The ensuing Karpal-Ramasamy feud: A weaker DAP in GE13
Ramasamy, however, is highly regarded in the Indian community and is seen as a savior of the community which has been abused and exploited by Samy Vellu and MIC and humiliated and insulted by UMNO over many decades. DAP’s leadership cannot afford to ignore Ramasamy’s prominent standing in the Indian community even though he may not have widespread support in DAP itself.
The Karpal-Ramasamy feud does not appear to end. In the latest development, Karpal has asked Ramasamy to quit as DCM II. Ramasamy has been accused of unacceptable behavior and talking too much. There is no question that Ramasamy needs to resolve issues internally, talk less and keep away from the media. If only Karpal, as the veteran politician and chairman of DAP, also thought a little before talking, his differences with Ramasamy would not have become this ugly open feud, a gift from DAP to UMNO/BN to attack DAP and Pakatan in GE13.
Karpal has escalated matters recently by asking for Ramasamy to be sacked as DCM II. The feud between these two DAP politicians is getting uglier every day. The Karpal-Ramasamy feud has the potential to damage DAP so badly, if it has not done so already, that DAP is unlikely even to come close to its GE12 feat in GE13. What is important is DAP, and not Karpal or Ramasamy. What is critical for the nation is a Pakatan Rakyat win in GE13, and DAP needs to play its part properly and not jeopardize this critical mission necessary to save Malaysia from impending collapse under UMNO/BN.
Karpal has the overwhelming support of the DAP grassroots, especially in Penang. He is a veteran politician, a Penangite who has been with the party since the 1970s and who has carefully nurtured the support of the grassroots. Ramasamy is no match for Karpal in the world of politics and does not hold the sway that Karpal has in DAP. Ramasamy, however, is highly regarded in the Indian community and is seen as a savior of the community which has been abused and exploited by Samy Vellu and MIC and humiliated and insulted by UMNO over many decades. DAP’s leadership cannot afford to ignore Ramasamy’s prominent standing in the Indian community even though he may not have widespread support in DAP itself.
If Ramasamy is removed from his post as DCM II, as Karpal is demanding, the DAP is likely to lose substantial Indian votes not only in Penang but also across West Malaysia. The DAP and Pakatan cannot afford to lose Indian votes as their votes will determine the winner in various DAP and even Pakatan seats and other urban/semi-urban seats in West Malaysia.
Knowing that Indian support will determine the outcome in many marginal seats in West Malaysia, Najib has been carefully nurturing (bribing?) the Indians since assuming power. Support for him from the Indians has been growing, and even his “Malay-first, Malaysian-second” deputy and other ultra-UMNOputras have been more sensitive to the Indians lately.
Najib has given up on the Chinese, knowing that they are firmly committed to DAP and a Pakatan Rakyat goverment after GE13. With the support of a majority of the Malays and a substantial proportion of the Indians, Najib hopes to win back many of the seats UMNO/BN lost in GE12. Given that the Indians have the potential to determine the outcome of many of the marginal seats in GE13, the DAP can ill-afford to sack Ramasamy from his post as DCM II. That would be stupidity at this juncture for DAP as it will drive away substantial crucial votes from the Indians who are already warming up to the ringgits, gifts and sweet promises from UMNO and MIC.
Though DAP’s support comes mostly from the Chinese, the party has managed to make itself visibly more multi-racial after GE12 through the presence of Indian Wakil Rakyats and ADUNS such as Ramasamy. The party has also been making progress, though slow, in attracting Malays. The party needs to continue this effort in line with Pakatan Rakyat’s noble agenda for all Malaysians regardless of race. Loss of Indian support, as a consequence of Ramasamy’s sacking as DCM II, will thwart its multi-racial agenda and make UMNO’s accusation a reality, that DAP is a Chinese chauvinist party.
The majority of Chinese and other Malaysians who are disgusted with UMNO/BN will vote for DAP in GE13 regardless of the candidate. They will, in general, vote for DAP regardless of the background or race of the candidate. There are few DAP candidates, except Lim Guan Eng and perhaps Lim Kit Siang, who can win a seat on his own merit and not because of the DAP banner.
Karpal commands significant support in Penang DAP but he still does not command the kind of support required to win a seat on his own merit. Though Ramasamy can only win in GE13 if he stands under the DAP banner, the irony is that the DAP needs him to retain the support of the Indian community to win in many of the marginal constituencies.
If Ramasamy is not in DAP’s line-up for GE13, other DAP candidates, including Karpal, are likely to lose substantial Indian votes and may end up as losers in GE13. It is therefore in the interest of both Karpal and Ramasamy, and certainly in the interest of DAP and Pakatan Rakyat, that these two politicians set aside their differences and cooperate for a strong DAP and Pakatan Rakyat win.
The DAP leadership needs to act wisely and strategically if they hope to at least repeat their GE12 feat. Otherwise the dream of all decent Malaysians – the eviction of UMNO/BN from Putrajaya and the installation of a just and clean Pakatan Rakyat federal government – will remain a dream after GE13 as Pakatan Rakyat cannot win with a weaker DAP, the consequence of the ensuing Karpal-Ramasamy feud.