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DAP is only democratic in name. Where the right of its party people to dissent as in any vibrant entity that honestly believes in democracy?
Calling itself the ‘Democratic’ Action Party does not mitigate the undemocratic way in which the party is being managed.
Consequences of the Lims’ Jom Ubah
DAP does not grant its ordinary members the lofty democratic rights reflective of social democratic values that the party is allegedly fighting for.
Hence not many were surprised when a DAP parliamentarian and three state assemblymen in Malacca recently chose to quit the party.
The three are Kota Melaka MP Sim Tong Him, Duyong Adun Goh Leong San who is also former Malacca DAP chairman and his fellow YBs Lim Jak Wong (Bachang) and Chin Choong Seong (Kesidang).
I had commented earlier when Sim and Goh were suspended that it shows how DAP is, in fact, not really democratic.
The duo’s suspension for a year beginning February 2016 was a clear indication of the undemocratic bent in DAP, considering that they were cold-storaged on the pretext of disparaging the party image.
“Off with his head!”
If we were to study the history of internal crises in the DAP, we would see that there exists an inclination to alienate any critical party leaders not aligned with its top leadership.
Those whose views fail to fall in lockstep with that of control freaks Lim Kit Siang and his son Guan Eng are most vulnerable to being sidelined.
Thus the action taken against Malacca’s Sim and Goh was not an anomaly. The same had happened before in other states, even quite recently.
In 2013, Kedah DAP chairman Lee Guan Aik was removed in favour of Zairil Khir Johari. In 2015, Dr Boo Cheng Hau resigned as Johor opposition leader after being ousted from his party state chairmanship by Liew Chin Tong.
(Note: Zairil started his high profile career as Guan Eng’s political secretary while Liew previously served as Teresa Kok’s pol-sec.)
How long will Zaid last in DAP … one year?
Among his frst public utterances as a DAP leader, Zaid had remarked that it is actually Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is who is the de facto opposition leader at present.
For that, Zaid was instantly rebuked by DAP royalty Gobind Singh Deo. Prime minister Najib Razak, however, holds a contrary view saying that the de facto opposition leader is Kit Siang.
Guan Eng is like a many headed hydra
The natural instinct in DAP is invariably to act dictatorial. This is evident in DAP’s interaction with the other opposition parties.
Two PKR state assemblymen Cheah Kah Peng and Ong Chin Wen had abstained from supporting the DAP whip to go against an Umno land reclamation motion when the issue was voted in the Penang state legislature in November 2015.
For the ‘sin’ of voting according to their conscience, the PKR Aduns had their government-linked company (GLC) directorships terminated in February 2016.
Cheah Kah Peng was axed from his director’s post in Penang Hill Corporation while Ong was sacked from his director’s post in Penang Invest and Island Golf Properties Bhd, a subsidiary company of Penang Development Corporation.
Both GLCs are headed by DAP sec-gen Guan Eng.
DAP wants to call all the shots
When it was first proposed for Penang to become a federal territory, DAP wunderkind Liew Chin Tong suggested to the contrary that it is Kuala Lumpur which should instead be turned into a state.
Liew was repeating a prior proposal mooted unilaterally by DAP chairman Tan Kok Wai at a think-tank forum. Top DAP lawmakers believe that a KL state government can ensure better transparency and good governance.
DAP most likely did not consult their partners in the opposition coalition over this matter.
A round table organized by the DAP entitled ‘Save Malaysia’ on Feb 7 is another proof of DAP’s dictatorial attitude.
Party leaders maintained that their biggest challenge is getting the Malay votes yet none of the 17 detailed statements released by the round table (pix below) touched on Malay issues.
Lims no longer protected by bubble wrap
With this kind of authoritarian attitude, it is not beyond imagination for DAP lose even more leaders and party members in time to come.
Apart from the ugly perceptions stemming from the Lims’ fallout with DAP dissident elected representatives, there is the acute moral discomfort experienced by second echelon DAP leaders over the Lims’ current collusion with ex-arch nemesis Mahathir.
The public image and standing of the Lims is now further buffeted by the corruption charges faced by Guan Eng who will be standing trial soon.
There is only so much that the Lims’ iron grip on the dynastic party can manage to keep under wraps before the grassroots discontent starts to boil over.
Dr Kamarul Zaman Yusoff is a fellow at the Institute of Strategic Islamic Studies Malaysia (Iksim) and director of the Institute for Malaysian Political Analysis (Mapan)