By T K Chua
Recently, there were talks about DAP changing its ways. The party was alleged to be infiltrated by “capitalist roaders” and gradually taken over by Chinese-speaking “Ah Bengs” and “Ah Lians”.
I am not sure whether the claim is true. But it is time to remind DAP, particularly its younger members, about the principles the party is founded on and upon which the people have placed their hopes and trust. I think these reminders are applicable to all political parties harbouring ambitions of governing this country someday.
The party must continue to hold on to democratic socialism with pragmatism. The party must always be run by professionals rather than businessmen, protect public interests before profits, and promote growth with explicit distribution and welfare considerations.
The capitalist class and the bourgeoisie are more than capable of protecting and taking care of their own interests. It is really a crap philosophy that businessmen must be excessively incentivised under the pretext of generating growth and creating jobs for the economy.
I say let’s do it differently from now– set the rules and regulations fair and square and keep the major policies on an even keel. I am sure the economy will attract investments and create jobs based on its own momentum. More often than not, state incentives to businessmen have resulted in “state capture” and moral hazard risks that exploit workers, violate environment protection, and give the business class unfettered profits.
Political parties and governments must be run by professionals, not businessmen. Pay the politicians well, but don’t ever let them do business. Is this not the model that is so successfully applied in Singapore?
Other than sovereign funds and some strategic industries/investments, the government has no business in getting involved in business. Again, moral hazard risks are just too high. Politicians are ipso facto not lousy businessmen. But doing business using other people’s money is bound to fail, with no exception, I must say.
On the second point, I think DAP must make a conscious effort to prevent chauvinism and parochialism from creeping into the party, notwithstanding what and how other political parties in Malaysia are doing in this regard. Any form of chauvinism is bad, including Chinese “superiority chauvinism” which is quite prevalent if we care to be discerning enough.
Not long ago, I watched a video depicting a debate within Dapsy. I think the chairperson was most immature and amateurish, in addition to her inability to converse in both English and Malay well.
It does not matter that the majority of DAP’s members are Chinese. If DAP wishes to show multiracialism and inclusiveness, the members must speak Malay and English in all official meetings. Here again, I urge the party to look to PAP for inspiration. The PAP fought the Chinese chauvinists tooth and nail and rightly so.
T K Chua is an FMT reader.
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