Monday, March 08, 2021

What will the DAP do? Boh Laam Phar?


What will the DAP do?

by S Thayaparan

“You are fettered," said Scrooge, trembling. "Tell me why?"

"I wear the chain I forged in life," replied the Ghost. "I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.”

- Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

When MCA deputy president Dr Mah Hang Soon said this - "Are you ready, comrades? They want to replace MCA. This shows that in their hearts, they know we are on the right path” - he may have unwittingly defined the dilemma non-Malay political power brokers find themselves wallowing in.

The problem with DAP attaching itself to Malay power brokers 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.

The 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.

Beyond that, any Malay power structure working with the DAP will be open to attacks by the Malay uber alles crowd. This should not be the DAP’s problem.

What the DAP should do is to make its stance clear and that even if they lose votes in Parliament on policies they put forward, then this is the way democracies and political parties (even in the same coalition) work.

Remember how the DAP was demonised for supporting khat when they should have just held the line when it came to religious influences in our public schools.

Now we have the old maverick claiming that there is too much emphasis on religion in schools and as far as entitlements programmes go - “If students believe in hard work, obviously they will be able to succeed,” former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad had said. “But if they believe in just getting free money from the government, they will not succeed.”

So you see, if the DAP just held that line despite the narrative that the Malay uber alles crowd promote that DAP needs to bend, the DAP would be that secular egalitarian force within any coalition they are in and would not have to justify their twisting and turning even though they are working with “kleptocrats” and religionists.

Oh BTW, who was the eff-er swore he was going to resign from politics if Mahathir refused to hand over the PM position to Anwar?

Of course, there will be rabble-rousing and appeals to populism by the Malay uber alles crowd even by supposed Malay "progressives" but if we have learnt anything it is that the DAP will always be the punching bag no matter what they do, so they may as well do the “right” thing and leave the “ketuanism” to their Malay counterparts instead of enabling it.

The fact that the DAP always bends to its coalition racial policies while their partners never compromise on policies that the DAP puts forward should tell us something about any coalition that the DAP works with.

Keep in mind during the height of the turmoil within Pakatan Harapan, then deputy defence minister Liew Chin Tong said this about the partners needing each other - “Do we realise that in reality DAP needs Bersatu and Bersatu needs DAP to keep Harapan together and succeed in rebuilding Malaysia?”

The “right path” has been that horse manure power-sharing formula that has put us into this mess, and perhaps we will never find our way out of it. Do not for one minute believe cretins who claim that Malaysia is not ready for the kind of democratic reforms and independent institutions that offer some form of functionality even if on a utilitarian scale.

Keep in mind that the Islamisation and the radicalisation of racial politics were state policies and the subaltern history of this country points to a more “liberal” and inclusive polity where Malay political thought and allegiance was more diverse which was wiped out by the racial political narratives of Umno/BN.

If anything we are not changing but returning and this is what scares the hell out of sycophants who view political figures - especially those who revere Mahathir - as some sort of talismanic touchstone for what is right about the power-sharing concept in this country.

At this moment, the Malay establishment is going through convulsions and as DAP strategist Liew rightly points out, it is a moment of instability for the Malay uber alles coalition. What he forgets to mention is that it is a moment of instability for Harapan too.

DAP strategist Liew Chin Tong.

Who knows what kind of deals or stratagems the Malay branch of PKR is coming up with and who knows the kind of political personalities that Harapan would have to deal with if they want to “save Malaysia” again. It is not that the DAP cannot work with political hegemons who use race and religion, [it has] but because the DAP would rather focus on personalities which it thinks would galvanise its base.

The big question remains, which fraction will the DAP align with in the ongoing fall out. Of course, this is not up to the DAP. The only choice they have to make is whether to work with political personalities that a certain faction of the Malay establishment comes up with, in defiance of the PN regime.

The reality is that eventually, the DAP is going to have to attach itself to a political coalition if it wants to be part of state or federal level governments. The DAP, by making its Faustian bargain and working with Bersatu, demonstrated that working with morally-suspect and corruption-tainted politicians was not an impediment to “saving Malaysia”.

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

As long as there is no election, political players have the luxury of aligning with the lesser of “evils” and recalibrate their messaging once an election is on the table. You will hear arguments for political stability and unity amongst strange political bedfellows and glorious visions of a new Malaysia or is that a Newer Malaysia.

If, as Liew contends that Umno will fracture, which side will the DAP collaborate with? Honestly, look at how the situation was when PKR president Anwar Ibrahim was busy staging his counter-coup which fizzled out.

The DAP was all over the place and this added to the instability that the Malay establishment craves when it comes to the racial politics of this country.

Would the DAP work with fractions within Umno who have split? Will the old maverick’s party do the same or will there be more sandiwara in Harapan where nobody knows what the other is doing and hoping that the implosion of PN somehow benefits their political fortunes.

Is Harapan ready for the coming storm but most importantly, what will be the play of the DAP, when the battle lines are drawn in this uncivil conflict within the Malay establishment?

Lim Kit Siang is NOT a man of his words

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. Big Strong Friendly, and Still 42. Don’t have to do anything. Soon every major party will have less than 20 MPs each.

  2. Of late,the DAP is really behaving like a prostitute and I have lost my respect for the Lims.

    I just hope the DAP will not prostitute itself by working with UMNO.

    1. I think Father and Son very crever, dangle carrot to unhappy UMNO members to help accelerate their disintegration. Any cooperation will be on DAP's terms.

  3. All politics in a representatuve form of government is a compromise.
    I was tempted to say Kim Jong Un doesn't have to bother with that, but even North Korea has its compromises at some point.

    The key point is where is your compromise point.

    MCA's compromise point with UMNO , and now PAS as well. Is well known , overwhelmingly rejected by Chinese in Malaysia.

    DAP for sure has to compromise. It is not a bad word by itself, but one of where do you set the line ?

  4. What will MCA do....ha ha ha....for sure KT will sidestep his fave blog....

    MCA/Wee KHAT Siong's solution:
    Duduk Rumah Bawah Meja, Makan Mee Maggi, Spread All Chinese Eggs Around, Bagi MCA sikit sikit lah, Learn Karate Chop Chop and Sokong PAS/UMNO/Bersatu Sampai Akhirat (provided got TARUC Matching Grant)

  5. thaya want dap to work with umno, same justification when he want dap to work with mahathir, on the condition that dap not bending it principle, thaya always want the cake n eat it too, as if everyone else is not as smart as him.