Lim Guan Eng Plays DAP’s “Tough Guy”

Lim Guang Eng

(The Choice) - There is no polite way to say this but it has to be stated for the record: Lim Guan Eng doesn’t frighten anyone. Not small children, not cute furry animals and certainly not Karpal Singh and Dr P Ramasamy.

This is why when he sought to rebuke the duo following the latest chapter in their long-running spat he didn’t even try to get them to call off their feud, he merely (or meekly) asked them to keep it within the party.

Guan Eng’s plea came a day after Karpal held a press conference in which again blasted his own party over the disciplinary process that last week cleared his arch-rival Ramasamy of any wrong-doing.

To be fair to Guan Eng, he is in an impossible position. As party Secretary-General he is outranked by National Chairman Karpal which makes his decision to enter the fray noble but doomed from the outset. There is quite simply no-one in DAP capable of stopping the runaway train that is Karpal Singh.

This seems to be an endemic problem within DAP. It likes to present itself as a party of intellectuals but none of them fits the bill of an old-fashioned party room bruiser – the tough but essential person who can bang heads together when need be.

This is a huge chink in DAP’s political armour. Politics is not just about assembling and best and brightest and making clever policies (or a manifesto if Pakatan had one, which it doesn’t). Politics, and in particular government is also about controlling egos, present a united front and speaking with one voice. DAP can’t even do any of those things in opposition which is the easy part.

The reason Guan Eng is asking Ramasamy and Karpal to keep their spat within the party is because he admits the very public nature of the dispute gives “our opponents many opportunities to take advantage (of the situation) and create a lot of misinterpretation.”

Don’t worry Guan Eng, there is no misinterpretation required. Your opponents will without fail use your divisions as a stick with which to beat you.

The most optimistic members of Pakatan Rakyat will try to wave away DAP’s divisions by pointing out that all parties have their personality clashes. But as The Choice has already mentioned the coming election is the time for the parties to present themselves as the alternative government and it brings to mind the defining question: If you can’t govern yourselves how can you be trusted to govern the country?

Guan Eng’s admission that the civil war is damaging the party follows strife-torn PAS’ admission that it is losing Malay support to BN.

Two parties in trouble, two frank admissions that their woes are causing them harm, and one looming election that gives them very little time to get their houses in order.

If Anwar Ibrahim stayed in Malaysia long enough to fully appreciate what was going on within his coalition partners he might even start to get worried about it. He should.