Saturday, February 6, 2010

Of Rockets and Brylcreem Guan Eng

The attacks against The Chief Minister of Pulau Pinang, Lim Guan Eng roll in. The most recent and damaging of all is Nibong Tebal MP (PKR) Tan Tee Beng's lashing out at Guan Eng and DAP's 'vengeful politics' of no class. What initially seemed as an act of throwing support behind a party colleague, Bayan Baru MP Datuk Zahrain Mohamed Hashim who had some choice words of his own for Guan Eng - 'chauvinist', 'communist' and 'dictator' - Tee Beng's offensive against Guan Eng has taken a life of its own.

Indeed, this is only the latest of a string of incidents where Pakatan Rakyat appears to be faltering in Selangor and Pulau Pinang. But what makes these latest attacks all the more shocking is the details which were shared by two Pakatan Rakyat MPs - Tee Beng and Datuk Zahrain - of how dirty DAP's politics is and how far the PKR leadership is willing to bend over backwards to accommodate DAP's ways. If previously, actual content of criticisms were scarce, in this latest round we the rakyat receive some clear insight into understanding why Guan Eng is so unpopular not only with the Malays, but also with non-DAP Chinese.

The theme has always been the same, whether in the Ngah Ngeh duo in Perak or the Guan Eng Jeff Ooi partnership in Pulau Penang - the complaint is that DAP bullies its partners in Pakatan Rakyat. It is interesting that we never hear of this complaint when it comes to PAS or PKR; whatever their failings are they do not seem to act in a way that suggests mistrust or selfishness in this fledgling Opposition coalition.

Tee Beng, a PKR member who is not at all a fan of BN, tells us that PKR MPs in Pulau Pinang get no allocation whatsoever from the DAP leadership! He goes on to expose that all the allocations given out by the state is being portrayed as being given by the DAP, and that PKR has to beg for positions in Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBA), Penang Development Corporation (PDA) and investPenang. Does Tee Beng have an axe to grind? Sure he does. Guan Eng rejected Tee Beng nomination by PKR to become a PBA director simply because of the latter's history of criticising the former. What's that again? Meritocracy? Freedom of expression without persecution? Accountability? Pssh.

But most instructive is the revelation of DAP's grand strategy - to further racialise Malaysian politics by trying its best to make PKR into a Malay-based party at all levels. DAP knows the danger of having a genuinely multiracial PKR, one which will be a far bigger threat to DAP than to PAS. After all, in many ways, PKR and DAP occupy the same space with their rhetoric of reforms, accountability, and anti-corruption - all of which are of course, noble ideals, but the point is that if PKR can attract the younger generation of all races who subscribe to those ideals, and also the Chinese voters against BN, then DAP ceases to be relevant. PAS can always rely on its quite sizeable base - the conservative, pseudo-Islamists in both urban and rural areas, but DAP cannot. And worse, DAP knows it can never be more than a Chinese-based party, nor is it interested in becoming one. So what do they do? They go after PKR Chinese, marginalising and disarming them so that PKR will be seen as an Anwar-Azmin gig - UMNO rejects who will not struggle for say, Chinese education in a way that someone like Tee Beng or Tian Chua would.

Tee Beng has said he would quit PKR if need be, but that's also not the point. BN doesn't really a need defections in Parliament - 2/3 majority is only useful as a psychological weapon when it is won during elections. The point is that Tee Beng and Zahrain are doing Malaysians all a favour by exposing us to the true colours of DAP - as chauvinistic, racist and conniving as they claim BN to be.