KUALA LUMPUR: The three-month-old rift in the Selangor DAP has now turned into a major party crisis with state party chairman M. Manoharan dropping his secretary Ronnie Liu and seven other main office-bearers from his 20-member committee on Friday night.
The others dropped are: state deputy chairman Tee Boon Hock, vice-chairman Ong Ing Siong, organising secretary Jack Wong, publicity secretary William Thye, treasurer Alex Yim, assistant treasurer Ang Leng Kiat and women affairs secretary Madeline Chang.
Manoharan, a lawyer, claimed that the eight had breached party constitution by not attending three consecutive state committee meetings on March 26, April 30 and May 16.
“Under clause 10 of the constitution if any of the committee members don't attend meetings without any valid reason for three consecutive meetings, he or she shall cease to be a member.
“The state committee has the power to co-opt any member to take his or her place,'' said Manoharan, who denied that the move was to “take revenge” on those aligned to Liu, who is also the DAP national publicity secretary.
Trouble started brewing in the state DAP when Manoharan was elected state chairman on Feb 26 after the death of incumbent chairman Ahmad Nor on Feb 11.
During the Feb 26 meeting, Liu and his supporters, including the top office bearers who had been dropped on Friday, staged a walkout after Ong Ing Siong lost to Manoharan for the state chairman's post.
Sources close to top party officials said Manoharan's claims that Liu and seven other top officer bearers had not been attending meetings was also questionable as they said Liu, being the state secretary had not officially called for the state committee meetings.
Manoharan, who called for a press conference at his law firm yesterday, said the group of eight had been given adequate notices to attend the meetings but they chose to ignore the letters, telephone calls and short messaging service.
He also announced the appointment of Yong Poh On as the acting state secretary at Friday's committee meeting.
“I will also be writing to the national disciplinary committee to take the appropriate action against the eight office bearers for failing to turn up for the meetings.
“I want committee members to take their appointments very seriously as we have to prepare for the general election. Selangor is a very important state for the DAP and I have been entrusted by the top party leadership to ensure the party wins seats,'' he said and pledged his loyalty to DAP national chairman Lim Kit Siang.
Manoharan said he needed hardworking members to ensure a bigger win for the party and not those who only sprung into action during elections.
“The group of eight have also drawn out a schedule of speakers and state representatives for the branch AGMs in the state without my knowledge and the other committee members.
“Under common practice the entire state committee must be consulted before a list of state representatives and speakers are drawn up for the AGMs,'' said Manoharan, who considers this a misconduct by the eight.
He would be writing to the central executive committee to nullify the branch AGMs, where they had nominated themselves as state committee representatives and speakers.
Manoharan, who was accompanied by Ho Heng Heng, Philip Tan, Yong Poh Onn, T. Kannan, M. Batumalai, M. Pulendran and S. Ramakrishnan at the press conference, said the move by the eight could also be perceived as a plot to bring the state committee's problems to the grassroots.
Attempts to reach Ronnie Liu failed, while the dropped organising secretary Jack Wong said he had no knowledge of the state committee's action.
“I did not know of any meeting called by the state chairman because I did not receive any notification from the secretary,'' he said, adding he learnt of his removal from the state committee from press members who called him up.
Party sources said before the Feb 26 incident, where Liu walked out of the meeting with seven other officials, there was a tussle for the control of the state between Liu and Bandar Klang assemblyman Teng Chang Kim.
Following the appointment of Manoharan there was a reshuffle of the state committee members but trouble started brewing when important positions were not given to the incumbent state committee members said to be aligned to Liu.
On March 5 the CEC stepped in and nullified the reshuffle and retained the old committee except Manoharan.