Accepting new ally Umno proving difficult for DAP’s old timers

(FMT) – Senior DAP members are still finding it hard to accept the party’s newfound alliance with Umno, say the party’s grassroot members.

Bangi DAP member S Thamarai Chelvi said some of her more seasoned comrades are struggling to accept the party’s current political arrangement and may find it hard to support Umno and Barisan Nasional in the coming state elections.

“Even though we are in a unity government we still feel it is challenging to work with Umno on the ground,” Thamarai told FMT.

However, she said younger members were more open to new political realities.

Klang DAP member Lee Fu Haw conceded it was difficult for grassroots members to work with Umno because of the bad blood between the two parties over the decades.

However, grassroots members are willing to work on improving ties with Umno, he said.

“If we want to continue fighting then what can we actually (achieve),” Lee asked. She said it would serve both parties’ best interests if everyone accepts that DAP and Umno are now allies.

Ties between the two parties came under the spotlight recently after Umno Youth chief Dr Akmal Saleh demanded that DAP apologise for its past attacks on Umno, saying the apology was important ahead of the coming six state elections.

Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi however played down the call, saying there was no need to prolong the issue.

Sepang DAP member Azfar Faruqi said DAP and Umno members in his constituency have always got along.

“(For) most of us, our neighbours are Umno people, so we never had any problem getting along with them,” said Azfar.

He said while there were minor “clashes” between members of the rival parties, there was never any animosity between grassroots members, unlike the tensions that are always on display between the DAP’s and Umno’s top leaders.

Meanwhile, DAP’s Kampung Tunku assemblyman Lim Yi Wei said both parties’ grassroots must take a pragmatic approach.

“The (DAP) grassroots generally have been quite pragmatic. They see the unity government as a better alternative compared to Perikatan Nasional as the federal government,” said Lim.