Thursday, December 10, 2020

DAP should stop behaving like a political vestal virgin


DAP should drop the 'principled' party narrative

by S Thayaparan

"DAP's readiness to work with Umno proves two things: that DAP is magnanimous and willing to put the welfare of the people as the main agenda. Second, the accusation that DAP is anti-Malay or anti-Islam is not true at all."

- DAP deputy secretary-general and Teluk Intan MP Nga Kor Ming

COMMENT | Now that Umno has exerted dominance over Bersatu with a horribly insincere apology for kicking the Perak Bersatu MB to the curb and attempting to get an Umno political operative into the MB's office, we can talk about how DAP can work with Umno.

The day will finally come when Umno realises that this Malay uber alles experiment is a failure in progress. Make no mistake that there inevitably will be another occasion, when Bersatu's state and federal power structures are plunged into another mess.

The DAP's readiness to work with Umno proves two things. That after years of demonising each other, with a good share of the blame falling on the Umno side, there are some in Umno and DAP who understand that the two parties with the biggest support of their ethnic communities beginning to engage in a bipartisan manner is a good thing.

The second is the reality that DAP has bent over backwards to support pro-Islamic and pro-Malay policies, not to mention pro-Malay political operatives, all while being subject to the anti-Islam and anti-Malay propaganda that they should have tackled decades ago, instead of playing the victim card while engaging in the same behaviour they accuse the MCA of.

I would argue that Umno's propaganda that DAP is "anti-Malay" and "anti-Islam" was beneficial to the DAP because non-Malays flocked to their banner under the mistaken impression that secularism and egalitarianism were the bedrock on which DAP was founded on.

So when Naidu says “as a principled party, DAP should not budge from its stand to not cooperate with any unprincipled leaders”, this is not only ahistorical but also complete horse manure.

The DAP, by making its Faustian bargain and working with Bersatu at the time under Dr Mahathir Mohamad (above), demonstrated that working with morally-suspect and corruption-tainted politicians was not an impediment to “saving Malaysia”.

Indeed, when Pakatan Harapan briefly formed the government and Bersatu was accepting Umno frogs, the DAP bent over backwards, attempting to justify why Bersatu's acceptance of Umno members was part of the grand plan to save Malaysia.

This is all a matter of public record and partisans should not bandy about ideas like “principles” and “morality” as justification for the DAP not working with Umno.

PSM chairperson Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj rightly points out that a change in leadership does not necessarily mean a change of policy when it comes to the most disenfranchised of our political system.

When political operatives talk of stability, what they mean is the stability of vested political and corporate interests. What they mean is the horse-trading that goes on when political adversaries or allies attempt to form an imperfect union.

Of course, the main problem with working with Umno is that Umno is an untrustworthy ally. This latest fiasco proves this again. Do not get me wrong. The disposing of Perak Bersatu Menteri Besar Ahmad Faizal Azumu (below) was a good deceptive move by Umno and playing PAS for fools was the cherry on the cake when it came to the fallout in Perak.

This may be schadenfreude talking, but the fact that all these Malay parties with longer political pedigrees and larger numbers in various state and federal levels kowtowing to Bersatu was grating. As was the way how Bersatu leaders strutted about normalising their treacherous behaviour.

It is not that I think the DAP should not work with untrustworthy political adversaries, it is just that I do not trust the DAP to convey to their base what is really going on behind the scenes.

If anything, the DAP has demonstrated a remarkable talent for bending over backwards instead of calling out behaviours and strategies that make alliances untenable. It is one thing working with an untrustworthy ally, it is another thing enabling such untrustworthiness.

I know a fair number of sitting Umno political operatives and none of them has any reservations about working with the DAP. The same applies to political operatives from the DAP. They see no real issue with working with each other, besides the dodgy optics of this kind of bi-partisanship to their respective voter bases.

These folks understand that after decades of political warfare, what is needed are “progressive” changes within the context of race and religion to move this country forward.

Meanwhile, Umno, as always, is just too shortsighted to acknowledge the political advantages of forming alliances with the DAP, especially on a state level. The DAP has demonstrated that it is willing to play ball with whatever Malay-centric political and policy decisions that their Malay “partners” need to maintain power.

Added to that is DAP's level of competency that eludes most Malay uber alles political parties. This should be a recipe for political success, but apparently, Umno is too incompetent to understand that certain compromises need to be made if it wants to return to the power-sharing formula.

We already know, from the words of Mahathir, that the DAP was bending over backwards for the bumiputera agenda during the Harapan administration. That the non-Malay – read Chinese – community did not get as much from the government as the Malay community did.

That the DAP was subservient because it understood that Umno/PAS would use any excuse to destabilise Mahathir’s government. So there is a blueprint for cooperation there. Now I assume that the DAP has learnt their mistakes and Umno has learnt what it means to be in a Malay uber alles quagmire.

What the Perak fiasco has demonstrated is that Bersatu and PAS cannot trust Umno. What Umno did should have burnt bridges, but in a typical self-defeating manner, the Malay establishment chooses to work with unstable elements, thinking that the gravy train has enough to offer to all.

It does not. Bersatu is now going to find it more difficult to control Umno and Umno is going to find it more difficult to manoeuvre with its faction-riddled party. Not only does Umno have to worry about Bersatu, but it also has to worry about PAS. The rakyat cannot trust anyone.

What is important is that everyone who voted for whichever political party has a voice in important policy considerations, especially when we are in a pandemic that is wreaking havoc on conventionality.

S THAYAPARAN is Commander (Rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy. A retired barrister-at-law, he hopes young people will assume the mantle of leadership – if there is to be any hope for this country.


  1. so aneh idea is work with conman but dun bend, work with umno but dun bend. another fantastic idea.

    1. Don't bend!

      Ain't that going against yr don't-spook-the-melayu-sensitivities fart?

    2. my idea is a little bit diff i guess. in msia ok to bend, in ccp land die die no bend, a reverse of yours double std. any problem with that?

    3. Another fart!

      Justify yr claim.

      Don't just play yr usual one-liner statement of double standard!

      Oooop… keep away from phrase like the whole world know - bcoz that whole world u keep waiting is just a piece of fart filled well.

    4. BTW, do u truly know about double standard?

      Then, justify yr persistent promotion of don't-spook-the-melayu-sensitivities (aka ketuanan agenda) vis-a-vis yr hypocritical shouts for demoNcratic human fights, freedom & fair competition lah.

      Or yr double standard is as defined within that fart filled well dwelled by katak.