By: Roslan SMS

The euphoria of the 11th General Elections has almost simmered down as Malaysians of all walks of life have finally come to terms with it, willingly or otherwise. For sure it went down in history as one of the most controversial elections since Merdeka, and would definitely see loads of election petitions being filed by both parties in the High courts to question its validity.

The battered DAP though it has gone through better days, surprisingly emerged as the most victorious amongst opposition parties in the House of Parliament. With 12 seats in the 11th Parliament the DAP has technically grabbed the prestigious office of the opposition leader from PAS who only managed to scrap through with 6 seats compared to its best of 27 in 1999. The DAP is partly a contributor to PAS’s dismal performance as it was more occupied in portraying an evil side of PAS’s Islamic State rather than seriously attacking the BN’s policies during the campaigning period.

Party Chairman Lim Kit Siang, the veteran warlord, who was once labeled as the “Robocop” of Penang, is almost certain to be ordained as the new Opposition leader, a post he has long held prior to 1999. This development attracted the attention of the retired grand old man of UMNO, Dr. Mahathir who personally welcomed Kit Siang’s entry whom he deemed to be a lot better than Hadi Awang the previous Opposition leader, who locked horns with him in the last parliament. At least Kit Siang would support the government where it is due Mahathir added.

For a party that has participated in the elections since 1969, DAP’s performance this time round is actually nothing to boast about. They failed to make a come-back in Penang by only managing to hold onto a solitary seat in the state assembly. They lost their stronghold in Kota Melaka. And failed to make an impact in Sabah. Their only consolation was being able to win 3 parliamentary and 7 state seats in Perak, which were actually once their traditional bastion before being trashed by the Gerakan and MCA in two previous consecutive elections.

Minus the so called jubilation of emerging as the strongest opposition block in Parliament, up to this point many would wonder what is actually the DAP fighting for?  What are its political ideals, what are they trying to achieve? They scrapped through with 12 parliamentary seats clearly with solid support from the Chinese voters. Therefore a multi racial party it isn’t, though it boasts of non-Chinese candidates such as Karpal Singh. For the record Karpal won purely on Chinese support in Bukit Gelugor!

Some say “the DAP is Kit Siang and Kit Siang is the DAP” which nowadays seems aptly appropriate. Generally speaking it looks like the successful return of Kit Siang into Parliament was all that matters to the DAP. So true was this fact that the news of Kit Siang’s comeback eclipsed all other matters in the party.

So forceful was the Kit Siang resurrection that the warlord hurriedly met the parliamentary speaker even before members were sworn in for the 11th parliamentary term. Kit Siang acknowledged that he would support the Prime Minister’s anti corruption drive, positioning himself as an important instrument in the BN’s so-called anti-graft war. Infact during the campaigning period the DAP machinery pleaded that a vote for the DAP would effectively help Pak Lah to stamp out corruption.

But what about the draconian ISA that once denied him of his rights and that of his comrades, the practice of selective prosecution that has been the norm of the BN led government that one imprisoned his son, rampant and blatant abuse of power by the authorities, the Anwar Ibrahim saga, the Scomi scandal involving the Abdullah clan and many more, will the new Opposition leader be willing to also champion all these atrocities now that he has touch base with the BN? It is becoming more evident that these pressing issue’s will have to wait as the agenda of glorifying Kit Siang is all that matters the time being.

As Kit Siang is all that matters other achievements or trouble brewing in the DAP was also swiftly swept under the carpet. Why the “hoo-ha” over Kit Siang’s victory when nothing was even mentioned about Leong Ngah Ngah’s impressive 4th consecutive victory in retaining his solitary state seat in Pahang since 1990. Nor was there any mention of Theng Chang Kim’s success in grabbing a state seat in Selangor and for being a three consecutive term Selangor state assemblyman since 1995, despite being left out from the Selangor DAP hierarchy before and after the elections. What about Kerk Kim Hock’s cry of sabotage in Kota Melaka that led to his controversial defeat? It is evident that all these are merely peanuts compared to the grandiose return of Kit Siang into Parliament.

Many say that parliamentary debates would be livelier with Kit Siang as the opposition leader. But many would later see that the BN particularly UMNO would have a field day in the absence of credible Malay opposition. It is going to be a sad fact that given UMNO’s strong presence, Kit Siang and his merry-men would only be a toy for them to play around with in the coming parliamentary session. But then to Kit Siang what matters most is his prestigious position. - 12.04.2004

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