The Malaysian Registrar of Societies (ROS) dropped a megaton bombshell yesterday, just 48 hours before the 13th General Election’s crucial nomination day, and it couldn’t come at a better time. Ever since DAP, one of the three coalition members within opposition Pakatan Rakyat, concluded their party election last Dec 2012, disgruntled members who didn’t make it to the post have been questioning the legality of the election result. The DAP’s CEC (Central Executive Committee) election results fiasco started due to “Microsoft Excel” errors (*yes, I blame Bill Gates -wink-*) and the technical glitch was made a joke by their enemies. Complaints were lodged at ROS about DAP’s election results.
Subsequently, ROS director-general Abdul Rahman Othman had personally met DAP Lim Guan Eng in his office in Penang on April 5. Abdul Rahman agreed to postpone the investigations due to the coming general election. A letter from ROS reached DAP’s table that an inquiry into the party’s election would be postponed until May 9 – just 4 days after the polling date. Amusingly, another letter (bombshell) arrived, barely 2 days before nomination day, telling DAP that its central executive committee (CEC) is not recognized. This latest letter states that while awaiting the resolution of the dispute, it does not recognize the present office-bearers who took up their posts on Dec 15, 2012.
But, how can the ROS concludes that DAP’s CEC cannot be recognized when the ongoing investigations was already postponed in the first place? Obviously DAP was deliberately punished before a proper hearing or investigation is complete. Did PM Najib’s cousin, Hishammuddin had a hand but screw up big time again, as usual, on this matter? If you can’t remember, Home Minister Hishammuddin was hopping with joy as if he hits a billion-dollar jackpot when he anxiously claimed DAP didn’t submit its election report in Feb, when in fact the party had already done so. So, did the genius Hishammuddin made another blunder this time by putting his muscles on ROS?
If even UMNO vice president and caretaker Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi appeals to ROS to allow DAP to field its candidates, there seems to be political intervention in the whole ROS-DAP crisis. In what seems to be damage control by ROS and even Election Commission, they assure DAP that it can still use its “Rocket” symbol or logo to take part in the election. But by ruling that ROS does not recognize DAP’s current CEC, it also means the entire CEC members are invalid or illegal. It also means Lim Guan Eng, being the secretary-general of DAP cannot issue any authorization letter to DAP candidates during tomorrow’s nomination day since it can be challenged. In short, no DAP candidate can go to the 13th General Election battlefield.
Sure, Election Commission chairperson Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusoff has assured that DAP can still field their candidates as usual on nomination day. The problem – the Election Commission chairperson’s integrity is already tainted and his assurance should be taken with a pinch of salt. DAP’s emergency plan is to use its partners PAS and PKR symbols to ensure ROS would not drop any more new bombshells after the polling date, or even between nomination and polling date for that matter. Even if ROS was genuine in carrying its responsibility in investigating every single complaint received, the timing and the way it handles the matter raises eyebrows that it can’t blame the public for being suspicious and accusing it of being another tool of the caretaker government BN.
On the other hand, does BN actually think by suppressing and oppressing DAP in the eleventh hour before nomination day could actually increase the former’s chances in reducing the Chinese votes for the latter, assuming Hishammuddin was being naughty again? If today is 1988, the year (original) UMNO got itself de-registered and Mahathir formed UMNO (Baru) as its replacement, then no doubt this ROS move was a splendid tactical move to immobilize the Chinese popular DAP party. The old Chinese voters who do not know anything but the “Rocket” symbol in their whole life could be confused and may even vote for BN. It was a brilliant plan to borrow your enemies’ votes to strengthen your own armies.
Unfortunately, today is 2013 and DAP is not fighting a lone battle but with its comrade PAS and PKR. The first thing that (furious) Anwar said on stage last night during his “ceramah” was BN’s dirty tricks in refusing DAP’s usage of its traditional “Rocket” logo. He further told the audience that DAP can use PAS or PKR logo and symbols as and when their partner DAP requires it, and there were rounds of applause. If indeed it was someone within BN who architect the stunt, you can be sure that not every BN warlord agrees it would work. Well, at least caretaker Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi knows that such plan could backfire badly on BN.
Now, assuming ROS does not retract the letter by 3pm today as the deadline set by DAP Lim Guan Eng and DAP decides to use PAS and PKR authorization letters, logos, symbols and whatnot in the election on 5-May-2013. There’s no doubt that DAP would lose considerable amount of Chinese votes, especially from the illiterate rural voters. But on the same note, the illiterate rural Malay could be equally confused, thinking they were voting for a PAS or PKR candidate. If the “confuse” Malay votes are more than enough to offset the “confuse” Chinese votes, then ROS’s latest stunt could be a blessing in disguise to the opposition.
The fact is it’s too risky for DAP to use its “Rocket” symbol at this point of time since Election Commission deputy Chairman once said the election regulator would cross check the names of candidates running on the DAP ticket against the authorization letter issued by the party chief to ensure there is no hanky panky. Heck, considering BN may have more tricks up its sleeve, DAP may just go all the way contesting under PAS and PKR umbrellas. Thereafter Pakatan Rakyat can fully utilize the 2 weeks of campaign period going nationwide to introduce their “PAS” or “PKR” candidates while crying how they were robbed by the notorious and brutal BN.
Caretaker prime minister Najib may be surprised with the results on 5-May-2013’s night. If ABU (Anything But UMNO) was synonym with 2008 election, ABCD (Anything But Chap Dacing) could be the magic word synonym with 2013 general election. ROS may be the peoples’ saviour after all – by granting the little “push” which opposition needs badly to go to Putrajaya. The psychology and mental warfare is getting really interesting.
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