Was the need to snap at Sangeet a wise move, considering DAP’s claim of championing democracy and fundamental rights?


Looks like the inevitable ‘Mahathirism’ is here to stay, going by the recent typical Mahathir-style rebuke of dissenting voices.

It is an irony that whilst parliament has yet to be dissolved to make way for the 14th general election (GE14) and the imminent battle to secure Putrajaya has to happen, the trampling of freedom of expression, this time by the ambitious opposition DAP.

This time it was DAP, and not former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, which was giving the dressing down after it chided concerns of designating Mahathir as interim premier should the opposition pact Pakatan Harapan emerge victorious in the coming general election.

Mahathir who through his Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) has joined forced with Pakatan Harapan, not only succeeded in becoming the coalition’s ‘top dog’ but has also been assigned to lead the nation should the opposition coalition make it to Putrajaya.

The decision to pin all hopes on Mahathir, whose 22 years as the nation’s prime minister were tainted with malfeasance and abuse of civil liberties, has not gone down well with many, including Sangeet Kaur Deo, daughter of the late Karpal Singh, the lawyer-politician whose firebrand stance and courage to describe the spade without fear or favour made him an enviable character and DAP’s stalwart.

There was no mincing of words by Sangeet when she on Monday raised the red flag on Mahathir’s prime ministerial candidacy, cautioning the opposition that it would see the reemergence of the era of Mahathirism.

‘Mahathirism’ is a pejorative used to deride the former prime minister’s past policies and notions.

In 2016, Sangeet took DAP to task for going astray with its principles after Mahathir, once considered the party’s rival, made a historic appearance at the DAP conference then.

This latest worry by Sangeet has unfortunately fallen on deaf ears with DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng the very next day brushing it off as insignificant and a minority voice.

Lim, who is also Penang Chief Minister, sees no reason to panic or lose sleep over Sangeet’s warning as he said the majority in the opposition pact were supportive of the decision.

Dissenting voices trouble DAP

Lim had said that whilst DAP members were entitled to their own different opinion, consensus prevailed at the end of the day.

“The objection by only one of two members won’t really give any effect.

“Loyal DAP members will support but there are a few who pretend to be in the party but do not support the party,” Lim bemoaned.

That DAP ‘expects’ its members to toe the line without reservations is worrying as it smacks of autocracy and not democracy.

To take a dig at Sangeet for not being loyal to the party because she dared speak her mind portrays DAP as a bully, one which believes in arm twisting its members to say ‘aye’.

So what now? Will Sangeet, for her earnest views and concern about the fate of the nation be shown the door by DAP, the very party synonymous with her father?

Sangeet, a lawyer, had in her Facebook posting decried that the move by Pakatan Harapan to depend solely on Mahathir proved that the coalition had run out of other suitable candidates to become premier and was bankrupt of long-term strategies.

It is astounding that DAP has resorted to foolhardiness by condemning Sangeet whose agenda remains that of ensuring democracy is finally able to thrive and survive in Malaysia but without Mahathir helming the country.

Was the need to snap at Sangeet a wise move, considering DAP’s claim of championing democracy and fundamental rights? What was so troubling for the party to make a wise judgment call by agreeing to disagree to the concerns raised by Sangeet?

To trivialise Sangeet’s worries and see her as politically unsavvy unlike her brothers is uncalled for and prejudiced. Nowhere is there carved in stone that siblings active in politics must pledge allegiance to the same ideology, not when the country’s well-being is at stake.

So while her brothers Gobind, Jagdeep and Ramkarpal might not fancy rocking the political boat ferrying DAP and Mahathir, there is no reason for Sangeet to follow suit.

Granted that desperate times calls for desperate measures, but then is desperation be the only raison d’etre of the opposition coalition and its allies?