DAP polls a bitter pill for rivals

By Stanley Koh | December 18, 2012
Free Malaysia Today

In 1995, when DAP suffered the worst electoral defeat in its history, pundits and other soothsayers lost no time in predicting the demise of the then 30-year-old social-democratic party.

Even Lim Kit Siang could not hide the tinge of despair in his heart. “Reform or die,” he told his party.

As it turned out, the supremo’s call rang out clear and loud among the party faithful. A year later, at their national congress, delegates endorsed a thorough review of the party’s political strategies. This resulted, among other things, in the recruitment of some 800 young professionals to help carry out the political renewal.

That move has paid off, as has been evident in recent years. Only the deaf and blind would deny that new blood has helped improve DAP’s image and given it a new dynamism.

Its rivals, particularly MCA and Gerakan, must have been disappointed that last weekend’s CEC election went on so smoothly. Predictions that young Turks were plotting to overthrow veteran leaders turned out to be rumours after all.

The election result indicates how well the delegates realised that DAP needed a healthy mix of young and old leaders in order to be ready to do battle in what many believe will be the dirtiest general election in Malaysian history.

DAP, with its remarkable history of trials, tribulations and perseverance, is possibly the oldest opposition party in East Asia that has remained an opposition party.

But the tide may be changing, with more and more Malaysians showing weariness over the dominance of Barisan Nasional and eagerness to see a new regime take over.
Some pundits say the tide has in fact already turned, and it did so with the 2008 election result, when DAP, together with its Pakatan Rakyat allies, made unprecedented gains. That election result, they say, made Malaysians realise that a two-party system is possible as well as desirable.

BN’s fear

Indeed, the only way to interpret BN’s current strident rhetoric against DAP and its Pakatan partners is that it is a manifestation of fear. And the party most fearful of DAP is MCA, which is increasingly being perceived as a liability to its political master, Umno.

One may perhaps attribute the smoothness of the weekend’s CEC election partly to the delegates’ willingness to learn from MCA’s blunders, particularly in its perpetual internal conflicts and infamous leadership crises.

The MCA now lacks leadership credibility even if we speak of the second and third echelon leaders. The party is the victim of its own killing of veteran leaders, and its current leadership has transformed it into a party of ad hoc opportunistic politics, bereft of any dynamic vision.

Ironically, this was one of the classic accusations that former MCA leaders used to direct against the DAP leadership.

Those leaders must now be looking at DAP with plenty of envy. Its persistent calls for social justice, accountability, transparency and other values of good governance is in perfect harmony with the times and the aspirations of the young generation of voters.

Furthermore, the spirit of comradeship within the Pakatan Rakyat, especially among the younger generation of leaders, is brilliantly reminiscent of the fellowship displayed by the nation’s founding fathers, the leaders of the old Alliance.

Stanley Koh is a former head of MCA’s research unit. He is now a FMT columnist.

  1. #1 by KeenWatcher_01 on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 - 5:05 pm

    Yes change with times. Keeping the old rules will not go far. Countries that do not wish to advance will not be waited by others who wanted. With the advent of the internet, the pace will move faster. Congratulations DAP!

  2. #2 by boh-liao on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 - 5:08 pm

    Really meh? True meh?
    Show us your elected Malay CEC members
    Quick2 reform, man

  3. #3 by yhsiew on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 - 5:17 pm

    MCA could fare better if it leaves BN and becomes an independent party.

  4. #4 by monsterball on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 - 7:30 pm

    DAP “reform or die” succeeded. It’s purely lack of management people.
    They unit and made it stronger.
    Najib and Mahathir advised Umno b members…do this…don’t do that…when they did it all makes some members laughing at the two hypocrites.
    Umno b is weak and members are split.

  5. #5 by omeqiu on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 - 7:30 pm

    My biggest disappointment is that no Malay sakudara is elected into CEC. It is here that no amount of explanation can counter the accusation that DAP is a racist party. LKS tried his best to do so, and so did LGE. But how many Malays (especially those in the rural areas) can understand your problem? Electing those Malay saudara into CEC, according to all political observers is just at best ‘damage control’. I fear for your Party’s performance in those ‘critical’ constituencies.

  6. #6 by monsterball on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 - 8:37 pm

    That is a disappointment for all Malaysians…but they vote with no malice in their hearts.
    Even DAP Malaysian Chinese big guns are voted out.
    DAP has always been a on racist party.
    Only after 12th GE hundreds Muslims join the party.
    Remember…Umno b…MCA and MIC are 100% racist party with Najib keep on saying….they are divided..each race takes care of himself which means each race comes first…Malaysian second.
    That’s the kind that love to divide and rule which Mahathir in 22 years showed them how.
    13th GE is a race to have a clean government and no corruptions.
    If Najib knows his BN style can win…he will not delay for 4 years.
    The Muslims in DAP are open minded and know they need help to catch up….and they are being helped sincerely.
    You will find more and more Muslims joining DAP now and after 13th GE….that is presuming 13th GE will come.
    Najib is in desperate position to win….cannot afford Umno b defeated…nothing more..nothing less than for the love of his life…bring Umno b to the lowest level you can imagine and get Mahathir’s support due to his son made a Deputy Minster from nowhere.

  7. #7 by john on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 - 10:13 pm

    No, as it is the delegates voted and the result reflected the tempo/ the feel of the current state of affairs – real, anything else to make do would be misleading. From here, the party can then chart the direction it is heading – eg. with the inclusion of Malay delegates in the CEC by appointments is one / first step taken.

  8. #8 by yhsiew on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 - 10:53 pm

    DAP leadership is still the best among all the political parties in Bolehland.

  9. #9 by monsterball on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 - 11:38 pm

    DAP politicians are most intelligent and fearless.
    It is a party dedicated to fight injustices and protect the minorities being bullied by the Umno b majorities…..so much so the party has become the forerunner of PR to win the 13th GE.

  10. #10 by john on Wednesday, 19 December 2012 - 12:35 am

    In retrospect, DAP is built out in state of resilience where the veterans (not forgetting LGE in his formative years) had been in years / no. of detentions before. DAP resilence was well tested in 1995 burnt-out. (Ironic, Madtir got a full hand in this “DAP’s resilence” but if he wants to claim credit THEN HE SHOULD HAVE A TASTE OF BEING IN ‘INJUSTIC/POLITICAL’ DETENTION FIRST, HIMSELF.)
    The ‘wind of change’ came G12, 2008 and comes G13, change it must for a NEW RULING PARTY in the country. CAN PR MAKE IT HAPPEN ? WHAT IS DAP MAIN CONTRIBUTION GOING TO BE ? Besides being resilient, ??? ….(1995, G12 are past elections ! Have to work hard for G13 now, no more talk, talk,..)

  11. #11 by Bigjoe on Wednesday, 19 December 2012 - 8:08 am

    A bitter pill is a polite way of putting it. The negativity coming from UMNO/BN and even other critics are simply digusting.

    Most of the criticism are not even petty even though the critics are. They are simply with HARDLY any real strong basis. IT REEKS OF ENTITLEMENT, SELF-INTEREST DRIVEN..When UMNO/BN are backed against the wall, WHINING AND LIES ALL THEY CAN COME UP WITH?

    What we want to developed is real competition between the political parties who will produce the best debate and best proposals for our country. Instead what we have is that when pushed, all they can do is TEAR EVERYTHING DOWN..All we hear is – me, me, me from these politicians. All we hear is “Some animals are more special than other animal” – and we the rakyat is not special like them..


  12. #12 by boh-liao on Wednesday, 19 December 2012 - 9:19 am

    WHAT do PR parties want?
    Win battles or d WAR?
    R they ready 4 d dirtiest MOTHER of ALL WARS?

  13. #13 by Winston on Wednesday, 19 December 2012 - 9:43 am

    UMNO/BN and PR are as different as night and day.
    Their raison d’etre are also diametrically different!
    The former is there to siphon off the wealth of this country.
    The latter is there to provide a government that is competent, accountable and transparent.
    It’s a given that the thieves will do whatever they can to thwart PR so as to ensure their lucrative criminal activities will continue for generations to come.
    They are like common criminals everywhere.
    Putting them in the government is like the Chinese saying: Putting rats in the rice bin!
    Hopefully, Malaysians have woken up early enough to destroy these rats before there’s nothing left!
    And they are faced with starvation!!

  14. #14 by Bigjoe on Wednesday, 19 December 2012 - 10:36 am

    Something I want to get out of my chest:

    THOSE WHO CHARGE THAT DAP MULTI-RACIALISM is tokenism or sloganism or camouflaged etc. Let me say one thing to their reply: IF YOU CAN’T DEFINE THE PROBLEM, YOU CAN’T SOLVE THE PROBLEM..


    Fixing social, cultural bias IS A HARD PROBLEM ALWAYS.. BUT if you can’t define the problem properly, WHO IS TOKENISTIC, WHO IS ONLY SLOGANISTIC??? THEN YOU HAVE NO HOPE OF SOLVING THE PROBLEM..

    What makes DAP stands out – ABOVE EVERY SINGLE PARTY IN THIS COUNTRY – it can define the problem and offer a SOLUTION.. Everyone – including UMNO/BN, PSM, even PKR, PAS and every Sabah party inclusive they talk of “the issue” but they don’t even define the problem properly much less offer a modicum idea of what DAP can do about it..

    So all you bloody complainers and whiner – learn how to define your complain, define the problem first. DAP don’t expect you to have a solution, but please DAP don’t owe anyone to define the problem to anyone…

  15. #15 by cintanegara on Wednesday, 19 December 2012 - 11:58 am

    DAP trying to rebrand itself?I

    No la,

    DAP = Race first Malaysian second…

    Tak percaya?

    No elected Malays in CEC proved that DAP is a race based political party!!!!

  16. #16 by boh-liao on Wednesday, 19 December 2012 - 2:09 pm

    CAN believe d writing of “a former head of MCA’s research unit” meh?
    What will porNO.snake or d tow-truck char bor say? CAN 1 meh?

  17. #17 by monsterball on Wednesday, 19 December 2012 - 3:06 pm

    When the DPM Mhiyuddin opens his mouth you can expect he utters all sorts on nonsensical stuffs.
    Today at Star paper, he said DAP is a racist party…. just because the 8 Muslims who stood for party elections failed to win.
    Umno b does not have any other race as members…except Malays.
    I keep wondering how can they think like that.
    I guess they think…if they don’t talk something… it is worst to keep quiet.
    Not one comment on the illicit out flow of cash ranking second in the world.

You must be logged in to post a comment.