DAP slowly, but surely shedding its Chinese dominated party image

by G.Surach
The Rakyat Post
SUBANG JAYA Dec 14, 2014


The leadership and delegates at the DAP annual general assembly (AGM) held at One City here today are beginning to show winning touches after years of hard work.

In the years since the party’s formation in 1965 and its history we have all been following since, the party’s strong Chinese base looks to be eroding, but only for the better.

Long perceived as a Chinese-based Opposition party despite championing the Malaysian-Malaysia motto for years, this year’s AGM saw more colour, especially the throngs of Malay supporters and party members.

There were groups of mostly young Malay men and women in attendance contrary to the assertion made by Barisan Nasional leaders and pro-Malay rights NGOs that the DAP was using pretty Malay girls to portray the party as friendly to Malays and Muslims.

Malay volunteers were also seen in large numbers shifting though paperwork and accommodating the delegates’ needs.

The presence of the party’s multiracial and multicultural look was obvious in the crowd compared with the previous AGMs.

Only a few years ago, in 2012, when I covered the party’s AGM, the debates were dominated by speakers who preferred to deliver their party messages in Mandarin, instead of either Bahasa Malaysia or English.

The only time that I could pick up and write my stories then was when party leaders such as DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, party supremo Lim Kit Siang and the impeccable then party chairman, the late Karpal Singh, as well as other non-Chinese or non-Mandarin speaking delegates, came up to deliver their speeches.

Today, however, the tone and manner in which the AGM was conducted was very impressive.

Most of the speakers chose to present their debates in Bahasa Malaysia.

Some of the speakers, such as Negeri Sembilan’s Lawrence Fah and Malacca’s Chin Cheong Seong, impressed many with their impeccable command of the national language.

Although there were still instances of delegates switching back to Mandarin to capture the attention of the Chinese-majority party members, it was a far cry from when I previously covered the AGM.

Even more surprising was when Perlis DAP chairman Teh Seng Chuan began his speech in the Thai language, shocking and amusing not just the delegates, but Guan Eng himself.

However, despite the temporary language barrier, the message was clear.

DAP was moving in the right direction, said the DAP national organising secretary Anthony Loke when met after the AGM had concluded.

“We have been trying for many years as we have always wanted to have more members from other races to join the party. Today, we are seeing more Malays and Indians in the fray, which is an exciting time for the party.”

Loke said the ever growing support for the party was also being extended to the Siamese community up north, where it was perceived that as Bumiputera, the only party which could safeguard their interests was Umno.

With the DAP’s newly acquired muscle, however, the party was quick to confidently flex it brazenly at its fellow Pakatan Rakyat members.

Targeting PKR first, Guan Eng openly lobbied Sekinchan assemblymen Ng Suee Lim for the second Selangor Deputy Speaker’s post, which saw Selangor Menteri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali flash a cheeky smile and a shoulder shrug.

While Perak delegate and Canning assemblyman Wong Kah Woh chose to target PAS by calling on the Pakatan Rakyat leadership council to reconsider the leadership of party leaders who refused to toe the Opposition coalition’s lines.

His commendation of several PAS leaders such as former Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin, PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu and Shah Alam Member of Parliament Khalid Abdul Samad for not allowing things to spiral out of control during the Selangor Menteri Besar crisis was a direct shot at PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang.

For the AGM, PAS decided to send its treasurer-general, Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli, to represent it. He said that his party president’s absence was due to a scheduled central leadership council meeting today.

As DAP’s personal fortunes are beginning to turn for the better, it is best that it does not celebrate at the cost of its fellow Pakatan partners, for the coalition is not “home and dry” yet.

While the road to Putrajaya seems increasingly wide, DAP should remember to widen it further with the support of PKR and PAS.

  1. #1 by Sallang on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 - 9:17 am

    Congratulations,but don’t celebrate too early.
    I observe that sometimes DAP members like to boast a little.
    While the public can understand the ego,i think we can keep low until we sit in Putrajaya.
    With the Sedition Act still in force, you better make sure none of you speak unnecessarily.
    We cannot waste any more time, going to court,worst still if jailed.
    Knowing very well UMNO will twist words by making police reports base on hearsay, why test them?
    Time is not on our side.
    If DAP can have strong religious leaders,with beards longer than spiritual leader,we can go forward without one component.
    How confident are we in GE14?

  2. #2 by winstony on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 - 9:37 am

    Ultimately, it’s a well informed and motivated electorate that will keep all political parties on the straight and narrow.
    But unfortunately, the opposition just isn’t up to scratch in this vital aspect!!!
    It’s always the devilish that can preach best!

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