PETALING JAYA: The brouhaha over DAP stronghold Klang is just a move by a faction in the party to test the water for their man, according to party insiders who support Charles Santiago, the current MP for the constituency.
One of the sources told FMT that members of the faction were supporters of Ean Yong Hian Wah and they saw the Klang seat as a sure win for DAP.
On Tuesday, a news report quoted an unnamed source as saying Selangor DAP might replace Santiago in the next general election with Ean Yong, the Seri Kembangan assemblyman.
The report said Santiago would be offered a state seat in return. It claimed that 28 of the 42 branches in Selangor backed Ean Yong as replacement for Santiago.
Santiago has been increasing his majority in Klang in the three general elections since 2008. He won with a majority of 17,701 in 2008, 24,685 in 2013 and 78,773 in 2018.
“Santiago is always on the ground meeting the people,” said the insider. “He is known as the people’s man in the constituency as he constantly engages them. He has the support of all races.”
On Wednesday, reacting to the report about his replacement, Santiago said he had no plans to move from Klang and was focusing on the impending flood season rather than wasting energy commenting on the story.
Another insider said Ean Yong was eyeing the constituency to make it easier for him to win a seat. “Ean Yong was a two-term exco member in Selangor, but his track record has not been exemplary,” he said.
Ean Yong has apparently been meeting community and business leaders in Klang to gauge their views and possibly convey his desire to stand in the constituency. These groups play an important role in the outcome of an election.
“I was told most of these leaders have told Ean Yong they are comfortable with Santiago as he is not a populist like most other politicians,” the insider said.
He also said he suspected Ean Yong’s men “planted” the story in the media to gauge the reaction of the electorate and the DAP leadership.
Another source said the reaction on social media would be enough to prompt the DAP leadership to “stop rocking the boat in Klang”.
“For obvious reasons, some are also turning the whole debate into a racial issue,” he said. “This move, which may not have any basis, will be used by rivals to say, ‘I told you so. DAP is a Chinese party’.”
In the 2018 electoral roll, the constituency had about 55% Chinese voters, 26% Malays and 18% Indians.
DAP secretary-general Loke Siew Fook has denied that there is any seat swap plan involving Klang. The party has not finalised its candidates list, he said in a Facebook post.
The report about the move to replace Santiago has resulted in an outpouring of support for the Klang MP from netizens.
Twitter user @sivan82 said he would rather vote for Barisan Nasional if Santigao was replaced with Ean Yong, while @iamjoelee urged DAP to think hard before replacing him.
Another Twitter user, @Feekry4u, said he hoped the report was not true, while @adriantai claimed many Seri Kembangan residents were unhappy with Ean Yong’s performance as an assemblyman and wanted to “just vote MCA” again.