The Election Commission told the DAP that logistical issues were behind the delay in announcing its decision on the Penanti by-election.
EC officials, in their meeting with the DAP two days ago, had informed party leaders that the authorities from the school chosen as the nomination centre had yet to confirm its availability.
Petaling Jaya Utara DAP MP Tony Pua lashed out at the EC, however, for giving the “flimsiest” of excuses which was totally unacceptable.
The EC had initially announced that it would announce its decision on the Penanti by-election known publicly yesterday but had postponed it to Monday despite having held a meeting on Wednesday.
The public was kept in the dark about the reason behind the EC’s decision to postpone the announcement, leading to speculation that the delay was to pander to the wishes of Barisan Nasional (BN).
Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the BN chairman, has floated the idea of the coalition skipping the by-election.
He has accused Pakatan Rakyat (PR) of using by-elections, which he said were a waste of public funds, to continue exerting political pressure on the administration.
But at its supreme council meeting yesterday, Umno also deferred making a decision on whether to contest the seat.
There is now also widespread speculation that the current assemblyman, Fairus Khairuddin, could retract his resignation, and suspicions among PR supporters that the EC’s delay was to allow time for the lawmaker to change his mind about resigning.
While there is still no concrete evidence to show collusion between BN and the EC, the fact that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) cleared Fairus from graft allegations this week has lend weight to speculation he could stay on as state assemblyman.
“The EC has had 43 years of experience and never once have they delayed their decision announcement but now, simply due to (simple) administrative reasons, the body is saying it needs more time,” said Pua.
He added that this indicated the EC was not independent.
“They are trying their best to stretch every legal means they have to not make Penanti happen,” said Pua.