THE THIRD FORCE
Below is an interview conducted by The Third Force with Shamsher Singh Thind, a former DAP life member who left the DAP in December 2016 on account of Lim Kit Siang’s newfound friendship with former premier Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.
TTF: Yesterday, the Registrar of Societies (ROS) decided that the DAP must re-elect its Central Executive Council (CEC), the grounds being that the party’s highest decision making body was unlawful and invalid.
In a blog posting later, the party’s de facto chief, Lim Kit Siang, described the decision as “ridiculous,” claiming that his party had fallen victim to a “long campaign of demonization with lies, fake news and false information.”
What are your thoughts on this?
Shamsher: Kit Siang is in a state of denial, which probably is the reason he contradicted himself. In the same blog posting, he stated explicitly that the CEC would hold an emergency meeting today to decide the next course of action. So why the need to comment on the RoS decision? Is he bypassing the CEC, proving once and for all that he is indeed the dictator people insist he is?
The party’s national legal bureau chairman, Gobind Singh Deo, made plain and clear that the DAP had yet to receive “official communication from RoS concerning the DAP CEC.” According to him, it would be best for the DAP to study the letter first before arriving at a decision on the matter. Frankly, Gobind made perfect sense.
But Kit Siang didn’t. Question is, is he trying to outperform the party’s legal advisor, or is he simply too emotional to think rationally?
In any event, he should realise that there are merits to re-electing the CEC. For one, it would give him and his son the opportunity to gauge if they still command majority support within the party. Isn’t that what he should be striving for?
Kit Siang should realise that the RoS did not deregister the DAP, and neither has any court declared the party illegal. In other words, there remain avenues for the party to seek recourse to the courts in the event it finds the RoS ruling unacceptable.
So why is he spinning the issue out of proportion? Is he planning to jeopardize these avenues by ignoring the RoS decision, or is he simply using the RoS as a platform to gain political mileage?
And speaking of courts, isn’t it ironical that Kit Siang now shares a stage with the very man who twisted the arms of judiciary in 1988, resulting in UMNO being declared illegal by the Kuala Lumpur High Court?
TTF: Yes, it is. But tell me, what do you personally think of the RoS decision?
Shamsher: Let us look at this objectively.
The first thing the CEC ought to do is wait for a letter from the RoS. Once the letter arrives, the onus would be for the party’s legal advisor to explain the RoS decision to the CEC. Once this is done, the CEC can decide on the next course of action, contingent upon options available to them, made known to them by their legal counsel.
In my view, the party can either conduct a re-election – which I personally think is warranted – or go ahead and file an application for a judicial review. But seriously, this back and forth between the DAP and the RoS has gone on too long, If indeed Kit Siang and his son have nothing to hide and are as strong as they portray themselves to be, what’s the fuss? Why not conduct a re-election and get it over with?
Furthermore, the CEC’s term expired last year following its re-election in 2013. Instead of seeking a fresh mandate, Guan Eng exercised his power and postponed the election for 18 months. My question is, why?
Why did Guan Eng find the need to do that when in July 2016, he contemplated seeking a fresh mandate for the Penang state legislative assembly despite its term expiring only in 2018? It appears that both Guan Eng and his father are not very clear of what they’re doing. Either that, or there is something going on which we’re not being told of.
TTF: Good point. Tell me, the 15th of December 2012 CEC election was declared invalid by the RoS after a lot of back and forth. Am I right to say that all members sacked by the party since then are still party members?
Shamsher: In a sense. But you have to be clear of one thing.
At the moment, all they have is a locus standi to challenge their sacking in court. What they should now do is file for an application for the court to declare them as party members. Under the circumstances, they should refrain from seeking any form of clarification from the CEC, considering that the CEC is now an invalid entity.
TTF: Last question – what was the real reason you left the DAP?
Shamsher: Who told you I left the DAP?? It was the DAP that left me.
From the day I came to know of Kit Siang, he was either attacking Mahathir or UMNO, anything that had Barisan Nasional written to it. In the nineties, he accused Mahathir – either directly or indirectly – of siphoning RM100 billion from the nation’s coffers through the many scandals the former premier was involved in. Back them, he (Kit Siang) often quoted Barry Wain, the author of the Malaysian Maverick.
It was for this reason, above all, that I joined the DAP. Like you, I fought for the truth and championed justice, firmly believing that I could do it alongside Kit Siang. Every now and then, I told myself, “So what if P. Patto was no more, or if Karpal Singh was old? I can continue their fight together with Kit Siang.”
But what did Kit Siang do?
All of a sudden, without warning, he put on his ‘dictator’s cap’ and ‘decided’ on the party’s behalf to share a stage with Mahathir, leaving people like me in the lurch. There was no longer talk about championing the truth and justice. All in all, Kit Siang dragged the DAP to the gutters by engaging more in the game of perception and less in the plight of the rakyat.
So who abandoned who, I ask you?