DAP‘s plan to hold a snap Penang state election has met with stiff opposition from its main Pakatan Harapan (PH) partner Parti Keadilan Nasional (PKR), but gets the support of its minor partner Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah).
Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS), DAP’s sworn enemy and not a member of PH, has indicated that it will contest all the 15 Malay-majority seats in Penang, in the event that the election is held earlier than 2018.
It is easy to assume that Amanah supports the DAP’s plans simply because the DAP national leaders have been very supportive of Amanah since it was formed by pro-DAP leaders who left PAS. PAS, on the other hand, dislikes DAP because the Chinese-based party has been opposing the implementation of the hudud law in the country.
DAP has already made it clear that it will not support a Bill in Parliament to amend the Syariah Criminal Code (II) Enactment 1993 (Hudud Enactment) which was passed by the Kelantan State Legislative Assembly. The Bill is due to be debated in Parliament in October this year. PAS’ insistence of introducing the hudud law had led to the breaking up of an opposition coalition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) consisting of DAP, PKR and PAS.
After observing the grounds given by the DAP leaders on calling for the Penang elections, PKR president Datuk Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and other leaders are right that they are not convinced at all why there should be a snap polls in Penang.
What motives are there for holding the state election when it is not even due until the middle of 2018? Is the motive simply to gauge the support of the Penang people for Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who is facing two criminal charges? If that is so, what are the DAP leaders hope to achieve if the people of Penang return the DAP to power?
To anyone, the snap election is decided at a spur of moment with the intention to arose the sentiments of the people against the Federal Government. Assuming that Guan Eng is jailed, and therefore, have to resign as Penang Chief Minister and all his party posts, the election is not going to change anything.
Therefore, we can conclude that the election is an exercise in futility, serving little or no purpose at all. If at all, it is only a forum for the people to vent their anger at the Barisan Nasional and Federal Government. Otherwise, nothing else.
Regardless of the outcome of the elections, Guan Eng will still be facing the two criminal charges.
The outcome of the election is not going to influence the court in deciding whether Guan Eng is guilty or innocent. It all boils down to strong evidence or otherwise.
The DAP-PKR relationship has never been cordial. They are always suspicious of each other.
On paper, their relationship is good. In fact, they have a deep mistrust of each other. The fact that DAP did not consult PKR before planning to call for the snap polls speaks volume of the DAP’s mistrust towards the current PKR leadership.
Does calling for the polls amount to the deep disrespect towards Wan Azizah, who is an opposition parliamentary leader, and other PKR leaders? If media reports are anything to go by, the DAP has failed to consult its PH partners.
It smacks of sheer arrogance on the part of the DAP leadership. State election is no small matter. We are not talking about holding by-elections, but state election where the fate of Penang is at stake.
PKR has every right to wary with the DAP’s plan to call for the election. Why not? PKR will lose more than the DAP if the election is held soon. PKR seats are at stake. PKR may find its 10 seats in the Penang state assembly taken by the Barisan Nasional (BN)
In any case, the DAP has a history of being arrogant. In the recent Sarawak election, Guan Eng unilaterally announced the names of candidates to contest in seats traditionally contested by PKR in Sarawak. He claimed that the allocation of seats between PH partners had been decided between him and PKR deputy president Azmin Ali. But in truth, Azmin only agreed in principal and further discussions were required.
As a result, not only did DAP and PKR faced each other in six constituencies, but they also managed to split the PH support in Sarawak. As a result, PH was dealt with a humiliating blow and lost a majority of the seats contested.
So, with PH partners in disarray and suspicious of each other, and Guan Eng out to save his own ‘dynasty’ in Penang, how will this drama play out in the coming weeks? One thing for sure, if DAP does proceed with the snap election, it is likely that we will see a three-way-contest for all the seats between PAS-PH-BN, and the results would likely favour BN.
Durjana Dewi is an independent analyst and Malaysian Access reader. Article written is strictly her personal view. Malaysian Access does not necessarily endorse the opinions given by any third party content provider.