Update: The ROS assures DAP it can use its logo for the 5 May general election. But the DAP has given the ROS until 3.00pm tomorrow, Friday, to revoke its letter, failing which it will use Pas and PKR logos in GE13.

In freezing the DAP central committee over the conduct of the party’s polls, the Registrar of Societies has sprung a shock, creating much confusion and uncertainty only two days before nomination day.

Even though the Election Commission has indicated that the DAP can still field candidates as usual on nomination day, there is uncertainty now about what could happen next. And consequently the DAP and other Pakatan parties will have to scramble to make contingency plans.

Historically, the ROS has not been seen by many quarters to be acting impartially especially in its dealings with opposition and human rights groups. In 1988, we saw how the ROS approved Mahathir’s Umno Baru immediately after the original Umno was deregistered while rejecting an application by Razaleigh’s Umno Malaysia, which was supported by the Tunku.

Of course the DAP did not help matters over the shambolic tabulation of its polls results.

But for the ROS to spring this shock so close to nomination day – why, it is not the best advertisement for Malaysian democracy, which Najib touts as the ‘best in the world’.

Lawyer Stephen Tan Ban Cheng adds:

Just look at these three stories.

Story 1: the Registrar of Societies (ROS) says it does not recognise the Democratic Action Party (DAP) central committee and the ROS’s director-general could not be contacted for comment.

Story 2: Umno vice president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi appeals to ROS to allow the DAP to field candidates.

Story 3: Election Commission chief Abdul Aziz Yusoff says DAP can proceed as usual, regardless of the ROS action.

Story 1 paves the way for Umno and the EC to be sanitised as the good guys who will ensure fairness in the electoral process.

All this done within a few days.

But really, what is it? It is a sandiwara, tak sibuk buat sibuk exercise.

The ROS action in Story 1 is an administrative ruling and not a judicial ruling and can never mean that the DAP cannot field candidates, thereby nullifying the sandiwara of Story 2 and Story 3.

See what we get when we do not know the law? Even the news reporters got caught in the whole exercise of tak sibuk buat sibuk!