Wednesday, August 13, 2008

DAP Elections - Independence vs Feudalism

Over the next 2 weeks, you'd certainly expect to read more commentaries on the upcoming DAP party elections which have been overshadowed by elections in Barisan Nasional component parties. I've written a piece here earlier, but I thought I'll do a short response to a report published in Malaysiakini today.

A party leader who requested anonymity said that should the party’s "feudalistic" ways be maintained, it would make the new talents uncomfortable and lead to an exodus.

[...]

"Now there are new faces like Tony Pua and Hannah Yeo. Should they face problems in the CEC, it would be interesting to see how long they last. Those capable of thinking independently will not see eye-to-eye with the party leadership," said the leader.


I've got no clue who the party leader who was quoted is. Accusations that the party is run in a "feudalistic" fashion is not new, and I won't go into that. But having been in the party for coming to 2 years, I've yet to see such feudalism in practice. Of course, detractors will tell me (and have been telling me) that "you ain't see nothing yet".

What is however more mind-boggling is the argument that if you are capable of "thinking independently", then you "will not see eye-to-eye with the party leadership". Which also means that if I'm in agreement with the leadership's policies and views, then I lack the capability to "think independently".

Hence since I've been to a large extent been in agreement with the party leadership's views over the past 2 years, clearly, I'm now part of the feudalism. What type of nonsense is that?

To extend the argument further, does it mean that most of our experienced MPs and state assemblymen, ranging from Teresa Kok to Karpal Singh to Tan Kok Wai to Kulasegaran who are sitting in the current 30-men Central Executive Committee are not capable of "thinking independently" because they support and form the leadership's position?

In any committee, there are often likely to be majority views and minority views. And I'm sure that I'll be in the minority for certain views of mine. But that is part of the democratic decision making process. It doesn't always work out for the best, but it's the best system to ensure that the best overall is worked out. All of us will have to respect that principle.

I'm certain this "feudalism" thing will be played up by interested parties and the media over the next week or so. I can only hope that the reporting is fair and it incorporate weighted views from both sides of the equation.
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