A DAP division in Penang is peeved with the deputy chief minister for branding party veterans as godfathers and demands a clarification.BUTTERWORTH: The Bagan DAP division has launched a broadside against Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy for describing party elders as “godfathers”.
According to the division, this is a mark of disrespect and called on the academic-turned-politician to clarify who he was referring to.
The division also urged the leadership to take stern disciplinary action against the “newcomer”.
“Never before has a DAP elected representative criticised party elders as godfathers. Its ‘un-DAP-like’,” said division deputy chairman and Bagan Dalam assemblyman A Tanasekharan.
He said party elders, like national chairman Karpal Singh and Ipoh Timur MP Lim Kit Siang, have been the pillars of strength for DAP over the years.
“They have sacrificed so much and been the backbone of the party, we must respect them. As a newcomer, Ramasamy should not be disrespectful towards the party veterans. He should not act like a warlord,” Tanasekharan told FMT in the presence of the division’s liaison committee members.
Ramasamy, the Penang DAP deputy chairman, told an online media that DAP should get rid of not only warlords but godfathers as well.
He was responding to Karpal’s warning to certain party leaders against becoming political warlords by circumventing the leadership to promise and announce seats for their cronies.
Karpal also cautioned against using the term godfathers to describe veteran leaders, stating that the latter are also needed for the party’s progress.
The row was caused by Ramasamy’s announcement in Tamil newspaper Makkal Osai on Nov 28 that the party will field three Indian women – D Kamachi, P Kasturi (daughter of the late DAP stalwart P Patto), and an unknown lawyer from Penang, K Mangaleswari.
Ramasamy was also quoted as saying that parliamentarians M Kulasegaran (Ipoh Barat), Gobind Singh Deo (Puchong), Charles Santiago (Klang) and M Manogaran, and assemblymen A Sivanesan (Sungkai), A Sivasubramaniam (Buntong), V Sivakumar (Tronoh) and P Gunasekaren (Senawang) were certain of contesting in the coming general election.
According to the article, Ramasamy also announced that he will re-contest both his Prai state and Batu Kawan federal seats, which is against the imminent party’s “one man – one seat” policy.
Although he denied stating it, the Makkal Osai article, sub-titled the report as Ramasamy’s announcement.
Why deny it now?
The unprecedented announcement was described by the Bagan division as running foul of “DAP’s political culture amounting to usurpation of the Central Executive Committee’s (CEC) powers.”
Tanasekharan said the majority of division leaders and members backed Karpal on this matter.
He also questioned why Ramasamy denied making such an announcement only after Karpal’s outburst.
“Instead of accusing the reporters and media of twisting (his remarks), he should have denied the report a week ago,” he added.
Bagan division head and Penang DAP vice-chairman Lim Hock Seng clarified that the CEC is the party’s highest decision-making body to finalise and announce the candidatures.
Under the party selection process, each parliamentary division, in which DAP contests, will submit five fresh names, apart from the incumbents, for the state election committees to consider as candidates.
All incumbents are automatically considered as candidates.
The state election committee will then submit names of shortlisted candidates to the state committee for another vetting.
Finally the CEC will conduct a perusal and has the final say on candidates shortlisted and recommended by the state committees.
Lim said even top national leaders and state chairmen will not be certain of their candidacy until the CEC’s eleventh hour announcement.
Penang DAP chairman Chow Kon Yeow, Ramasamy, Lim, vice chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo and secretary Ng Wei Aik make up the current five-man state election committee.
Lim said the relevant DAP divisions have submitted their candidature proposals for seven parliamentary and 19 state seats to the Penang election committee.
“The committee has not met until today,” he confirmed.
Meanwhile, Tanasekharan said the Bagan division is upset with Ramasamy for doing a (former MIC president S) Samy Vellu by projecting himself as the “DAP Indian leader.”
“DAP never projected anyone as a particular community leader,” he noted.
Ramasamy’s announcement in Makkal Osai is set to take centre stage during the Penang DAP delegates’ conference on Dec 11.