GEORGE TOWN - Karpal Singh is stepping aside as DAP chairman pending his appeal against his conviction under the Sedition Act.
Karpal said he could not remain as DAP chairman until the conviction was set aside or the fine reduced to under RM2,000 (S$769.30).
"Meanwhile, the deputy chairman, Tan Kok Wai, will be acting chairman," the Bukit Gelugor MP told a press conference in Air Itam.
Karpal, who was appointed party chairman in Sept 4, 2004, said he had discussed his decision with DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang and secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.
"After going through the legal implications, they reluctantly agreed with me. "I will not demean the party and myself by applying to the Registrar of Societies for exemption from the application of the disqualification pending my appeal."
The High Court on March 11 fined the DAP veteran RM4,000 under Section 4(1)(b) of the Sedition Act 1948 for questioning the removal of Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin as Perak Mentri Besar by the Sultan on Feb 6, 2009.
"In light of my conviction and sentence, and that of Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who was convicted and sentenced on March 7 by the Court of Appeal to imprisonment of five years, Parliament has to act under Article 53(1) of the Federal Constitution.
"In the event I do not succeed in the Court of Appeal and Federal Court, this will mean there will be a by-election in Bukit Gelugor, and the party is prepared for that."
In Alor Setar, embattled Kedah DAP chairman Lee Guan Aik told a press conference at the state DAP headquarters in Taman Kristal, it was time for Karpal to retire due to his deteriorating health.