DAP's chickens coming home to roost - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, December 16, 2019
Malaysiakini : “We should not bow to fate, and have the right to equality. We
should not kneel and beg. We should be brave enough to stand and ask for
it.” – Lim Guan Eng (2012)
COMMENT | Zaid Ibrahim’s (above)
Twitter feed of late is a treasure trove of bons mots chronicling the
failure of Harapan to fulfil its mandate to reform the government. Zaid –
someone I consider a friend – has always been the political outsider
who has never had a problem burning bridges if he thinks that is what it
takes to get his point across.
The best way to describe Zaid
Ibrahim’s political career is that it is a self-inflicted wound.
People's takeaway is always, “Can Zaid ever play well with others?”
Whether he was slaying Malay sacred cows or giving the middle finger to
whoever is supporting him at the time, he has always been an interesting
political operative to write about.
Zaid had to retract his statement made against Tun Daim Zainuddin, most
folks thought it was over for Zaid. His recent statements about the DAP
losing its shine has gained some traction because of the
disillusionment many partisans feel of Harapan. As far as I am
concerned, Bersatu is merely the wreckage of the old order. PKR and DAP
stand a chance of turning this country around, and this is why they are
constantly under attack from the mainstream political parties and, of
course, the deep Islamic state.
While Zaid correctly points out
that “fear” and the lure of power have infected the DAP, the reality is
that the historical strategy of warring with the MCA and snuggling up to
sympathetic Muslim power structures are impeding the DAP, especially
since they gained federal power.
This idea that Harapan is a
victim of its own success is dumb justification for political expediency
and subservience. It is pointless when Lim Guan Eng says that 60
percent of the manifesto has been fulfilled, and the old maverick claims
that Harapan has solved our corruption problem.
When I interviewed Lim Kit Siang (above)
and asked about the lessons learnt from collaborating with PAS, he
said: “The political alliance with Parti Amanah Negara in Pakatan
Harapan is fully justified if the component coalition parties can learn
the lesson from the rupture of Pakatan Rakyat, that any political
coalition is only viable and sustainable if the component parties of the
coalition abide by the common policy programmes agreed among them, for
there is no other basis for a genuine political coalition of equals to
Can you imagine that Bersatu, the weakest link in this
coalition in terms of political power through representation, commands
the lion's share of everything because nobody wants to spook the Malays?
This is not a coalition of equals, which is the talking point that the
DAP used to whack the MCA with all the time.
When DAP political
operatives talk to me of the sensitivities involved in dealing with
their coalition members, it is difficult to contemplate any kind of
egalitarian framework which Harapan is working from. Not only has
the DAP got to kowtow to weak Malay power structures, but it also has to
contend with the Umno/PAS union. I have said this many times. It does
not matter if the DAP gives in to every demand the Malay far-right
makes, they will still continue to demonise the DAP.
A major part
of the problem is that the DAP continues to feed the narrative that they
are a Chinese-based party. This extremely stupid fight over TAR UC, for
instance, gives the MCA, a race based party, the legitimacy it needs to
justify its continued existence in Barisan Nasional.
it simplifies the debate to bite-sized talking points, which the
far-right blogosphere regurgitates as evidence that the DAP is fighting
the “good” Chinese MCA over “Chinese” education. MCA’s history of
nation-building, the kind which involved managing expectations,
compromise and yes, complicity, became a big juicy target for a mob
fuelled by ahistorical polemics and politicians who promised that the
non-Malay communities would not have to beg for scraps of the table.
mind that the non-Malay communities (generally) were better off than
their Malay brethren because they did not have state-sanctioned
religious laws monitoring their every move, and they did not have to
rely on substandard government handouts to survive in this fast-changing
geopolitical landscape. When people talk of the “Malay” system,
they are essentially talking about a system that the old maverick
Anyone “attacking” the prime minister of this country,
especially the DAP, will immediately be demonised by not only Umno/PAS,
but also by Malay power structures from Harapan. This is why PAS
is always babbling about supporting the prime minister, Umno does not
really take the political kill shots it needs, and provocateurs in
Harapan are waiting with bated breath to be stamped with the imprimatur
of the old maverick.
I give credit to politicians like P Ramasamy and Charles Santiago (above)
for occasionally belling the cat, but if a “Chinese” member of the DAP
said something against the old maverick, all hell would break loose.
Remember when Ronnie Liu dared to claim that the emperor has no clothes,
and the young boy minister threatened open season on the DAP?
hurts the DAP the most is the hypocrisy of cuddling up with Malay
structures - donning the hijab, waxing eloquent about reading the Quran
in Malay, and a host of other initiatives to reach out to the Malay
community – and then having a base which wants a secular egalitarian
government which the DAP plays to.
And, of course, there was the
great compromise with the old maverick, which the DAP had blamed for
everything wrong with this country for decades. People in the DAP who
were opposed to this move were silenced or ridiculed that they were not
pragmatic to understand that Najib needed to go by any means necessary.
when people see the DAP agreeing with everything the old maverick says –
with the exception of certain recalcitrant members – there is even more
hostility from the mainstream Malay voter who believes in the social
contract, but could not stand the excesses of the Najib regime.
The DAP didn’t lose its shine. It's just that its chickens are coming home to roost.