DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said the position would be vacant for as long as necessary.
"It will be kept vacant while we wait for his return... this is not the end," he said, adding that the decision was made unanimously.
Karpal announced today that he was stepping aside as party chairman following his recent conviction for sedition.
He said in a statement that until his sentence was set aside or the fine reduced to less than RM2,000 from the present RM4,000, he could not remain as chairman.
He said party deputy chairman, Tan Kok Wai, would now serve as acting chairman pending his appeal against the conviction.
Karpal was fined RM4,000 by the Kuala Lumpur High Court on March 11 under Section 4(1)(b) of the Sedition Act, which he describes as an "outdated and irrelevant legislation that is 66 yers old and a sad relic of British colonialism".
Under Section 9A(1)(b) of the Societies Act, a person is disqualified from being and shall not become or remain an office-bearer, adviser or employer of a registered society, if he or she is convicted of any offence and fined not less than RM2,000 or jailed not less than a year.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Karpal in Air Itam, Penang, this morning, Lim said DAP was saddened that Karpal had to give up his post.
He said the party CEC would miss Karpal, who has been chairman since 2004, at its meeting on April 7.
"We will stand together with Karpal in solidarity.
"This is not the first time this has happened. When I was imprisoned, I could not keep my party position either," he said, referring to when he was jailed in 1994 under the Sedition Act following his criticism of the government's failure to bring the then Malacca chief minister, Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Thamby Chik's statutory rape case to trial when theattorney generaldecided not to press charges.
Lim was charged with causing “disaffection with the administration of justice in Malaysia”.
Lim has since made a comeback in politics and was appointed Penang chief minister after DAP and it Pakatan Rakyat allies – PKR and PAS – won the 2008 general election.
"We hope for the best (for Karpal) but we are also prepared for the worst.
"However, this is not the end of Karpal and we want to dispel all such notions," he said.
Karpal, who is also Bukit Gelugor MP, was found guilty of sedition or questioning the removal of Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin as Perak menteri besar by the Sultan of Perak in February 2009.
Under the Federal Constitution, he will also be disqualified as a member of the Dewan Rakyat and lose his parliamentary seat if his appeal is unsuccessful.
However, Karpal said the court did not have the power to decide whether an MP was disqualified or not.
The power is in the hands of the Parliament, he said, adding that the Speaker could declare that the house did not accept the court's decision and the convicted MP could still keep his membership in the Dewan Rakyat.
Under Article 53, the Dewan Rakyat will postpone its decision (regarding a convicted MP) in order to allow any proceedings that may affect the decision, including proceedings for the removal of the disqualification.
"The house's decision on an MP's membership in the Dewan Rakyat is final."
Karpal added that the DAP was prepared for all eventualities, including his appeal against the conviction being unsuccessful and him becoming disqualified and losing his seat. – March 29, 2014.