Spats with axed candidates can spoil DAP’s chances, say analysts

The way two former MPs were dumped by the DAP could have a negative impact on the party’s showing in the general election, say analysts.

(FMT) – Azmil Tayeb of Universiti Sains Malaysia said the discord could hit DAP’s credibility while Azmi Hassan of Akademi Nusantara says it would have an adverse impact on voters.

They were responding to reports that former Klang MP Charles Santiago and former Bentong MP Wong Tack have disputed the party leadership’s claims over how they were consulted about being dropped as candidates for the general election.

“If putting up new faces as candidates is an excuse then it should be done all around, not selectively. It’s a bad reflection on the party leadership,” said Azmil.

However, he told FMT it was unlikely the party’s decision would create camps within DAP as the party was good at ensuring members toe the line.

Azmil said the election might see some Santiago and Wong Tack supporters protesting by either voting for other parties or snubbing the ballot box.

“But overall, I think voters will support their replacements because there’s no viable alternative in our two-party system,” he said.

On Wednesday, Selangor DAP chairman Gobind Singh Deo said Santiago had met him in 2013 and 2018 to seek support to defend the Klang parliamentary seat.

However, Santiago said the claims by DAP secretary-general Loke Siew Fook and Gobind had been made up to manage the backlash over the decision to drop him as a candidate.

Wong Tack, on the other hand, said Pahang DAP had on Oct 16 decided to remove him from Bentong. He also claimed he was told he would not be contesting any seats in Pahang.

The activist-turned-politician said he was subsequently offered the Cameron Highlands seat in the wake of a backlash from the ground and party members in Bentong.

Azmi said the squabbles would not affect the credibility of the party leaders but would have an impact on the voters.

“Wong Tack and Santiago saying they were not informed about being dropped (as candidates) has left them disgruntled. When they are disgruntled, their followers will feel the same and this will affect Pakatan Harapan and DAP,” he said.

He said the former MPs’ dissatisfaction would also affect the campaign machinery of both DAP and PH.

Azmi pointed out that seat allocation was never an easy task especially when it involved a multiparty coalition, especially since the party and coalition were employing a new strategy in facing GE15.

“They are changing candidates or placing them in different constituencies depending on their needs,” he said.