“Is it appropriate to label the DAP as MCA 2.0?”

RECENTLY, in a podcast organised by Keluar Sekejap hosts Khairy Jamaluddin and Sharil Hamdan, DAP’s secretary general and Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook spoke about Malaysian politics in general and the particular role of the DAP, MCA and BN.

Loke said that DAP’s role has changed from being in opposition over a long period to being an important partner of the Pakatan Harapan (PH)-led coalition government.

He denied that the party’s role had changed in terms of representation but rather adjusted to the new requirements of its role in the government.

The party now has the responsibility to channel grievances in a more organised and responsible manner. It is better for the government to function rather than entertain the thought of leaving the government.

He further elaborated that the DAP is not the same as the MCA, the former’s role has qualitatively changed.

When asked about the party relationship between MCA and BN, he replied that “ I don’t like the MCA but not the BN”. He ended the interview by saying that the party practices collective leadership and that his role depends on the consensus in the party.

As a former member of the DAP, the hosts asked Loke some very relevant and pointed questions. But I am not sure whether Loke answered them effectively and in a mature manner.

It does not take rocket science to realise that the DAP today is not the same party as when it was in opposition. This is why the party has been pejoratively termed MCA 2.0.

There is no denying that the DAP was vociferous in fighting for the rights of all Malaysians, but things have changed since the party became a partner in the government. The party might have the most MPs, but it has a reduced role in the government.

Moreover, MCA didn’t have the same number of seats as when it was part of the BN government. It is childish and immature on the part of Loke to say that he dislikes MCA and not BN. But yet it cannot be dismissed; the DAP considered UMNO its number one enemy and not the MCA. Why the sudden change in the party’s position.

Whether strong or weak, MCA was part of the BN for four decades. The MCA might have been the weak representative of the Chinese, but the problem was UMNO.

Loke fails to understand the differences between trees and forests. Just because DAP has been termed the new MCA, he has nothing but contempt for the party.

Loke’s argument that the DAP being part of the government had to undergo certain metamorphoses. The same thing can be said by the MCA, MIC or even Gerakan when they were part of the BN federal government. Why should DAP’s role in the government be any different from the other political parties mentioned?

Perhaps Loke should answer the question of why he hates the MCA. Is it because of personal reasons or because he thinks that the MCA is the main rival to the DAP?

A leader of a political party like the DAP is expected to answer questions posed in a responsible and mature manner. There is no place for likes and dislikes in politics.

Loke once boasted that although the party had the most number of seats in the parliament in the PH-led coalition, he would not make excessive demands on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for more Cabinet seats.

I don’t know whether it was a threat or a responsible stand by the DAP. I wonder if the DAP had demanded more positions in the government it would not have had the guts to enforce its demands. It was a bluff on the part of Loke.

All in all, the questions posed by the two hosts were excellent ones. But unfortunately, DAP leader Loke lacked the intellectual depth to answer questions in an intelligent and forthright manner. It is a sad reflection of the state of the party having accommodated too much for power, positions and perks, like the MCA in the past BN government.

What is really wrong with calling the DAP the MCA 2.0? – April 7, 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.

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