malaysiakini has finally reported that Jeff Ooi, well known blogger of Screenshots, has left the Gerakan Party for DAP.
There’s no doubt that the DAP has been scouting for fresh new talents to replace an older generation of party stalwarts, criticised by many as too old or too obsessively clinging on to (party) power (but forgetting that this old generation has rendered and still is rendering sterling services).
Jeff Ooi has been one of the new talents eyeballed by DAP as someone who has a reasonably high profile, especially among the Internet generation.
While the news has confirmed what everyone savvy with the blogosphere knew for quite a while, of Jeff’s new political colours (well, at least his intention if not the actual commitment), I wonder whether his shift from the Gerakan Party has anything to do with the departure of his mentor, Lim Keng Yaik?
In other words, did Jeff, who has political proclivities and indeed ambitions, sense that with Lim’s departure the likelihood of him being selected by the Gerakan as a candidate for election has become rather remote?
Undoubtedly the attractive offer of a seat by the DAP (thus far, none from the Gerakan) must have convinced Jeff that it’s decision time, to make the big step across to an opposition party.
I suspect that Jeff must have wanted to work from within the BN (via Gerakan) to change the culture, but alas, he must have found that almost impossible with a dominant UMNO who has its own agenda, and especially more so now after Uncle Lim had announced his retirement.
Or, perhaps he now feels he can best continue his struggle (sometimes I am not too sure what that is, though Jeff is big on public governance and consumerism on certain aspects) as a DAP member.
Many politicians have turned bloggers, but Jeff would probably be the first, if not, then among the first, to be a blogger turned politician.
malaysiakini has touted him as the most influential blogger in Malaysia, but many including Jeff himself would agree the crown has long since been won by RPK of Malaysia-Today.
But nonetheless he is still a very influential blogger. The question must be: will he continue to have the same following, many of whom are supporters of other parties like PAS, PKR and the BN? And more importantly, can he translate the huge Net following into votes for himself in the next general election?