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The DAP dilemma

Being a principled party is more important than being in a coalition that muzzles conscientious voices in the name of irrational sensitivity

Photograph: Astro Awani

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It’s a pity that a political party like the DAP, which used to speak up on various issues that plague the nation – such as corruption, draconian laws, minority rights and social justice – seems to be caught in a dilemma of so-called appeasement politics.

The statement by DAP leaders that called for reasoned discourse on a non-Muslim prime minister, local government elections, and suggestions to incorporate non-Muslim views on matters that have constitutional implications, is automatically interpreted from a communal lens by its suffering partner Umno.

This fact is especially damaging as the latter wants to be seen as a party of communal champions in competition with Perikatan Nasional, which currently seems to take the lead in exuding itself as a great ethno-religious champion.

As usual, after a statement by DAP leaders that seemed to offend Umno, the polemics of Umno began and DAP secretary general Anthony Loke had to come forward to pacify his coalition members with a diplomatic statement that would reaffirm the DAP’s role in the coalition government.

If the DAP is going to place itself in such a continual dilemma, it will end up as a second version of the MCA, since Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and PKR would be more interested in mollifying Umno than taking the DAP’s views seriously.

Today, the nation is in dire need of real parliamentarians and state assembly members of conscience to address real issues that affect the nation, such as ethnic polarisation, the high cost of living, poor local government services, the poor quality of education, poverty, endemic corruption, institutional biases and environmental degradation.

READ MORE:  Nothing wrong with DAP holding federal positions while being in opposition in Sarawak

Unfortunately, all these issues are seen from a communal lens, leading the nation into a regressive state – which has great implications for the wellbeing of future generations in this country.

The DAP’s silence and complicity in denying equal allocations for opposition MPs and state assembly members in Penang also shows it is no different from other opportunistic political parties in the country.

If the DAP is wise enough, it will review its behaviour and its role in Pakatan Harapan before the next general election.

However, if the situation remains, it should choose to work with parties with progressive voices, minus PKR and Umno of course.

Authentic reformation of government should come from the bottom up and engage the people, not from the elitism that characterises the mainstream political parties in the country.

The DAP has to address its elitism if it wants to obtain the support of the people in the long run.

Being a principled party is more important than being in a coalition that muzzles conscientious voices in the name of irrational sensitivity. – Malaysiakini

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

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Phua Kai Lit
Phua Kai Lit
12 Jan 2024 8.55am

I urge the DAP leaders to read a biography of Clement Attlee (eg the one by John Bew) and be inspired by him and the great things he did for British society.

Phua Kai Lit
Phua Kai Lit
12 Jan 2024 8.52am

I believe we can learn a lot from the history of the British Labour Party, especially from its founding in 1900 to its inspiring record under Prime Minister Clement Attlee from 1945 to 1951. Labour Party was demonised and feared by the British middle class at first (like DAP demonised and feared by the conservative, rural masses in West Malaysia today). Labour Party in coalition govt during WW2 proved itself. DAP in coalition govt today should also do its best to prove itself and continue to do its best to build a Welfare State that will benefit all Malaysians.

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