PETALING JAYA: DAP has chosen safe and non-controversial candidates for the Penang state election and this will endear them to the Malays, says an analyst.
Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid said personalities such as P Ramasamy would likely cost Pakatan Harapan the Malay votes, because of the perception from his occasional controversial remarks.
“Ramasamy is seen as a divisive figure. If he and other (controversial candidates) were in the lineup, it would be a hindrance in getting the Malays to vote for PH and Barisan Nasional.
“By avoiding controversial figures, DAP secretary-general Loke Siew Fook is trying to maximise the votes for the unity government,” he said.
Fauzi said the lineup of old and new, including caretaker chief minister Chow Kon Yeow and Lim Guan Eng, was good, with the elders in the party mentoring the others.
Oh Ei Sun of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs said DAP remained a household name in Penang and would likely retain all its 19 seats in the polls.
He said it was typical of DAP to replace old-timers, especially if they were not senior party leaders.
“DAP is a pragmatic party. It places candidates it thinks are qualified.
“They seem to work well with PKR and Umno. MCA boycotts and even continues to attack them, but to infinitesimal effect,” he said.
“It would be interesting to see the dynamics between Chow and Lim beyond the state election, with Lim seemingly restless in not having a government position at either federal or state level.”
James Chin of the University of Tasmania said DAP did well in ridding itself of old-timers and paving the way for younger candidates, who form nearly half of its lineup.
However, he said the candidates could still be changed on nomination day, a typical move by Malaysian political parties.
Chin said that on the leadership front, Chow had not made major blunders in the past five years and had the backing of the business community.
“No political parties can afford to offend the ‘towkay’ communities,” he said.
On Tuesday, DAP named seven new candidates for Penang, replacing five executive councillors and two backbenchers.
Those dropped mostly took the news well, but a few were upset with the decision. One was vocal in his displeasure, saying the party had followed the wishes of an individual, not those of the state DAP committee.