DAP must have ears on the ground, grave mistake to drop Perai’s “Indian apek” from state polls

DAP must ensure that the fate of former Klang MP Charles Santiago does not rub off on Penang’s Deputy Chief Minister II Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy who is revered by the majority Chinese folks in his Perai state constituency as “Indian apek” (slang to depict elderly Chinese man).

The three-term Perai assemblyman may have ruffled feathers of some UMNO and PKR cronies in the unity government when he called for the public service to reflect the ethnic composition of the country.

He nevertheless has clarified that his call to reform the civil service has nothing to do with breaking the “monopoly of the Malays”.

Such concerns come amid a March 22 report in The Star which speculated that the 74-year-old Penang DAP’s deputy chairman might be asked to step down as the party embarks on a path to inject new blood into its state election line-up with most of the party’s senior leaders allowed to serve a maximum of three terms.

The state polls are likely to be held in June or July. Ramasamy did admit that there had been talk about dropping him but he remained hopeful that he could defend his seat.

“I would like to stand again. I believe the Chief Minister has yet to make any decision. The list of potential candidates has not been submitted to the central leadership,” The Star cited him as saying.

“I believe I have a good relationship with the Federal Government, and that being vocal does not mean I am against the party leadership.” Currently, Ramasamy is in the Netherlands leading a state delegation on official duty.

In this regard, perhaps DAP need to be more sensitive to the sentiment at grassroots level. Despite strong opposition from Klang electorate which encompassed local Chinese business leaders, the party ‘has bulldozed’ its way to replace well-liked three-term Santiago with Kota Kemuning assemblyman with V. Ganabatirau.

Even though, DAP has remained triumphant in Klang – as it would in Perai – there is a need for the party to keep leaders who remain enthusiastic to serve his/her electorate above ‘internal party politicking’, of course unless the candidate is in poor state of health, decline offer to contest or disliked by his/her constituents.

Therefore, it is music to the ears – at least for now – when DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke Siew Fook dismissed a news report that Ramasamy would be dropped as a candidate in the upcoming state election.

After all, PH has yet to begin seat negotiations, according to the Transport Minister and Seremban MP. “So, we have not discussed candidates,” he told a media conference in Klang after attending the DAP Selangor 2023 Annual Convention yesterday (March 26). “The candidates would only be known on nomination day.”

Aside from The Star, news portal Free Malaysia Today (FMT) went a step further to speculate that the “Ramasamy camp” in Penang DAP is likely to be wiped out when candidates for the coming state assembly election are chosen.

An unnamed party insider told the news portal that aside from Ramasamy, those who are aligned to him – including Bagan Dalam assemblyman Satees Muniandy – would also be dropped.

What is more ‘depressing’ from the newsflow is the fact that national chairman Lim Guan Eng is said to be behind the moves against the Ramasamy camp, and that he wants to bring in “his people” because “the Lim family is worried they might lose control of the party”.

Contending that plans are in place to replace those in the “Ramasamy camp” with allies of Guan Eng, the FMT source who is a former MP further named one of those speculated to be brought in as Sundarajoo Somu who is the deputy president and deputy CEO of property developer Eco World Development Group Bhd.

However, Sundarajoo when contacted, has dismissed the speculation. – March 27, 2023


Main pic credit: Free Malaysia Today (FMT)

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