By INS Contributors

Those of us who are old enough remember a time when the DAP was a very different party; Chinese centric grumpy old men dominated. Barely anybody spoke English and Malay, outside Karpal’s little Penang gang.

But in 2008, emboldened by their recent success in GE12, the DAP began focusing their attention on capturing Putrajaya. Having never lost their faithful Chinese voter base in the past 40 years, the DAP finally swallowed the bitter truth that it was impossible to win in the elections without Malay support.

A purge occurred; and the DAP leadership changed forever. At the forefront as new fresh faces that you know today: Tony Pua, Ong Kian Ming, Zairil Khir Johari, Hannah Yeoh and so on. Many are highly educated, ‘multiracial’ and fluent in English and Malay. Most of the elderly grumpy Chinese men are gone. The Setapak Declaration of1967 is gone. Bumi rights are here to stay.

But how did Ronniu Liu survive? He is a relic of the pre-2008 DAP: rural, Chinese-educated and caustic in speech. Despite only having received education up to the Form 5, many in the party know that he is Lim Kit Siang’s “Ti Gong Kia”; and as an able favourite, he rose up in the party ranks.

Much like the old pre-2008 DAP, Ronnie hates Mahathir with all his guts. During PH’s time in power, he was one of a few PH leaders who constantly criticized Mahathir’s leadership.

However, the new English speaking ‘multiracial’ faction that now rules the DAP prefer Mahathir over Anwar; previously we only had rumors, but Hannah Yeoh’s latest post confirms this when she complained that “When we were in Putrajaya, I could only remember Ronnie's constant countdown on his Facebook for Tun M to step down and to handover to Anwar”.

YB Hannah, ALL OF US were counting down for Tun M to step down and to handover to Anwar! I don’t understand this new English speaking ‘multiracial’ DAP’s obsession with the father of all corruption, other than as a tool to gain Malay votes.

DAP is now at a crossroads. I see the old DAP trying to come back: Liew Ah Kim, a close ally of Ronnie (his statement that DAP should “not dilute its Chineseness” was made during the launch of Liew’s latest book), had attempted a political comeback.

Liew is the sort of old school DAP politician that got ‘upset’ when Kit Siang claimed that learning Jawi had made him more of a Malaysian.

To tell you the truth, simply put, the new English speaking ‘multiracial’ DAP is confident their approach will win Putrajaya; this is because they have done this before in 2018. The old Chinese speaking DAP had tried for 40 years and failed.

However, it is also obvious that the DAP grassroots voter base prefers the old Chinese speaking DAP more. Hannah Yeoh and Lim Guan Eng know this; why else did they overreact?

“Ronnie Liu tidak mewakili saya” she says, but DAP’s voter base feels otherwise.  Even their main DAP party HQ has issued a statement condemning Ronnie Liu (in Malaysian politics, the party HQ rarely gets involved in fights between leaders).  

DAP is now having an identity crisis. Will we see a coup d’etat within the DAP soon? Or will the current DAP leadership continue triumph, and bring Mahathir back to power?

*The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of INS*