Even some of DAP’s fiercest critics, including me occasionally, will admit that the DAP was magnanimous in not even requesting its share of posts in Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s new cabinet.
DAP secretary general Anthony Loke clarified that the needs of the country were the party’s primary concern, not cabinet appointments.
The DAP won the most seats (40) among the Pakatan Harapan parties in the recent general election.
But it did not request a proportionate share of cabinet appointments. The party’s priority was apparently to ensure stability in the country, failing which there might have been negative political and economic consequences.
Following several meetings with elected MPs and central executive committee members, the party decided that a unity government was the best way forward for the country.
The DAP was even willing to compromise and work with its staunch critics to reach a consensus to form a unity government. This is definitely a sign of changing times in the political landscape of the country and reflects the maturity and far-sightedness of DAP leaders – true patriots, putting the country above the party.
The DAP was ready to rally behind the formation of Anwar’s multi-coalition government unconditionally. But Anwar reaffirmed, after taking his oath of office, that the DAP would be part of his cabinet.
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When the cabinet appointments were announced, the DAP was allocated four portfolios – transport (Anthony Loke), youth and sports (Hannah Yeoh), human resources (V Sivakumar) and local government (Nga Kor Ming).
Besides Loke, the other notable minister is Human Resources Minister V Sivakumar. He is best remembered as the Speaker of the Perak State Legislative Assembly of the then Pakatan Rakyat government after the coalition won the largest number of state seats in the 2008 general election.
Sivakumar catapulted to prominence when he earned the reputation of being the “Speaker under the tree” after the PR government was dislodged by Barisan Nasional in 2009. Perak PR assembly members had convened a special sitting of the assembly under a “democracy tree” in Ipoh after the state government was toppled.
Earlier, Sivakumar had refused to leave the Speaker’s chair in the state assembly despite repeated calls. Finally, he had to be carried out of the house in the Speaker’s chair by security officials.
Prior to the formation of Anwar’s multi-coalition government, Loke had visited Sarawak to extend an apology to the Sarawak government and people for any offensive remarks in the past which had hurt the feelings of the state government and the people of Sarawak. This gracious gesture helped to mend the strained relations between the Sarawak government and the DAP.
Contrary to what some might believe, an apology is a sign of strength of character, not weakness. Only people with courage and dignity possess this virtue. Only egoistic individuals believe they are always right and others, permanently wrong.
The DAP is moving in the right direction to win the hearts of people of all ethnicities and religions. If the party continues to move in this direction, it might make inroads and even penetrate rural areas. Hopefully, then it can win the people’s support in areas outside its traditional support base across the nation.
On an optimistic note, the DAP’s recent actions have made it more acceptable to the masses, especially among those who previously had a negative perception of the party. The myth of it being a chauvinistic party is now slowly being dispelled. The rocket is continuing to fly high.
What will the DAP’s most vocal critics will have to say now after hurling all kinds of unsubstantiated allegations against the party in the past? Will they ever change their perception of the party? Some might and some might not.
Some of those who will not change their perception of the DAP could be just ‘small’ people. They will always be bitter people, instead of being better people.
Few would have ever expected that the DAP and Umno would now be in the same government. But then again, life is full of surprises and it can spring up on you when you least expect. Politics is also the art of the impossible.
I know it is a cliche, but in politics, you don’t have permanent friends and permanent enemies, only permanent interests.