Where is the dignified exit for incumbents in Penang state election?

LET me reiterate that I am not against DAP for dropping me. I accept the decision, if the decision was in the best interest of the party.

Having being been a member of DAP for 18 years, central executive council (CEC) member for a good number of years, currently the deputy chairman of the Penang DAP and three-term deputy chief minister II, I wanted some respect and dignity.

I would have preferred DAP especially its national leaders to inform me and others that we would be dropped in line with the rejuvenation policy of the party.

It could have been dignified exit.

Why wait to inform us after the decision was made? Are we strangers in the party? Haven’t we contributed to the party?

I accept the argument that in favour of the rejuvenation process, such a mechanism seems to be integral to the renewal process in almost all political parties.

But unfortunately, the argument in favour of rejuvenation falls flat considering that both senior and junior leaders were dropped.

How does the dropping of leaders in their late 30s and mid 40s fit in the rejuvenation formula?

I sometimes wonder whether DAP has a policy on rejuvenation process in the first place.

I was just going for one more term, that is all, I accept the decision of the party.

But sorry to say, the reasons advanced for the dropping of the six incumbents fall flat in the face of evidence.

It has become a common knowledge that weeks before the announcement of the nomination date, there was leaked list of the candidates who will be contesting in the Penang state election.

However, this list was dismissed as a fake one, the work of the opposition parties such as Gerakan and others.

When the final list was announced on July 25, 2023 with one or two exceptions, the list closely resembled the “fake one”.

Weeks before the state’s five men and CEC’s five-men selection committees met, the list of the possible candidates contesting was finalised.

The final announcement of the official list of candidates by DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke was a mere academic exercise.

The national DAP has all the power and authority to make the decision regarding the final list of candidates in Penang.

What is not acceptable is the incongruence between the reasons given for the dropping of the incumbents and the actual reason why they were not chosen.

The answer to this incongruence must be found in the realm of internal politics of DAP in Penang.

Those incumbents who were dropped were those who were aligned or imagined to be aligned with the present caretaker chief minister Chow Kon Yeow.

As we are fully aware, there was move to replace Chow as the next chief minister.

Some names were proposed but withdrawn due to the strong opposition in Penang. The party had no choice but to propose the name of Chow as the next chief minister.

Even though Chow was not removed, those who were seen to be aligned with him had to be sacrificed to make way for another faction to dominate the line-up.

It is too well-known the person or persons behind the anti-Chow campaign in Penang.

Chow might have survived one major crisis in his political career, but given his isolation in the candidate line-up, his troubles are far from over.

All evidence points in the direction of Chow as the lame duck chief minister provided, of course, he lasts the full one term. – July 28, 2023


Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy is the former DAP state assemblyman for Perai. He is also the former deputy chief minister of Penang.

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

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