Is DAP KL chief Tan Kok Wai alone in his “timely and brave” local gov’t poll proposal?

FEDERAL Territory DAP chief Tan Kok Wai has over the weekend (Dec 17) suggested the introduction of local government elections for Kuala Lumpur (KL).

He said that local government elections could be gradually introduced in the country starting with KL. It was a harmless and timely suggestion but Tan was pretty naive not to expect brickbats from the Malay nationalists in UMNO and the opposition parties.

UMNO might have joined forces with the DAP in the Madani government but the former is still very suspicious of the DAP.

In fact, it is argued that UMNO’s loss of Malay support has been attributed to its political link with the DAP. The need for local government elections has been an important PH’s consideration in the 14th General Election (GE14).

Somehow or rather, political expediency on the part of Pakatan Harapan (PH) prevented the focus on the local government elections.

Lone ranger Tan

Tan who was the former acting chairman of the DAP was right in bringing up the matter. I personally think that local government elections can be gradually introduced in the country. But I doubt the Tan has the support of his colleagues in the DAP especially those in the top.

I am not sure why the otherwise non-controversial Tan brought up the matter of the local government elections for Kuala Lumpur. I wonder whether he is frustrated with the present leadership for moving away from the struggles of the DAP.

While Tan has been criticised for bringing up the idea of local government elections for the fear of Malays that they might be outnumbered by the non-Malays, no senior DAP leader has come to support the brave and timely initiative of Tan.

It doesn’t matter what the nationalists in UMNO and other Malay political parties think about local government elections but what is the principled stand of the DAP leadership?

As UMNO nationalists are already protesting Tan’s proposal, it begs the question if the DAP leadership is willing to provide Tan a political backing?

What is the stand of the DAP’s secretary general Anthony Loke Siew Fook in the matter? Is he not going to back Tan? Or are DAP leaders going to engage in appeasement politics to calm the ultra-Malay nationalists in UMNO?

DAP’s silence is deafening

Is Tan going to be the sacrificial lamb of the appeasement politics of the DAP? Is the DAP leadership about to invoke its infamous “the party has its own way of dealing with dissent” stance?

DAP Kuala Lumpur chief Tan Kok Wai (right) with the party’s secretary-general Anthony Loke Siew Fook (middle) during the DAP Federal Territory KL annual convention 2023 over the weekend (Dec 17) when Tan mooted the re-introduction of local government elections for KL 

There is no need to see everything in the country in zero-sum game. Local government elections can benefit KL-lites. It will render elected officials to be democratic and accountable to the public.

It is beyond doubt that public service can be enhanced through the mechanism of local government elections. If these elections are going to be constrained by the racial zero-sum game, there is nothing much can be done to save the administration of the country from decay and paralysis.

While UMNO and the opposition are against the proposal of Tan, nobody from DAP or PKR has come out to support the idea of Tan.

It is not that local governments elections are something new in the country. It was scrapped in the 1960s. Surely, as suggested by Tan, at least we can think about the idea.

My advice to Tan is to be careful simply because when UMNO sneezes, DAP might catch cold! – Dec 19, 2023


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

Pics credit: The Rocket.zh

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