KUALA LUMPUR – Fresh internal elections will cost and distract DAP but the federal opposition party should abide by the Registrar of Societies’ (RoS) directive before it is “too late”, cautioned political observers.

Delays in re-electing a new central executive committee (CEC) could otherwise have dire repercussions in the general election, they added.

Universiti Malaysia Sarawak political analyst Prof Jeniri Amir said properly conducting the new election would once and for all remove any threat of punishment from the RoS, which may include deregistration.

While the RoS has said that it does not intend to ban the party, it said it does not recognise the CEC that includes Lim Guan Eng as secretary-general, which could invalidate the credentials he issues for candidates standing under the party’s ticket.

This could force DAP hopefuls to contest using an ally party’s logo, as they had considered doing for Election 2013 when PAS agreed to let DAP candidates to contest on its ticket as a contingency.

While DAP members may run under the ticket of other Pakatan Harapan parties such as PKR, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) and Amanah, Jeniri said it would hurt DAP’s chances.

“Obviously, DAP members will want voters to know which component parties they are voting for, and contesting under another logo will not reflect good on them,” he said.

Oh Ei Sun, adjunct senior fellow at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, explained that leaving the issue so close to the general election would be damaging for DAP.

The issue traces back to 2012, when the RoS first informed DAP of reported irregularities with its internal poll and subsequently directed the party to conduct a new election.

“Typically, party elections are held after GE (general elections), so that the internal bitterness during party election is not carried into GE, affecting party unity and cohesion and thus electoral chances,” he said.

The next general election must be held no later than August 2018, leaving DAP little time to close ranks if its internal poll turns rancorous.

Penang-based analyst Ooi Kok Hin said the RoS order will be a distraction for DAP in the crucial period leading to the 14th general election.

“At the same time though, it [the RoS order] could be used as a rallying point for the party to energise their members and supporters,” he told Malay Mail Online.

The RoS on Friday order DAP to again hold a fresh election for its CEC, to replace the faulty poll from 2012 and a re-election in 2013.

When rejecting the 2013 edition, It said fresh party polls must be based on the name list of DAP delegates who were eligible to vote in 2012, namely 2,576 delegates from 865 branches.

The matter re-emerged last week when an aide to the prime minister reminded DAP of its continued troubles with the RoS.

This prompted claims by DAP’s Lim Kit Siang that the party could be de-registered, which the RoS subsequently rejected when it said it simply wanted the party to re-elect its CEC in accordance to its own rules.

– Malay mail