Multiracial claim by DAP ‘just a gimmick’

Ex-DAP man says its Malaysian Malaysia concept does not promote true integration

(NST) – A MAJORITY of the  Malays  in the Barisan Nasional strongholds of Kepala Batas, Tasek Gelugor and Bayan Lepas agree that DAP had an upper hand to retain Penang, but pointed out that party had not been able to convince voters of its purported multiracial credentials.

This was revealed late last year by independent research company Ilham Centre in its survey involving 720 respondents on the perception of Malay voters on the DAP-led state government.

Abu Zahar Abu Bakar, 71, belongs to the group that had attempted to inject Malay character into DAP. An ally of the late Ahmad Nor, the DAP vice-president who died in 2003, Abu Zahar followed Ahmad to join DAP in 1986.

Ahmad had been the president of Socialist Democratic Party, with Abu Zahar as deputy secretary-general.

Ahmad, a former president of Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Private Services (Cuepacs), was appointed vice-chairman of DAP. He won the Bayan Baru parliamentary seat in the 1990 general election on a DAP ticket.

Then, the fairytale soured. Ahmad gained the highest number of votes in the central working committee elections, even edging out stalwarts such as party chairman Dr Chen Man Hin, who earlier failed to defend his Seremban parliamentary seat.

However, Ahmad and his supporters were disappointed when Dr Chen was re-elected as party chairman.

(Similarly, in 2010, although M. Kulasegaran won the highest number of votes in Perak DAP elections, he was not made the chairman. The state party retained Ngeh Koo Ham as the Perak chief instead.)

“As a friend, I knew that Ahmad had the potential to fulfil the party’s multiracial aspiration, but the CWC’s move was a clear indication that it (a multiracial party) was nothing more than a gimmick,” Abu Zahar told the New Straits Times in an interview this week.

Therefore, he said, it was hardly surprising that recently resigned DAP vice-chairman, Tunku Abdul Aziz Tunku Ibrahim, conceded that he had failed to recruit Malays into DAP.

“All these years, DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang has been championing his ‘Malaysian Malaysia’ concept but we all know that the party is determined in defending the vernacular schools, which is the biggest irony to his struggle.

“Can we achieve true integration through the Malaysian Malaysia concept when we still have Chinese and Tamil vernacular schools?”

In another twist, the Ilham Centre survey also revealed that the Malay respondents had reservations about the BN leaders in the state.

Abu Zahar said: “The state party leaders and government machinery must prove to the grassroots that they are serious about living up to the transformation agenda of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.”