A plea for sanity over Perak DAP crisis

By Tunku Abdul Aziz

Perak DAP leaders must try, if they possibly can, to subordinate their personal ambitions and put the interests of the party above all else. The unseemly internal squabbling over local leadership is already causing considerable damage to the reputation of the DAP which has earned for itself, over the years in the face of great odds, enormous goodwill and credibility. Do you think it fair to put all the hard work and personal sacrifices of thousands of party members at risk to satisfy your craving for personal glory and power?

What has happened to the declaration of high-minded devotion to duty in the public interest? DAP does not exist in isolation. It is a vital part of the nation’s social, political and economic mosaic in a vibrant tangle of races, cultures and religions. We have as a party derived legitimacy from our consistency of purpose for the greatest good of the people of Malaysia. It is the height of lunacy to jeopardise what we have achieved so far and the party’s future prospects by greed-driven, irresponsible, behaviour.

While I concede that leadership infighting is the norm in politics, I suggest it is a luxury we can ill afford as we strive desperately to build a reputation for consistency, reliability and credibility. Our party must by our actions demonstrate that we put great store by principled leadership, and that individually as well as collectively, we are above pettiness of mind, deceit and greed. In other words we are a party motivated solely by considerations of service before self. We are different in the values we embrace; values that we believe can make a positive difference to the process of transformation so vitally important to ensure a sustainable future for ALL Malaysians.

Our most urgent task is to convince our fellow Malaysians that they can trust us to lead this country honestly, competently, and justly, without recourse to corruption. Why should they throw their support behind us if they could not distinguish us from the rest? We are under the minutest public scrutiny, and on the day of reckoning, they will deliver their verdict. That verdict will decide our political relevance.

While we would like to imagine that there would be overwhelming public support to propel us to Putrajaya, it would be a mistake to believe that this would be given on a silver platter. As Lim Kit Siang has said on several occasions, our success in the last general elections could well be a one term wonder unless we delivered on our promises, to the best of our ability. We have to earn public support not by intermittent rhetorical bombardment, but by remaining totally focused on issues that have continued to bedevil the nation with a view to excising them as we would cancerous cells so as to stop them dead in their tracks. We must curb our exuberance because “one sparrow does not a summer make.”

I fully acknowledge the very useful contributions of our younger members who are better educated than those in the past, but they must never fall into the temptation of supposing that because they have had the benefit of an overseas tertiary education, they have all the answers. They don’t. The confidence of youth is refreshing, but our younger members must realise that wisdom comes from wide experience and not from the confined cloisters and musty corridors of university life. No doubt they will learn from life’s harsh realities, sooner rather than later, for the sake of their party.

As a disciplined party, all in leadership positions must not expect special treatment if they go against party values and principles. Many believe that by virtue of their seemingly special relationships with those highly placed individuals in the party’s pecking order, they will receive special treatment of the sort we deplore in other parties. All levels of our leadership must discourage factionalism as this practice is guaranteed to divide loyalty and detract from the party’s main focus of bringing about changes to the governance of the country, through constitutional means. We profess to be a democratic party, and we should live up to our ideals. Anything less puts us in the same moral and ethical league of political parties we despair of and despise.

Doing what is ethically right by our party is no longer the luxury of the virtuous; it has become a political necessity for survival. Are we up to the challenge because otherwise Putrajaya could well turn into a grand mirage?

  1. #1 by k1980 on Sunday, 10 October 2010 - 3:14 pm

    Are there people who fear that Perak’s Ku La will become as influential as Gua Musang’s Ku Li?

  2. #2 by aawilliam on Sunday, 10 October 2010 - 3:43 pm

    Politician yg belum kena ISA mana boleh di percayai?

  3. #3 by DAP man on Sunday, 10 October 2010 - 4:29 pm

    If only every DAP leader listens to this wise advice from Tunku, DAP will be a fine party everyone would want to love.
    I have been a faithful follower of the DAP since 1970 but I cannot bare to see leaders fighting tooth and nail to become leaders.
    Now that Putrajaya is in sight, there will be more jostling for positions.

  4. #4 by yhsiew on Sunday, 10 October 2010 - 5:16 pm

    It is unwise for DAP leaders to resolve party internal conflicts through the media, as that gives their political rivals room to attack the party.

    While it takes only days to ruin the party, it will take years to rebuild the party reputation. All conflicts should, therefore, be resolved internally through the proper channels.

  5. #5 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 10 October 2010 - 5:20 pm

    What is the DAP doing about the Ngeh Koo Ham-Nga Kor Ming combo? I don’t know what’s the real story behind the scenes but every time trouble brews in the DAP, their names always crop up!

    Kulasegaran’s tiff with them is just the latest. Earlier it was Batu Gajah’s MP Fong Po Kuan. Like Kula, she also stormed off. Katak Hee Yit Foong was also said have quit the party – leading to the collapse of PR state Govt- mainly because she deemed the appointment of state exco members was not transparent and because she could not get along with the duo, each of who held both parliamentary/state seats.

    Just before the Perak assembly crisis, when Hee Yit Foong defected, PR’s remaining wafer thin margin of majority in the Perak State assembly already made it vulnerable and exposed it to collapse by another 2 or 3 crossovers.

    I remember commenting in this blog that I was aghast at Ngeh/Nga’s wasting time by way of response, on legalities, wanting to take the legality of the defector’s resignation letters (handed over to Speaker Siva) and the EC’s determination of “no vacancy of seat” to court – which would at best take years to resolve and at worse immediately determined by our courts against PR – when the practical course would have been for Nizar to straightaway read the signs and see the HRH Perak Ruler to dissolve the assembly and call for state wide election. I believe RPK also made same suggestion in TheMalaysiaToday.

    But the duo, being lawyers, wanted to have their ‘legal’ ways, wasted valuable time, and by the time they and Nizar finally determined to see the Ruler, it was already too late and rest is history.

  6. #6 by Taxidriver on Sunday, 10 October 2010 - 5:48 pm

    A very gentle reproach from a wise SIFU. Thank you sir for speaking up for us.

    Do the present DAP members know how many people have sacrificed so much to build the Party into what it is today? Thousands who had contributed to DAP are no more in this world; Thousands more are already old and feeble. The days when DAP was in its infancy and fighting to keep the Party flying, most of you people were young school boys.

    Just when the Party is faring slightly better, you all start to quarrel and fight among yourselves for positions. Are you all not being selfish, senseless and putting self interest above that of the Party’s ?

    Come on man, the Party is not your steeping stone to attain position and power. Never ever forget that the rakyat demand that you save the country from becoming a failed state under UMNO.

    Unite and fight the common eneny – UMNOB /BN. The War is far from over. Our votes are not to be taken for granted. You’ve got to earn them by proving your worth.

    SEDI…..A ! FORW….ARD MARCH !!!

  7. #7 by sotong on Sunday, 10 October 2010 - 6:34 pm

    Tunku, once the ego is bigger than the best interest of the ordinary people………PR is no different from BN, may be worst!

  8. #8 by sotong on Sunday, 10 October 2010 - 6:44 pm

    Look at the permanent and long term damage done to our country by the guy who lead for more than 2 decades.

    Tunku, believe me….history will repeat itself!

  9. #9 by Taxidriver on Sunday, 10 October 2010 - 8:55 pm

    //Tuanku, believe me…..history will repeat itself!// – sotong

    Whether history will repeat itself or not will all depend on how matured and responsible we, Malaysians are. If we continue with what we are doing now – identify ourselves as 1Malaysian Race, get rid of the ‘racism’ in us, not vote along racial lines and work to retain a healthy 2-Party Parliamentary System, then I think we can safely leave history behind us.

    We rakyat must unite to let the government-of-day know that we can vote them in and we can also vote them out if they do not perform to our satisfaction.

    We rakyat must never make the same mistake as we have done the past 50 years to give absolute power to one single party because they will become arrogant and abuse their power. POWER CORRUPTS AND ABSOLUTE POWER CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY.

    Always remember that our destiny lies in our own hands and not, I repeat, NOT with our government.

  10. #10 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 10 October 2010 - 8:57 pm

    It is in the nature of individuals and groups to compete for dominance, influence and power, and there is no particular reason why politicians of DAP – or for that matter other component parties of PR- will, more than other politicians of (say) the ruling coalition, transcend this quite ordinary human trait.

    Before 308, this trait was more subdued because there was less to fight over.

    Competition tended to be cooperative (to promote the principles of the respective parties and their common cause to reach Putrajaya) than destructive between contenders.

    Now, even if Putrajaya has not been reached, yet it is still different from before. Selangor and Perak over which DAP has strong influence are both rich states. States under our Federal constitution have jurisdiction over land matters : there’s a lot of value in monetary terms in alienation of state land, in mining and logging concessions etc. There are posts in SEDCs, municipal councils, district councils etc with perks and influence. There also some licenses eg District Forest Offices’ licences for logging, licenses for inland riverine fishing and aquaculture. The state municipal councils are responsible for licensing and renewal of licences for pubs, restaurants, entertainment outlets spas, karaoke and KTV lounges.

    With power over all these will naturally nurture big ambitions that come with power from one’s own party, one of the ways by which is to control and help form new branches whose members naturally owe allegiance to the politician forming them whose power base within the party then is correspondingly strengthened. Businessmen needing the licences will also give whatever assistance necessary in the politician’s electoral campaign. Tender board and CAT notwithstanding, the practice of recommendation letters persisted when issued under cover of “good faith”.

    The challenge for PR’s politicians is to keep a lid on all these ambitions, there is still more incentive to keep such a lid, at least for the time being, to contain within party’s precincts the factionalism in order to preserve the momentum of electoral goodwill of voters fed up with blatant abuses by politicians of the ruling coalition, unimpeded by power for last 40 years….Hence the gag order though Kulasegaran argues that “open discussions of problems within political parties should be allowed to ensure healthy political growth and would enrich the democratic process of the party in the eyes of voters”. But this is no good for image, so the gag, though there is no tinge of inconsistency if the BN were blamed for being not transparent when it imposes its gag order.

    Politicians are politicians, whichever side of the divide, their main objective is to persuade – and some say deceive – the people that their interest is being fought for, in order to get their trust and their votes and be vested the power to do what one desires, whether for one’s own or one’s own clique’s interest or the people’s interest or mostly a combination of all. The ruling party controlling the much larger national resources at federal level is all out to dislodge the Opposition from the states to deny its politicians the resources of the state that make the latter stronger by the day threatening to take over at Federal level. It is vry much a competition of resources on winner takes it all basis. People can trust Civil society and NGOs more because these fight for causes and special interest than for power to control these resources. Malaysian civil society and NGOs that support the Opposition to be what it is today will I am sure keep an eye on its politicians’ behaviour if it comes to power. That’s the time BN in the opposition will come out with all the enlightened policies to try convince the people why PR is corrupt and abusive of power and try get Civil society’s support and the cycle turns the opposite way going through the same motions. Thats why Tunku says history will repeat itself…

  11. #11 by boh-liao on Sunday, 10 October 2010 - 9:00 pm

    It is obvious dat there r few true public-serving politicians in our nation
    We all know BN politicians r all out 2 exploit rakyat, enrich themselves, n collect titles
    Even among PR politicians, there r many such slimy greedy egoistic characters
    PR politicians can’t even b civil among themselves when competing 4 positions in d party; dirty tactices, physical abuse, character assassination, surat layang aplenty
    We voters must b alert n show them WHO IS D BOSS, no blind loyalty

  12. #12 by sheriff singh on Sunday, 10 October 2010 - 9:17 pm

    Taungeh and Ngachoy always go well with steamed chicken.

    They are an ‘indispensable’ side dish as otherwise the chicken will have not enough oomph!!

    So they volunteer to be around for a while. Others have no chance to play any meaningful role with this pair around..

  13. #13 by yhsiew on Sunday, 10 October 2010 - 9:33 pm

    I just wish politicians could put the country and the rakyat’s interest above self-interest, as this would minimize unnecessary squabbles and party infighting.

    Dr. Porntip said she works for the dead, so politicians should work for the rakyat, not for self.

  14. #14 by boh-liao on Sunday, 10 October 2010 - 9:35 pm

    Bcos of d perception dat PR may hv a chance of taking over Putrajaya, many PR pretenders r stabbing each other n clambering over dead bodies 2 b selected as candidates in d next GE
    They drool 2 b called YB, 2 get titles like Dato’ n others, 2 b put high up on a pedestal
    D voters r caught between d devil n d deep blue sea

  15. #15 by Loh on Sunday, 10 October 2010 - 9:43 pm

    It is only human that people fight for power and position. If they also work for the people then they will be elected.

    BN has 53 years of monopoly, and they have made this a failed state. Yes, Najib is talking about reform. It might just be NAJIB=no action just insincere bullshit. Pakatan with all their weaknesses should be given a to chance to form the next Federal government. Well, if they don’t live up to their manifesto, they would be replaced. That replacement would be better since Mamakthir would no longer be around.

  16. #16 by Loh on Sunday, 10 October 2010 - 9:46 pm

    The two party system in many democracies around the world never ensured that the politicians do not fight for power and position. It ensures that not one party stays in power for too long, and they start consider that they are entitled to be there for life.

  17. #17 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 10 October 2010 - 11:24 pm

    If the two party system in many democracies around the world never ensures that the politicians do not fight for power and position – and the objective of fighting for power and position is not consistnt with fighting for people’s interest and in fact more consistent with abusing the power vested for self gains – it means the advantage of the two party system is not so much of choosing one party over the other on the basis that the preferred party really fights for interest of the people in contrast with the other party voted out that does not but really to stop or limit one party from staying too long and abusing its position of power too long by giving the other party a chance in the hope that it will, whilst still abusing, abuse less in fear of the other being given an equal chance, when the circle turns around once again to displace the incumbent – and so the cycle goes on and on in hope that the situtation will improve a notch with each change!

    This also means the people cannot be too trusting and have to be vigilant and not indolent of their rights and keep politicians in check (both sides of the divide) and both before, during and after electoral change in cognisance of immutable human nature and tendency to abuse once in power.

  18. #18 by House Victim on Monday, 11 October 2010 - 6:49 am

    Any Party means nothing if People do not have the mindset of Ethnic between individuals and the society. The wish for Harmony should be the basis so that what to think, talk and walk should be around it. Any power is meant to be for the obligation to educate, build and develop a Harmony family, society and country.



    Ethnic has been faded out from Malaysia as can be seemed from those officials and public utilities!! It has been replaced by BULLIES!!


  19. #19 by Jeffrey on Monday, 11 October 2010 - 8:29 am

    ///Any Party means nothing if People do not have the mindset of Ethic between individuals and the society/// – House Victim.

    House Victim is right here. Even 2 party system – with one checking the other- will not help if politicians from the Opposition are just like those in Ruling Party, bereft of personal ethics and inclined to the abuse of power and corruption for self aggrandizement at the expense of the rest. For then the nature “check” of one political party against another is not so much based on genuine desire to replace the other in order to do good for common citizenry but to threaten the other with loss of privileges to abuse power that the first party will assume when it wins the election!

    Yet it is trite that all politicians of all shades of ideology and colour are basically drawn from the ranks of the common citizenry/people themselves. So it would be fair to say that if our politicians from both sides of the divide are generally not ethical then it must be concluded the unflattering inference that we Malaysians as a people are generally also not inclined to be ethical.

    This is borne out by many aspects of national life replete with examples of unethical conduct. Examples range from ordinary people being dishonest [if you inadvertently leave your hand phone or wallet in a public place it is not so frequent (as in, say, Japan, you could still retrieve it an hour later)] to lack of civic consciousness including on the road (road bullies). Then there is a whole range of people having authority and power bullying and exploiting every one below in the hierarchy. This is not confined to politicians, bureaucrats, people with honorific titles enriching themselves at the expense of others and being corrupt, we have employers bullying employees, corporate captains committing CBTs and ripping off public listed companies until they go into PN17 and eventually delisted. The weak and vulnerable like, for example, the foreign workers are mercilessly targeted not just by local employers abusing their maids inside their homes but outside they are targeted by Mat Rempits and thugs and authorities.

    Yet people of all countries have got both good and bad aspects – concern as well as callousness, kindness as well cruelty, consideration as well as inconsideration, altruism as well as selfishness towards others, so what’s the reason (or shall I say root cause) why we are wanting and lacking in ethical and moral development in spite of religion being first on the RukuNegara list?

    Perhaps this has something to do with institutional and co constitutional inequality. The nation was not conceived on the premise or promise of equality of and between all men and citizenry. The Constitution may guarantee fundamental rights but they take second place to the so-called imperatives of the Social Contract that speaks of how certain indigenous groups had been marginalized by colonial masters and taken off their lands by bringing pendatangs for the colonalists’ economic benefit and how this historical injustice has first to be rectified by affirmative policies before equality between all citizenry will be allowed to take place.

    I argue here that people and citizenry of a new nation cannot be taught to develop ethics if the nation and the Constitution are conceived based on equality of men in the first instance.

  20. #20 by Jeffrey on Monday, 11 October 2010 - 9:08 am

    Typo error – “I argue here that people and citizenry of a new nation cannot be taught to develop ethics if the nation and the Constitution are conceived based on INEQUALITY of men in the first instance”.

    For the first idea of equality of men is interwoven with the other idea of equal justice between men!

    If there were a legal and constitutional presumption of equality of opportunities amongst citizenry, then a lot of things will ensue from there, for examples, equal respect between men.

    Every man, as is natural, has an ambition to do well, get financial rewards, and with it, love and respect from both men and women and so on…but how does he fulfill this ambition and wish?

    If it were based on equality between men, it means distribution of rewards and burdens in society will be based on equality of opportunities in which men could realise their ambitions if they do two things : (a) put in an extra effort to win by merits in order to get the rewards and (b) avoid the burden and punishment by not doing anti social and unethical acts. In short, assume personal responsibility to reap rewards or suffer loss and punishment that society distributes.

    However once the system of reward and burden is drawn not along these lines (a) and (b) but drawn on race, religion and creed then it breeds a sense of entitlement by the group privileged by race, religion and creed and sense of alienation of the other group excluded.

    The first group does not assume responsibility, to get the rewards based on work ethos/ethic and merits but based on status from race, religion and creed. This soon overlaps to status based on political/social power, so that people of right status of social/political power (whether politician of the party in power, the right social status with datukship, the right connections) feel entitled to abuse their positions whilst the second marginalised group has no stake either, thinking that the reason why they continue tolerate being in such inferior position is only to make money by whatever means, the be all and end all (including to adopt the ways and acquire the statuses of the first group wherever possible)……..

    Moral and ethical action is one that believes whilst benefiting oneself one harms not others or the interest of the wider group.

    I don’t think our system fosters such beliefs at all, indeed quite the opposite.. We see selective application of laws and rules. Everything is unequal drawn, the inequality drawn not on a rational differentia. When people perceive such, the welfare and legitimate interest of others come not to the fore but pushed right to the far background. They start thinking if they don’t selfishly think of their own interest who will think for them when there is no equality or justice in the system? Soon from individuals to generation, the present generation forgets obligations towards the future generation(s) in respect of economic and even living conditions. If there’s money in Petronas or EPF, timber in rain forests, money in smelting metal ores, we take and use them now and don’t care whether next generation inherits a bankrupt nation (when oil is depleted), denuded of forest with polluted and toxic environment.

  21. #21 by boh-liao on Monday, 11 October 2010 - 9:10 am

    When lots of ppl in this nation struggle 2 make a decent living under obviously unfair rules and they pray 2 $$$ gods, ethics, service, n civility r d last things on their mind
    Many citizens got involved in politics 4 different opportunistic reasons, even 2 d extent of selling off their ancestors 4 instant richness, halal or haram tak kira
    We C lots of ugly politicians, both BN n PR, throughout d entire nation

  22. #22 by wanderer on Monday, 11 October 2010 - 9:17 am

    Loosing the Perak State govt have not taught these mud heads anything!… has DAP Perak earned a good report card, allowing them to behave so arrogantly with a inflated ego? Fools never learn!

  23. #23 by undertaker888 on Monday, 11 October 2010 - 9:31 am

    // I fully acknowledge the very useful contributions of our younger members who are better educated than those in the past, but they must never fall into the temptation of supposing that because they have had the benefit of an overseas tertiary education, they have all the answers.////

    This is so true. Those knuckleheads need to get their hands dirty and grow a few blisters before they think they are invincible. Sitting behind the desk with nice ties throwing orders around are not the kind we want.

  24. #24 by JJx on Monday, 11 October 2010 - 10:32 am

    The infighting is not only happening in DAP Perak, infact DAP Selangor is no different at all.

    Both father and son, ought to shoulder the blame for all these infighting. DAP Selangor is an embarrassment – branch accounts not accounted i.e. Paramount and certain leaders manipulating the branches classification i.e. upgrading them to their benefits despite the fact that many members are phantom. Sometimes I feel DAP leaders in Selangor like Lau Weng San have learnt a lot from SPR til they are doing the same thing to ensure that they stay in power thru the wrong way.

    13GE will be judgement day and these leaders must know that they can manipulate the system within DAP but ultimately the voters will be the judge.

  25. #25 by boh-liao on Monday, 11 October 2010 - 11:27 am

    Don’t assume dat GE13 will b d glory day of PR; it may b d annihilation day of PR
    Don’t we C how confident MCA, MIC, Gerakan, n UmnoB r in d last few days?
    MCA going d electronic way 2 seduce voters
    Gerakan survived internal squabble n now focused on retaking Penang
    While DAP, PKR n PAS implode as they count their chickens before they hatch n build castles in d air

  26. #26 by Jeffrey on Monday, 11 October 2010 - 1:34 pm

    To fight for rights of its constituency MCA depends on UMNO for permission, at least that’s how it sounds to me per NST report 11th Oct –

    (Quote) “Barisan Nasional chairman Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday said MCA must be given space to voice the needs and aspirations of the Chinese community. Failure to do so, he said, might cost BN support in the next general election. “The Chinese, especially the young, may not believe you are fighting for their interests at all. ..Unless you give room to MCA to speak out, how can we expect them to deliver in the next general election?” Najib said to thunderous applause from delegates attending MCA’s 57th annual general assembly here. (Unquote)

    Why should anyone give such “thunderous applause”?

    What does that mean? It does not sound like a permanent right to speak. More like a temporary privilege to do so for limited purpose of the next GE!

    Does it mean that after MCA’s candidates win in the GE, UMNO can stop that “space and latitude” to MCA as it has served its purpose?

    It looks like whether MCA can talk or cannot talk depends on big brother.

    Now how does one convince “the Chinese, especially the young” that MCA is fighting for their interests when it needs (temporary) permission for “space and latitude” to speak in the interest of BN for GE, which is quite different thing apart from speaking in the interest of their inherent rights, per se?

  27. #27 by k1980 on Monday, 11 October 2010 - 2:19 pm

  28. #28 by perampok cinta1 on Monday, 11 October 2010 - 7:44 pm

    1. DAP is a political party, it’s far from perfect. Thus it will have to face this kind of problems. This shows DAP also has weaknesses.
    The internal problem within DAP will intensify. Bare in mind that DAP is making its way to become one of Malaysia’s most influential political party. With more power, more states to govern, more leaders in DAP would want a taste of power. Clashes between DAP leaders will be something normal. Nobody will just sit around and wait if there are chances and opportunity to be in power.
    It really seems that DAP is turning into another BN after all.

    2. Well said Tunku. Big winning among DAP from last general election leaders have turn them like BN politicians. They forgot about their promises and responsibility for the people whose vote for them. As a voter, I see this issue in different perspective. Fight between Kula and Nga-Ngeh duo will only give advantage to BN. Don’t you thing people will vote of BN next time in order to give us a lesson? We don’t mind changing our vote since anyway Perak not in our hand.
    When the personal agenda is bigger than people interest, we are no different from the BN, maybe worst since we being such a jerk when we don’t even have full power over the state.
    It’s about time to show the duo who’s the boss. Let them repair their report card or else we kick them out. I believe there are others that can serve us well. Even BN sometime can give us what we needs when we needs.

You must be logged in to post a comment.