Monday, June 15, 2009

Zaid Ibrahim - Opportunity lost for DAP?

In The Malaysian Insider’s news article Zaid on a mission to make PR a strong alternative to BN Zaid Ibrahim was very diplomatic. The article reported:

Zaid had also toyed with the idea of joining PAS or DAP but in the end decided that as PKR was younger, he felt he could contribute more.

"The other parties are more mature. PKR is easier to change and the potential is a lot more," he said.

I must say I am very disappointed by his decision, that he didn’t join the DAP instead, for a number of reasons:

(a) The DAP's strict discipline and socialist ideology is more aligned with his political proclivity.

(b) The PKR legacy of frogs and bullsh*t would be insulting to his political credentials.

(c) The DAP could well do with a Malay of some prominence in their ranks.

(d) By joining the DAP, his contribution to multiracial (or non-racial) politics would have been immense, a watershed in Malaysian politics!

Well, he didn’t. Perhaps the gap was just too wide, even for Zaid Ibrahim, to join the DAP.

And perhaps what he had meant by the ‘other parties’ (DAP and PAS) being 'more mature' has been that PKR is far too immature wakakaka and therefore requires his guiding hands!

One of my disappointments prior to this was the absence and non-candidature of Zulkifli Mohd Noor in the March 2008 general elections.

Zul was the DAP candidate in Bukit Bendera in 2004 when he won a very credible 18,000 votes out of 47,000?

Remember this was at the height of AAB's Bao Gong-ness, and that Bukit Bendera was and still is a predominantly Chinese federal constituency, where the demographics had 73.97% Chinese, 13.82% Malays, and 11.07% Indians plus a sprinkling of 1.14% Thais, Eurasian, etc.

I had attempted to analyze why he lost the Bukit Bendera seat in 2004 in Gerakan & DAP - the missing songkok factor!.

Then I had written: The sum of it was that Zulkifli did well in a Chinese majority seat, and that's because of the DAP brand.

Under a program of continuous political investments (and not just campaigning on the eve of the election) Zulkifli could be a winning candidate.

Thus I was deeply disappointed to see Zulkifli completely missing from the recent March 2008 general election, when without doubt he would have won and made history as the first DAP Malay MP, giving the DAP its multi-ethnic credentials and legitimacy.

I have nothing against Liew Chin Tong – in fact I think he’s great – but how nice it would have bene for DAP if Zul Mohd Nor had re-contested Bukit Bendera in 2008. I have no doubt he would have ridden on the crest of the tsunami into parliament.

Thus you may understand why I have been disappointed in more than one way when Zaid Ibrahim joined PKR.


  1. I agree with you that it's disappointing that Zaid Ibrahim decided to join the PKR instead of the DAP.

    PKR seems to attract a lot of ex UMNO chaps and most of them are of very low quality. I hope Zaid don't fall into this category.

    I guess the DAP would have to try harder to make themselves more attractive to the Malays. Can't blame the Malays as the MSM had been reporting for so many years that DAP is a chauvinistic Chinese party when it is really a multi racial one. In fact, it has more Indian reps than the MIC & PPP put together.

  2. Disappointing? Not for me (as a devout DAP member/supporter). Purely from the perspective of self-interest on behalf of "my" party, I feel parachuting a Malay leader into the upper echelons of the DAP at this point* should only be done if doing so results in a disruptive augmentation of the political map - put bluntly, only if the candidate brings a substantial grassroots with him. Zaid has none that isn't already Pakatan faithful, and even that tends to be non-Malay from what I've seen!

    *(Previous DAP paratroopers like Prof. Ramasamy and even Tunku Aziz came at a different time in the party's development, but now, as they say, 308 changed everything... it's been a year, and if DAP in a position of power can't attract a Malay base, then the party leadership should be changed. Anyway parachuting is risky business, especially for a party with a penchant for fiefdoms, which the DAP has.)

    Of course I wish to see more Malays within the rank and file and top of the pyramid, but I think we still have time to do it the "right" way, which in my view is the bottom up way.

    I, like you, want to know what happened to Zul Noor, and more generally, I want to know how the heck DAP went into it's most promising election in decades without fielding a single Malay candidate. That was a fatal strategic mistake that the CEC should answer for. If PKR had gone into the elections with zero Indians, we wouldn't hear the end of it. DAP should have fielded some Malays, AS IT DID IN PREVIOUS ELECTIONS, at least in 2004 and 1999. It's unreasonable that they had NONE in 2008. DAP a multiracial party? Even I can't say that with a straight face.

    Now, here's the optimistic spin: I look forward to asking Zaid Ibrahim, if I ever get the chance, his opinion on the "Riding MP", Zulkifli "Hells Angel" Noordin... as one is now in a position to call the other "honorable comrade"!

    Besides there's still one more Ibrahim to court, who did publicly say on his blog once upon a time that if he did join a party, it would be the DAP... if that Ibrahim also joins PKR, then I would be worried! ;-)

  3. Hahaha, speak of the devil, here's what the other Ibrahim had to say about PKR's latest catch...

  4. PKR from the very beginning, even when they had very less non-Malay support in 1999, fielded a lot of non-Malays.

    Even Pas managed to field a non-malay in Johor last election. A token candidate but still...

    Not saying the DAP is Chinese but rather, their mindset has to change to that of wanting power rather than having a NGO mentality in parliament.

    The toughest part of being a honest politician is having high ideals while also being pragmatic. UMNO fails in the former and DAP fails in the latter.

  5. Are you kidding me.
    Zaid Ibrahim better off in DAP?
    He's as bourgeois as they come. Make as much money.
    He doesnt fit in the DAP party mould.
    Zaid is an empty suit only interested in hmself.
    Its no loss for DAP not getting the Umno reject.
    Wanna bet he wont be long in PKR. He will be wrestling for power with the demi-god Anwar Ibrahim.
    P.S. Dont be trapped by his supposed liberal stance.
    Go back to the archives and see what a racist he is.

  6. You can be dissapointed that Zaid didn't join the DAP, but the fact is that DAP is not trying hard enough to attract the Malays in the first place. When asked about this, DAP members will harp about how they cannot compromise their ideals of a strict secular state etc in order to accomodate the Malays. But the fact is, Malays and non-Malays do have very divergent worldviews and interests, and DAP can only blame itself if it is not cognizant of this.

  7. "When asked about this, DAP members will harp about how they cannot compromise their ideals of a strict secular state etc in order to accomodate the Malays."

    You touched on something very true here. The suspicions that DAP members have of Malays is not just academic - there is something real there. Often, when Malays approach some DAP branches, one of the likely reactions is "are they SB spies?"

    Something has to give. Frankly, I think the leadership should be more proactive and micromanage the grassroots a bit in order to foster the creation of a Malay base. It's not impossible, but it requires more work than simply waiting for Malays to join, especially since PKR is there to "smoothly" accept anyone that DAP inadvertantly makes to feel unwelcome.

  8. I touched briefly, admittedly very briefly, on the need for DAP to modify its policies in

    Then I stated:

    (1) develop a new political vision to replace its Malaysian Malaysia that will ameliorate the fears of the Malay.

    (2) develop a fresh strategic policy to accept the NEP but one that will be managed fairly and exclusively for bumiputera interest. This does not in any way disregard the currently marginalized Indians or the less fortunate Chinese. Preserve the NEP exclusively for the needy Melayu and other bumis.

    Forget about Anwar Ibrahim’s claim that he would get rid of the NEP or that the policy has outlived its usefulness. As has been said, Anwar would speak in human language to humans, and spirit language to spirits. Yes, he’ll say anything to climb up the ladder of power, from 916 to half past six.

    I personally believe that the NEP still has use for a large segment of the Malay and Sarawak/Sabah bumis. It’s the misuse of this apparatus for affirmative action that’s the problem, not the NEP per se.

    (3) get rid of its socialist label – most Malays don’t understand what it stands for, other than it must be a part of the Satanic communist diabolical plot.

    Of course there's more to be done.

  9. "I touched briefly, admittedly very briefly..."

    Somebody needs to take this bull by the horns. Everyone (myself included) makes sporadic brief comments/statements on the issue but there is no follow through. This is a serious issue. It dismays me that it's come to this as far as mainstream Malaysia is concerned: PKR is the primus-inter-pares of Pakatan Rakyat. At least within PAS there is awareness of the crisis. Wither DAP?

    I had hopes for Jeff Ooi because in the 308 aftermath he immediately highlighted this as the number 1 problem for the DAP (duh, but at least he spoke up about it). Since then has he said anything at all about this? Zero, as far as I know. Supposedly Teresa Kok was making "inroads"... where are the results?

    The grassroots left on their own just carry on courting Christian fellowships. What a joke.

  10. KTemoc,
    My apologies for being sadistic. The only reason why Zaid Ibrahim won't join DAP because of you, KTEMOC.
    KTEMOC & the rest of the gangs who share KTEMOC's sentiments. If DAP were to do spring cleaning, it should start by cleaning KTEMOC away.
    Ktemoc embodies old DAP goons who refuses to change for the betterment of the party. Those goons who condemned everybody else except themselves.

    DAP faces the same problem that PAP faces across the causeway is facing. That's a family based party.
    Don't get me wrong that I am against LGE-LKS leadership. I am talking about the broad sense.
    Just look like how Ktemoc size up people including Anwar Ibrahim. They have such mentality. They may say these questions:
    They look like DAP, sound like DAP but they are not DAP. Wanna be DAP, must look for Ktemoc. Ktemoc is defintely a standard DAP man......Neither tall nor short.....In any part of the body....
    Hence, if I were LGE, first person to Tui Lam is KTEMOC.

    That Teh fella too is facing this problem. Even Hee Jit Foong too......Hey, me old guard....Me work for 20 years, you know.....Me must be big, datuk, Senior Exco.....Listen to me, no one else.....Hence Hee becomes Hee Haw.......
    Don't be surprised if KTEMOC jump ship like Ah Rocky Bru.......


  11. Quote "... how Ktemoc size up people including Anwar Ibrahim ..." unquote, and I've been correct too wakakaka.

    Mr 916, Mr 31 frogs, Mr Taiwan Trawler - hasn't he been all that and more, the so-called Mr Reformasi!

    Can you reconcile the froggie subversion of the ballot box with reformasi?

    Well, only the blind or faithful fanatics (they usually have both characteristics) can!

    Don't blame only Najib for the Perak coup d'etat becoz Anwar had been just as bad, starting the insidious froggie business in the first place (the only difference is that Najib succeeded whilst Anwar failed) ...

    ... and you know why?

    To borrow the words of looes74, it is Anwar who "embodies old UMNO goons who refuses to change for the betterment of the new (PKR) party. Those goons who condemned everybody else except themselves."

    The acorn sure as hell doesn't fall far from the oak tree. Amin!

  12. Can't agree more with Ktemoc on this. Your d) point is cruelly valid.

    @int 2:58,
    indeed. I have seen at least one DAP ADUN starting to tackle this DAP short-sightedness, Lau Weng San in Selangor. I commend him: speaking BM in functions, paying attention and reaching out to all his constituents. I cannot wait to see more of this. I stay hopeful, as I believe we have seen a post-March 08 change in the leadership at least with YBs like Tony Pua and even LKS.

    If DAP wants to remain an important influence in the Malaysian polity, and I personally do want this, DAP has to show it takes non-racialism seriously. And this does not stop at non-Muslims.

    1Black Malaysia. Democracy First. Elections Now.