DAP leaders, grassroots differ on need for more Malay leaders

There is a huge disconnect between the DAP leadership and the grassroots on the need for more Malay leaders to be at the top level of the party hierarchy, according to an analyst.

(FMT) – Akademi Nusantara senior fellow (strategic research) Azmi Hassan said the results of the party’s central executive election on Sunday, where only one Malay candidate out of 10 was elected, could be construed as the grassroots not heeding the push in this direction by the leaders.

He said while Young Syefura Othman performed credibly by winning 981 votes, a number of well-known Malay leaders like Tebing Tinggi assemblyman Abdul Aziz Bari in Perak and Penang’s Tanjong Bunga assemblyman Zairil Khir Johari did not make the cut.

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“This is something the leaders should worry about. Yes, Syefura got 981 votes despite the other Malay candidates getting much fewer votes, but the 30% quota set for women candidates may have helped her.

Azmi Hassan.

“This gives the impression, rightly or wrongly, that the party grassroots are generally not Malay-friendly. Unfortunately, this perception can only worsen although they have co-opted two other Malay leaders into the highest decision-making body of DAP,” he told FMT.

The two co-opted Malay leaders were Syahredzan Johan (committee member) and Tengku Zulpuri Shah Raja Puji (deputy secretary-general).

Azmi said the leadership needed to educate the grassroots to accept Malay leaders lest the DAP continues to be perceived as an anti-Malay party.

“DAP’s rivals have been fairly successful in painting the party as anti-Malay and chauvinistic. Unfortunately, the CEC election results will propagate this kind of perception,” he said.

He felt that even with the departure of party stalwart Lim Kit Siang, who has retired from politics, and Lim Guan Eng not holding the powerful secretary-general’s post anymore, the perception that DAP was an anti-Malay party may continue.

“Honestly, it is going to be a very difficult task for DAP to fight the perception although it has tried hard to change the image. With the current CEC line-up and the low number of Malay elected representatives, it is going to be an uphill task. “

However, Azmi said the election of Loke Siew Fook as secretary-general had given some “good vibes”, as he was generally more acceptable to the Malays and appeared to be a moderate leader.

“If we can recall during the Pakatan Harapan days, as transport minister, he worked hard and endeared himself to the Malays with his moderate style,” he said.

He said time was running short for DAP to attract Malays as the general election was not too far away.

“It should abandon this vision for now and let its allies PKR and Amanah work at getting Malay support for DAP candidates,” he said.