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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

A DEFINING MOMENT FOR DAP: STAND UP TO THE BULLIES IN BERSATU – MALAY OR NOT – OR CAVE IN TO THE AWFUL PRESSURE OF MAHATHIR’S AUTOCRATIC PERSONA & BECOME MCA 2.0

AFTER being part of the ruling pact for 18 months, DAP is struggling to address political issues and put out fires.
The party and its leadership, which used to be known for its vocal stand on various issues, are now silent on recent controversies, seemingly avoiding taking a stand on any issue.
Analysts and commentators told The Malaysian Insight keeping silent on controversial issues gives the party leadership room to breathe but is not a viable long-term strategy and will eventually worsen the situation.
The recent controversies related to DAP are no coincidence, especially issues which allow fellow Pakatan Harapan component party Bersatu, to attack the latter.
These include introducing khat in vernacular schools, alleged involvement of two DAP assemblymen with the defunct militant group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, distribution of pro-China comic books on the Belt and Road Initiative in schools and criticism against Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad by state lawmaker Ronnie Liu. All these issues directly or indirectly point to DAP.
Dr Lim Chee Han, policy researcher and co-founder of Agora Society Malaysia told The Malaysian Insight these issues are testing DAP’s position and forcing it to make difficult choices in response.
“DAP is being targeted as it’s a non-Malay political force. After the Malay Dignity Congress, Malay parties are looking to unite and they need a common enemy, and the target is DAP,”  he said.
Besieged party
Political analyst Koh Kok Wee agreed with the assessment, saying Umno and certain quarters within Bersatu are now attacking DAP in unison. This is because both parties are competing for the Malay vote bank, and DAP is being made scapegoat.
“Things are not looking good for DAP even if the worst is yet to come.
“When Dr Mahathir attended the Malay Dignity Congress, he and his Bersatu party deviated from PH’s collective stand, but DAP stood by the prime minister,” Koh said.
But the party is now paying the price, he said, as the grassroots members are beginning to question or criticise Dr Mahathir’s actions.
Even then, the leadership has remained largely silent in order to protect Dr Mahathir’s government for the greater good.
Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad attending the Malay Dignity Congress earlier this month. Dr Mahathir’s party, Bersatu, is finding it hard to win over Malay support and is now taking the approach of attacking its component party, DAP, to retain Malay votes. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, October 29, 2019.
Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad attending the Malay Dignity Congress earlier this month. Dr Mahathir’s party, Bersatu, is finding it hard to win over Malay support and is now taking the approach of attacking its component party, DAP, to retain Malay votes. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, October 29, 2019.
The policy of being friendly to all may not gain the approval of the Malays, Koh said, while failing to appease its own grassroots either.
“The more important question now is, after the recent string of incidents, has DAP realised that the party is being targeted by Bersatu?
“In the khat issue, DAP could not appease both the Chinese and Malays. With the LTTE issue, DAP is already treading on thin ice.
“With the Belt and Road comic, it was Umno who provoked the outcry but it was Bersatu who took up the bait to attack. And now both Bersatu and Umno seem to cooperating on this issue, which begs the question of who is DAP’s friend and enemy?”
MCA 2.0 or go alone
Lim said this could prove to be a defining moment for DAP’s future in politics and the party is now stuck between the choice of caving in to Dr Mahathir’s pressure to become “MCA 2.0” and stand its ground.
“Dr Mahathir wants DAP to submit because the party has 42 seats in Parliament and could prove to be a stabilising force. So now DAP has to find a balance between standing its ground on issues and toeing the line.
“According to current political realities, DAP is not far from being MCA 2.0. If the party wants to stick to its principles, it may have to be part of the opposition again but this will at least regain the respect of its supporters.”
DAP will have to make its stand clear instead of remaining ambiguous on issues as it will compound the party’s problems, Lim said.
The analyst recommends that DAP bite the bullet and speak up so that the people know where the party stands. He said if the party remains silent, then it will soon lose its right to speak out.
DAP’s current predicament and its way out can both be found in Barisan Nasional’s history, Koh said.
“Looking back at the 1999 general election, the Malay vote was split at that time as well and Umno had to rely on MCA to get the Chinese votes to stay in government and the Chinese party received overwhelming support.
“After the polls, Dr Mahathir, who was also prime minister at the time, turned against MCA and the party subsequently became the punching bag of the Chinese community.  
“After that, Dr Mahathir also declared that Malaysia is an Islamic nation, which was a huge blow to MCA that led to a huge loss of support.”
Many Chinese parents are opposed to the teaching of khat to primary four pupils next year and the issue has become a headache for the Chinese-dominated DAP. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, October 29, 2019.
Many Chinese parents are opposed to the teaching of khat to primary four pupils next year and the issue has become a headache for the Chinese-dominated DAP. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, October 29, 2019.
Umno under Dr Mahathir’s leadership had taken control of the narrative, weakened the support of a fellow component party to consolidate its position. This led to the fragmentation of MCA and caused the party to become subservient to Umno.
“DAP in the PH government has not reached MCA’s level yet. This is because DAP has more seats in Parliament than Bersatu. But the DAP leadership does not seem to have the courage to resist.
“Although silence gives the leadership room to manoeuvre, it is only going to make the situation worse in the long run,” Koh said.
One for the team
International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM) political lecturer Dr Lau Zhe Wei said from a realistic standpoint, DAP is in a state of crisis due to the fact that it has a strong sense of identity, including its role to protect Chinese interests, which is making it difficult for Bersatu to attract Malay voters.
“In the country’s political environment, whether PH can continue to govern largely depends on Bersatu’s ability to get the Malay vote and consolidate its position,” Lau said.
By politically compromising DAP, the coalition loses Chinese votes but this can be offset by the potential gains in Malay votes, he said.
“So, the question now is whether DAP is willing to sacrifice itself for PH’s victory? This should be considered by the party. It’s not going to be easy and this will raise questions from their own members. But the reality is if you win as a party but your coalition partner loses, you won’t be able to continue governing.”
Lau said DAP should soften its stance as the current political situation requires stability. The party should help its coalition partner Bersatu gain Malay support even if it may cause loss of Chinese support.
“On the internal side, DAP leaders should appease party members by being personally involved and cultivating relationships.”
Lau, however, said this does not necessarily mean DAP has to compromise on its own principles to gain support.
“It is possible for DAP to help Bersatu without compromising itself. The political reality is that no matter what you do, there will be losses, so what needs to be done is to strike a balance.”
– https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/

1 comment:

  1. DAP & Mahachais especially Cinapeks only barking like stray dogs,but cowardly silence when grand of man Madey as them to STFU.
    Pathetic !

    ReplyDelete