DAP infighting due to polls candidacy and rewards

What all this means is that the continuing rivalries between Karpal and Dr Ramasamy; and also Nga and Kulasegaran have become unsolvable and is affecting the party grassroots. Eventually, it will impact on the party’s performance in the general election.


DAP, which did well in the 2008 general election and was erstwhile the most united and strong component compared to the defection-hit PKR and PAS with its own detractors, is showing signs of fraying at the sides as the next election approaches.

Its adviser Lim Kit Siang tweeted on Saturday, warning party leaders to settle their quarrels among themselves using party channels and not go to mainstream media and fall prey to their manipulation.

But both the mainstream and online media went to town reporting the fallout between leaders in the DAP, which is mainly a competition over who is to contest what seat in the coming general election.

The “warlord-godfather” row between Dr P. Ramasamy and national chairman Karpal Singh was reignited after Karpal’s call for Dr Ramasamy, a parachute candidate in 2008, to resign as Penang Deputy Chief Minister II.

In a sign that things have come to a head between the two giants, Karpal announced that Dr Ramasamy’s position as Deputy Chief Minister is no longer tenable because he had gone against a directive to shut up over the “warlord-godfather” issue.

Karpal accused Dr Ramasamy of going against the recommendations of a three-man committee that was set up to settle the issue a fortnight ago, by giving an interview to The Star on Thursday alleging a grand design in the party to oust him.

Dr Ramasamy also alleged that party members had bugged him for favours which he had refused, thus incurring their wrath.

Karpal wanted Dr Ramasamy to lodge a report with the MACC and also reveal the members, if there were any.

In Ipoh, former Perak DAP deputy chairman M. Kulasegaran called for a press conference and, while talking about how DAP leaders had to declare their assets, also asked his arch rival Taiping MP Nga Kor Ming, who had defeated him and his camp in the state DAP elections in November last year, to come clean on allegations that a contract for suits for Ipoh councillors was awarded to a company in which his wife is a director.

Kulasegaran said that “business and politics” should not mix.

“One should not make money from politics. In the party’s best interest Nga should clear the air over the matter.”

It is alleged that the contract was given to the highest bidder just weeks after Pakatan Rakyat took power in Perak but it lost the state a year later through defections.

The company was formed in the first blush of Pakatan leaders taking power and although Nga has threatened to sue, he does not deny that the company, in which his wife is director, got the contract.

He is a subject of some controversy as he had been at loggerheads with not only Kulasegaran but also with Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir for calling him “metallic black” for which he apologised.

He also called Perak “Darul Kartun” and is getting flak for it.

What all this means is that the continuing rivalries between Karpal and Dr Ramasamy; and also Nga and Kulasegaran have become unsolvable and is affecting the party grassroots. Eventually, it will impact on the party’s performance in the general election.

In Perak, rivals to Kulasegaran former state assembly Speaker V. Sivakumar supported by his ally Buntong assemblyman S. Sivasubramaniam are already campaigning for Kulasagaran’s Ipoh Barat seat.

It is said that Nga had already promised it to Sivakumar and if that is the case, Kulasegaran would have to move out or drop out altogether. Yet another Perak leader, Batu Gajah MP Fong Po Kuan, had been removed from all party functions as a result of a clash with Nga.

It is unclear whether she will be a candidate in Perak.

All this is causing an all-out rivalry in Perak between the Nga faction and the Kulasegaran camp. And as recent history has shown, when the DAP factions fight, they perform poorly in the general election.

In Penang, great stress is showing up between Karpal and Dr Ramasamy with the party grassroots in the state almost entirely supporting Karpal in his war against Dr Ramasamy.

Those ex-MIC and new people who had been attached to Dr Ramasamy after he almost overnight became the Batu Kawan MP, Prai assemblyman and Deputy Chief Minister II in one go, are about the only people in the DAP backing him in his feud with Karpal.

While Dr Ramasamy is weak in the DAP, he enjoys better standing in the Indian community where he is seen as a university professor who took to Opposition politics and made it good in the 2008 polls.

He gets support in the feud from Indian NGOs, ex-Hindraf people and also some ex-Makkal Sakti individuals who lost in the leadership tussle of the party to R. S. Thanenthiran, the current president.

Their feud has ramifications far beyond the squabble over terminology and if Dr Ramasamy is pushed, as Karpal seems to be doing, he might even quit the party, a potential disaster for the DAP with a general election around the corner. At the very least, he might have to give up his Prai state seat and the coveted Deputy Chief Minister’s post and just contest the Batu Kawan parliamentary seat.

He has told a close confidant that he is ready to face any eventuality.

The DAP, thought to be the strongest party in the Pakatan, is showing dangerous in-fighting that could impact negatively on its general election performance.