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Kulasegaran’s exit causes concern

 | March 26, 2013

Perak DAP members are pinning for the return of their unsung hero Kulasegaran to once again be their vocal voice but the party veteran might not return.

TAIPING: The departure of DAP veteran leader M Kulasegaran from Perak to Johor has cast doubts on the bargaining and political clout of the 20% Indian members in the state party.

Some Indian party leaders have expressed fear that their political voice may not be heard in DAP as their “Indian Godfather” moves his base to Johor.

Kulasegaran was instrumental in ensuring that the voice of Indian members was heard in the silver state after the 2008 political tsunami.

According to a DAP source, it was Kulasegaran who brought in Teluk Intan MP M Manogaran, Sungkai assemblyperson A Sivanesan, Tronoh and Buntong lawmakers V Sivakumar and A Sivasubramaniam respectively, into the Perak political arena.

The source said Kulasegaran, who is close to party superemo Lim Kit Siang, ensured that an executive post be given to Sivanesan and that the state speaker post goes to Sivakumar by the newly minted Pakatan Perak state government in 2008.

Kulasegaran also advocated that the post of Ipoh City mayor should be given to an Indian but it failed to materialise.

The Ipoh Barat MP also ensured that Indian representation in the DAP silver state had at least a minimum of two parliamentarians and four state lawmakers.

One party leader even opined that the Ipoh Barat MP might come back to Perak to defend his seat as Kulasegaran only wanted to challenge Segamat incumbent cum MIC deputy chief Dr S Subramaniam in Johor.

However, with the PKR Gelang Patah parliamentary seat given to Kit Siang and in the exchange the DAP Segamat seat was instead given to Johor PKR chief Chua Jui Meng.

Perak DAP members are pinning for the return of their unsung hero Kulasegaran to once again be their vocal voice but the party veteran might not return as the bad political experience of Perak still remains in his mind.

Team A vs Team B

It was smooth sailing between Kulasegaran and party secretary Nga Kor Ming before the 2008 general election as they were united in their political standing.

But after the win of the silver state, cracks appeared in the friendship which saw DAP being divided into two camps with Nga and Ngeh Koo Ham in Team A and Kulasegaran in Team B.

What was disheartening to Kulasegaran was that two of the three Sivas (Sivanesan, Siva Kumar and Sivasubramaniam) that he had groomed had betrayed him and crossed over to Team A.

Both these two DAP leaders’ argument for switching camps was that they had to support the stronger team for their own political survival.

The internal political struggle ended when Team A took control in the state party election in which most of Kulasegaran’s supporters were wiped out and were sidelined in the process.

Kit Siang had tried his best to patch up the simmering feud between the two groups but failed.

The silent internal party war continued, with most of Kulasegaran’s supporters being sidelined as candidates for the 13 general election.

The outspoken Batu Gajah MP Fong Po Kuan and Kulasegaran decided to move from Perak to Johor and start a fresh political frontier.

According to a DAP source, the alleged victimisation continued with even a question mark hanging over the political life of Sivanesan who had stood neutral in the party’s civil war.

Another casualty in this party war is Kulasegaran’s supporter, Jalong assemblyperson Leong Mee Meng, who is from Pahang and is being persuaded to return to her home state as the party leadership has prepared another candidate to replace her.

Kulasegaran’s seniority and the good support that he received from the party central executive committee had managed to weather the political crisis in the state but his fellow supporters may have their political careers cut short.

However, many of Kulasegaran’s supporters are optimistic in saying that the preliminary candidate list by the state leadership is not the end of their political careers as the list has to be first vetted and approved by the party’s executive central committee.

Many DAP members are worried that with Kulasegaran’s departure, there might be a decrease in power of Indian representation in Perak if Pakatan takes the state in the coming polls.

One Indian member asked: “Will the two (parliamentary) plus four (state seats) ratio be maintained after his departure?”


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