Truce bid fails and DAP war worsens

(The Star) – Attempts to broker a truce between DAP chairman Karpal Singh and Penang Deputy Chief Minister II Dr P. Ramasamy have broken down with both sides openly attacking each other now.

Both factions traded insults while some 150 supporters of Dr Ramasamy demonstrated against Karpal, calling him a “pensioner” while the former stood by his “godfather” remark.

Karpal retaliated immediately, warning Dr Ramasamy to behave and snubbed him by asking aloud “who is Ramasamy?”

The quarrel between the duo at the annual Penang DAP convention held at a hotel here yesterday shocked DAP leaders in attendance as many had presumed that the issue would be handled delicately, especially after DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang’s 11th hour intervention on Saturday to strike a compromise.

His efforts came to nothing when one group went ahead to stage a protest outside the venue while Karpal lambasted Dr Ramasamy in his address.

On the sidelines, Dr Ramasamy was unrepentant when asked whether he would withdraw his “godfather” remark which was first reported in a Tamil newspaper.

“I do not understand the meaning of that word (apologise). I am not intimidated,” he said.

In his speech later, he sounded conciliatory by stating that he was willing to leave the DAP: “I will go home to Sitiawan (Perak) to (regroup).”

He said that he would do so as his pride was at stake.

Opening the convention earlier, Karpal demanded that Dr Ramasamy retract his “godfather” remark and apologise.

“Who built DAP?” the Bukit Gelugor MP drummed across the hall. “It is the veterans who built the party and we should not forget their sacrifices. The party would not be around without their sacrifices. I do not mince my words.”

Karpal said Dr Ramasamy “cannot just join DAP and impose things his own way.”

No one can be a warlord in DAP, Karpal stressed.

At one juncture, Karpal was disrupted by a war of words among members who had to be calmed down.

The uproar affected the convention as 10 out of the 13 speakers addressed the flare-up between the duo.

At the end, Dr Ramasamy walked over to the wheelchair-bound Karpal to shake his hands but the latter was seen turning away his face.