DAP leaders must address not the glorious past but the unceremonious, inglorious present

WHAT is the point of the DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke Siew Fook saying that DAP will never forget its stand on the IMDB (1Malaysia Development Bhd) corruption scandal in the past yet maintain a deafening silence in the partial pardon granted to incarcerated former prime minister (PM) Datuk Seri Najib Razak?

It is this inconsistency on the part of the leadership that baffles the public. In the past, DAP went after those who were corrupted especially Najib as though it was mandated by heaven.

While DAP and others might remember the past, it is unfortunate that the “glorious past” cannot be invoked to express the present.

It is this disconnect between the past and the present that exposes the hypocrisy of the party once synonymous with the fight against graft.

This is why DAP members and others are disappointed that the party which took such a strong stand against the 1MDB corruption scandal in general and against Najib in particular now refuses to take a critical stand towards the partial pardon granted to Najib.

What is the use of DAP and its leaders fighting tooth and nail against perpetrators of the 1MDB scandal leading to the ouster of the Barisan Nasional (BN) government in 2018 but now maintaining a deafening silence in the face of a partial pardon granted to Najib?

DAP’s deafening silence

The past can be invoked by DAP leaders if it makes sense in explaining the present. The past cannot be mechanically invoked without explaining the present especially when there is sharp contradiction.

It is not the past that we are talking about but the present in reference to Najib’s reduced sentence and why DAP that was once part of the vanguard against corruption has given up its principles.

The reduction of Najib’s sentence went against all norms of justice and judicial independence. It was an example of how the executive rode a roughshod over the judiciary. The question is where are the checks and balances that DAP leaders once religiously spoke about?

Those who “tore” their mouths to oppose and condemn Najib should have opposed the reduction of the sentence. It is not necessary to school DAP leaders about what constitutes justice and injustice.

The question is why DAP leaders are silent on the Pardons Board decision. Is it because the sentence was acceptable and fair? Or is it because Najib needed the reduction on compassionate grounds?

DAP leaders like Loke cannot talk about the past glory yet maintain a guarded silence on what was meted out to Najib. Does Loke agree with the reduction of Najib’s sentence? Why is he keeping mum on the matter?

Sole reason form silence

Who is he afraid of? Is this the way to take the party to greater heights? There is only one reason that I can think of as to why DAP leaders are maintaining a deafening silence on the reduction of Najib’s sentence.

This has got to do with the party leaders not wanting to upset the UMNO leadership and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in particular. It is this cosy and comfortable relationship that DAP does not want to upset.

Could this mean that the party has given up all its pretensions of being a principled party with the interests of the larger Malaysian society? This is the sad and tragic fate of DAP that was once in the forefront of the political struggle against corruption and financial scandals.

If the party leaders could not even support DAP leader and former Damansara MP Tony Pua who vehemently criticised the decision to reduce Najib’s sentence, then what else can we say about the party and its leaders?

At least Loke could have come out to say that Pua’s remarks – even if they were sarcastic – did not warrant a police investigation. In this context, is it wrong to say that DAP has returned to the path of the MCA or deserves to be re-named as MCA 2.0?

As I have reiterated in the past, DAP is not the same party it was two decades ago. A metamorphosis of the worst kind has taken place to reduce the interests of DAP to power, positions and perks predicated on the need to maintain ties and relationships with those who are tainted and corrupt.

DAP leaders must remember that they must address not the glorious past but the inglorious present. – Feb 8, 2024


Former DAP stalwart and Penang chief minister II Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy is chairman of the Urimai (United Rights of Malaysian Party) interim council.

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

Main pic credit: Bernama

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