“Have both your feet firmly on the ground and stop fighting reality, Kit Siang”

TAN SRI Lim Kit Siang recently issued a statement to dispute the notion that DAP is dominating the government.

That DAP is dominating the government is a notion that is in the minds of the government and opposition alike.

It is because the notion is in the mind of the government that DAP has a significantly lower number of Federal ministers in the unity government relative to its strength.

DAP is the strongest member of the unity government. Until recently, when Gobind Singh was included in the roster, DAP had only had four ministers in the cabinet with its highest-ranking minister, Anthony Loke Siew Fook, only holding the relatively minor Transport Minister portfolio.

Even the eviscerated UMNO has more cabinet ministers in more important portfolios than DAP. This discrepancy can only be explained by the fact that the government is very conscious of the perception that DAP is perceived to be dominating the unity government.

The perception is so palpable that when Gobind Singh was appointed to become the fifth minister from DAP, Loke who is the party’s secretary-general had to come out with a statement to refute the allegation that Gobind Singh’s appointment is a sign that DAP is gradually extending its influence in the government.

That the opposition believes that DAP dominates the unity government is an open affair. Every opposition leader – from Tan Sri Muhyiddin to Hadi Awang to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has either directly said it or hinted at it by indicating that the position of Malays and Islam is under threat for as long as the unity government reigns.

Of the 19 parties that make up the unity government, it is an open secret that the party that they are accusing of trying to undermine the position of Malays and Islam is DAP.

Hence, Kit Siang is demanding that anyone who “insinuates that the government is dominated by DAP should be required to produce proof or is guilty of abusing the 2Rs of race and religion to install racial and religious animosities to create hate and disunity in Malaysia.”

Retired DAP supremo Tan Sri Lim Kit Siang speaking at the book launch of “Lim Kit Siang: Malaysia First, Volume 2 Bold to The Last Battle”.


Shooting itself in the foot

But I doubt that his demands will gain any traction when this belief is already widespread in the minds of Malaysians on both sides of the political divide.

The very fact that DAP itself has sought much less cabinet position than UMNO or PKR despite being the strongest component of the unity government is an insinuation that DAP is dominating the unity government.

The fact that DAP is not trying to get more positions, although it is entitled to more positions means that it is trying to downplay its influence in the government and the very fact that it is trying to downplay its influence is an insinuation that it has a great deal of influence in the government.

That various personalities in DAP feel compelled to come out and say that it doesn’t dominate the government or desire to undermine the position of the Malays or Islam is an insinuation to the contrary.

If any action is taken against anyone for insinuating that DAP is dominating the government, the first action should be taken against DAP and Kit Siang itself for insinuating with their contrarian words that the suspicions about them are more true than false.

Insinuations will always exist for events and phenomena that cannot fit into our observation or experience.

If 10 people are just sitting in a bus stop in the middle of the night, everybody from people living in a nearby house to passersby to the cops will insinuate that the 10 people are up to something.

No matter how many times the 10 people insist that they have done nothing wrong or that it is not illegal to sit in a bus stop even if the bus service has stopped, the doubt will persist.

DAP itself has insinuated that organisations like the civil service are practicing a biassed appointment system that favours one race over others. Although the civil services have come out with strong refutations about the insinuation, such doubt still persists simply because it is contrary to our observations and experiences.

Accepting reality

At the end of the day, you cannot stop an insinuation when there are grounds for the insinuation to arise.

If your beautiful wife was stuck in a deserted island for a month with a handsome young man, people will question her chastity and fidelity no matter how many times she and him insist that nothing had occurred between them.

Some problems can only be solved before they arise. Once they arise, to suppress it will only worsen the problem instead of resolving it.

Rather than insisting that people stop insinuating about a subject that is genuinely generating doubt in their minds, it might be better to address it.

To address something, first you have to accept that it exists, even if it is difficult to accept that it exists and then do what is necessary to deal with it.

The fact of the matter is that the various identity groups in Malaysia don’t trust each other. If one group gains advantage over others, the other groups will feel that the group that has risen will not only not extend it a hand to rise up but will instead leverage its advantage to gain even more advantage, often at their expense.

Even if DAP repeats 1,000 times the mantra that it is not in favour of any race, nobody is going to believe it because it is not in tune with the experience of a Malaysian who lives in Malaysia.

To change our experience, we have to change our reality and to change our reality, we first have to accept that it exists.

If DAP is going to be the party that will change our reality, it must first accept that it is the observations and experiences of being a Malaysian that is causing some of us to suspect that DAP is dominating the unity government from behind the scene.

It is only when DAP can accept it that it will start to look like a party that will be able to address the reality that is causing us to have that sort of suspicion that we will be confident enough to trust DAP to change the reality that is causing us to beset by all sorts of suspicions and doubts. – Jan 6, 2023


Nehru Sathiamoorthy is a roving tutor who loves politics, philosophy and psychology.

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

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