Anti-Lims sentiment is red herring for DAP's genuine failings - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Sunday, January 10, 2021
Malaysiakini : “The Party knows more about us than we know ourselves,’ the woman replied.”― John le Carré, 'The Spy Who Came in from the Cold'.
COMMENT | I have been receiving - for reasons unknown to me - all this literature about the “anti-Lims”
movement that seems to be consuming the DAP base and political elite.
No doubt, now that Perikatan Nasional seems to be staggering under the
weight of hubris, incompetence and disloyalty, the “Lims” can have a
moment of peace while the base turns its attention on the possible fall
of the PN regime. Or maybe not.
To be honest, I have no interest
in the internal politics of the DAP beyond the fact that its mono-ethnic
internal politics is the kind of politics that makes all this “Bangsa
Malaysia” propaganda more ludicrous. I guess while Anwar Ibrahim has to
look after PKR's Malay core, whoever is controlling the DAP has to look
after its “Chinese” core.
You could buy into this narrative that
whatever is wrong with the DAP is because of the "Lims". Honestly, we
could have a whole discussion on the dysfunction of the leadership of
the DAP under their influence, but we would be missing the bigger
picture and indulging in personality politics which is what poisons the
real issue with the DAP is not that Lim Guan Eng or Lim Kit Siang have a
monopoly of the leadership of the DAP. I read all these articles, texts
and long emails by insiders to me or by public figures in the media
about the leadership issue with the Lims or how the DAP works but all of
them miss the point when it comes to why the DAP is a complete failure
when it comes to “saving Malaysia”.
The fact that the DAP base
crows about how the DAP is the most successful party in whatever
coalition that is meant to save Malaysia never mind the fact that
securing the vote of the Chinese community means bupkis when it comes to
the realpolitik of this country, the failure of the DAP is that now
everyone knows – but would probably still vote for them – is that they
have no real intention of being a part of reforming the system.
DAP, in particular, is a victim of its own propaganda success. The
party’s scorched earth policy when it came to race relations with regard
to what the MCA was doing with Umno and the rhetoric surrounding the
failed Umno policies – which Pakatan Harapan had no problem emulating –
was effective propaganda for non-Malays. But, like all propaganda, it
came back to bite the collective behinds of the DAP political class.
the backtracking and failure to implement campaign promises are
important factors in the dissatisfaction with Harapan, but the DAP
seemed to be the weakest link in that government even though it had the
strongest mandate. However, people could forgive a lot if only they did
not feel that they were being played for chumps.
A young non-Malay
voter who has decided to leave the country told me that what she is
worried about is that in five years, the situation could be worse. I get
this a lot from young Malaysians. What they had hoped for was not
radical change but rather a steady pace of change that would not target
them as pendatang like how their parents were targeted.
When I interviewed
Lim Kit Siang (which seems ages ago) 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 succeed.”
problem is not that there has not been a common policy agenda or
initiatives but rather it is that the DAP has allowed itself to be
subsumed by the policies of "Ketuanism” in the belief that compromising
on its supposed egalitarian agenda would either reap political benefits
or sustain their positions in Malay power structures.
hypocrisy of not working with “kleptocrats” is the kind of dissonance
that the base accepts but the majority of Malays look upon with
derision. It is not that the majority have a problem with working with
kleptocrats; it is that the DAP has smugly demonised everyone else for
doing the kind of thing they claim is anathema to them. For some odd
reason, the DAP seems to think that the people who vote for Umno and PAS
sure you could blame the “Lims” for this but what of the new,
supposedly younger, DAP leaders we are told could usher in a new
paradigm. I obsessively track these young leaders on social media
amongst other ways, and they more often than not regurgitate the kind of
political and social bromides that their “elders” indulge in.
the English-speaking sphere, what these young leaders do is ape the kind
of discourse from Western sources ignoring the fact that the political
and social dialectic in this country is completely different. But then
again, I suppose the target audience for such politics is the kind of
urban groupthink that sustains the Bangsa Malaysia propaganda.
of course, is not counting the numerous young leaders who are more
interested in engaging with the Chinese grassroots and view the whole
multiracial propaganda of the DAP as some sort of quaint means to an end
instead of thinking of it as the foundational ideology of a progressive
wing of Malaysian politics.
Indeed, I see more “multiracial”
engagement in Malays, from young PSM members who perhaps understand the
demographic they are dealing with and the role the majority polity plays
that could change the political landscape of this country.
political establishment is again going through convulsions, and the
reality is that the DAP is going to have to pick a side again. Hopefully
this time, the DAP has the political will and backbone to stand up for
its supposed egalitarian and multiracial ideas no matter who they side
You do not need new leadership to do this. You only need leadership with the cajones.