DAP scores ‘own goal’ with Santiago and Kasthuri out


DAP scores ‘own goal’ with Santiago and Kasthuri out

Should the pendulum swing the other way for DAP at the coming general election, after reaching a high point in 2018, it will be by the party’s own doing, say party sources.

There are some serious indications that the party is going through some rough patches.

It has been fighting off serious attacks by PAS leaders alleging DAP to be a party of communists out to weaken Islam and the Malays.

Now questions have been raised by reports that Charles Santiago will not be chosen to defend the Klang seat even after a stellar performance, and the decision by Kasthuri Patto not to contest the general election.

Unfortunately, the issue had become a racial argument in memes and posters on social media. “It will affect the Indian votes and the party leaders should know it,” said one source.

He said Santiago, 61, has met party leaders privately asking why he is being dropped or moved despite several Chinese community leaders and other groups having backed him by saying he was a “people’s MP”.

Word had been circulating in party circles that he is not a party man and works in a silo. “This is not a criterion to judge the performance of MPs, it should be what they have done on the ground,” one source said.

He claimed Santiago’s ouster has something to do with negotiations and trade-offs among certain party leaders during the recent party elections.

He said certain party leaders had sought to have three-term Seri Kembangan assemblyman Ean Yong Hian Wah contest the Klang parliamentary seat even though he was regarded as a non-performer as an executive councillor and assemblyman.

However, they realised that he would be rejected by the Indian and Chinese communities and after being seen as being too quiet in the Selangor state assembly, people wondered how he was going to handle himself in Parliament.

Party leaders then toyed with the idea of putting Yong in Puchong and moving Gobind Singh Deo from Puchong to Damansara, he said.

To quell the attacks of racism, he said the leadership is planning to field Indian candidates in the two seats, all as an afterthought.

Among the complaints against Santiago is his inclusion in the Selangor Indian blueprint team by the Selangor menteri besar, bypassing state executive councillor V Ganabatirau. Another source said this had infuriated Ganabatirau, who then complained to the leadership.

The source said a “puppet master” had taken charge. “There are warlords within the DAP who hold the party to ransom. They don’t seem to care that appointments are for the sake of the community and not for the glory of individuals,” he added.

As for Kasthuri, the party leaders are under attack for allowing a young 43-year-old two-term MP to leave despite her being told she would be fielded in GE15.

Kasthuri has said she wanted to concentrate on fighting for human rights and women’s affairs.

“There’s more than what meets the eye. She has been having a tough time handling certain ‘Penang DAP boys’ over the last year or so. It has now become an open secret that Perai assemblyman P Ramasamy, who is deputy chief minister, leads this group that had worked against Kasthuri.

“It’s really hard to buy the story that she is moving aside to give others a chance or wants to pursue her other passions. The DAP may have killed the promising political career with the leadership not admonishing certain leaders,” he said.

However, Kasthuri’s problems dated back to the 2018 general election where she faced harassment after being named as a candidate. They told her that she had no support and it was only certain party leaders who endorsed her.

He said Kasthuri’s sudden announcement about standing down has also raised some questions as she was seen giving media interviews as recently as two to three weeks ago.

“Kasthuri is a hardcore party person and does not want DAP to suffer in the process. For her, the party is more important than the individuals. So she made her exit with grace,” said the source. FMT

DAP scores ‘own goal’ with Santiago and Kasthuri out
DAP scores ‘own goal’ with Santiago and Kasthuri out

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