Kuala Lumpur: DAP was left red-faced after it was discovered that there was an error in the results of its central executive committee election announced three weeks ago.
The initial results had placed little known Vincent Wu Him Ven as the person who garnered the fifth most number of votes, tying that of former DAP Youth chief Anthony Loke, when in actual fact the former ranked 26.
The actual results also saw Zairil Khir Johari coming in at 20th place, narrowly securing a spot on the CEC, making him the sole Malay elected in the powerful committee.
The initial results had placed Zairil (right), widely seen as an up-and-coming leader in DAP and political secretary to Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, at the 39th spot.
At a press conference this evening, returning officer for the election Pooi Weng Keong explained that the debacle was the result of an error on the computer spreadsheet used to tabulate the results.
Apparently, the number of votes for candidate number 31 to 38 (which included Zairil) were erroneously entered for candidates number 61 to 68 (which included Wu). However, this was only discovered after the results were announced.
This helped explain the surprise election of Wu, a grassroots leader who came from nowhere to clinch the No 5 spot in the DAP polls.
Pooi said the matter was brought to the attention of DAP secretary-general Lim, who then instructed that the correct results be made public after an internal audit and verified by external auditors.
"I sincerely apologise to all the DAP members and congress delegates for the mistakes made in the tabulation process," said the remorseful looking Pooi (left), who also apologised to both Wu and Zairil.
As a result of the error, the CEC convened tonight to affirm the new results, co-opt 10 CEC members and appoint new positions. The announcement was made late tonight at 10.30pm.
However, the net change was zero as Wu was reappointed as the assistant organising secretary and Zairil as the assistant publicity chief.
Although the episode was very embarrassing for the party - attested by the fact that none of the top party leaders aside for publicity chief Tony Pua attended the press conference - there was still a silver lining.
The party can now breath slightly easier knowing that its delegates had in fact ensured a Malay was an elected member of the CEC.
Following the announcement of the election results, DAP was the subject of much media scrutiny over how delegates did not elect a CEC which adequately reflects the party's multiracial agenda.
As for Zairil, he opined that the whole debate over Malay representation in the CEC was "no big deal".
"It was made a big deal by others," said Zairil curtly, refusing to elaborate further on grounds that he had spoke on the topic before.
However, he said that the whole incident had proven that DAP was transparent, no matter how embarrassing the situation and validates his belief that the party had integrity.
"This could have been covered up. In the interests of transparency, it was revealed by CEC," he said.
On whether anyone would be punished for the blunder, Pua said the party would decide on it later, but stressed that Pooi had already extended his apology and took responsibility.
"What is important is that we uphold the truth. Correct results need to be published, even if it doesn't look nice on us," he said.--Courtesy of Malaysiakini