DAP on damage control


(NST) – UPSET: Thrashing suffered by Malay candidates leaves Guan Eng red-faced

GEORGE TOWN: RATTLED by criticisms of not living up to its self-proclaimed multiracial image, DAP went on the offensive yesterday with its secretary-general, Lim Guan Eng, denying his party was anti-Malay.

He said DAP could not be labelled as such just because no Malay candidate had been elected to its central executive committee (CEC).

Guan Eng spent almost an hour refuting such criticisms following the disastrous showing by Malay candidates at the party polls over the weekend.

It was reported that all eight Malay candidates who contested lost and the party later appointed two of them, Senator Dr Ariffin S.M. Omar and Zairil Khir Johari, to the CEC.

Guan Eng said the DAP could not be faulted for the outcome of the polls as the party could not control who the delegates choose.

“We accept the results, but in terms of projecting DAP’s multiracial image, an ideal situation would be to allow a few Malay candidates to be elected,” he said.

His father, party stalwart Lim Kit Siang, was also present but seemed more composed than his son, who was visibly upset throughout the press conference at the party headquarters here.

The media was also not spared by Guan Eng, with national news agency Bernama bearing the brunt of his ire, mainly on its report that Johor DAP vice-chairman Ahmad Ton had not been given appreciation for his services to the party.

On DAP loyalist Zulkefli Mohd Noor’s comment that the losses suffered by the Malay candidates indicated that the party was not living up to its Malaysian Malaysia struggle, Guan Eng said he would let the former explain that statement himself.

Zulkefli was one of the candidates who lost in the party polls.

Kit Siang insisted that the DAP was a party for all Malaysians.

“Of course, we admit we have our weaknesses and setbacks.

“And for not a single Malay leader being elected, it is a setback. That was my immediate reaction, yesterday (Sunday), and it reflects my views and the views of the entire DAP leadership,” he said.

In Kuala Lumpur, Pas deputy president Mohamad Sabu said the party would not interfere with DAP’s internal matters.

He said Kit Siang had talked about making the party multiracial and Pas would respect “their decisions”.

Mohamad said the decision to appoint Malay representatives in the CEC had shown DAP’s ability to perform as a multiracial party.

Parti Keadilan Rakyat vice-president N. Surendran expressed confidence that DAP Malay leaders would continue to support the party and its leadership despite not being elected into the CEC.

“While some were disappointed with the results, they were still committed to the party’s struggle,” he said.