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Friday, November 8, 2019

DAP in dilemma, reluctant to help Bersatu yet don't want MCA to win



TG PIAI POLLS ANALYSIS | DAP grassroots are torn between their unwillingness to campaign for Pakatan Harapan’s candidate Karmaine Sardini from Bersatu and wanting to see Wee Jeck Seng from rival party MCA defeated in the coming Johor by-election.
It was only on Wednesday night, DAP veteran leader Lim Kit Siang himself spoke for the first time at a ceramah at Penerok, a BN stronghold with a small group of hardcore DAP members.
They were disturbed by the series of events, included the arrest and prosecution against DAP lawmakers and members over the link to Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
The grassroots and campaigners are equally troubled by the controversial comic surrounding former party member Hew Kuan Yau and the disciplinary action against Selangor DAP secretary Ronnie Liu.

DAP played an important role in assisting Bersatu to retain the seat, not only because the parliamentary seat comprises 42 percent Chinese voters, but also because the party won Pekan Nenas, one of two state seats under Tanjung Piai.
In the 14th GE, Harapan secured an overwhelming majority of 80 percent support of the Chinese in Tanjung Piai. 
However, the support of Chinese eroded particularly after over one year Pakatan Harapan in power.
The recent series of events further strained the good ties between DAP and Bersatu.
On the eve of the nomination day of Tanjung Piai polls, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said some DAP leaders voiced strongly against the LTTE prosecution and Hew's comic.
The Malaysian Insight also reported that DAP central leadership urged all lawmakers to stop squabbling with Bersatu until the Tanjung Piai polls ends for the sake of the unity within the ruling coalition.
Although DAP bigwigs such as Kit Siang, Guan Eng (both,above) and Johor DAP chief Liew Chin Tong appeared on the Nov 2 nomination day, the last six campaigning days saw less ceramah organised by DAP.
Ceramah is seen as the most common and effective election tactics adopted by DAP in the past polls.
Only DAP Pekan Nenas state assemblyperson Yeo Tung Siong and several grassroots members were seen accompanying Karmaine in his campaign trail.
Following Kit Siang's appearance, DAP minister Yeo Bee Yin, deputy minister Teo Nie Ching, Jelutong MP RSN Rayer and Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh will campaign for Karmaine.
As compared to party leaders, the DAP campaign team found it is harder to persuade the grassroots members to campaign for the Harapan candidate.
Party insiders told Malaysiakini that the grassroots are unwilling to campaign for Karmaine because they were unhappy with the LTTE and comic issues.
The sources said some decided to come out after taking into consideration of the overall interest of the coalition.
"Yes, we are not happy (with Bersatu). But Harapan is a family, are we going to break apart because the siblings quarrelled? " said a Kukup DAP branch member who is unwilling to see voters swing back to BN after they voted for a change in government in GE14. 
The party insider also felt that even if BN win in the Nov 16 poll, its candidate Wee Jeck Seng (below) no longer has the ability to hand out resources to the voters as compared during the BN administration.
"What we want is a backbencher who can keep the government in check. Can you look at how much he (Wee) spoke at the Parliament, what he uttered only 'yes, correct'," said the party member.
Yeo admitted that the DAP members were discontent, not only with Bersatu but also with other allies.
"Why no other parties voice out in support for us, only PKR president Anwar Ibrahim," he said.
Acknowledging the importance of the by-election, Yeo believed that the party leadership will persuade members to join the campaign machinery.
The defeat of Harapan in Tanjung Piai, will only strengthen the 'deep state' which pointed out by Guan Eng and the hands behind will only think that Harapan is a one-term government.
"Many of the grassroots leaders listened and understood this is an important battle and (decided) to join the campaign machinery," he said.
Meanwhile, DAP Skudai state assemblyperson Tan Hong Pin admitted the recent issues affected the sentiment of the grassroots.
"Definitely, it is sickening.....But we all know the meaning of the polls, they are willing to set aside (their discontent) until the battle is over then we will talk other issues," he said.
He also pointed out it is not as serious as what speculated about the discontentment.
The grassroots will not campaign for the candidate if they want to boycott Bersatu.
The members should adhere to party discipline and train their gun at the other side instead resorting to sabotage.
Tan added the campaign machinery of DAP not only relied on party members but also the members of the public who contribute funds and resources.
"This is the first time ever Johor DAP took part as government party, so we need to adjust in our campaign operation. I still believe the participation of the public is very important, without them, we are as though losing the support of the public," he said.
While noting there is low participation of members of the public in the campaign, but he pointed out the response from the public is not as bad as DAP imagined.
Besides the need to prevent losing the support of Chinese voters, he said Harapan need to attract the support of young Malay voters in order to retain the seat.
Polling for the by-election was set on Nov 16 following the death of Md Farid Md Rafik, 42, from Pakatan Harapan on Sept 21 of heart complications.
The contest is a six-cornered fight between Karmaine, Wee, Gerakan's Wendy Subramaniam, Berjasa's Badhrulhisham Abdul Aziz and two independent candidates Ang Chuan Lock and Faridah Aryani Abdul Ghaffar. - Mkini

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