Guan Eng defends CEC appointments

The DAP sec-gen however was coy when asked if the outcome of the party polls would have a bearing in the selection of Malay candidates for the general election.

Leven Woon, FMT

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng today defended the party’s decision to appoint Malay leaders into the centre leadership despite claims that it was merely a window dressing.

At a press conference after the party’s two-day congress, Lim said political rivals were keen to politicise every DAP’s move as political stunts.

“It never becomes an issue for parties that don’t appoint (Malays to the high post). But we appoint, and it still becomes an issue,” he said.

Lim’s statement came in light of the party polls yesterday that saw not a single Malay leader being elected into the 20-seat centre executive committee (CEC). Only three Indian leaders made the cut while the rest were all Chinese.

Although the party today co-opted seven non-Chinese and East Malaysians into the CEC, leaders such as Penang DAP deputy chief P Ramasamy and Penang CEC member Zulklifli Mohd Noor pointed out that the party was still far from being a truly multiracial party.

Lim also admitted that there were elements of symbolism when the party appointed Malay leaders to its CEC.

He said Ariffin SM Omar was co-opted into CEC because he was an academician and a senator while Zairil Khir Johari was unique because he is the son of the first education minister of Malaysia.

Lim dodged an answer when asked whether the party would field more Malay candidates in the upcoming general election, only saying that they would field winnable candidates.

He said East Malaysians leaders were appointed into CEC as a result of DAP’s inroads to Sabah and Sarawak.

“We want to be inclusive, they can play a role in helping us to spread our wing,” he described.

Meanwhile, the Penang chief minister said that the new Pakatan Rakyat bureau was created to broaden discussion between the coalition parties in the event the Pakatan leadership council failed to reach consensus in certain issue.

He said Selangor DAP deputy head Teng Chang Kim was tasked to head the bureau because of his experience as the Selangor speaker and that most of the members were based in Klang Valley.