DAP Split Very Real
NOT LIKE FATHER NOT LIKE SON
Lim Guan Eng and his father the DAP elder statesman Lim Kit Siang have been handed an unprecedented opportunity on a silver platter to achieve what they have coveted for so long, were never able to achieve in opposition and unlikely ever to in the future.
The DAP under Lim Kit Siang is recorded as the longest serving opposition party in politics anywhere. Whilst this is arguably the case, it nonetheless is a poor reflection on the man Lim Kit Siang who led the party for most of its existence and who many refer to as “Always the bridesmaid never the bride” for his failure to reach his ultimate objective of leading the nation.
Lim may be too old and too tired (from his recent acts of political desperation) to lead effectively but perhaps not so his son. They, the Lims owe it to their faithful constituency of die hards, long committed to what they see as potential for real change in Malaysia in its multi ethnic make up in a real Chinese partnership with the other races but mainly the Barisan to do something outside the box. Something positive. Something bold. Something original. The old formula clearly has not worked.
Guan Eng, the more urbane and sophisticated of the two Lims has recently been caught up in a corruption scandal. And surprisingly (perhaps under that pressure) Guan Eng appears to have lost that instinctive Chinese quality of survival in making deals and reaching pragmatic compromises with the other side(government) and the real power base of Malaysian politics the Barisan.
RUDDERLESS CHINESE AND POLITICAL VULTURES CIRCLING
With a weakened MCA (Malaysian Chinese Association) weakened largely by the ‘Chinese Tsunami’ of 2013, the only effective and truly representative voice of the Chinese communities in Malaysia, like it or not, is the DAP. The generational gap between father and son is beginning to show inspite of the veneer of unity and all things Chinese. Nowhere is this gap and difference in ideology more stark than in what occurred at the recently held International Malaysian Law Conference 2016.
Ambiga Srinivasan’s highly partisan chairing of the event and questions about her embedding herself with Dr. Mahathir Mohamed the father of her long time friend Marina Mahathir, one time nemesis and the life long demon of the opposition arose during a session at the International Malaysian Law Conference 2016. It was the exchange between the politically unstable and opportunistic Ambiga and the pragmatic and more consistent Guan Eng that got tongues wagging and analysts working overtime to re write the epitaph on the so called “Pakatan”.
Walt Disney once said of chances and opportunities. In it is a valuable lesson for people like Guan Eng.
“ We are not trying to entertain the critics. I’ll take my chances with the public”.
Guan Eng reportedly questioned Ambiga directly over her support for and collaboration with Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamed and his new political party. He is quoted as having said to her:
“ You are working with Dr. Mahathir. Why are you doing this? Are you forgiving him for what he has done? (to Malaysia)”.
Ambiga who was moderator at the conference reportedly responded with the following that even Guan Eng’s father (Lim Kit Siang) was willing to work with Dr. Mahathir as justification for her working with Dr. Mahathir.
That exchange between Ambiga and Guan Eng went on further. Thee details of that exchange are not necessary to repeat in detail here. It has been widely quoted already elsewhere What it revealed though is a split (not just ideological) between the Mahathir pretenders, followers and other opportunists (Ambiga, PKR and Co) but also between Guan Eng and his father and within the DAP. As denials come hard and fast the leaks from within the DAP are hard to plug.
There is indeed angst amongst many DAP stalwarts and supporters from the younger generation of the party who feel that Ambiga is a snake in the grass, an unreliable unprincipled and self serving individual and a stalking horse for the Mahathir camp. The fear does not end with the Mahathir camps involvement. Ambiga is known to be beholden to outside forces supported by the Americans, French and other Europeans seeking to contain China via south east Asia, destabilizing it in the process. The Chinese in Malaysia and south east Asia do not want a part of it, especially considering China’s ability to strike back at lackeys in the neighbourhood.
ENTER THE DEVIL
The Chinese would prefer stability and the opportunity to prosper financially. Even if that means sleeping with the enemy the BN
A political analyst of Chinese Malaysian descent who spoke on condition of anonymity told us that ‘Ambga’s highly suspect relationship with Marina Mahathir, Dr. Mahathir’s daughter never sat easy with most Chinese supporters of the opposition coalition especially the DAP. Whilst the rest of nation was debating and analyzing angrily Dr. Mahathir’s mismanagement and ‘reign of terror’ of Malaysia for over 2 decades, Ambiga Srinivasan was at the helm of and the driving force behind everything anti Mahathir. It simply did not make sense to us. It does now’ he said.
Ambiga by other sources is alleged to have passed on critical classified information to her handlers abroad on Dr. Mahathir’s many questionable commercial deals where state money and guarantees were procured without parliamentary approval to support the business interests of his family and friends. It was done without Marina’s direct knowledge at first.
GUAN ENG’S POLITICAL GONADS-ITS NOW OR NEVER
Guan being the more practical of the two Lim’s appears to have found his political sea legs sans his father and the Ambiga opportunists it now appears. He seems to have taken a stronger more decisive position with respect to the destructive and clearly rudderless Mahathir coalition and Ambiga’s attempts to involve the DAP in that coalition. Guan Eng wants nothing of it although Kit Sang sees it differently according to party insiders and observers.
Guan Eng remains strong and steadfast as to what outcomes he wants for the mainly Chinese DAP and the opposition in general. But his inability to count his blessings, to seize the moment and to make for the open road by re positioning himself and his constituents with the BN, not as a substitute for the MCA but as a strategic ally raises questions of how much longer he can hold his own.
The BN do not necessarily gain from a DAP in their midst. It is the other way round. And the door may well be open to the DAP for a short while. They will share and share with those they can gain from. The mainly Chinese DAP. And there are fruits of an alliance to be had.
If Guan Eng does deals with the BN now, the Chinese will undoubtedly win. If he does not any moves in future will be seen to be an act of desperation and not one of strength. Guan Eng and the DAP under him are now in a position to secure a strategic position and advantage within government and to extract many real advantages for a strong community (the Chinese) who are now without the political clout they once enjoyed and are rudderless with the Mahathirs and Ambigas within their domain.
Guan Eng must understand now and before it is too late that you can only negotiate from a position of strength. If he lets this opportunity go, he will join his father in the opposition benches forever having missed the opportunity to turn around the fortunes of not just the Chinese but also the country through them.
Perhaps there was an always will only be one Tan Siew Sin in Malaysia’s Chinese community and its history. The rest as they say are a flash in the pan.