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Don’t see DAP congress with Umno mindset

 | December 21, 2012

The recent DAP polls showed that Malays in the party must earn their keep and keep their peace.

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A total of eight Malay candidates contested for places in DAP’s central executive committee (CEC) last week. But no Malay candidates won any place.

Also, more Indians offered themselves in the contest but only M Kulasegaran got in.

I don’t hear them grumbling or getting gruffy. Perhaps the Malay DAP members must learn from them a thing or two.

Why didn’t any of the Malays get selected? Perhaps it’s the fault of the candidates and the delegates and also the DAP leadership.

But first let’s set aside one issue – viewing the results with an Umno mindset.

The worse thing any Malay DAP member or leader can do is to read what has just happened at the 16th DAP national congress with an Umno mindset.

And what is this Umno mindset? The Umno mindset is that you deserve to get something just because you are Umno.

Umno is built on the idea that you can get ahead by cutting corners, leveraging politics, exploiting inherited status and so forth.

But the world does not operate on these terms. The world moves on, driven by people’s abilities and on what they can contribute.

And this is typically NOT the Umno mindset.

DAP leadership’s weakness

In DAP, recognition, respect and appreciation must be earned irrespective of creed and stature.

All of us, not only Malays, must now begin to think if we have not already done so, that we move on in life being assessed by:

  • what we can do rather than who we are. That would depend on our abilities, resolve and single-mindedness; and
  • the belief that anyone and not just specific persons with specific surnames can do specific jobs. Today, it’s Lim Guan Eng who is the secretary-general. In a few years, it may be another person with a another surname, judged by his peers as having the qualities and abilities to do the job.

The DAP leadership has not abandoned its agenda for “inclusiveness”.

But what the results did reveal is that it has some weaknesses in translating this agenda into practice.

It showed that the leadership hasn’t done enough to educate the delegates and DAP members of the importance of inclusiveness.

I was at the congress and I listened to Lim’s matter-of-fact speech. There was no histrionics or banshee-like screaming.

But I thought there was a little misreading of the delegate’s mood. The majority of the delegates have been conditioned over the years by the baneful influence of race-centric thinking.

They are not accustomed to adjusting their thinking after years of being perceived as Chinese chauvinists.

If this mood was read correctly, maybe Lim could have applied some moderating influence by mentioning that he would like the delegates to reflect the party’s multiracial agenda in their voting.

The writer is a former Umno state assemblyman but has now joined DAP. He is a FMT columnist.


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