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Speaker, Port Klang boss from DAP will push Malay voters further away, analyst says

Questions are raised about efforts to play down DAP's dominance in the PH coalition.

3 minute read
DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke (centre) with other party leaders at the announcement of DAP's candidates for the Selangor state election in Kuala Lumpur, July 24. Photo: Bernama
DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke (centre) with other party leaders at the announcement of DAP's candidates for the Selangor state election in Kuala Lumpur, July 24. Photo: Bernama

An analyst says DAP's move to propose the appointment of party men as Selangor speaker and the chairman of a government-linked company will only cement the perception of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) component as the dominant party in the state administration. 

Jeniri Amir said this would place DAP in a negative light and worsen its image among Malay voters. 

He also warned of greater implications down the line, including the possible defeat of PH at the next general election. 

"It will certainly alienate the Malays, because one of the reasons they rejected PH at the last general election was DAP's presence in the coalition," Jeniri, a senior fellow at the National Council of Professors, added. 

"DAP is seen as the enemy of the Malays, so the situation will only get worse, resulting in a further distancing from the party which will be manifested at the next election." 

MalaysiaNow previously reported issues within the new Selangor ruling bloc over a plan by DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke to appoint former assemblyman Ean Yong Hian Wah as chairman of the Klang Port Authority, the country's biggest port parked under his transport ministry.

Loke had also named Lau Weng San as DAP's nominee for the speaker's post as a form of compensation to the party for agreeing to make way for Umno in Dusun Tua.

Jeniri said the appointment of a former assemblyman as the chairman of a GLC was also controversial as it would contradict DAP's stand against political appointments. 

"If this happens, the voters will reject them," he added, citing the recent state elections at which he said support from the Indian community had gone down by 15%. 

"What more the Malay PH voters who are thinking about their rights and interests." 

Political analyst Shamsul Amri Baharuddin meanwhile said that on paper, DAP's request was in fact reasonable given the number of seats it holds. 

DAP won more seats than any other PH component or its federal partner Barisan Nasional (BN). 

However, he asked why the same scenario was not playing out in Negeri Sembilan, where BN gave way to its coalition partners. 

"In the context of PH, DAP can ask for what it considers appropriate because it has the most assemblymen," Shamsul, of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, said. 

"But in Negeri Sembilan, Umno won 14 seats, followed by DAP with 11, PKR with five, and Amanah with one. Why wasn't the menteri besar or speaker chosen from Umno?"

Shamsul said the effect of the move would only reinforce the stereotype that PKR and its president, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, are being steered by DAP. 

"Without DAP, PKR would be dead in the water," he said. 

Analyst Ahmad Atory Hussain said that divisions in the Malay parties would benefit DAP. 

"DAP won the most seats, but only within PH," he said. "If we look at the number of representatives in the Selangor assembly, Malays form the majority.

"But what is happening now is the result of divisions in the Malay parties. The 15 seats won by DAP are seen as the strongest and most stable. This is why it can make such calls."

He added that DAP's actions would not reflect efforts to curb the perception of it as the dominant party in PH. 

"Image is one thing, reality is another," he said. 

"The image they don't want is of PH being dominated by DAP. But the reality is not like that. Like I said, this is the result of divisions in the Malay parties and the Malay voters themselves who chose PH." 

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