Charles Santiago in our midst: Sad truth that party interest comes before self

I UNDERSTAND that incumbent Klang MP Charles Santiago will not be fielded as a candidate for the Klang parliamentary seat come the 15th General Election (GE15).

He will be replaced by Selangor state executive council member and Kota Kemuning state assemblyman V. Ganabatirau.

It is sad that such a well performing person like Santiago who served as MP for three terms has to leave the political arena.

I have known Santiago for many years long before he joined the DAP. He was a non-governmental organisation (NGO) activist on such matters as human rights, climate change and water security.

Prof P. Ramasamy (Pic credit: MalayMail)

Once he became the Klang MP, these areas were his forte. He spoke in the Parliament and outside. Santiago participated in international and regional conferences over a long period.

During my term as lecturer in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), I had the opportunity to work with Santiago and his friends on labour matters in the plantations.

I still remember Santiago assisting us with the plight of estate workers in Cheroh, Raub, Pahang in the early 1980s. Similarly, he was of assistance in fighting for the rights of the terminated workers of Batu Arang Estate in Batu Arang, Selangor.

Party above self

In fact, there were many other instances that I worked with Santiago and others from the NGOs in the country.

I am sad that Santiago has to vacate his parliamentary seat. This is the nature of party politics.

Since the party – the DAP – has made its decision not to field him, he has been left with no choice but to accept the decision.

As he himself has said, the victory of a progressive opposition in the form of Pakatan Harapan (PH) is more important that the concerns of individuals. Santiago might not be the next MP but he has contributed much in his three terms.

Essentially, he is grassroots man, well liked and loved by his constituents. Hopefully, Ganabatirau will continue to do the good work of Santiago.

Santiago might not be the MP candidate for Klang but the fact remains he is not out of politics in general. His years of experience might stand him good to contribute to the society.

Whatever the internal politics of PH or its component parties, the fact remains that the UMNO/BN juggernaut must be stopped at all costs.

Let’s heed the message of Santiago in working as a team to ensure the country is put on a trajectory of good governance, free of corruption, respect of human rights and the rule of law.

There is no need to say farewell to Santiago as he will be with us in this fight against the perpetrators of corruption to place the country on the path of good governance. – Oct 27, 2022


Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy is the state assemblyperson for Perai. He is also Deputy Chief Minister II of Penang.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

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