Wednesday, July 25, 2007

DAP's Next Big Catch?

When I joined DAP earlier this year, Jocelin Tan of The Star labelled me as "a real catch" for DAP, although, I'm pretty much just a rookie. But now, rumours are running on overdrive that DAP is reeling in the next big catch, the godfather of blogging in Malaysia himself, Jeff Ooi.

All these, thanks to a comment piece by Oon Yeoh which was just published by Today newspaper in Singapore entitled "DAP Gets New Blood".
The first major coup happened in February when Internet millionaire and Oxford graduate Tony Pua joined the DAP as economic adviser to Mr Lim. Although a political newbie, Mr Pua will be contesting in the next general election.

"People like Tony are not the kind of people who you'd normally expect to join the DAP," Mr Lim says matter-of-factly. "This is an indicator of things to come."

In the coming weeks, the party will be introducing a fresh line-up of candidates for the next general election to complement the old guard.

It's widely expected that Mr Jeff Ooi, the country's most famous social-political blogger will soon be joining the ranks of new DAP election candidates. Mr Ooi, who declined to comment, is currently a member of Gerakan, a component party of the Barisan Nasional government. If the rumours prove to be true, a high-profile defection like this would generate a strong positive buzz for the DAP.
Ah... the last time Jeff was queried on this possibility by Jocelin in November last year, "seems neither as willing nor as ready." He insisted "it’s too premature at that point."

In fact during the Ijok by-elections, there were also strong rumours of Jeff joining KeAdilan (PKR). So strong was the rumour that apparently one of the Gerakan bosses contacted him personally to seek the "truth".

This time round however, Jeff appears a little more coy about the "rumour". He even asked, shall I say, cheekily, "You think I have a cause to join them?"

Well, until the day he makes the official announcement and submits his membership application form, anything goes, I suppose. But I would absolutely welcome with both arms (and legs), his entry into politics and in particular into DAP.

One of the recent additions was a Dr Cheah Wing Yin, who does not have the online brand name of Jeff, but is a most respected professional in the medical profession. He was formerly the President of Private Medical Practitioners Association of Selangor and Kuala Lumpur and the President of the Malaysian Mental Health Association. I have found him to be one of the most prolific party volunteers in recent months.

After having joined the party for a short 7-8 eight months, I've certainly enjoyed my time taking part in as well as organising party activities. Are there shortcomings in the Party? Sure, there are. Many are as bright as daylight. But I'm certainly not going to sit around and whine about the Malaysian opposition parties and their weakness, and not instead play my part in strengthening them so as to better serve the Rakyat.

(Starting a brand new party or standing as an independent as some have suggested, are absolute non-starters, so I wouldn't even dwell into that)

In the little time I've spent with the Party, one of the most acute weakness is the clear lack in talent and human resource. The handful of headquarter staff has to perform everything from statement translations to office organisation to newsletter publications to attending meetings to running political events (e.g., forums) to maintaining a website to yes, even being the occasional drivers. And I heard it was even worse before.

Since I've joined and started working for the Party on a pro-bono full-time basis, and I would like to think that I've contributed a little bit to all of the above to make DAP a better party. And I strongly believe that if and hopefully when Jeff joins, he'll make the party even stronger.

I used to tell all my new recruits during interviews at my ex-company. "Don't let me tell you how the company works or what the culture is, besides the goals that the company sets for itself. Play your part to mold the company into one which you'd like to work in".

Well, I share the goals and ideals of the Party which I have joined - which I've roughly categorised as democracy, equality of opportunities, integrity and social justice.

The party leadership has also played their part in promoting and giving space to the young 'uns. Now, I'll play my part to make sure that the Party can better achieve its goals. And I certainly hope more talented Malaysians will do the same, for only then, will we be able to build a better Malaysia.
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