Tough battle for DAP to win over Malays after latest party polls

But a Malay DAP leader says the issue of attracting support from the community was not a question at the party’s recent central executive committee election.

Ahmad Mustakim Zulkifli, Malaysia Now

An analyst says the results of DAP’s election for its top decision-making body are likely to complicate efforts to win the support of the Malays, with the majority of those appointed seen as maintaining the party’s “Chinese” image.

At the central executive committee (CEC) election on March 20, only one Malay assemblyman – Ketari rep Young Syefura Othman – was voted in.

Other Malays, even those seen as party heavyweights such as Tebing Tinggi assemblyman Abdul Aziz Bari, former Johor exco Sheikh Umar Ali, and Syahredzan Johan, did not make the cut.

Meanwhile, two other Malay reps who formerly sat on the CEC – Tengku Zulpuri Shah Raja Puji and Zairil Khir Johari – were defeated this time around.

Tengku Zulpuri was however appointed to the committee alongside Syahredzan who is Lim Kit Siang’s political secretary.

Sarawak-based political observer Jeniri Amir said the results portrayed DAP’s dilemma in promoting the image of an inclusive Malaysia.

“It looks like after 10 years, the party’s efforts to attract the support of more Malays have not borne fruit,” he told MalaysiaNow.

“Instead, it appears to have regressed.”

While Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo received the highest number of votes at the CEC polls, Jeniri said the Malays had yet to be accepted in DAP.

DAP’s efforts to win Malay support began in the 1960s with personalities such as Ibrahim Singgeh and Ahmad Nor representing the party at the general election.

The party redoubled its efforts to attract and highlight young Malay leaders like Zairil and Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud after the 13th general election.

Dyana contested the 2014 by-election in Teluk Intan but lost to Mah Siew Keong of Gerakan.

For Tebing Tinggi rep Aziz, a former law lecturer at the International Islamic University Malaysia, the issue of attracting Malay support was not a question at the CEC election.

Speaking to MalaysiaNow, he said the Malays were not DAP’s “power base”.

“As a party, we have many issues to tackle,” he added. “This is a small matter.”