DAP is part of the government, so act like it

Dear DAP, you are the Democratic Action Party. You were established on Oct 11, 1965, when some leaders broke away from the PAP. Your two founding members at that time were Devan Nair and Dr Chen Man Hin. The name of the party itself says a lot about the political direction you would take i.e to fight for democracy for the various people of this land.

In your journey as a political force, you came to be seen as an alternative to the MCA, whether by fate or design. You played your role as an opposition party to the hilt and in doing so, you ate into the support the MCA enjoyed from the Chinese community. You obliterated them at GE14 and left them with just one miserable seat.

You are now part of the government. You can no longer be at loggerheads with the government no matter how much you want to oppose certain policies now being implemented by the government. Like it or not, you have a duty to repay the faith that people have in you when they entrusted you with their votes.

Where you were once perceived to be the voice of the Chinese community at large, you now have to think of the nation as a whole.

Take Nga Kor Ming’s threat over the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) for example. He said DAP will not hesitate to forgo being in government if the examination was not recognised.

But what about the other promises made? Is quitting the government over one failed promise a fair thing to do? In the same interview, Nga lamented the fact that Pakatan Harapan was not given credit by the Chinese community for instituting new government funding schemes for Chinese schools.

What about PKR or Amanah? Would it be fair to them? Don’t you think as a partner in a coalition it is rather undemocratic and arrogant to threaten to quit over one issue?

How about the others who voted for you for reasons apart from UEC?

Your focus appears to be single-minded, fearful perhaps of how the tables might turn against you as the MCA gains their lost support. Maybe you feel you are not being vocal enough and you are losing both steam and visibility as far as the Chinese community is concerned. Hence your sometimes chauvinistic statements.

But as openly stated by Lim Kit Siang, the supremo of the DAP and the last of his breed amongst his contemporaries, it is a long road ahead for Pakatan Harapan to restore trust. I think Kit Siang knows that the road is just as long and winding for the DAP in its effort to regain the trust of your supporters.

Where you were once the hunters, you have now become the hunted. Where you once branded the MCA as toothless tigers, the same sentiments are being openly expressed about you.

Perhaps it is all about political survival and the course you have taken.

Either way, you are in a Catch-22 situation and I think your leadership is aware of this.

There is a Chinese saying that you must never point your fingers at someone because there are three other fingers pointed back at you. If until now this saying had only been used figuratively, then it is very plausible that the DAP of today could be gone by tomorrow. That is something that will be known some 36 months from now. The clock, meanwhile, is ticking.

Clement Stanley is an FMT reader.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.