The Straits Times: “DAP unlikely to be affected by order to repeat party ballot”
The Democratic Action Party (DAP) has gone from strength to strength in Malaysia’s last two general elections, and is perhaps the only opposition party certain of a strong showing in the next nationwide polls due in a year.
But on July 7, the Registrar of Societies (ROS) ordered the Chinese-dominated outfit to redo a leadership ballot dating back five years, a move widely seen as a government bid to derail its momentum.
Back in 2012, as is the situation now, DAP was rocked by the ROS declaring its party polls invalid because of irregularities just months before a general election was due to be called by Prime Minister Najib Razak.
“This ROS move is clearly designed to derail if not sabotage the DAP and its planning for the GE,” said S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies’ senior fellow Yang Razali Kassim.
In 2013, despite the ROS controversy, DAP stormed to a record 38 parliamentary seats and was unbeaten in its Penang stronghold.
It is now the second largest party in Parliament after Umno, and has been part of four state governments since 2008, and still governs Penang and Selangor.
“The ruling Barisan Nasional could potentially benefit if DAP leaders who are more aggressive in challenging Malaysia’s established social compact emerge victorious. This damages the opposition as a whole, as it could scare off the Malay majority,” Vriens & Partners’ political risk consultant Adib Zalkapli told The Straits Times, but noted that leaders who were more pragmatic have triumphed in recent party elections. He was referring to DAP’s long-held view that the pro-Bumiputera policy that helps Malays and the indigenous races is unfair and prone to abuse.
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