DAP leader Loke Siew Fook today sought to distance the party from recent comments by a central committee member who said it should not degrade itself in order to win the support of Malays.
He said the comments by Ronnie Liu represented his own view or that of a certain segment of the party, but not the party itself.
“There is an effort by DAP to be more open so that we can be accepted by Malaysians,” he said on a talk show today hosted by the National Council of Professors, adding that the party’s true foundation is multicultralism.
“This is why there is an internal debate in DAP. We are working to show (the aspects of) multiculturalism.”
Loke, the party’s organising secretary, said this approach could bring risks as there might be efforts to dislodge the current leadership.
“But we must explain to our supporters that DAP is not for one race alone,” he added.
Liu, who is assemblyman for Sungai Pelek, had made the remarks in a speech yesterday.
“DAP is for all Malaysians. We need to cooperate with other Malay parties, but we shouldn’t degrade or portray ourselves as a non-Chinese party,” he was reported as saying.
He also said that DAP “need not dilute its Chineseness just because of the criticism from our political enemies”.
His comments sparked a strong response from Damansara MP Tony Pua and Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh, with Yeoh saying: “The DAP that Ronnie wants is not the DAP I joined.”
“For me, I have stopped listening to Ronnie long time ago. But this time I cannot stay silent because he has done a great disservice to many of us DAP leaders out there who are working hard to fight off prejudices and stigmas against DAP.
“Ronnie does not represent me. Ronnie does not speak for me,” she added in a Facebook post.
Pua meanwhile said in a statement that DAP “can certainly do without such chauvinists in the party”.
But Loke said there was no need for disciplinary action against Liu as he was free to express his views.