By TK Chua
Four DAP representatives – one MP and three assemblymen – quit the party recently. The episode has generated much discussion and doubts have arisen among supporters, adversaries and ordinary voters about the stability of the party. What has happened to the party? It is unprecedented to say the least.
I do not have all the facts in hand, so I write based on common sense and observations and could be wrong in my assumptions.
I don’t think these representatives were enticed to leave DAP by an external source. I don’t think Barisan Nasional or any other political party is interested in them right now. I don’t think their departure will make a significant difference in the Dewan Rakyat or Malacca State Assembly or create a dent in DAP’s “traditional” support.
So why did they quit? I think it is more because of their personal frustration and disappointment rather than their intent to throw a spanner in the works for the DAP.
Whether we like it or not, some DAP leaders are more capable and dynamic than others, especially the younger and more educated ones. Some have formed the inner core, leaving many minor leaders at the periphery.
I think feelings of jealousy and being sidelined are real among older party comrades who struggled for many years earlier without much success. The more recent ones have benefited from being elected and appointed to positions in state governments very quickly. I could easily name many who were nominated by the party to stand in winnable seats even though they were still wet behind the ears.
DAP is a party with limited resources. The party has little goodies and positions to dish out especially in BN-held states. Be that as it may, it is not realistic to expect politicians to struggle for nothing. At some point they need recognition, rewards and positions.
I think the elite core of DAP has become smug. They think the party’s idealism and struggle are sufficient to galvanise support among the rank and file in the party.
Well, in any party, there are grassroots leaders, organisers, motivators, and minor leaders who need recognition, support, rewards and nurturing.
Is the party inclusive and generous enough to spread the little goodies they have, around? There must be humility in consultation with minor leaders even if their ideas are eventually rejected.
While I am not advocating corruption, recognition and appreciation for the work done by others is important.
Sometimes we cannot see our own prejudices and smugness. I am not comfortable with the committee formed to look into the problems in Malacca DAP. Why appoint people like Teresa Kok, Anthony Loke and Liew Chin Tong when people like Dr Boo Cheng Hau, Datuk Teng Chang Khim and M Kulasegaran would have been more suitable given the circumstances?
You see, winners must not take all, and losers must not lose all. Sometimes to win is to lose a little. I guess some politicians are too smart for their own good.
TK Chua is an FMT reader.
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