DAP aims for meaningful policy changes despite less ideal conditions

The DAP would like to bring about meaningful policy changes even though the its support base may be in disarray and it is forced to work with its former nemesis, Umno.

“Do we want policies in line with party or be the opposition?,” said Howard Lee Chuan How, a federal lawmaker from the DAP.

“Party grassroot leaders and members even more disarrayed than the middle ground because they invested time, energy and resources. This government did not get into power on its own but with an arch enemy.

“As the Malays say, ‘apa boleh buat?'”

Howard Lee Chuan How (PH-Ipoh Timor) said this during an webinar entitled DAP in post 2022 Malaysia: Deals, Ambitions Provocations that was organised by the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore.

The seminar was moderated by academic Lee Hwok Aun.

The DAP with 40 MPs are part of the government backbenchers in the government led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. Their numbers are larger than Anwar’s party that has 31 MPs but the DAP has a disproportionately small presence in the cabinet.

The party is also routinely used by the opposition Perikatan Nasional as a punching bag, a trend that was started by former nemesis turned partner, Umno.

“Grassroot members who are not in the leadership are pragmatic, more aware. read consume analyse on behalf of party. Biggest ambassadors of party,” said Lee who is a chef and owns a restaurant in Ipoh.

“The DAP and PH are inclined (to believe) that the middle ground are in a state of disarray because there is this default mode of being dissatisfied because are not addressed. (They are in) disarray because there isn’t enough positive stuff to talk about.”

Red lines for the DAP

He also addressed the red lines that the party had to face since coming into power.

Two examples that he addressed was the case of Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in which the court gave a discharged not amounting to acquittal over 87 charges and the partial pardon of former Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

“There was a huge uproar. I may have lost friends over that,” said Lee on the DNAA ruling.

As for the partial pardon, no one knows for sure who dealt with the partial pardon.

He also addressed the issue of tensions involving the present and former chief ministers of Penang very diplomatically. Chow Kon Yeow is the present chief minister whereas party chairman Lim Guan Eng is the immediate past chief minister of the island state.

“Chow is a lovely man, a few who would be returned with highest numbers at state level as state chairman. Chow almost has unbreakable record.

“Lim brought the party from corners of darkness to first state government and federal government. He brought success with contradictions. He is a marvel of a political achievement and a good guy.

“There are two very strong characters. Chow is soft but persistent in action. Lim is in your face but he is a teddy bear who really cares. It would be ingenuous for me to say there is no conflict.

“Never has there been dis-cordiality (when both showed up at events that Howard attended). I cannot say there is no conflict, I don’t know.

“Both are strong people with strong words… may not mean a conflict.”