DAP-SNAP merger plan triggers concern of a Pakatan rift

By Wong Choon Mei
Malaysia Chronicle
Sunday, 24 April 2011

Amid concerns that Pakatan Rakyat might become infiltrated by enemies from Prime Minister Najib Razak’s BN coalition, Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim held a “pow-wow” with top leaders of his PKR party in Sarawak.

At the closed-door meeting, they charted plans for the national elections expected to take place soon. They also discussed solutions in the event of multi-parties contesting the same seats, should an internal row brewing amongst coalition members get out of hand.

“The meeting will include top leaders from the PKR national leadership. They need to strengthen the state machinery fast in case the GE really comes early. Another hot topic will course be the SNAP-DAP merger,” a PKR insider told Malaysia Chronicle.

Sarawak recently held its 10th state election, where PKR won 3 seats and Pakatan colleague DAP won 12. Although the Pakatan victory was unprecedented, with the Chinese voters clearly deserting the BN, there is speculation Najib might hammer through snap general elections rather than allow risks to snowball by delaying.

When Malaysia holds its 13th GE, Sarawak will become another hotbed of competition, not just between BN and Pakatan but also within Pakatan itself. Component parties are all eyeing the state’s 31 parliamentary seats. There a total of 222 seats in the Malaysia Parliament.

“Discussion with leaders and candidates in Sarawak. Their spirits were high and eager to get ready for GE,” Anwar later said on his Twitter site.

Clear links to BN

Flushed from its Sarawak success, Chinese-based DAP has expressed plans to expand its representation in Sarawak, where the Chinese form 31 per cent of the 979,796-strong electorate, the Iban 29 per cent, the Malay-Melanau 27 per cent, Bidayuh 8 per cent and the Orang Ulu 3.7 per cent.

It has proposed a merger with SNAP and despite a show of initial reluctance from Sarawakian-based party, few have doubts that the DAP-initiated tie-up will go through.

“DAP Sarawak state committee has given the nod to suggestion of DAP-SNAP merger as positive post-416 UBAH election to mobilise Sarawakians regardless of race,” Kit Siang said on Twitter on Sunday.

The plan will now have to be passed through the Pakatan Rakyat leadership council, which is due to meet on May 1.

The proposal has stirred unhappiness within the coailition especially PKR, which has accused SNAP of being a BN proxy.

PKR leaders have minced no words slamming SNAP leaders including Edwin Dundang and Paul Kadang, both of whom have been accused of being enticed by the likes of fallen businessman Soh Chee Wen and former PKR secretary-general Salehuddin Hashim. Soh and Salehuddin were allegedly behind several of PKR’s past defections to BN.

Others have also warned of BN infiltration

But this is not a case of unfair ‘point-the-finger-panic’ because the PKR leaders have not been alone in their accusations.

n late March, after the dissolution of the Sarawak state assembly, UK activist Clare Rewcastle-Brown wrote:

“Sarawak Report has received explosive evidence from the heart of Barisan National in KL, revealing that a secret deal has been forged with SNAP, in a desperate attempt to destroy the opposition and maintain BN’s grip on Sarawak after the election.”

“We have learnt that the deal, which involves Federal BN pouring money into the newly revived SNAP (Sarawak National Party, which is meant to be part of the opposition alliance), was finalised during the visit by Prime Minister Najib Razak and his Deputy Muhyiddin Yassin just last weekend.”

”Confidentially, UMNO will support SNAP and many BN Sarawak representatives will jump ship. Better to keep low key as nobody knows the game of the PM and Deputy PM,” Sarawak Report also quoted its sources as saying.

Another activist, MCLM president Haris Ibrahim too said his movement had received information that SNAP candidates, and some of their privileged leaders, had suddenly come into significant amounts of funds.

“We have been told that the funds were being made available by operatives from Kuala Lumpur acting under the direction of the BN,” Malaysiakini reported Haris as saying. “There is no conclusive evidence, but in situations like this, you rarely get black-and-white evidence.”

Not the first time

Nonetheless, boosted by their success, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and his father Lim Kit Siang are expected to ignore the advice from their Pakatan colleagues as well as from the activists.

In the chase for parliamentary seats, DAP may jeopardise the good relations in Pakatan. Some even expect the coalition to break up on this move as they see the DAP-SNAP merger as being an indirect tie-up with the BN.

“At the best, DAP will take Pakatan through the same sort of embarrassment as the PKR did when it brought in former Umno leader Zaid Ibrahim. But that was not clear then because Zaid had been sacked from Umno. After he quit PKR to form KITA, the speed that KITA got its party registration and the heavy praise it received from PM Najib, it is clear where Zaid and KITA stand,” Pakatan watcher Eddie Wong told Malaysia Chronicle.

“Now, with all the accusations against SNAP, for Guan Eng and Kit Siang to proceed with a merger means they are openly embracing the BN but through an indirect means. Frankly, for the DAP to join the BN is much hankered after by Najib because he needs a strong Chinese ally to bolster or even replace MCA. But in doing so, DAP would lose all its credibility. Becoming BN-friendly may not be what the Chinese community wants or even what its members want. This way, it is less obvious but very insidious. I would urge both PKR and PAS to tread very carefully.”

Indeed, in 1995 DAP left Tengku Razaleigh’s Gagasan Rakyat shortly before the general election plunging the Semangat 46-led pact into chaos and costly defeats. In 2004, it also pulled out of Barisan Alternative, paving the way for former premier Abdullah Badawi and BN to score a landslide victory.

Meanwhile, DAP MP for Taiping Nga Kor Ming denied the speculation.

“Rest assured. DAP will remain steadfast and committed to Pakatan Rakyat,” Nga told Malaysia Chronicle.

PAS MP for Bukit Gantang Nizar Jamaluddin, who fough tooth-and-nail with his PKR and DAP comrades to regain Perak after the 2009 BN coup d’etat, also dismissed the concerns.

“Sarawak results should enhance further solidarity among Pakatan components and heighten endeavour towards Putrajaya,” Nizar told Malaysia Chronicle.

  1. #1 by pulau_sibu on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 8:44 am

    We heard that Wong Ho Leng’s father in-law is a SNAP leader. Is that true? If so, this thing will go along well.

    It is always skeptical to hear of SNAP that have members jumping in and out, divided and subdivided. I think there is a lack of trust on the Iban/Dayak community. Hopefully it is not to such an extent like the Sabah politics. Next time, get all SNAP members to swear on the bible.

  2. #2 by yhsiew on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 9:00 am

    It is safer for DAP to accept SNAP members as independent individuals, not as members of SNAP.

  3. #3 by Bigjoe on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 9:02 am

    Any third party including those in PKR who is worried about a DAP-SNAP merger in reality don’t have must respect for DAP and its leadership which is underserving but ignorance. That DAP would allow any ‘frogs’ and benedict arnolds to cause harm to its organisation is simply insulting to the abilities of DAP leaders..

    The people that should be most worried about any bad effects from a DAP-SNAP merger would be DAP members and management. Do anyone see lots of concern from them?

  4. #4 by Jeffrey on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 9:22 am

    This article criticizes Kit & LGE for SNAP-DAP merger who in wake of recent successes are chasing parliamentary seats in next GE at risk of straining relations with PKR and solidarity within Pakatan. It argues the pros & cons don’t justify such a move for reasons that many SNAP elements are funded by BN to be Trojan horses to wreck Opposition cause. It’s a credit to Kit to upload such an accusatorial piece in this Blog.

    Kit & LGE have the merits in this controversy. DAP is at the vantage point to do better for whole of Pakatan if priority is given to it to field maximum of its candidates. PKR is simply dog in the manger. It wants to be ‘taiko’ to be given preemptive right to galvanise Dayaks and entrench its presence in S’wak before DAP. It is not thinking of the larger opposition cause of breaking BN stronghold sooner.

    Kit & LGE should just proceed with their plans. It is the right to do and that’s what counts.

  5. #5 by sheriff singh on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 9:23 am

    No need to merge lah. Just tell the natives that DAP’s doors are open to them should they, the natives, wish to make inroads in the interior and can make use of DAP’s expertise and machinery.

    The original SNAP is long dead and gone. This ‘new’ party is an imposter and should not be trusted.

    Don’t wait for another 5 years. By that time many leaders will be old, old, old and ineffective. Do it now.

  6. #6 by Jeffrey on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 9:36 am

    The objections against Kit/DAP’s plans are to me suspect. On Trojan horses I agree with Big Joe’s observations – it’s an insult to DAP’s leaders’ capabilities to manage such a problem if true. Has the DAP ever objected to or accused PKR for producing record high number of defectors & Trojan horses after KeAdilan merger with PRM??? The arguments put forth against Kit’s initiatives are hardly convincing. For eg the innuendo that Zaid was a Trojan horse just because KITA was given quick registration & Zaid praised for leaving PR. If Kit were do it Najib would be just as quick to praise. To support someone leaving the enemy camp does not mean that that someone was planted a Trojan horse in the beginning. If it were so that someone would not leave and would have stayed undercover until his work of sabotage is accomplished!

  7. #7 by Jeffrey on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 9:53 am

    The innuendo that takes the cake is – PKR leaders slammed SNAP leaders (Edwin Dundang and Paul Kadang), both of whom, associates with likes of “fallen businessman Soh Chee Wen (“John Soh”), & insinuated DAP’s leaders dumb to associate with SNAP leaders guilty of associating with John. What a hypocritical load of bullsh*t this. Zaid said before: “Soh Chee Wen, setahu saya, adalah rakan akrab dan setia Anwar Ibrahim dan telah membantu Keadilan. Azmin Ali, Syed Shahir dan Chua Jui Meng tahu hal ini.”Satu ketika dulu ya. Sekarang sudah berubah”, jawab (retorted) Dr Syed Husin. Berubah? HQ never berubah! PKR headquarters is in A-1-09, Merchant Square No. 1, Jalan Tropicana Selatan 1, 47410 PJ. Go make a search in land office and ascertain who owns that building housing PKR’s H’Quarters. That’s all I want to say.

  8. #8 by Jeffrey on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 9:58 am

    Reposting SNAP leaders (Edwin Dundang and Paul Kadang) slammed fopr associating with “fallen businessman Soh Chee Wen, so the argument goes DAP’s leaders dumb to associate with discreditable SNAP leaders. What hypocritical load of bullsh*t. Zaid said before: “Soh Chee Wen, setahu saya, adalah rakan akrab dan setia Anwar Ibrahim dan telah membantu Keadilan.” “Satu ketika dulu ya. Sekarang sudah berubah”, jawab (retorted) Dr Syed Husin. PKR’s HQ at Merchant Square Jln Tropicana Selatan PJ never berubah! . Go make a land search and ascertain who owns that building as landlord!

  9. #9 by Jeffrey on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 10:00 am

    Merger is better because Dayaks need separate platform and can’t be part of DAP by just dissolving SNAP and joining DAP Sarawak!

  10. #10 by Jeffrey on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 10:05 am

    On connection between “fallen businessman Soh Chee Wen” vis-a-vis Anwar/PKR, interesting to visit this link:-


  11. #11 by Cinapek on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 11:17 am

    YB Kit is too shrewd and experienced a politician not to realise the implications of a proposal such as this. I doubt DAP would want to jeopardise the larger picture of a Pan Malaysian opposition to BN is favour of a state (albeit denting BN’s fixed deposit) success if the other PR members are against it.

    I am not sure, but this suggestion also has the benefit to shock PKR to get its house in order. It is the the most problematic of the PR partners and this inherent weakness could be the reason for failing to work out an amicable arrangement with SNAP when given the mandate to do so. One could suspect that SNAP are Trojan horses for BN but aren’t DAP facing the same issues? If there are grounds to believe that SNAP are indeed Trojans surely DAP are not so naive that they will go into this proposed merger blindly?

    More than meets the eye.

  12. #12 by madmix on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 11:58 am

    YB Kit. Please tread with caution. SNAP is poisonous. Their absorption will only poison DAP. SNAP is made up of quarrelsome, un-principled people; that is why the brole up into PNBS and later PRS and SPDP. Only James Wong was able to hold them together until he was topples. James is a statesman and a gentleman.
    SNAP has no grassroots today; they have no credible leaders and no political machinery. They exist only during elections where they will be flooded with candidates of all sorts with no supporters. These candidates are mercenaries who will jump ship to BN if they win. They only look for position and money. Look at Jonical Rayong.
    Forget about SNAP. They have snapped long ago when James Wong left.

  13. #13 by Jeffrey on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 12:36 pm

    There’s huge reservoir of untapped political capital in S’wak if Dayaks are galvanised. Can’t blame them for parchocial regional concerns & wary of Semenanjung’s politicians. They can’t trust PKR. SNAP has worked with PKR and it was failure. So why can’t DAP work with SNAP (in merger) if latter feels more confident of DAP’s sincerity or stability than PKR/PAS? Its good for the Sarawakian agenda, and if one could maximise votes there, its good for Opposition agenda as well. PKR should not be dog in manger to stop that which it cannot itself do for PR’s cause.

    The merger enable DAP/SNAP to cross field candidates. Its good for DASP’s agenda in (a) helping it to shed Chinese based image (b) widen and strengthen its political base in Sarawak & perhaps going forward later in Sabah.

  14. #14 by Jeffrey on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 12:39 pm

    The only downside – quarrelling with PKR & undermining Pakatan in Peninsula.

    Like it or not PR is shaky in Semenanjung because PKR as the glue of 3 disparate parties is itself unstable because (i) DSAI’s travails vis avis sexual morality issues his detractors raise one after another in courst & outside (ii) Anwar’s leadership issue empowering too much his protégé/inner circle and alienating the rest who either defect, become independent or form own party (Zaid).

    Now who can say PAS will not ship out either due to (i) factor or unity with UMNO in the near future?

    Where does that leave the DAP (or Mainstream malaysian looking for a viable Opposition lead) in a certain contingency & worst case scenario stated above? Its different if the DAP could now via SNAP establish a major inroad in S’wak with Dayak support. It’s a salvaging factor for Mainstream Malaysians (in the worst case of component parties of PR split or unravel).

  15. #15 by Jeffrey on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 1:20 pm

    Malaysiakini report 24/04/11: “DAP Wong Ho Leng said the DAP, PKR and PAS would meet on May 1 in Kuching to discuss the proposed merger. DAP advisor (Kit) said: “The proposed merger of DAP/SNAP is “still at the primary discussion stage” He said “the merger would be in the interest of the present opposition pact and was no threat to any party in the grouping”. “The merger proposal will be discontinued if the Snap leadership is against it”

    According to M’Kini 24th report Anwar/PKR appears defensive & against. “PKR advisor Anwar Ibrahim said PKR will only discuss matters pertaining to parliamentary seat allocations among the opposition pact in Sarawak, in preparation for the next general election, at a forum next week. Anwar said DAP should air its views on the matter at an appropriate forum rather than opting to make demands which may offend other members of the pact outside such a forum.”

    SNAP adviser Daniel Tajem said SNAP is open to explore the idea of a merger (report of 24th). SNAP is not against it – so why is PKR against???

  16. #16 by Jeffrey on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 1:38 pm

    Which reminds me, my good friend’s relationship with a girl didn’t work out, she does not want to go out with him anymore but willing to go out with me with the view of working at a relationship and may be marriage but my good friend says, “no I am not happy with that – don’t talk about it, it makes me unhappy!”

    Meaning what? That if my good friend cannot work out something with the attractive girl, she does not not want to go out with him, I cannot invite her even if she were willing? And he’s my good friend?

  17. #17 by cemerlang on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 1:43 pm

    The politicians need to ask themselves. What are they fighting for or against ? What do they stand for ? The thoughts of people are slowly changing. They no longer see Barisan Nasional as the 1 and only 1. They have choices. But to merge is difficult because they come from so many background and ideologies. Until there is a common solid ground, the opposition will be easily cracked, easier than Barisan Nasional. Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success. Sayeth Henry Ford, car maker.

  18. #18 by Jeffrey on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 1:44 pm

    The other objection – that girl is sent by BN, a trojan spy (like in film “I love Paris”) gives a ring (with microchip inside). Think I am stupid or what, can make judgment ? Then what about you collaborating and working with her earlier (if she were a trojan)??? Come out with something better if you want to pour cold water.

  19. #19 by Jeffrey on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 1:46 pm

    I must ask: If there were common ground between PAS and DAP to work why should there be less between DAP and SNAP???

  20. #20 by Jeffrey on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 1:52 pm

    If tomorrow MCA & Gerakan were to sever from BN and say they want to merge with DAP or PKR or PAS has the the Opposition as a whole or any individual component’s party a rational ground (from perspective of fighting a common opponent) to disapprove and say “no” because (ideologically, background wise, ethics-wise), MCA were towkays fellas and Gerakan’s b*lls carriers and therefore won’t fit in with the party they on their own want to merge with??

  21. #21 by sotong on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 2:24 pm

    SNAP, like other smaller component parties in BN, has been led nowhere to advance the common interest its ordinary members.

    If DAP, being a bigger and more experience party, could not accommodate SNAP through merger to fight for common interest of ordinary people, then it is not ready to Ubah….there should be a mutually beneficial exit strategy if it didn’t work out.

    To Ubah, it is not a time to fear change. Courage is required!

    More of the same….the ordinary people would be better of with BN.

  22. #22 by Ianizer on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 3:04 pm


    Ask yourself this, if a woman is known to sleep around with people for the sake of money, would you want the woman to share your bed at night?

    DAP must be headstrong with its ideals. Just because there are opportunities from merging with other parties, it doesn’t mean DAP has to rush head on towards seizing such opportunities. Considerations must be given on the history of the parties, the quality of their leaders and on how well received is the merger plan with the public.

    Your opinion is that DAP leaders are well aware of the dangers of SNAP people hopping about. Well, how does one defend against it? I don’t think the DAP leaders know of a solution to that. If they did, DAP’s very own Ms. Hee would not have jumped so easily.

    In my opinion, DAP should stay clear from merging with any of the smaller parties, especially those that have a history of supporting UMNO. The leaders in these parties are all tainted and will most readily stab DAP on its back when the money is flowing steadily to their bank accounts. DAP should stand on its own and attract talents who are keen to bring down UMNO/BN and rid the country of the cancer that is corruption.

    In any case, I trust Uncle Lim to do what is right for DAP. May he live long and well to see that his beloved M’sia prosper under the guiding hands of DAP and friends.

  23. #23 by Jeffrey on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 3:49 pm

    Lanizer, I find it hard to accept that DAP should steer clear of SNAP (just because many SNAP members from BN). Like you said, even DAP has Ms Hee frog jumping. One can’t stop people from jumping if they want to and probably not necessary to say they would jump just because they were supportive once of UMNO. You will recall even PKR has many members from UMNO – certainly Anwar was. Does that mean one cannot collborate? More important if for eg 5 SNAP members (after merger) jump whats the problem if 25 other conscientious Dayaks join the SNAP/DAP merger because they believe SNAP in cooperation with better organised DAP has a chance to do something for Sarawak?

    Kit made it clear “DAP-SNAP merger is to strengthen and consolidate Pakatan Rakyat gains in Sarawak and not to weaken or undermine them”. If SNAP likes to merge with PKR would DAP object for this common cause? Its just that SNAP cannot work with PKR, so how could force the issue to make SNAP standalone or in the absence of alternative return to BN’s fold?

  24. #24 by Ianizer on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 5:13 pm

    Jeffrey, PKR is the weakest link in PR. Why? Because it, as you have rightly pointed out, is made up of people from UMNO. PKR has to battle hard to convince voters that they are not voting for the same corrupt leaders as BN and it is going to be an uphill battle for them. You can almost tell from the difference in performance of both parties in Sarawak.

    DAP’s advantage is that it has always been ferocious in exposing the misdeeds of the wicked. Sure, there has been cases of betrayal, but to DAP’s credit, it has generally avoided the stigma of a frog infested party by relying on younger, more educated leaders who are ever ready to fight against injustice and inequality. Now, why would DAP be willing to risk losing its image and thus popularity with its supporters by actively courting ex-BN parties which are corrupt by nature?

    I really do not know if SNAP is true to the word “Ubah”. It may be that they are really fighting for the people and not themselves, but events leading up to the election in Sarawak has really cast a cloud of doubt on the intentions of their leaders. I do not believe they are serious about change and would thread on the side of caution when dealing with them at the moment.

    Like I’ve said before, there are other ways to “strengthen and consolidate PR’s gains in Sarawak”. One way is to by-pass the current leaders of SNAP and to look for and recruit into DAP’s fold young Dayak leaders that can help fight DAP’s cause in the long run.

    This war cannot be won by quickly taking in and assimilating leaders from the other side. It must be in the form of a total revolution. Otherwise, we are just replace BN with another BN.

  25. #26 by Ray on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 8:19 pm

    Merge is better only if SNAP understand and works towards PR manesfesto and NOT Unintelligent ,Uninept and not treat PR DAP as strange bedfellows stay united to defend uphold Merdeka Constitutions democratically for common Natonal Interests and Rakyats regaardless of race religion….
    Hoping PR, DAP and SNAP can co-work in oneness to uplift Malaysia for good and make sure its Not for personnel aspiration
    ……GOD Bless

  26. #27 by tak tahan on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 10:15 pm

    I was thinking like lanizer said;by-pass the current Snap leaders and recruit the suitable young Dayak candidates to fight along DAP’s cause.But will it be enough time to train the new recruits?

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