four days after the elections.

“Abdul Rahman personally guaranteed to me that he would not make any decision until investigations are complete, and until he obtains a full report from his investigator.”

But then the letter not to recognise the DAP’s CEC still came.

Lim has cried foul, and indeed that is what it is, coming so late in the day when the ROS has had many months to investigate the “technical glitch”.

Meantime, the Election Commission said that the DAP will be able to field candidates as usual on nomination day, regardless of the Registrar of Societies’ decision to suspend the party’s central committee.

‘No comfort at all for DAP’

Should that not give some comfort to DAP that it can contest under its own banner and put up its own slate? Apparently not, and here is where the conspiracy and plot thickens and links up with the other ingredients for a good, juicy stew.

What gives? If the ROS does not recognise the DAP’s CEC and has given notice to the DAP that it does not recognise the CEC before nomination day, how can the CEC make any legally binding decision on its slate of candidates? There is the possibility that its entire slate of candidates can be disqualified on nomination day itself.

Even if they are not on nomination day tomorrow, post-elections, it is possible to challenge the legality of DAP’s candidates. A compliant judiciary could negate the results of elections where DAP candidates stood. And if DAP MPs and state assemblypersons are suspended on Monday May 6 – the day after the elections – via court injunction, power can’t be handed over.

Thus far, three agencies are implicated in this conspiracy: The ROS with its draconian powers granted during ex-PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s (right) dictatorial grip on the country when he tightened laws for societies to bring them under control; the supposedly independent, but not so independent Election Commission and its assurance which may lull DAP into complacency; and a compliant judiciary, courtesy again of Mahathir, which may be willing to play ball.

The bigger question is, who is the puppeteer pulling the strings behind the curtains? And are they actually so desperate and so fearful of losing as to resort to such measures to deny free and fair elections to remain in power? Indeed, is there such a plot in the first place?

Obviously, the DAP cannot and will not take chances, and unless it has iron-clad assurances that it can use its own logo and put up its own candidates, it will go ahead with its plans of standing under the PAS banner in the peninsular, and PKR for Sabah and Sarawak.

If they have to, it will be a major challenge, but the plot will backfire for those who may have engineered this whole thing. It will only help to push the somewhat disparate partners in Pakatan Rakyat even closer together and hasten the day when they will all stand under one banner.

And it is going to sicken further all right-thinking, reasonable and responsible Malaysians who badly – very badly – want to see elections fought on even terrain with everyone given equal opportunity to express their views and get their message across. So no one has an unfair advantage or obstacle.

Any measure which further enhances Pakatan Rakyat’s image as the underdog will help the coalition more than it harms.

P GUNASEGARAM is founding editor of KiniBiz. He enjoyed reading Jeffrey Archer’s “First Among Equals”, especially the final twist about who would become prime minister.

  1. #1 by yhsiew on Tuesday, 23 April 2013 - 4:05 pm

    The MACC and ROS are BN’s stooges. It was public pressure that made ROS forward a letter by hand to the DAP office late at night granting the party the permission to use the Rocket symbol.

  2. #2 by good coolie on Tuesday, 23 April 2013 - 8:50 pm

    Certain PKR candidates turn up at the very last moment from nowhere to register as candidate. Meanwhile, PAS, believing that that PKR fellow won’t turn up, and PAS deciding not to give BN a win without contest, registers a PAS candidate in the place of the absent PKR chap.
    “Whoa! PKR and PAS are at logger -heads! Depah tidak ada Pakatan!” says BN. So what happened? I think you are seeing Kataks in PKR even at the tadpole stage!

    PAS is right to say that PKR does not know how to vet its candidates properly.

  3. #3 by bennylohstocks on Wednesday, 24 April 2013 - 1:53 am

  4. #4 by Noble House on Wednesday, 24 April 2013 - 4:14 am

    I was hoping to see the whole country turned Green. But I guess the RoS must have won the day. CSL must be a very disappointed man.

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